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BEC News Interests

August 1, 2017

Highlights and Sticky Notes:"Oroville Dam may be facing a breach danger from a serious and a dangerous form of a slow motion failure mode of the left abutment of the dam," the report reads."Do not try to ignore persistent 'wet spots' in the nation's tallest embankment dam," Bea said to SFGATE. "Do not try to explain them away using 'trite explanations' like 'all dams have leaks' or 'it is a natural spring.' This dam is an extremely important part of our California water supply infrastructure system. If this dam failed catastrophically during high water in the reservoir, there would be significant deaths and injuries, loss of property and productivity, and damage to the environment."Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

July 28, 2017

Highlights and Sticky Notes:The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act passed in 2014 mandated that by June 30, 2017, “groundwater sustainability agencies” had to be designated to cover all the groundwater basins in the state.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

July 28, 2017

Highlights and Sticky Notes:Butte Creek’s ecosystem is not in a natural state, however. The spring-run salmon depend on releases of cold water from the DeSabla-Centerville Hydroelectric Project, a 20-megawatt hydroelectric system owned and operated by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. that encompasses more than 20 miles of canals, flumes and tunnels. For more than a century, the project has connected two distinct watersheds, diverting water from the west branch of the Feather River to three small powerhouses and providing additional flows to Butte Creek.

This is critical for spring-run salmon because they need cold water to survive the summer months and complete their spawning cycle, said Clint Garman, an environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW).As for solutions, the report emphasizes that saving the salmon relies on human investment into currently productive ecosystems and “restoring function to once-productive but highly altered habitats.” For instance, research conducted by CalTrout demonstrates that agricultural activity and healthy fish populations are not mutually exclusive—that, in fact, off-season rice fields can mimic natural floodplains and support rapid growth of juvenile salmon.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

June 13, 2017

Highlights and Sticky Notes:The intent of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is to end nearly a century of over-pumping that caused thousands of wells to dry up and contributed to damaging subsidence.

Garth Stapley

The Modesto Bee fileTo understand politics in California, look down in an irrigation ditch, and where you see water, see gold.

– George Ballis, the late Fresno activist director of National Land for PeopleTags: no_tagby: ndcarter

April 12, 2017

Highlights and Sticky Notes:The water agency that supplies drinking water to Los Angeles agreed Tuesday to contribute $1.5 million toward the planning of Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley, giving the agency a toehold in a potentially valuable storage project.Metropolitan General Manager Jeff Kightlinger has said he isn’t interested in investing in Sites unless California moves ahead with plans to build twin tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but he believes Metroplitan should contribute to planning and development costs as a way of maintaining its interest in the Sites project in the interim.Tags: water, california, sites, delta, river, twin tunnelsby: ndcarter

February 15, 2017

Highlights and Sticky Notes:A presentation on Western burrowing owls is planned for the monthly meeting of the Altacal Aububon Society, 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Chico Creek Nature Center, 1968 E. Eighth St.plans to increase local populations, including creation of the successful artificial habitat at Tuscan Preserve in Chico.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

January 5, 2017

Highlights and Sticky Notes:The state already has a lot of water infrastructure including reservoirs, aquifers, and dams.More than 1,400 dams play an integral role in helping move water from the northern part of the state to the southern portion.“The department has been looking at storage projects for many years,” Bardini said. “Not just for water supply but for environmental protection and meeting additional Delta outflow requirements.”Jim Watson is the Sites Reservoir Project manager who says this project could be one way to increase water storage in the state.Policy Advocate Ron Stork  with Sacramento based Friends of the River organization said the cost of building all of the major proposed projects in the state would surpass $9 billion and leave a large environmental footprint.“We can’t dam our way to paradise anymore because we  have already dammed most of our rivers,” Stork said.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

January 4, 2017

Highlights and Sticky Notes:DWR says reassessing the prioritization of California groundwater basins is currently underway. The Bulletin 118 interim update will be amended in 2017 to include the approach for, and results of, the basin prioritization at the completion of that effort.Under SGMA, groundwater sustainability agencies must be established for all groundwater basins which DWR has identified as high and medium priority by June 30, 2017.Groundwater sustainability plans, or their equivalent, must be established for all other high and medium priority basins by Jan. 31, 2022.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

December 19, 2016

Highlights and Sticky Notes:The State Water Commission determined the guidelines for groups seeking funds through Proposition 1 for new water storage.If all goes well, the Water Commission should begin evaluating the applications a year from now.Within the guidelines is wording that the project needs to “contribute to the long-term ecological health of the delta,” Watson said. The Commission’s tasks will be a tough one — to consider all the proposals and estimate what combination will do the most good, he said.As for the applications, larger projects like Sites Reservoir, “have a higher threshold to cross,” including “rigorous modeling” and climate change preparation work.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter

December 8, 2016

Highlights and Sticky Notes:In professor Mark Stemen’s class titled Geography 506: Community Service in Geography, the students studied the effects of climate change locally and, as they wrap up their research project, reflected on ways to address the issue in the community.“Chico can expect four times as many extreme heat days within a summer by 2030,” warned Molly Marcussen. For Chico, an “extreme” heat day is when temperatures reach or exceed 103 degrees; currently, Chico averages four of those days a year. “With those consistent temperatures, we can expect more problems with heat-borne illnesses,” she said. City brownouts, melted power lines and damage to asphalt are other projected impacts.As the class wraps up its research project, the students will put their findings on the website, which provides climate projections between 2030-50. This is the same 20-year time frame outlined for Chico’s general plan, which happens to be scheduled for discussion at the next meeting of the Chico Planning Commission on Dec. 15.Tags: no_tagby: ndcarter