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Congressman LaMalfa to hold Forum on 2014 Fires in Western Siskiyou County April 8, 2015

Agriculture - California, Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA, FIRES, Forestry & USFS, Ray Haupt

Breaking News! — SHARE today!

Please join U.S. Congressman Doug LaMalfa for a Congressional Fire Forum — regarding 2014 fires — on Wed. April 8, 2015.

Two meetings with presentations organized by Siskiyou Co. Dist. 5 Supervisor Ray Haupt, including public input.

Happy Camp Grange Hall from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

Then at Scott Valley Jr. High in Fort Jones from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Public is invited!


Meager spring snowpack plagues entire West

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, Water, Resources & Quality

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Jefferson Journal

By Tim Hearden

It’s not just California that’s experiencing a meager snowpack this spring. As one-time RS scribe Don Jenkins reports in the Capital Press, Washington is on the verge of declaring a drought because of the light snowpack there.

The USDA paints a larger picture in a report this morning.

Warm temperatures in February contributed to further snowpack decline in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada, according to data from the third 2015 forecast by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Snowpack in Nevada, Utah and Idaho also fell further behind normal.



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DWR unveils plan for new groundwater regs

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality


Friday, March 13, 2015

By Tim Hearden

The state Department of Water Resources has unveiled a “strategic plan” for how it will implement new groundwater regulations and is seeking input from the public.

From the DWR:

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) seeks public input on a draft strategic plan for its role in carrying out the historic sustainable groundwater laws enacted last fall by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

The draft plan describes DWR’s responsibilities and vision for carrying out the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, a package of laws that aim to protect the groundwater basins that provide more than half of the water Californians use in dry years.

MORE on Jefferson Journal blog


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Board notices signal another year of irrigation shutoffs

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

Tim Hearden

Capital Press

Ranchers along the Mill, Deer and Antelope creeks in northern California have been notified they could again receive water-shutoff notices at times this year to accommodate migrating fish. Last year they were among the first of about 10,000 water rights holders to receive stop-diversion orders because of the drought.

RED BLUFF, Calif. — State water regulators are taking initial steps toward issuing stop-diversion orders to water rights holders again this year, including sending notices to landowners on three creeks near here.
Property owners on Mill, Deer and Antelope creeks in Tehama County have been told they’ll be barred at certain times from taking water for irrigation if creek levels fall below what is needed for migrating fish.
“They are on notice that when curtailment notices go out again during the specific times for spawning, they must curtail any and all water diversion from those tributaries, just like last year,” said George Kostyrko, a spokesman for the State Water Resources Control Board.
The orders would be similar to those issued in 2014, when ranchers along the creeks had to let their fields stay dry in June — when pastures normally are most productive — to accommodate salmon and steelhead spring runs.
“It was tough,” said Burt Bundy, a county supervisor who owns a small ranch on Mill Creek. “It would have been tough no matter what the story was, though. We expect it to not be any different this year.”
Bundy and other area landowners have complained the water board’s actions have lacked due process. Bundy said the board is “overkilling” by requiring at least 50 cubic feet per second in the creeks at a given time as well as pulses of 100 cubic feet per second every two weeks.
“You just get your ditches full and get your rotation in order, then you have to cut the water off for three days and then it’s geared back up again,” Bundy said. “It just really is murder for the pasture irrigators, and that’s mostly what we have.”
The notices along the three creeks, which are key tributaries to the Sacramento River, came amid a series of emergency measures the water board enacted March 18. The board also approved a requirement that landowners document their water rights and submit records of their diversions if a dispute with other rights holders arises.
Board members also passed a series of restrictions for urban water users, including rules that they can’t water their lawns daily and that they must ask for water when dining at restaurants. Gov. Jerry Brown was also working with lawmakers on emergency drought legislation.
Last year, landowners along the three creeks were among the first of some 10,000 water rights holders around the state that faced water shutoffs because of California’s drought, which is now in its fourth year.
The board sent letters to water rights holders in January warning them that more stop-diversion orders are likely this year unless conditions improve.
State officials are gearing up for another dry summer as the U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly the entire Central Valley as being at the most severe level of drought, while a majority of the Pacific Northwest is now at least in a moderate drought.
State and federal resource agencies have determined that Mill, Deer and Antelope creeks provide some of the best habitat for helping recovery of migrating Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead, which face particular harm from the drought, according to a water board news release.
The endangered fish are at a higher risk because water flows will be too low and temperatures too high unless a minimum amount of water is made available to them during critical passage periods, the release explained.
The board’s emergency regulations must be reviewed and approved by the state’s Office of Administrative Law and could take effect by March 27.


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Gov. Jerry Brown, lawmakers to propose $1 billion drought relief bill

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, Politicians & agencies, State gov, Water, Resources & Quality

PNP comment: If there is something that most California politicians and gov agencies are good at, it is wasting our taxpayers’ money on bills that won’t get the job done. We need reservoirs built to store water and de-saltinization plants for coastal cities — immediately! — Editor Liz Bowen

03/18/2015 7:55 PM

03/19/2015 1:40 PM


With California entering its fourth year of drought, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders will propose more than $1 billion in emergency legislation Thursday for flood protection and water supply projects and to alleviate impacts of the drought.

The legislation, similar to a measure passed last year, includes money for upgrading farm equipment with low-polluting equipment and for emergency food for farmworkers out of work due to the drought, a source said.

The bill’s funding will rely on a combination of sources, including the General Fund, revenue from California’s cap-and-trade program, flood bond revenue and money from the water bond voters passed last year.

The legislation comes after California regulators on Tuesday ordered water agencies in California to limit the number of days each week customers can water their lawns, an unprecedented measure.

Brown’s office announced late Wednesday that the governor, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins would present the legislation at a news conference at the Capitol on Thursday.

Brown issued an emergency order in January 2014 in which he appealed to Californians to reduce water use by 20 percent, a threshold the state first met in December. The Democratic governor said last month that he was not prepared to impose mandatory water restrictions.

At the time, he said he was “reluctant to expand the coercive power of state authority, so wherever we can engage a voluntary citizenship, I’m for that.”

Brown said the state was doing “pretty well” conserving water voluntarily.

Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, . Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article15320255.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article15320255.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article15320255.html#storylink=cpy
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Representatives McClintock and Denham call on federal regulators to take immediate action to save reservoir water this summer

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, CA. Congressman Tom McClintock, Water, Resources & Quality

S. Representatives Tom McClintock (CA-04) and Jeff Denham (CA-10) released a letter to key regional federal regulators calling on them to revise plans and take actions to prevent water releases that threaten to leave New Melones reservoir dry this coming summer.
In a joint letter to senior officials at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Representatives McClintock and Denham requested that the agencies meet immediately and enter emergency consultation proceedings to devise a new plan to conserve water in New Melones reservoir and ensure flows down the Stanislaus River through the rest of 2015.
“If the reservoir reaches dead pool, communities that rely on Lake Tulloch for their water supply will be unable to access their water, irrigators downstream of Tulloch Dam will go without water during the hottest months of the year, and ironically the fall-run salmon would end up with no flows upon their return migration,” said McClintock and Denham.
The two Congressmen have been sounding the alarm about the need for federal regulators to provide balance in water storage and delivery. “Pursuing a course of action that leaves no water available during some of the hottest months in the Central Valley and provides no options for returning fall-run salmon is a gross mismanagement of the river system and a failure to avert a preventable disaster,” states the letter.
A copy of the letter is attached here.

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NASA Scientist Warns “California Has One Year Of Water Left”

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, Water, Resources & Quality


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As drought worsens, L.A. water agency offers cash to Sacramento Valley farmers

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, Water, Resources & Quality


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California’s Water Future: A State Commission Considers How to Spend $2.7 Billion for Water Storage

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, Water, Resources & Quality

Friday, 06 March 2015 12:00

Written by  Judith Lewis Mernit


Last fall, when California voters were about to go to the polls to weigh in on a complex proposition to improve the state’s water situation, some environmental groups balked. Though the bill—Proposition 1, to authorize the raising of $7.5 billion on the bond market—promised money for better parks, more wildlife habitat and the restoration of urbanized rivers (like maybe the one that runs through Los Angeles), it also set aside $2.7 billion for “water storage projects” that have a “public benefit.”

It was never quite clear what those words meant. Would the $2.7 billion become seed money for two new dams on the state agricultural industry’s wish list? Or would it go toward groundwater storage projects that keep water closer to home? The bill was written to be “tunnel neutral,” meaning it wouldn’t automatically pay for a pair of canals that Gov. Jerry Brown wants to build, to draw water from the Sacramento River and ostensibly reduce pumping from the ecologically stressed California Delta. But it wasn’t “tunnel negative,” either.

“It’s mystery meat,” said Adam Scow, California director of the activist nonprofit group Food and Water Watch, about that $2.7 billion pot.

Nevertheless, with Brown’s juggernaut of support lined up behind it, the water bill passed easily, with 67 percent of the vote. So now Prop 1’s opponents have a new cause: Riding herd on the nine governor-appointed members of the California Water Commission, the people who will decide how the money gets spent.

Formed in 1913 to referee water-rights wars in the state, the California Water Commission now exists to advise the Department of Water Resources and supervise the State Water Project. In its current incarnation, it includes at least one bona fide environmental leader of a conservationist bent, Kim Delfino, of Defenders of Wildlife, but also one passionate advocate for Central Valley farmers and their water rights, grower Joe Del Bosque, who last year got President Obama to visit his farm with a tweeted invitation. Also on the commission are a Silicon Valley contractor, an engineer, a water-district manager, an educator and a consultant. Joseph Byrne, a Los Angeles attorney specializing in California environmental law, was appointed in 2010 and serves as its current chair.

The commission has just begun to deliberate on that $2.7 billion; much of the January 21 meeting was spent setting rules for that process. Members of the public who showed up to speak weighed in heavily on the conservationist side, warning against big water-storage projects that will exacerbate California’s already unkeepable promises to farmers. Such endeavors “have a long history of claimed environmental benefits that didn’t come to pass,” said Barry Nelson, of Western Water Strategies, formerly of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Tim Stroshane, of the Environmental Water Caucus, pushed for expanding the use of existing groundwater basins, such as the one in north Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley; “investing in them will lead to less demand for imported water,” he told the commission. “Real water reliability would result.”



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LaMalfa & Garamendi Introduce Legislation to Build Sites Reservoir, Store Water for Millions of Californians

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA, Water, Resources & Quality

Washington, DC – Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) today announced the introduction of H.R. 1060, which will accelerate the completion of a feasibility study of Sites Reservoir and authorize the project should it be found feasible. Located in Colusa and Glenn counties, Sites Reservoir is a proposed off-stream reservoir that would store as much as 1.8 million acre feet of water for cities, agriculture, and the environment.

“Californians have spoken strongly in support of investing in new surface storage, with over two-thirds voting to invest in projects like Sites Reservoir,” said Rep. LaMalfa (CA-01). “Sites provides more storage per dollar invested than any other proposed project, ensuring that California has water available for cities, farms, and the environment during future droughts. It’s time to fulfill the promises made to voters, move forward on Sites, and build the infrastructure that will allow our state’s economy to continue growing for generations to come.”

“California is famous for bouncing back from adversity and emerging stronger. Sites Reservoir will play a key role in making our state drought resilient by expanding our water reserves. The Sites project would help meet the water needs of our communities, farms, and environment. It has galvanized bipartisan support across California. The water bond, which provides significant funding for storage, was passed by an overwhelming majority of California voters. Let’s continue this momentum, pass this bill, and start building California’s water future,” said Congressman Garamendi (D-CA-03).

David Guy, President of the Northern California Water Association, urged support for the measure: “This bi-partisan effort promoting progressive water management is a step forward for California. The dry years in California have shown the importance of surface storage for all beneficial purposes–water needed for cities and rural communities, farms, fish, birds and recreation. An off-stream regulating reservoir on the west-side of the Sacramento Valley (Sites) is critical for all these beneficial purposes in the Sacramento Valley, as well as providing state-wide water system operational improvements.”

Fritz Durst, Chairman of the Sites Joint Powers Authority (Sites JPA), supported the Congressmen’s action: “Once again, our representatives, Congressmen LaMalfa and Garamendi, have exercised leadership by advancing this legislation and project. Sites Reservoir will improve statewide water reliability so desperately needed in drought years to protect and enhance the lifeblood of our economy, while also providing the necessary water to conserve our rich wildlife and natural resources.”

Sites JPA Vice Chair Leigh McDaniel highlighted the importance of expeditious Congressional consideration of this measure: “With the eyes of the country focused on California’s historic drought, it is vital that we work jointly to seize this opportunity to develop the infrastructure needed to store additional water at Sites Reservoir and beyond. Doing so will go a long way toward enhancing operational efficiency of the Central Valley Project and serve to mitigate the impacts of similar droughts going forward.”

The California Department of Water Resources recently reported that Sites Reservoir would generate an additional 900,000 acre feet of water during droughts, enough water to supply millions of Californians for an entire year.

The California Alliance for Jobs has also profiled Sites Reservoir and released a video detailing the project’s benefits to cities, farms and the environment. As an off-stream reservoir, Sites has the ability to recapture water released upstream, allowing improved conditions for salmon and reuse of water for urban and agriculture purposes.

The Northern California Water Association produced an infographic on Sites Reservoir and its operation in conjunction with other water infrastructure.

Attached photo: Congressmen LaMalfa and Garamendi respond to questions at a forum sponsored by the Association of California Water Agencies (Photo Credit: ACWA).

Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.

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