Water Boards Seeking Information on Streams and Watersheds

To all,

The California State Water Board is seeking information on watershed and streams so if you can help, there is a link below that will take you to where you can input the information.

Thank you.

Larry, CRW Web Manager

The Healthy Watersheds Partnership is conducting a literature review so we can create a resource/library on the website. Specifically we are looking for literature pertaining to the following topics:

defining watershed and stream “health”
data imputation methods
data aggregation and reduction
determining relative watershed health
climate change impacts to water quality
climate change impacts to beneficial uses

If you are aware of any literature related to these topics, we ask that you send us information about it by filling out the Google form. Thank you!

Sincerely,

Anna Holder
California Sea Grant Fellow
Office of Information Management and Analysis
California State Water Resources Control Board
(916) 341-5286
anna.holder@waterboards.ca.gov
1001 I Street, 19th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

MARINE PROTECTED AREA MONITORING WITH CITIZEN SCIENCE

To All,

This is a message from the California Ocean Protection Council,
California Academy of Sciences, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife with opportunities for activists to engage in water protection activities.
–Larry

Citizen science – the involvement of non-scientists in the production of scientific knowledge – can generate biodiversity data at spatial and temporal scales difficult to achieve by other approaches. Our team – a collaboration between the California Academy of Sciences, the California Ocean Protection Council, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife – is building the capacity to use citizen science observations to understand and monitor biodiversity across California’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) network.

Over the last decade, the Citizen Science team at the Academy has been developing a community of naturalists – scientists and non-scientists alike – working together to document biodiversity, connecting people to their local nature and simultaneously collecting data critical to science and management. In particular, a number of ongoing Academy citizen science initiatives focus on California’s coastal ecosystems. These include Snapshot Cal Coast – an annual California statewide effort to document our coastal biodiversity – as well as community bioblitzes and intertidal monitoring.

All these biodiversity observations are collected and aggregated using a common platform – iNaturalist. iNaturalist is a global network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists contributing biodiversity observations over space and time. It achieves this via a set of technological tools, which facilitate the recording, sharing and visualization of detailed biodiversity information.

Our team is developing innovative approaches and tools (MPA Explorer app in development; Snapshot Cal Coast app in development) to make use of the Academy’s citizen science efforts and iNaturalist community-contributed observations in support of the State of California’s long-term MPA Monitoring Action Plan. Our aims are twofold. First, to provide resource managers with a framework for integrating iNaturalist and Snapshot Cal Coast observations into long-term Marine Protected Area monitoring. Second, to understand the effects of changing ocean conditions on California coastal biodiversity by looking for patterns in these data over space and time, such as species range shifts or changes in community diversity.

You can help us! Imagine you could reliably estimate any current or future property of coastal ecosystems to facilitate your professional and/or recreational activity. What would you like to know about biodiversity within and outside Marine Protected Areas and across California’s coast? Are you interested in how people interact with coastal ecosystems, where and when they go, and what they choose to observe? If you have unanswered questions you would like to share, please take 5 minutes to answer our survey.

Please share this announcement with anyone who may be interested in this project.
Thank you,
California Ocean Protection Council
California Academy of Sciences
California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Groundwater Exchange: Information for Activists

Dear Readers,

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new platform, the Groundwater Exchange, the latest website in my growing library of online resources for the water sector in the west. I hope those of you working to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act will find this a useful resource.

It has been my great pleasure to partner with Environmental Defense Fund and Stanford’s Program on Water in the West on this project and I have included our joint press release below.

Please check out the Groundwater Exchange at www.groundwaterexchange.org and feel free to send me your comments and suggestions. With your help, the Groundwater Exchange will evolve to be a valuable tool in SGMA implementation.

I also invite you to attend our webinar featuring a live demo of the Groundwater Exchange from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11. To register, visit https://groundwaterexchangewebinar.eventbrite.com.

Thank you for being a reader of Maven’s Notebook!

Best regards,

Maven

New Platform Offers Resources and Engagement Tools for California Water Agencies and Communities Website provides a one-stop shop for information on the state’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Sept. 18, 2018) Maven’s Notebook, in partnership with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Stanford’s Program on Water in the West (WitW), launched a new website today at www.groundwaterexchange.org to provide a central hub of science-based information related to California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

The Groundwater Exchange is a free, collaborative online platform designed to connect water managers, water users and community members with tools and resources to support successful implementation of SGMA.

A webinar featuring a live demonstration of the Groundwater Exchange will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11. To register, visit https://groundwaterexchangewebinar.eventbrite.com.

“Information about SGMA is currently spread across dozens of different websites,” said Christina Babbitt, senior manager of EDF’s California Groundwater Program. “With the Groundwater Exchange, we’re consolidating that information onto one website where communities across California can learn more about the law and become more engaged in issues related to groundwater, which is vitally important to the health and resilience of our state.”

“In addition to consolidating resources, water managers and community members involved in developing the site wanted to be able to share their experience and learning with one another. The Groundwater Exchange has an online forum to meet that need—here users can ask questions, share materials and engage with members of the water community,” added Tara Moran, the WitW Sustainable Groundwater Program lead. “We are really excited to be supporting a broader dialogue within the California water community.”

Groundwater contributes 40 percent of California’s annual water supply in a normal year and more than 60 percent in a dry year, according to the California Department of Water Resources. During the historic drought that ended in 2017, the state’s largest water users—agriculture and cities—over-pumped groundwater, which reduced river flows, caused land to sink faster than ever before, and left many poor communities without access to groundwater.

Prior to passage of SGMA in 2014, groundwater was largely unregulated in California. This historic legislation presents a significant opportunity for California to protect this fundamental resource for future generations.

SGMA led to the creation of more than 250 local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) tasked with developing and implementing plans to bring groundwater conditions into balance by as early as 2040. The California Department of Water Resources has provided substantial SGMA materials to the agencies, but many agencies have limited financial, technical and personnel resources. Moreover, additional SGMA resources have been developed by nonprofits and academic experts.

“Given the complexity of groundwater management, the California Department of Water Resources greatly appreciates the collaborative efforts to develop the Groundwater Exchange, as it will help to ensure SGMA’s success,” said Taryn Ravazzini, the department’s deputy director, special initiatives. “The platform will undoubtedly serve as a valuable forum to promote information exchange among Groundwater Sustainability Agency members, decision-makers and local stakeholders.”

Key features of the Groundwater Exchange include:

A forum to post questions, start discussions and share materials.
An introduction to SGMA, including frequently asked questions, publications on public engagement in English and Spanish, and links to organizations that help give community members a voice in water policy and decisions.
Searchable maps and a basin watch list that alerts users when new information about their basin becomes available.
A calendar and news section consolidating the latest content related to SGMA from across the Internet.
Weekly email updates featuring new content on the Groundwater Exchange and upcoming events.
“Sustainably managing groundwater is one of the most important and complex challenges that California will face in the coming decades,” said Andrew Fahlund, senior program officer at the Water Foundation. “The Groundwater Exchange brings together the best people and ideas to achieve this crucial goal.”

“California’s agriculture industry is vital to the production of our ingredients, and we are committed to improving water sustainability in the state,” added Jeff Hanratty, applied sustainability manager at General Mills. “We are proud to support the Groundwater Exchange, which will help water managers implement their Groundwater Sustainability Plans, balancing water needs for people, agriculture and the environment.”

The Groundwater Exchange was created with funding from the Water Foundation, General Mills and the California Department of Water Resources.

To learn more about the Groundwater Exchange, visit www.groundwaterexchange.org.

Action to Protest Trump Downgrading Clean Water for People and Fish

The future of the Clean Water Rule is in our hands
The EPA wants to reduce protections for headwater streams.

Stand up for clean water today!
To act, send a letter by going to Trout Unlimited website.

Whether you fish or just simply understand the value of clean water, there is no law more important than the Clean Water Act. In 2015, the EPA developed a rule that affirmed Clean Water Act protections for “intermittent and ephemeral streams.” In 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed weakening these protections. These streams —the headwaters of our nation’s rivers —provide us the fisheries we cherish and the clean drinking water we require.
Intermittent streams are those that have a continuous flow but only at certain times of the year, sustained seasonally by springs, ground-water inputs or a surface water source such as rain or melting snow.

Ephemeral streams flow only briefly (hours to days) in direct response to precipitation in the immediate vicinity.

stream miles classified as intermittent or ephemeral

Seeing Red: Do fewer protections impact your water?

Short answer? Yes. Think of intermittent and ephemeral streams like the capillaries in your body. While they are small and often overlooked, they play a vital role in our overall health. So too do the small headwater streams which feed the larger creeks and rivers we more commonly recognize. Zoom in to learn more about intermittent and ephemeral streams where you live.

We all deserve clean water.

Protecting it has never been more critical:

To act, send a letter by going to Trout Unlimited website.

Action: Sign Petition Against Dirty Water Rule

Re: Waters of the United States, No.4 and Shutdown toolkit

January 15 , 2019

EPA announced its Waters of the United States replacement or “Dirty Water Rule”. The administration’s talking points indicate that the proposal would restrict which wetlands and waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act, such as excluding ephemeral streams and wetlands that are not “physically and meaningfully” connected to other jurisdictional waterways.

Here is link to an Add-Up petition opposing the change. Please circulate this petition if you can.

https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/National?actionId=AR0135428

The following is provided by Jennifer Collins with Earth Justice.

· Dirty Water Rule. On December 11, 2018, the Trump administration announced the “Dirty Water Rule” or its revised definition of “Waters of the US” that substantially limits the number of waterways receiving protection from the Clean Water Act. The rule is NOT yet posted in the federal register, so the 60 day comment period has not yet begun. A number of groups requested an extension of the comment period, although have not yet heard back. On December 28th, EPA and Army Corps announced that they would do one public hearing in Kansas City, KS on January 23rd and do an online webcast on January 10. Due to the partial government shutdown, the Kansas City hearing has been postponed and on its website, EPA states that if the government is still shut down on the 10th, the webcast will have to be postponed, as well.

Stop the Dirty Water Rule

If Trump’s Dirty Water Rule is finalized it will leave millions of acres of wetlands without clear Clean Water Act safeguards, along with streams throughout the nation. This will jeopardize the sources of drinking water and create uncertainty for the communities and businesses that rely on access to clean water and the protections that wetlands provide, like pollution filtering and absorbing floodwaters.

We know the majority of the public wants the federal government to do more, not less to protect clean water. Let’s make sure EPA hears from as many people as possible. Send a message today. Subject: RE: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149

Send a letter to EPA now.

“Dirty Water Rule” Actions to Take


January 15 , 2019

EPA announced its Waters of the United States replacement or “Dirty Water Rule”. The administration’s talking points indicate that the proposal would restrict which wetlands and waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act, such as excluding ephemeral streams and wetlands that are not “physically and meaningfully” connected to other jurisdictional waterways.

Here is link to an Add-Up petition opposing the change. Please circulate this petition if you can.

https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/National?actionId=AR0135428

The following is provided by Jennifer Collins with Earth Justice.

· Dirty Water Rule. On December 11, 2018, the Trump administration announced the “Dirty Water Rule” or its revised definition of “Waters of the US” that substantially limits the number of waterways receiving protection from the Clean Water Act. The rule is NOT yet posted in the federal register, so the 60 day comment period has not yet begun. A number of groups requested an extension of the comment period, although have not yet heard back. On December 28th, EPA and Army Corps announced that they would do one public hearing in Kansas City, KS on January 23rd and do an online webcast on January 10. Due to the partial government shutdown, the Kansas City hearing has been postponed and on its website, EPA states that if the government is still shut down on the 10th, the webcast will have to be postponed, as well.

Challenges to Rollback of Clean Water Act Definition

This article offers some hope but many comment letters are needed from activists and organizations.

Jane

Rollback of clean water rules unveiled.

Environmental groups and many states are expected to challenge Trump’s proposal.

ACTING Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler said the proposal would not affect California, but experts disagreed, saying state agencies don’t have the resources to do what the EPA does. (Cliff Owen Associated Press By Evan Halper

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration unveiled its plan Tuesday for a major rollback of the Clean Water Act, a blueprint drawn up at the behest of farm groups, real estate developers and other business interests that would end federal protections on thousands of miles of streams and wetlands.

The proposal has big implications for California and other arid Western states, where many of the seasonal streams and wetlands that are a foundation of drinking water supplies and sensitive ecosystems would lose federal protection.

Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the Obama-era rule that put those waters under the protection of the Clean Water Act “further expanded Washington’s reach into privately owned lands.”

“They claimed it was in the interest of water quality, but it was really about power,” Wheeler said. “Power in the hands of the federal government over landowners.”

Studies conducted by the Obama-era EPA suggest that as many as two-thirds of California’s inland freshwater streams fall into categories that would be at risk of losing protection under the Trump administration plan. Wheeler dismissed those studies as scientifically flawed, but his agency said it could not offer an accurate estimate of how much federal protection would be diminished in the state.

“California already has water protections in place that are stricter than the federal government’s, so nothing is going to change for the California waters,” he said.

Former EPA regulators drew a starkly contrasting picture, saying state agencies do not have the resources or expertise to backfill all the work the EPA would stop doing under President Trump’s proposed rule.

“The ramifications could be huge,” said Jessica Kao, who this year left her position as the EPA’s lead Clean Water Act enforcement attorney in the Southwest.

“You will definitely see more development projects outside the purview of the Clean Water Act.”

The new rules would enable many polluting projects to skirt federal environmental reviews and allow companies building structures as diverse as oil pipelines and residential subdivisions to avoid warning the public of potential water-quality hazards they create, she said.

“It will be easier to pollute and fill these streams,” she said. “And years later, we will deal with the consequences.”

The proposal, which now moves into a 60-day public comment period, is certain to draw legal challenges from environmental groups and many states.

The fight marks the latest chapter in a decades-long struggle over the reach of the Clean Water Act. Agriculture businesses, developers, and oil and mining companies say the existing rule has enabled heavy-handed bureaucrats to impose hefty fines on them for disrupting ditches and filling wetlands never meant to be regulated by the federal government.

Farm groups also worry that strict clean water regulations will limit their ability to use pesticides and fertilizers on fields that could drain into creeks and swamps.

The Obama EPA investigated those concerns while drafting the rule and found them to be lacking merit. It reviewed hundreds of studies in concluding that enforcing the protections widely on wetlands and seasonal streams would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits to the economy. The Trump administration’s proposal disputes those benefits, concluding any economic boost to be gained from the Obama-era rule is eclipsed by its costs to landowners and business.

“I don’t know there is one single rule that has caused as much concern and frustration,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “You needed this army of hydrologists and engineers and lawyers just to figure out whether your project could even begin.”

Many states, particularly those with Republican governments, had joined industry in fighting the Obama-era rules, calling them an unwelcome and unnecessary intrusion.

Wheeler quoted a finding from the Missouri Farm Bureau that 95% of the land in that state could contain water subject to the Obama-era rule, which Wheeler said “put local land-use decisions in the hands of distant, unelected bureaucrats.”

Other states, including California, have backed the Obama EPA’s rules. California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra repeated the state’s position Tuesday, saying in a message on Twitter that the state would “defend CA’s right to clean drinking water and pollution-free streams and lakes.”

The Supreme Court has struggled to define which waters should be protected under the Clean Water Act. A 2006 case resulted in multiple opinions.

The Obama administration crafted its rule around the definition of protected waters offered by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who recently retired. But Trump, within a month of taking office, ordered his administration to embrace the far more narrow definition the late Justice Antonin Scalia provided in his opinion.Although the administration plan faces a tough legal fight, the Supreme Court’s shift in a more conservative direction since the Clean Water Act was last heard there could give Trump and his aides an edge.

“It may very well be upheld if the administration does a good job of substantiating its approach,” said an email from Ann Navaro, a former chief counsel of litigation at the Army Corps of Engineers.

But the court is often loath to overturn precedent, and many lower courts have already embraced the Kennedy opinion from a decade ago. Attorneys for environmental groups are hopeful that the scale of the administration’s planned rollback will ultimately sink it in litigation.

“They want to shrink the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act to a level we have not seen in decades,” said Blan Holman, managing attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “They say they are doing something that is consistent with the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling, but it is not.

Clean Water Act Under Threat

The Trump administration’s upcoming proposal will dramatically reduce the scope of streams and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.

This radical reinterpretation of the Clean Water Act could remove federal pollution safeguards for vital water bodies like ephemeral streams and wetlands. The new Dirty Water Rule is also likely to apply the protections of the Clean Water Act to only wetlands with a “continuous surface connection” to larger waters. These streams provide drinking water to tens of millions of people while these wetlands filter pollution and protect our communities from flooding.

The Trump Administration’s Dirty Water Rule makes no scientific, legal, or fiscal sense. Streams and wetlands work as natural filters and sponges—keeping our drinking water supplies safe while preventing floods.

If these streams and wetlands lost Clean Water Act protections, the consequences could be dire. For example:

● Oil spills—such as pipeline breaks—into these streams or wetlands may no longer be considered violations of the Clean Water Act.

● Industrial facilities or factory farms could discharge chemical waste or toxic pesticides into unprotected streams without fear of federal consequences.

● Developers may no longer need to obtain a permit before paving over or building on wetlands—leading to a loss of important wildlife habitats and increase in flooding downstream.

● Water treatment plants might be able discharge partially treated sewage into streams without adhering to water quality standards;

● States may no longer be required to clean up polluted streams or wetlands;

● Oil storage facilities near these waters may no longer have to develop oil spill prevention and response plans.

● When agencies fail to enforce the law against polluters of these waterways, the public could no longer hold polluters accountable through citizens’ suits under the Act.

For more than 46 years, the Clean Water Act has helped us ensure more waters are safe for swimming, fishing, and drinking, but there’s much more to be done to ensure everyone has access to clean, safe water. Instead,he Trump administration wants to turn back the clock to a time when fewer protections existed to safeguard people and wildlife from harmful pollution in our waters.

A Threat to Public Health

This rule will jeopardize clean drinking water sources across the United States. This will disproportionately affect low-income communities, rural communities, and communities of color where families already struggle for access to clean water.

Putting Polluters Before People

Dismantling Clean Water Act protections for so many streams and wetland will benefit special interests, not the public. The Dirty Water Rule gives polluters the freedom to contaminate our streams and and destroy our wetlands without regard for how this will impact people’s drinking water, increase flood risks or harm wildlife habitats.

Risking America’s Outdoor Recreation Economy

A recent poll of hunters and anglers found that 92 percent of respondents want to strengthen federal clean water protections rather than weaken them.

America’s outdoor recreation economy – activities like hiking, boating, fishing, and camping along lakes, rivers, and streams – depends on clean water. The recreational economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending annually, $65 billion in tax revenue, and supports nearly 8 million jobs – all of which could be at risk under the Dirty Water Rule.

How Did We Get Here? In response to a series of conflicting and confusing court decisions that potentially left more than half our nation’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands at risk, the Obama administration set out to clear up the confusion. In 2015, the Clean Water Rule clarified that those streams and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act. Those streams help provide drinking water to 117 million Americans. The Clean Water Rule was supported by more than 1,000 scientific studies and over 800,000 public comments.

In February 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to repeal and replace the Clean Water Rule. EPA has already proposed the repeal.

What is coming next is the replacement. In fashioning this new rule, the Executive Order instructed EPA to follow Justice Scalia’s extremely narrow interpretation of the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. As such, the expected result is almost certain to be a Dirty Water Rule.

We urge you to editorialize against the Dirty Water Rule. The public cannot afford this administration’s ongoing assault on our clean water. [INSERT EXPERT} from [XXX] is available to speak to the human impact and environmental damages that would result if this Dirty Water Rule is not stopped.

Action Alerts

Trump’s Dirty Water Rule is the last thing we need. If it is finalized it will jeopardize the sources of drinking water our families rely on and create uncertainty for the communities and businesses need access to clean water and the protections that wetlands provide, like filtering pollution and absorbing floodwaters.

Americans want the federal government to do more to protect clean water, but the Trump administration is doing the opposite. Let’s make sure EPA hears from as many people as possible. Send a message today to let EPA know you oppose this dangerous scheme.

Message to EPA

RE: Docket ID: xxx-xxxx-xxxx

Acting Administrator Wheeler,

EPA’s proposed replacement to the 2015 Clean Water Rules should be withdrawn. It wipes out basic Clean Water Act protections for wetlands and streams across the country. This will put our health and drinking water at risk. Our communities can’t afford your Dirty Water Rule.

Your proposed replacement ignores the sound science that tells us streams and wetlands are connected to the larger water bodies that provide our drinking water. Allowing small streams and wetlands to be destroyed will put drinking water at risk by allowing pollution to flow more freely downstream.

This proposed rule also sidesteps public opinion. Broad majorities or the public believe that we should do more, not less, to protect clean water. The only people who will benefit from this scheme will be the corporate polluters who have fought to reduce the scope of the Clean Water Act for more tjhan 40 years.

Please take this comment into account and withdraw this Dirty Water Rule.