8-21-08Merced Sun-StarPublic NoticeCORRECTED NOTICE PUBLIC HEARING A Public Hearing Notice for Villages of Laguna San Luis Community Plan Community Plan 07-002 Villages of Laguna San Luis Consortiumhttp://www.legalnotice.org/pl/mercedsun-star/ShowNotice.aspxCORRECTED NOTICE PUBLIC HEARING A Public Hearing Notice for Villages of Laguna San Luis Community Plan Community Plan 07-002 Villages of Laguna San Luis Consortium has been Corrected deleting reference to an Appeal. A Public Hearing will be held by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Merced, State of California, on September 2, 2008, at 10:00 a.m. in the Board Room, Third Floor, County Administration Building, 2222 "M" Street, Merced, California to consider the following action: Certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR); Adoption of the Villages of Laguna San Luis Community Plan; Amendment of the Merced County General Plan; Related Rezoning; and withdrawal of lands from the Merced County Agricultural Preserve in an area generally located east of the San Luis Recreation Area, West of Interstate 5 and extending approximately two miles south and one mile north of State Highway 152. All interested persons are invited to attend and will be given an opportunity to be heard. BOARD OF SUPERVISORS By Kathy Warnke, Deputy Legal 08-1781 August 21, 2008Commercial air service to return to Merced next monthGreat Lakes Airlines officials enthusiastic about offering flights to and from Merced...SCOTT JASONhttp://www.mercedsunstar.com/167/story/409692.htmlGreat Lakes Airlines officials reaffirmed their plans to conduct passenger service out of Merced's airport and began a campaign to convince the public that they are a genuine fly-by-day outfit.Airline CEO Charles Howell said Wednesday that planes bound for Ontario in San Bernardino County will begin taking off from Merced Municipal Airport at 6 a.m. Sept. 8. Nonrefundable round-trip tickets cost $89.With the airline touting its service, the question on many local minds remained: How long will it last?... Meanwhile, commercial service at Castle Airport remains up in the air. A Merced County spokesman said there's been no indication that Vision Airlines won't begin service, though no starting date has been offered...Merced will spend $630,133 to operate its airport this fiscal year, plus another $1.4 million on upgrades at the facility. The city's latest plan for the future of the airport calls for spending $24 million over the next decade on projects such as lengthening the runway to 6,450 feet...Our View: The approach for cleaner airDriving less would do more for state than urging 'efficient driving.'http://www.mercedsunstar.com/181/story/409703.htmlWith California attempting to lead the states in reducing carbon emissions, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is pushing solutions not only through policy but also individual action.The governor is making a push to get individuals to take responsibility for their own fuel use -- saving money at the gas pump and contributing in their own small way to reducing global warming.Schwarzenegger is the spokesman for a new education initiative called EcoDriving USA, with support from automakers, auto dealers and the Environmental Defense Fund.In that role, he makes a powerful pitch: "We hear a lot of ideas from politicians about lowering the gas prices and fighting global warming, whether it's biofuels, offshore drilling or nuclear power.But none of those will affect the gas prices right now. Only you can do that."He gives specifics on how to reduce fuel costs by more than 15 percent: "I'm talking about simple things like proper tire pressure, avoiding rapid starts and stops, and keeping your engine tuned."He concludes that "we don't have to wait for the politicians to take action. Each of us has the power to make a difference, right now."Schwarzenegger also encourages people to "buy a hybrid car that gets 50 miles to the gallon."What's disappointing, however, is how minimalist Schwarzenegger's approach is -- limited to promoting more efficient use of gasoline. He could instead use his star power to encourage real conservation -- using other modes of transportation (walking, biking, carpooling or riding transit) and planning ahead to combine car trips ("trip chaining"). Such practices not only save gas but also reduce air pollution and traffic congestion...A "drive less" campaign would be a more effective way to jump-start alternatives than a "drive efficiently" campaign. Letter: Wasted water...FLORENCE LAMBERT, Merced...8-20-08 http://www.mercedsunstar.com/180/story/407451.htmlEditor: In my city of Merced water bill last month and this month I received, as everyone else did, a glossy-colored brochure asking all of us to conserve water. I believe it was titled "Every drop is precious!" One of the statistics it printed was "21 million gallons of water pumped in Merced each day." This is staggering when you think about it. Therefore, I would like to say to the city that most likely 20 million gallons are on R Street between Olive and Loughborough every morning with the sprinklers that are watering the median between the two-way traffic. I leave for my work in the early morning and even on the nonwatering day of Monday, R Street is flooded. Not just wet, but flooded. To avoid splashing the water up on my car, I drive at 15 mph. Additionally, I watched the median in front of the new courthouse water the palm trees for five hours last week. Again, the street was totally flooded.Does no one from the city check the automatic sprinkler systems?... This letter is a request that the city stop wasting my water.Modesto BeeAppeals court tosses pesticide lawsuit...PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press Writerhttp://www.modbee.com/state_wire/story/400384.htmlSAN FRANCISCO A federal appeals court on Wednesday overturned an order that farmers in the San Joaquin Valley and Ventura County reduce air pollution from pesticides by 20 percent.A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed a lower court ruling that found the state had failed to adopt enforceable measures to control the pollution. The panel said the lower court lacked the authority to make that finding, and it said any legal challenge had to take the form of a petition to review the Environmental Protection Agency's rule-making processBecause of the lower court ruling, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation ordered farmers to cut the amount of spray by 20 percent this year. Strawberry farmers in Ventura County, in particular, complained that the new restrictions would reduce the number of acres they would be able to harvest.The department said it would "immediately move to provide some relief for Ventura growers." Its chief, Mary-Ann Warmerdam, said the state has its own plan to reduce smog caused by pesticides."This ruling allows DPR to adopt a more thoughtful, comprehensive approach to reducing pesticide emissions that contribute to smog," Warmerdam said. "We believe that environmental and economic progress can be achieved through cooperation, rather than continued litigation and conflict."Brant Newell, a lawyer with the San Francisco-based Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment who represented environmental groups that filed the lawsuit, declined to comment because he hadn't reviewed the decision.Windmills slaughter endangered birds...ERIC CAINEhttp://www.modbee.com/opinion/community/story/400870.htmlFor many years now, travelers over the Altamont Pass have enjoyed the picturesque sight of turning windmills. In addition to the visual pleasure, the knowledge that these giant machines are generating clean energy has been a comforting source of pride as California leads the way to a future less dependent on foreign oil.Another attractive feature of the drive over Altamont Pass, even for those with their eyes glued to the road, is the abundance of large birds flying low along the hills, over the road and into the ravines. People who know their birds often can distinguish between the red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures and golden eagles as they soar close to the road.Unfortunately, the combination of windmills and birds has proven a deadly mix. When birders and nature lovers began wondering about the possible effects of the windmills on wildlife more than 20 years ago, no one could have guessed the chilling truth. Now, there are more than 5,000 whirling turbines spread over almost 50 square miles, and their gruesome toll on wildlife is well documented.Studies of the windmills' death-dealing effects on birds have put the kill rate at 1,700 to 4,700 birds per year. Protected raptors like golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, burrowing owls and American kestrels have been especially vulnerable. The most recent study shows as many as 2,200 individuals of these four species are killed annually -- despite efforts to reduce the toll.Almost two years ago, several environmental groups engaged in litigation with the windmill companies reached a settlement in which the wind companies agreed to reduce bird mortality by 50 percent within three years. The most recent study shows bird mortality has actually increased.No one is suggesting the wind companies are directly responsible for the increase, and no one wants to do away with the benefits of wind-generated energy. Nonetheless, bird deaths from the windmills must drop dramatically. The crumpled bodies of raptors, their wings shorn and their noble heads battered bloody, are an unacceptable toll and make the notion of "clean energy" a hideous oxymoron.Surely California, a world leader in technical innovation and environmental awareness, can devise a better way to tap energy from the wind.Even oilman T. Boone Pickens has jumped on the wind wagon with a huge investment in wind-generated energy in his home state of Texas. It would be a tragic mistake to pursue wind power knowing that the cost would be heaped carcasses of torn and battered birds. Conversely, the engineer who designs a bird-friendly windmill and the company that markets it will carve a huge niche in the energy marketplace -- and provide a globally viable product.As we enter the 21st century, the more we learn about environmental awareness the more we understand its link to economic success. The people of California will never allow the wholesale slaughter of wildlife to be the price for alternatives to an oil-based economy. On the other hand, the prospect of truly clean energy sources offers an economic reward commensurate with its environmental benefits. Insistence on a better way makes as much economic sense as it is morally right.Fresno BeeDAVID ZOLDOSKE: Delta Vision affects water we need dailyhttp://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/wo/story/811695.htmlCalifornia is at a critical juncture in fundamental water policy development. Every day, somewhere between the Klamath River in the north and the Colorado River to the south, headlines highlight the latest news about drought, water shortages, water quality, endangered species, pumping restrictions, "regulatory droughts," unemployed farm workers, increased water storage and the peripheral canal. The list goes on and on. How does any rational person take this all in? A key to addressing California's major water issues is to understand the state's primary system for water use and distribution -- the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta... Unfortunately, current practices appear to be unsustainable. The challenges facing the Delta seem almost endless -- new listings of endangered fish, invasive species, rising sea levels, levee collapse, poor water quality, 226 separate Delta governance entities and land-use issues are but a few of the drivers.All of this and more threaten to unravel the fundamental fabric of California's natural and human communities. Furthermore, many Delta residents believe their way of life will be irretrievably altered by changes to the status quo.Why is all of this important to the San Joaquin Valley? First, the Delta is significant to our region because we import a great deal of water used daily from the Sacramento Valley. The San Joaquin River system provides a modest, but important source of water to the Delta...Second, water is traded through historic exchange agreements that have moved water rights from lands along the San Joaquin River to farmers and cities along the east side of Highway 99 from Madera to Bakersfield. In exchange, lands located primarily on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley receive Delta water...It seems clear that the Delta is broken and needs to be fixed now and for the benefit of future generations.A collaborative, visionary plan is needed to remedy major defects in the Delta that is sustainable, while still providing the needed resources in an equitable way to the eighth largest economy in the world.In response, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger established the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force in October 2006...The Blue Ribbon Task Force delivered a Delta Vision in October 2007...The Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force is hosting nine meetings to brief all Californians on the key elements of the draft Strategic Plan and is currently soliciting comments. A public meeting for the Delta Vision Strategic Plan is scheduled to be held from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at the Fresno County Plaza Ballroom, 2220 Tulare St., Suite 1600...Sacramento Bee9th Circuit ruling is pesticide win for stateREGULATORY PLAN DIDN'T BREAK U.S. LAW, COURT SAYS...Denny Walshhttp://www.sacbee.com/378/v-print/story/1173644.htmlIn a boon to agribusiness and a blow to environmental activists, a federal appellate court on Wednesday threw out a Sacramento federal judge's ruling that California's pesticide regulation plan violates the Clean Air Act.The judge's opinion was overturned, and a challenge by a coalition of community organizations to the state's regulatory scheme was ordered dismissed by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.U.S. District Judge Law-rence K. Karlton had found California violated the act by failing to comply with a 1994 plan approved by the federal Environmental Protection Agency that called for a crackdown on airborne pesticide emissions in five of the state's regions, including Sacramento.In April 2006, Karlton ordered the state Department of Pesticide Regulation to "propose, adopt, and submit to EPA for approval and implement regulations no later than Jan. 1, 2008, to achieve the emission reduction goals" set forth in its plan.The judge found the act was violated when regulators used improper data in calculating the baseline for emission reduction goals and thus did not adopt "enforceable control measures."Under the terms of Karlton's mandate, new regulations were required to ensure Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, Ventura, Southeast Desert and South Coast air basins reduced emissions of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, from pesticides by 20 percent from 1990 levels.VOCs contribute to ground-level ozone called smog an air pollutant harmful to humans and plant and animal life.The state appealed.The appellate judges said Wednesday that the baseline formula is not "an emission standard or limitation," as those terms are defined in the act.So, the judges said, Karlton was barred from acting under that section of the Clean Water Act on which the plaintiffs based their challenge."It necessarily follows that the district court also lacked jurisdiction to impose remedies based on the alleged deficiency in the baseline methodology," the panel said."While we acknowledge that the baseline is a critical foundation, this does not change our view that neither the baseline nor the methodology qualify as independently enforceable aspects of the" state's plan."Nor would the district court have jurisdiction to hold, in effect, that the EPA improperly approved an invalid (plan) because it lacked enforceable emission standards," the judges further declared.Circuit Judges Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, Michael Daly Hawkins and M. Margaret McKeown issued the opinion, authored by McKeown.Natomas levee repairs will take a year longer, planners say...Matt Weiserhttp://www.sacbee.com/101/v-print/story/1173731.htmlStrengthening levees in Sacramento's Natomas basin will require an additional year of construction, extending until 2011 the pain of a building moratorium and mandatory flood insurance.The news did not sit well with Natomas residents and builders."I'm just outraged at this," said Rose Tribolet, board member and flood control liaison for the Natomas Community Association, a homeowners' group. "To me, this is just poor planning on their part. Now we are extending for another year the possibility of paying outrageous insurance."Board members of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Association hear a report on the new developments at their meeting today at 3 p.m.Stein Buer, SAFCA executive director, said the main reason for the delay is a 2006 federal policy change requiring any physical change in an urban levee to be approved by officials at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters in Washington, D.C. This policy's effect on Natomas, he said, only recently became clear."We didn't know how they would interpret and implement the new policy," said Buer. "What we're finding is, it means a very rigorous technical review going all the way up the food chain."....Previously, the work planned by SAFCA to bolster Natomas levees could be approved by the Army Corps district office in Sacramento. Headquarters approval, he said, will probably add a year to the construction schedule...The need to bolster Natomas levees began with another Army Corps policy change in 2006, one that brought more rigorous seepage criteria because of the discovery of porous materials in or under the levees.The corps ruled the basin does not meet the federal standard of 100-year protection, or the ability to withstand a flood with a 1 percent chance of striking in any given year.The Federal Emergency Management Agency in January announced it will impose a new flood hazard rating on the basin that takes effect in December and creates a de facto building moratorium because it requires new construction to be raised 20 feet above ground an economic deal-breaker.It also requires the holders of federally backed mortgages to buy flood insurance...SAFCA's aggressive schedule called for obtaining preliminary FEMA approval of 100-year protection by mid-2010, which would end the moratorium and insurance mandate. It would then continue working toward 200-year protection.Another surprise, Buer said, is recent findings that levees confining drainage canals on the eastern edge of the Natomas Basin may also need significant seepage protection...Stockton RecordCouple on verge of deal for Stockton 99 Speedway...Scott Linesburghhttp://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080821/A_NEWS/808210332/-1/A_NEWSSTOCKTON - After a two-year pit stop, Stockton 99 Speedway is poised to make an unlikely comeback.The track closed in 2006 to make way for a housing development, but the deal fell through. The weeds grew and the place fell into disrepair, but on Wednesday, Tony and Carol Noceti of French Camp announced they are close to an agreement on a five-year contract to lease the racetrack on Wilson Way from owners Bob Hunefeld and Ken Clapp...They plan to resume racing in March, and the Nocetis already have begun cleaning up the premises. The track closed after 60 years of racing on Sept. 16, 2006, in front of more than 5,000 fans, many of whom openly wept...The Nocetis might get their chance at that dream partially because of a sagging housing market. Hunefeld and Clapp announced prior to the 2006 season they were closing the 20-acre racetrack and selling the property to Legacy Development of the Bay Area. The property was never developed, and the deal ended this spring... San Francisco ChronicleChainsaws cut limbs from sitters' tree at Cal...Charles Burresshttp://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/21/BABG12G2A2.DTL&hw=uc&sn=001&sc=430BERKELEY -- Work crews cut more than a dozen limbs from a redwood tree outside Cal's Memorial Stadium this morning, a move that UC Berkeley officials said was aimed to make it more difficult for four remaining protesters to swing from branch to branch and for other tree-sitters to join them.The action comes as a judge is expected to rule soon whether to lift an order barring the campus from cutting down that tree and the rest of a grove to build an athletic training center.Protesters have been sitting in the trees since Dec. 1, 2006, saying they will not leave unless UC spares the grove."If you want me down, you're going to have to take me down dead," a male protester yelled from a platform as workers moved up and down in two cherry-pickers, carving off at least 16 branches from the tree by 10:45 a.m.UC spokesman Dan Mogulof said the 10-person crew hired by the campus may cut four branches from two oak trees in the grove before finishing their work today.Mogulof said the university consulted with a horticulturalist, who said in a sworn statement that trimming the branches would not harm the trees.UC officials contacted Alameda County Judge Barbara Miller at 9 a.m. this morning about their plans to trim trees outside the stadium, and gave her the tree expert's affidavit along with photos showing that trees they planned to trim.Mogulof said a court order that bars the university from construction on the site allows it to conduct limited pruning for safety and security reasons. On Monday, Miller will preside over a hearing in her Hayward courtroom intended to determine her final ruling in lawsuits by a tree-advocacy group and stadium neighbors opposed to the training center... Mercury NewsPost position: Bay Meadows auction items in starting gate...Lisa M. Kriegerhttp://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_10262569?nclick_check=1Its grandstand is empty. The tote board is blank. The heart and soul of Bay Meadows Race Course - the horses and the workers who loved them - are gone. What's left behind goes on sale starting Saturday at a giant three-day auction, open to the public. Decades' worth of racing equipment and memorabilia, ranging from historic photos to the starting gate, are up for bid. "It's the fall of Bay Meadows and the rise of condominiums," said Danny Roberts, packing up Lot 47, a set of old racing prints. "I'll miss it."A group of citizens is making a last-ditch effort to save the track, filing for a preliminary injunction to stop the auction. They say the sale of its items would damage their lawsuit, which argues that Bay Meadows should not be demolished due to its historic value...Bay Meadows Land Co., which will profit from the auction, has approval from the San Mateo City Council to replace the track with a 17-block neighborhood of 1,500 condominiums, 1.2 million square feet of offices, plus retail and parkland, all located next to a Caltrain train station...Los Angeles TimesLegislature takes aim at urban sprawl and global warmingA bill calling for financial incentives to target greenhouse gases would be the first in the nation...Margot Roosevelthttp://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-sprawl21-2008aug21,0,1532783,print.storyWill Californians drive less to reduce global warming? Maybe not on our own -- but state officials are ready to nudge us.The Legislature is on the verge of adopting the nation's first law to control planet-warming gases by curbing sprawl. The bill, sponsored by incoming state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), is expected to pass the Assembly today and the Senate on Friday.The legislation, SB 375, would offer incentives to steer public funds away from sprawled development. The state spends about $20 billion a year on transportation, and under the new law, projects that meet climate goals would get priority.An earlier version of the bill was blocked last year by the building industry and by organizations representing cities and counties. Developers feared their suburban projects would be delayed or halted. Local officials were wary of ceding zoning powers and transportation planning to the state.But momentum for the legislation has grown as the state seeks to implement its landmark 2006 global warming law, which would slash California's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a 30% cut from expected emissions. To accomplish that, state officials say, fuel-efficient cars and factories won't be enough. Subdivisions, commercial centers and highways must be planned so that Californians can live and work closer together, reducing the amount they drive...A compromise 17,000-word bill was hammered out this month and endorsed by builders, environmentalists and local officials. It requires the state's 17 metropolitan planning organizations and its regional transportation plans to meet concrete targets to reduce global-warming emissions. The targets will be set by the state Air Resources Board. "California led the way into our culture of car dependence, so it is only appropriate that the state lead the way out," said David Goldberg, a spokesman for Smart Growth America, a Washington-based nonprofit. The law could "provide a model for other states," he added, noting that the number of miles Americans drive has risen at more than double the rate of population growth in recent decades...The legislation would lead to better-designed communities and save consumers on gas bills, advocates said. Thomas Adams, board president of the California League of Conservation Voters, called it the most important land-use bill in California since the Coastal Act in the 1970s. "It is also the first legislation to link transportation funding with climate policy," he said.A smart bill for smart growth in California is on the verge of passage in Legislature...George Skelton, Capitol Journalhttp://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-cap21-2008aug21,0,4247234,print.columnSACRAMENTO Shorter commutes. Less sprawl. Cleaner air.Denser housing closer to downtown near transportation hubs."Smart growth" it's called.California policy makers have been yakking about this -- dreaming about it -- for decades. But too many interests have been prospering from dumb growth or have merely been skittish of a future they can't quite visualize.Enter a tenacious policy wonk with roots in local government: state Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). He has just managed to finesse to the verge of legislative passage a visionary smart growth bill that, by its nature, also fights global warming. It has been a two-year struggle, fought mostly under the media radar while budget chaos crippled the Capitol.It helps, of course, that Steinberg, 48, has been selected by Democrats to be the next Senate leader. He is carrying serious clout. An official Senate vote is expected today electing Steinberg as president pro tem when the next Legislature convenes in December...The measure (SB 375) links regional planning for housing and transportation with California's new greenhouse gas reduction goal (AB 32) enacted in 2006. The goal is to reduce greenhouse emissions to the 1990 level by 2020. That's a 30% cut from projected emissions."One issue everyone has been afraid to touch is land use," Steinberg says. "Everyone understands about using alternative fuel. But land use has been the third rail. AB 32 changed the equation because now land use has to be part of the solution to global warming. You can't meet our goal just with alternative fuels. You have to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled...Basically the bill would work like this: Each metropolitan region would adopt a "sustainable community strategy" to encourage compact development. They'd mesh it with greenhouse emissions targets set by the California Air Resources Board, which is charged with commanding the state's fight against global warming.And this is the key part: Transportation projects that were part of the community plan would get first dibs on the annual $5 billion in transportation money disbursed by Sacramento. (Projects approved before 2010 would be funded under the current system.) Another biggie: Residential home-builders would be granted relief from much of the environmental red tape for projects within the community plan.Local governments also would be required to expedite zoning and allow the builders to actually build...L.A. mayor admonishes city agencies on wasting of waterAntonio Villaraigosa wants the city to abide by the same 'drought buster' restrictions as residents and business. His order came in response to a Times video showing waste...Rich Connellhttp://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-water21-2008aug21,0,3949530,print.storyResponding to a Times video that showed city agencies wasting water last week, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa firmly ordered city officials to conduct ongoing audits of water use by all departments, saying he will publicly release the results, including any violations of the city's new "drought buster" restrictions.The action came Friday, the day after the mayor signed an ordinance doubling penalties for residents and quadrupling them for business owners who waste water. Thursday afternoon, The Times posted a website video that caught sprinklers soaking sidewalks during the day at a Venice Beach park and a Department of Water and Power station in Sherman Oaks."It's fair to say the mayor was upset with the video," said Matt Szabo, the mayor's press secretary. He confirmed Wednesday that Villaraigosa had summoned about a dozen key department general managers to his office to address the issue. "The mayor made it clear in no uncertain terms that city departments were to comply with the water directive just like every business and residence," he said. "The mayor was in no mood to hear excuses. He wanted to hear solutions."With the state gripped by drought, Villaraigosa has made water conservation and a new $1-billion water recycling project key features of a high-profile plan to help wean Los Angeles from distant and increasingly unreliable water sources.In a series of announcements that began last summer, the mayor has called on residents and businesses to cut water consumption. More recently, he has pushed to fine those who repeatedly violate restrictions on daytime use of lawn sprinklers, allowing water to run over sidewalks and pool in the street. The signing of the so-called Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance last week was also a milestone in the mayor's campaign to burnish his environmental record. But resident complaints that the city doesn't faithfully practice what the mayor preaches has dogged the administration's effort. The video, appearing the day the mayor declared that L.A.'s future's depends on "citizens to adopt an ethic of conservation," brought the matter to a head, according to City Hall sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were characterizing internal discussions...Washington PostLoss of Species Is Our Loss...PETER A. SELIGMANN, Chairman and Chief Executive, Conservation International, Arlingtonhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/20/AR2008082003378_pf.htmlThe Aug. 17 Metro story "Regardless of Size, Location, Species Share a Threat: Man" did a good job of bringing attention to the fact that many plants and animals are on the brink of being lost from our neighborhoods. Few people realize that worldwide we are experiencing the greatest species extinctions in human history, roughly one species every 20 minutes, according to mid-range estimates.Typically, extinctions occur in faraway rain forests, where countless living organisms may not even have been discovered before being wiped out, primarily because of habitat loss. Other serious threats are overfishing, pollution and climate change.We could lose more than one-third the species on Earth in less than 50 years because of climate change. What does this mean for people living in the D.C. area? It means we all lose sources of foods, medicines, raw materials and natural filters for our water and air, among other wonders of nature. 8-21-08Department of Water ResourcesCalifornia Water NewsA daily compilation for DWR personnel of significant news articles and comment August 21, 2008 1. Top Items - L.A. mayor admonishes city agencies on wasting of water: tonio Villaraigosa wants the city to abide by the same 'drought buster' restrictions as residents and business. His order came in response to a Times video showing waste. -The Los Angeles Times- 8/21/08Natomas levee repairs will take a year longer, planners say - The Sacramento Bee- 8/21/08Editorial Natomas levees can't be delayed: Corps, Congress must act to keep this crucial project on track -The Sacramento Bee- 8/21/08Solano, Napa agencies join lawsuit over state water allocations - Solano Times Herald- 8/20/08EditorialWater wars on the horizon - Napa Valley Register- 8/21/08Tunnels to bring water to parched California - Reuters- 8/20/08 Huge water line nears completion in California -The Associated Press- 8/20/08 L.A. mayor admonishes city agencies on wasting of water: tonio Villaraigosa wants the city to abide by the same 'drought buster' restrictions as residents and business. His order came in response to a Times video showing waste.The Los Angeles Times- 8/21/08 By Rich ConnellResponding to a Times video that showed city agencies wasting water last week, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa firmly ordered city officials to conduct ongoing audits of water use by all departments, saying he will publicly release the results, including any violations of the city's new "drought buster" restrictions.The action came Friday, the day after the mayor signed an ordinance doubling penalties for residents and quadrupling them for business owners who waste water. Thursday afternoon, The Times posted a website video that caught sprinklers soaking sidewalks during the day at a Venice Beach park and a Department of Water and Power station in Sherman Oaks."It's fair to say the mayor was upset with the video," said Matt Szabo, the mayor's press secretary. He confirmed Wednesday that Villaraigosa had summoned about a dozen key department general managers to his office to address the issue. "The mayor made it clear in no uncertain terms that city departments were to comply with the water directive just like every business and residence," he said. "The mayor was in no mood to hear excuses. He wanted to hear solutions."With the state gripped by drought, Villaraigosa has made water conservation and a new $1-billion water recycling project key features of a high-profile plan to help wean Los Angeles from distant and increasingly unreliable water sources.In a series of announcements that began last summer, the mayor has called on residents and businesses to cut water consumption. More recently, he has pushed to fine those who repeatedly violate restrictions on daytime use of lawn sprinklers, allowing water to run over sidewalks and pool in the street. The signing of the so-called Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance last week was also a milestone in the mayor's campaign to burnish his environmental record. But resident complaints that the city doesn't faithfully practice what the mayor preaches has dogged the administration's effort. The video, appearing the day the mayor declared that L.A.'s future's depends on "citizens to adopt an ethic of conservation," brought the matter to a head, according to City Hall sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were characterizing internal discussions.The mayor, clearly angered during his session with agency executives, pressed the DWP, Recreation and Parks, Housing and other major departments to be more cognizant of public appearances when it comes to water use and to ensure all city facilities meet the new requirements, the sources said. Also summoned to the meeting were the mayor's chief of staff, deputy mayors and other senior staff who oversee city agencies.Under the mayor's directive, the DWP will report back in 90 days -- and then every 60 days -- on all city facilities. Included in the reports will be the total number of complaints received and citations issued for each department. The findings will be posted on his website, the mayor told the general managers. In addition, the city's General Services Department was instructed to conduct a water audit of every city facility.Also Friday, DWP General Manager H. David Nahai ordered his staff to conduct regular checks on all department sprinklers, irrigation controllers and faucets to ensure that the utility conserves water "in an exemplary manner."Officials said the waste problems captured in The Times video had been fixed.#http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-water21-2008aug21,0,3243341.story Natomas levee repairs will take a year longer, planners sayThe Sacramento Bee- 8/21/08 By Matt Weiser Strengthening levees in Sacramento's Natomas basin will require an additional year of construction, extending until 2011 the pain of a building moratorium and mandatory flood insurance. The news did not sit well with Natomas residents and builders. "I'm just outraged at this," said Rose Tribolet, board member and flood control liaison for the Natomas Community Association, a homeowners' group. "To me, this is just poor planning on their part. Now we are extending for another year the possibility of paying outrageous insurance." Board members of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Association hear a report on the new developments at their meeting today at 3 p.m. Stein Buer, SAFCA executive director, said the main reason for the delay is a 2006 federal policy change requiring any physical change in an urban levee to be approved by officials at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters in Washington, D.C. This policy's effect on Natomas, he said, only recently became clear. "We didn't know how they would interpret and implement the new policy," said Buer. "What we're finding is, it means a very rigorous technical review going all the way up the food chain." Previously, the work planned by SAFCA to bolster Natomas levees could be approved by the Army Corps district office in Sacramento. Headquarters approval, he said, will probably add a year to the construction schedule. The delay prompted an unusually strong reaction from Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, who has worked closely with SAFCA and the corps to expedite Natomas levee repairs. "The Army Corps of Engineers continues to find reasons to cause delays for expediting the permits to protect 70,000 Natomas residents," Matsui said in a statement provided to The Bee. "People are at risk, and it is absolutely unacceptable that an additional year will be needed to get 100-year protection." The need to bolster Natomas levees began with another Army Corps policy change in 2006, one that brought more rigorous seepage criteria because of the discovery of porous materials in or under the levees. The corps ruled the basin does not meet the federal standard of 100-year protection, or the ability to withstand a flood with a 1 percent chance of striking in any given year. SAFCA settled on a design that involves raising and widening nearly 25 miles of levees. The Federal Emergency Management Agency in January announced it will impose a new flood hazard rating on the basin that takes effect in December and creates a de facto building moratorium because it requires new construction to be raised 20 feet above ground an economic deal-breaker. It also requires the holders of federally backed mortgages to buy flood insurance. If purchased after December, this will cost $1,390 annually for $250,000 in structure coverage, or $769 if purchased sooner. SAFCA's aggressive schedule called for obtaining preliminary FEMA approval of 100-year protection by mid-2010, which would end the moratorium and insurance mandate. It would then continue working toward 200-year protection. Another surprise, Buer said, is recent findings that levees confining drainage canals on the eastern edge of the Natomas Basin may also need significant seepage protection. Repairs will probably require building slurry walls deep within these levees, potentially adding $100 million in project costs. SAFCA has cut costs by narrowing the levee design in some areas. It now estimates the total project will cost $618 million, up from a March estimate of $576 million. The North State Building Industry Association released a study in May showing the building moratorium will cost the region 28,000 jobs and $3.1 billion. "It is hard to do any long-term regional planning if there are outcomes such as this," said Dennis Rogers, the association's senior vice president of government and public affairs. "What is most important now is ensuring the new timeline is sustained."#http://sacbee.com/101/story/1173731.html Editorial Natomas levees can't be delayed: CORPS, CONGRESS MUST ACT TO KEEP THIS CRUCIALPROJECT ON TRACKThe Sacramento Bee- 8/21/08 Surrounded by two rivers, two canals and 42 miles of levees, the Natomas basin is one of the toughest flood plains to protect in the nation. Water can find weaknesses at multiple points. If enough water were to find enough weaknesses, it could inundate a part of Sacramento that's home to 70,000 people, an international airport and hundreds of farms and businesses. Given the lives and money at stake, it's imperative that government flood engineers do the job right in upgrading Natomas' flood defenses. The basin's prime protector the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency now says it will take an extra year, and a lot more money, to do that job. That's not surprising. Nor will it likely be the last surprise. Ever since Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans, federal agencies have endured a torrent of criticism, and they have been steadily tightening their standards for levees and flood protection across the country. Natomas is one area that is bearing the brunt. Two years ago, federal and state inspectors announced that Natomas' levees no longer met the minimal 100-year standard for flood protection (a 1 percent chance of flooding in any given year). That prompted SAFCA to launch an upgrade of Natomas' levees that, from the start, seemed based on a schedule that was ambitious beyond belief. Originally, the flood agency assumed it could start work in 2008 and upgrade 26 miles of levee in two years. Such a massive construction project (moving 5 million cubic yards of dirt) would have ended development restrictions in Natomas in less than 24 months. By 2012, the agency hoped to achieve 200-year flood protection for Natomas, providing a margin of safety never before seen in this region. But all along, SAFCA was candid that contingencies could trip up its schedule. And guess what? They have. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has insisted on reviewing all work on Natomas levees from its headquarters in Washington, which has slowed down needed permits. Obtaining right of way for levee work has added to delays and costs. In addition, engineers have found that the Natomas levee problems go far beyond those that line the Sacramento River and the cross canal to the north. Inspections have shown that, on the east side of Natomas, slurry walls are needed to prevent water from seeping under the levee from ancient stream beds. These east side streams Dry Creek, Magpie Creek and Arcade Creek carry small volumes of water compared with the Sacramento River. But they still could potentially punch a hole in a levee during the biggest of storms. The combined effect: Some 40 miles of levees will need work. Total costs are projected to increase from $414 million to $618 million. Natomas won't be able to reach 100-year flood protection until late in 2011, with improvements aimed at meeting the 200-year standard coming the following year. Yet there's still a big "if" hanging over this timeline. The Corps of Engineers must complete a "general re-evaluation report" for Sacramento's levees by 2010, which is essential for Congress to help finance SAFCA's work. Without that help, the flood agency will run out of money, and the project will come to a halt in two years. Congress and the Corps can't let that happen. Every year of delay means an extra winter where a big storm could be waiting. In the fight against floods, time is not our friend.#http://www.sacbee.com/editorials/story/1173477.html Solano, Napa agencies join lawsuit over state water allocationsSolano Times Herald- 8/20/08 By SARAH ROHRS/Times-Herald staff writerCities in Napa and Solano counties could be protected from future water supply cuts if a government coalition prevails in a lawsuit against the state Department of Water Resources. Due to unusually dry conditions, the state this year cut water by 65 percent, an action that hit American Canyon hard since it relies almost exclusively on state supplies. The Solano Water Agency has joined forces with the Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Yuba City and Butte County to challenge the state's water allocations. Each has pledged to pay a share of $200,000 in legal costs. The suit was filed July 17, in Sacramento Superior Court. American Canyon will cover nearly 23 percent of the lawsuit's costs, said Felix Riesenberg, the Napa flood control district's principal water resources engineer. The costs reflect how much water each city and county receives, he added. The suit alleges the state has breached its contracts by cutting supplies to the four Napa and Solano agencies, which have rights to the State Water Project's "area of origin." The "area of origin" refers to land north of the Delta, said David Okita, Solano Water Agency general manager. The DWR and the Napa and Solano agencies differ on how to interpret the original contracts agencies have securing their state water supplies. The four agencies maintain the contracts protect them from water cuts during shortages. One reason they are immune is that their jurisdictions lie within areas where the water originates, according to the lawsuit. The other 25 agencies with state water contracts only have rights to surplus water and have to bear bigger reductions during dry spells, Okita said. The lawsuit allegations were bolstered by a recent court decision siding with the agencies with "area of origin" rights, he said. DWR information officer Don Strickland said its lawyers are studying the lawsuit. He said the state is not ready to make an official response. The contract dispute has been brewing for a while, Strickland added. "They can't understand why they can't get a full allotment and say, 'We come from the part of the country the water comes from,' " he said. "They want their full allotment." Napa County's water situation this year is not dire, but things could worsen should the state hold back more water in 2009, Riesenberg said. This year, Napa cities are relying more on local reservoirs and other supplies, he said. Solano users also are not in bad shape, mainly because the county has plenty of water stored in Lake Berryessa, Okita said. "We are in better shape than most folks, but we should be getting 100 percent of our state water supplies instead of 35 percent," Okita said. The four agencies make up about 2 percent of all state contracts. If the water contracts were interpreted to side with the four agencies, they would receive 70,000 more acre feet of water this year. Meanwhile, American Canyon has taken a number of steps to address its water shortages. Earlier this year, it agreed to pay $48,000 to West-Yost & Associates to search the state for more supplies in a joint effort with the city of Napa. It also has spent about $100,000 this year for water from Central Valley farmers and other users.#http://www.timesheraldonline.com/ci_10253954?source=rss EditorialWater wars on the horizonNapa Valley Register- 8/21/08 Californias water wars stretch back decades and decades, but the signs that conflict is increasing are abundant.One obvious sign is the lawsuit that Napa County and two other counties filed last month. The theory of that lawsuit is that those counties and cities with streams that flow to the Sacramento River and the Delta which slakes the thirst of much of the state deserve better treatment at the state Department of Water Resources than the many counties that dont. The suit comes after Napa County saw a cut of nearly two-thirds in its state water allocation this year. The county has standing to seek better treatment, the suit argues, because Putah Creek flows from the shoulders of Mount St. Helena to Lake Berryessa, where it drops through the Glory Hole and on to the Delta.It is too early to say whether Napa County and its cohorts have the law on their side. But the politics are not very favorable. Southern California counties that are heavy water users may battle for every drop. A drop-by-drop battle, thats how things are shaping up in California after a couple of dry years, a steady trend toward population growth and a look at projected models for how climate change might affect California.There are some favorable changes out there. For example, Napa and many other cities are using the same amount or less water per capita than they did years ago, when their populations were much smaller, because people are using water-saving devices and practices in their gardens and homes. Orange County, in Southern California, has invested billions in a wastewater recycling system. Yet trouble is brewing on many fronts. The pressure on the Delta comes from many sides: Municipal users, agricultural users, fish and wildlife and their advocates among humans, problems caused by toxic runoff. In addition, the health of San Francisco and San Pablo bays are largely dependent on the health of the Delta.Lawsuits between government agencies over complex issues like water allocations have a tendency to drag on forever.It is our hope that the Department of Water Resources sees the importance and minimal harm of upping the supply to the affected agencies and eases the pressure without marathon litigation.But when the lawsuit is over, its a sure bet that Californias water wars will still be raging.#http://www.napavalleyregister.com/articles/2008/08/21/opinion/editorial/doc48ad045768d88951384129.txt Tunnels to bring water to parched CaliforniaReuters- 8/20/08 By Jill Serjeant and Bernie Woodall SAN BERNARDINO, California (Reuters) - A massive mechanical mole surfaced on Wednesday from a nearly 5-year journey under mountains in the final stages of a $1.2 billion tunnel project that will supply extra water to drought-hit Southern California. The 3.8-mile (6.1-km) tunnel, 1,500 feet below the San Bernardino Mountains, is the last piece of a 44-mile (71-km), three-tunnel system that will bring an additional 650 million gallons a day to 19 million Southern Californians, water officials said. Twenty years in the making, the tunnels will almost triple the amount of water in Southern California's half-empty reservoirs when the project is up and running in 2010. "We're not just breaking through a mountain, we are breaking through to the future," said Tim Brick, chairman of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California board, as the mechanical mole, a tunnel-boring machine, blasted through the final feet of the rocky mountainside.The Inland Feeder, one of biggest water engineering projects in the state since the 1960s, nears completion at a crucial time in California which is facing one of the worst droughts in its history. "We're potentially headed to one of the worst droughts we've ever had in California because of the conditions of storage, the fact that we're expecting very erratic weather patterns, and we have much more demand than the last drought in 1993," Lester Snow, director of the California Department of Water Resources, told Reuters. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state-wide drought emergency in June because of forecasts of yet another drier than normal winter, record lows in some reservoirs and population growth. California now has about 38 million people, up from 32 million during a big drought 15 years ago. The looming crisis has brought appeals for more investment and for conservation in Los Angeles and other cities, including bans on garden sprinklers at night and restrictions on water served in restaurants. The Inland Feeder will give the metropolitan water district that serves six Southern California counties, greater flexibility to deliver and store water from the rainy season in Northern California to the semi-arid south. "When water is available we must be prepared to move large volumes of water during a relatively short time and then store it for use during dry periods and emergencies," Brick said. Climate change has meant less water from melting snow in the Sierra Mountains, one of the main sources of water in the state. Snow said this past March to June was the driest on record in that region. Southern California is also served by hundreds of miles (kilometers) of aqueducts, built in the early 20th century, from the Colorado River. Levels in the state's two largest reservoirs are at 48 percent and 40 percent capacity -- the lowest in more than 30 years -- and are expected to drop further by the end of December, officials say. They are urging both investment in desalination plants, and water recycling and for Californians to save 20 percent of their current water usage.#http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN2046210920080820 Huge water line nears completion in CaliforniaThe Associated Press- 8/20/08 SAN BERNARDINO - A massive mechanical mole that has spent the last five years burrowing under the San Bernardino Mountains resurfaced Wednesday, marking a major step in completing a 44-mile water line that will eventually serve thirsty Southern Californians. The Inland Feeder is expected to pipe water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta during the rainy season into the Diamond Valley Lake reservoir in Riverside County by 2010. The water will be distributed to areas ranging from northern Los Angeles County to the Mexican border. Roy Wolfe, who oversaw the project for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, is hopeful the pipeline will eventually supply 1,000 cubic feet of water per second - enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool in less than 30 seconds. "This has been an incredible journey, an 11-year, $1.2 billion project," said Wolfe, manager of corporate resources for the utility. The Inland Feeder consists of 26 miles of buried pipeline and three tunnels spanning 18 miles. The machines used to dig the tunnels are longer than a football field and can bore through anywhere from 10 to 80 feet per day. The tunnel is four miles long.#http://www.dailynews.com/breakingnews/ci_10259386 2. Supply EditorialOur Opinion: Shortage declaration requires workImperial Valley Press- 8/20/08 By IMPERIAL VALLEY STAFFNow that the Imperial Irrigation District board has taken the first and early step of declaring a water shortage, it has the task of reconstituting a water-rationing program that couldnt even get off the ground earlier this year for lack of participation.The district unanimously voted to declare a supply-demand imbalance Tuesday after it was projected that the district would overrun its allotment of Colorado River water by 105,000 acre-feet by the end of the year.With a continuing Western drought and the Imperial Valley struggling to live both within the confines of the Quantification Settlement Agreement while still trying to make money as the countrys winter breadbasket, the IID board trumpeted the idea that the way farmers do business must change.We agree, but agreeing on how that change will occur is a whole other ballgame.Last year, when the IID declared a water shortage (which was later rescinded because of significant rainfall in the latter half of the year), IID started a series of public workshops to decide how the water-rationing program would work. The program became a voluntary pilot program set to launch this year as a trial run but failed due to the lack of response when only two dozen farmers signed up.The programs failure stemmed from disagreements between the farm community and IID over how the equitable distribution of water would occur. IID wanted a straight-line method in which farmers were allotted so many acre-feet of water per acre farmed. Some in the farming community, however, wanted the water divvied up based off historical usage.Now, with the SDI already declared, IID must restart the process to find an agreeable method of water-rationing, and that process will start in the next few weeks when the first workshops begin.No matter what method is decided upon, something has to give in the way farmers use water on a daily basis. The projected overrun is such that the SDI isnt likely to be canceled, as it was last year.Farmers must find new and innovative ways to still grow their products while living within the parameters of the QSA. It just has to happen; there is no other way.Water rationing isnt something to be taken lightly, but it is something that probably should have started years ago, at least in the sense of getting a head start on finding common ground between water users and the IID.This will be an important next few months in trying to establish a water-rationing program. We hope it can be done civilly and effectively. More importantly, we hope it can be done at all period.#http://www.ivpressonline.com/articles/2008/08/21/our_opinion/ed02_08-21-08.txt 3. Watersheds Nothing Significant 4. Water Quality Nothing Significant 5. Agencies, Programs, People Passing around an empty cup - Capitol Weekly- 8/21/08DAVID ZOLDOSKE: Delta Vision affects water we need daily - The Fresno Bee- 8/21/08EditorialCoastal Commission decision worth its salt - The Desert Dispatch- 8/20/08Renewable energy reaps savings at water district: Microturbines use sustainable methane to save money at Santa Margarita Water District. - Orange County Register- 8/20/08 Passing around an empty cup Capitol Weekly- 8/21/08 By Steve Haze During these last months there has been three major issues facing the state of California that are creating the perfect political storm. Catastrophic fires have ravaged through our forests and wild lands - threatening many of our rural communities. Predictably, with each new legislative year - another budget impasse - this time with a $15.2 billion deficit time bomb just ticking away. Yet, perhaps the most important issue facing all Californians is assuring the abundance and availability of high quality water for our cities, farms and environment - our liquid gold. Last year a special session was called by the Governor for enacting a multi-billion dollar water bond measure that ultimately went down in flames. Now the Governor and Legislature have less than two weeks remaining to get another bond measure hammered out and on the ballot in November. In the face of these looming crises and the Governor's declaration of a drought disaster in the state, the San Joaquin Valley Water Leadership Forum was created. The forum is a bipartisan organization that has evolved over the last half dozen years as the debate over the management of our valley's precious water resources has intensified. Unfortunately lost in this protracted debate has been a way for all segments of our rural and urban communities to participate in the wise and sustainable use of an ever dwindling supply of high quality water--water that can be used by our farmers and cities, as well as for recreational use and the environment. Many times, competing interests throughout California - who need water in and outside the San Joaquin Valley - would fight their battles here in our backyard. Arguments about river restoration, storage, water banking and levees to name a few would overwhelm any reasoned discussion and possible solutions because of these competing interests. To many of us it appears that our politicians have becoming increasingly polarized and expedient in their approach to the major challenges facing our valley such as education, public safety, economic growth - and as importantly a secured and abundant source of high quality water to power our well being into the foreseeable future. Rather than just blame the politicians - the Forum accepts the political realities and what that landscape looks like at this time. Increasingly it appears that the politicians just don't know how to work towards a compromise agreement. Rather, the basic argument remains more storage versus no storage. The San Joaquin Valley Water Leadership Forum has scientists, researchers, water managers, environmentalists, economists, farmers and educators involved with coming up with a comprehensive solution for the valley and the state when it comes to our precious water resources. No matter how well intentioned we may be, ultimately, things have to "pencil out." Solutions must be cost-effective. Building a dam on a river for surface storage is not necessarily cost effective. On the other hand, creating off-river surface and groundwater storage - with ways to capture precious flood waters - can protect the environment and be cost effective.One solution we are supporting for the San Joaquin Valley is the partial restoration of the Tulare Lake Basin for surface and groundwater storage of flood waters. As it is now, the politicians want to build a dam on the San Joaquin River. However, the dam would cost close to $4 billion to construct, and would wipe out a significant source of clean hydroelectric power. Our solution is to take a portion of what was once until the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi river and create twice the storage - all for less than $1 billion. That way we can capture the flood waters of not just one river - the San Joaquin- but also three others - the Kings, Kaweah and Tule that flow out of the Sierra Nevada into the San Joaquin Valley. Furthermore, the Tulare Lake basin is ideally located in between the Friant-Kern a major eastside canal - and the California Aqueduct on the west side of the valley which transports water all the way from the Delta over the Tehachapi Mountains into Southern California. What is the environmental impact? Not much. In fact it could improve the valley's air quality and allow for a freshwater haven for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife. The Forum refuses to be paralyzed by the political gridlock and polarization in Sacramento. Issues such as water, a dismal educational success rate; increased poverty, lack of well paying and meaningful jobs; air quality, and the protection of prime farm land - are challenges that cannot be left unanswered and accepted as "business as usual." A recent Congressional study found that our valley is the new Appalachia in terms of health and wealth. We cannot allow these problems to continue to go unchallenged. The Forum will lead by example. The San Joaquin Valley Water Leadership Forum is a way for everyone of us to get involved in the future of our valley in the most meaningful way. We will also collaborate and partner with other existing initiatives who are working earnestly, diligently, and with a sense of purpose and urgency. Time is running out. #http://www.capitolweekly.net/article.php?_adctlid=v%7Cjq2q43wvsl855o%7Cxckncsoq4dlliq&xid=xckmwmzug7hkt4&done=search.php%3Fsearchparams%3Da%253A5%253A%257Bs%253A9%253A%2522issuedate%2522%253BN%253Bs%253A6%253A%2522author%2522%253BN%253Bs%253A5%253A%2522title%2522%253BN%253Bs%253A4%253A%2522body%2522%253BN%253Bs%253A12%253A%2522article_type%2522%253Bs%253A17%253A%25221192656582969_969%2522%253B%257D DAVID ZOLDOSKE: Delta Vision affects water we need dailyThe Fresno Bee- 8/21/08 By David Zoldoske California is at a critical juncture in fundamental water policy development. Every day, somewhere between the Klamath River in the north and the Colorado River to the south, headlines highlight the latest news about drought, water shortages, water quality, endangered species, pumping restrictions, "regulatory droughts," unemployed farm workers, increased water storage and the peripheral canal. The list goes on and on. How does any rational person take this all in? A key to addressing California's major water issues is to understand the state's primary system for water use and distribution -- the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta. The Delta is located west of Stockton and south of Sacramento. It provides all or part of the water distribution network for 22 million Californians via extraction or transmission. Unfortunately, current practices appear to be unsustainable. The challenges facing the Delta seem almost endless -- new listings of endangered fish, invasive species, rising sea levels, levee collapse, poor water quality, 226 separate Delta governance entities and land-use issues are but a few of the drivers. All of this and more threaten to unravel the fundamental fabric of California's natural and human communities. Furthermore, many Delta residents believe their way of life will be irretrievably altered by changes to the status quo. Why is all of this important to the San Joaquin Valley? First, the Delta is significant to our region because we import a great deal of water used daily from the Sacramento Valley. The San Joaquin River system provides a modest, but important source of water to the Delta. An extensive network of pumps and canals moves water from the Delta to millions of acres of farmland and the cities on the western and southern parts of the San Joaquin Valley. Second, water is traded through historic exchange agreements that have moved water rights from lands along the San Joaquin River to farmers and cities along the east side of Highway 99 from Madera to Bakersfield. In exchange, lands located primarily on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley receive Delta water. The reallocation of water has enabled the development of a robust $22 billion agricultural economy and provides drinking water for cities large and small. All these linkages are under review as policymakers' revisit our statewide water plan. It seems clear that the Delta is broken and needs to be fixed now and for the benefit of future generations. A collaborative, visionary plan is needed to remedy major defects in the Delta that is sustainable, while still providing the needed resources in an equitable way to the eighth largest economy in the world. In response, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger established the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force in October 2006, to "develop a durable vision for sustainable management of the Delta" with the goal of "managing the Delta over the long-term to restore and maintain identified functions and values that are determined to be important to the environmental quality of the Delta and the economic and social well-being of the people of the state." The Blue Ribbon Task Force delivered a Delta Vision in October 2007. The task force is charged with developing a strategic plan to implement the vision by October 2008. The Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force is hosting nine meetings to brief all Californians on the key elements of the draft Strategic Plan and is currently soliciting comments. A public meeting for the Delta Vision Strategic Plan is scheduled to be held from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at the Fresno County Plaza Ballroom, 2220 Tulare St., Suite 1600. If you believe water is key to our collective future, plan to attend the briefing session. It is vitally important that good Delta policy decisions be made and implemented to sustain the health and water needs for agriculture, urban and environmental use.#http://www.fresnobee.com/287/story/811695.html EditorialCoastal Commission decision worth its saltThe Desert Dispatch- 8/20/08Californians should be outraged that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared we're in a drought. Enough fresh water to meet Southern California's entire annual needs is allowed to wash into San Francisco Bay in a single day. Every day. Divert a day's worth, and the drought vanishes. California's water wars over rights and uses have been waged for years and may be beyond resolution considering the many obstacles and competing interests. How do we mitigate environmental effects? What's an adverse environmental effect when weighed against human needs? Why should farmers pay less per drop to nourish fruits and nuts than you pay to quench your thirst? More governmental Band-Aids promise only to further complicate the problem, not solve it. There's hope, however, if government gets out of the way. Apparently seized by a fit of common sense, the California Coastal Commission has approved the nation's largest drinking-water desalination plant, at Agua Hediona Lagoon in Carlsbad, to tap a virtually inexhaustible supply the Pacific Ocean. It's still costly to convert saltwater for human consumption. But technological advances are making it more economical, and drought conditions are making it more attractive as our main sources of potable water become less reliable. This convergence of technology and demand may be why 20 more desalination plants are queued up for Coastal Commission approval, and why investors find the prospect profitable. Tampa Bay, Fla., began tapping its own pretty much endless supply of drinkable fresh water last year with a new desalination plant designed to relieve reliance on ground aquifers. Conservation is a responsible reaction to shortage. But as San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders noted, We must diversify our region's water-supply portfolio. We cannot conserve our way out of the water crisis. With technological advances have come environmental mitigations, including the reverse osmosis process for filtering seawater used in Tampa Bay and to be employed at Carlsbad. Salty residue is recycled and diluted by returning it to the ocean. When demand and innovation converge, obstacles can be cleared. Some see a problem and demand government do something. Others see an opportunity in a problem but need the government to get out the way. We like the latter approach. We urge government gatekeepers, like the Coastal Commission, to get out of the way rather than obstruct desalination projects so Californians can get the water they want and need.#http://www.desertdispatch.com/opinion/california_4115___article.html/water_day.html Renewable energy reaps savings at water district: Microturbines use sustainable methane to save money at Santa Margarita Water District.Orange County Register- 8/20/08 By MARK EADES Las Flores For the Santa Margarita Water District, being environmentally conscious and fiscally conservative is not a bunch of hot air. Burning hot air has yielded big savings and reduced the District's carbon footprint. For seven years, the district has saved more than $410,000 by using a renewable energy source to power its Chiquita Water Reclamation Plant near Ortega Highway. The renewable energy source is methane gas, a greenhouse gas that is the byproduct of the water reclamation process. By utilizing the gas, the district removes it from the atmosphere and generates approximately 17 percent of the power needed to run the 29-acre facility. A Fiscally Sound SolutionMethane also called digester gas is burned in microturbines 24 hours a day to provide energy to the plant. This process reduces the facility's energy consumption by approximately 10 percent each year. The district recognized that letting the gas escape unused into the environment was wasteful and environmentally damaging, so it turned to the microturbines. The microturbines also generate heat that's used to generate hot water for the reclamation process. This has allowed the District to shut down two boilers that used non-renewable fuels, further reducing the plant's energy consumption. "Being a good steward of the environment is one of the district's main priorities, and the microturbines have allowed us to greatly reduce our carbon footprint and save on energy costs over the past seven years," said John Schatz, Santa Margarita Water District's General Manager. "Each one of the microturbines recouped its installation cost within the first year of operation." Assisting in the program was the South Coast Air Quality District, which donated two generators, and the San Diego Regional Energy Office, which donated more than $92,000 toward the installation of two additional microturbines at the treatment plant in 2003. Rewarded for its EffortsThe district's efforts have not gone unnoticed. Earlier this year, the plant was named Plant of the Year by the Santa Ana River Basin Section of the California Water Environment Association. The award recognized the district's exceptional effort in energy conservation as well as safety, innovation, process control, and maintenance at the facility.#http://www.ocregister.com/articles/district-energy-plant-2130425-microturbines-water ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- DWR's California Water News is distributed to California Department of Water Resources management and staff, for information purposes, by the DWR Public Affairs Office. For reader's services, including new subscriptions, temporary cancellations and address changes, please use the online page: http://listhost2.water.ca.gov/mailman/listinfo/water_news. DWR operates and maintains the State Water Project, provides dam safety and flood control and inspection services, assists local water districts in water management and water conservation planning, and plans for future statewide water needs. Inclusion of materials is not to be construed as an endorsement of any programs, projects, or viewpoints by the Department or the State of California. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------CENTRAL VALLEY SAFE ENVIRONMENT NETWORKMISSION STATEMENTCentral Valley Safe Environment Network is a coalition of organizations and individuals throughout the San Joaquin Valley that is committed to the concept of "Eco-Justice" -- the ecological defense of the natural resources and the people. To that end it is committed to the stewardship, and protection of the resources of the greater San Joaquin Valley, including air and water quality, the preservation of agricultural land, and the protection of wildlife and its habitat. In serving as a community resource and being action-oriented, CVSEN desires to continue to assure there will be a safe food chain, efficient use of natural resources and a healthy environment. CVSEN is also committed to public education regarding these various issues and it is committed to ensuring governmental compliance with federal and state law. CVSEN is composed of farmers, ranchers, city dwellers, environmentalists, ethnic, political,and religious groups, and other stakeholders.