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California Legislature Votes to Keep Dam-Safety Plans Secret

Fresh off the Oroville Dam crisis, California lawmakers on Thursday voted to make dam-safety plans secret through language that was quietly inserted into a budget-related bill. The legislation, which requires Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature before becoming law, says emergency action plans at dams would be kept confidential to “protect public safety.” Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, said slipping the language into a budget-related bill, Senate Bill 92, without debate was “kind of insulting, really” to the 188,000 evacuees such as him who were forced to flee their homes for two days after the near-failure of Oroville’s emergency spillway.

Study: California’s Seasonal Rain and Snow Triggering Earthquakes

California’s Mediterranean climate, with its wet winters and dry summers, brings enviable weather to the Golden State but also earthquakes, according to UC Berkeley research. In a study over nine years, university scientists found that the weight of winter snow and rain on California’s mountains puts enough pressure on both the Sierra Nevada and coastal ranges that when the state dries out come summer, the Earth’s crust lunges back up, triggering increased fault movement.

Salmon Salvation: How Farmers, Water Districts and the Federal Government Worked Together to Bring Butte Creek Salmon Back from the Brink

From hundreds of fish annually to nearly 9,000 per year, Butte Creek salmon are thriving, thanks to a project begun 20 years ago. That project was celebrated Thursday at Gorrill Ranch on the Midway. At the spot where Ralph Gorrill first pulled water from Butte Creek to grow his crops 100 years ago, 101 people stood or sat on hay bales as eight of the project’s leaders talked about getting water districts to work with government agencies, farmers, conservationists and public utilities to save the largest population of wild naturally-spawned spring-run chinook salmon in California.

 

Multi-Million-Dollar Desalination Expansion Means Millions of Gallons of Water for the South Bay

A multi-million-dollar expansion means millions of more gallons of clean drinking water for San Diego’s South Bay.  The Sweetwater Authority dedicated the expansion of its Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility Thursday. The $42 million expansion doubles the plant’s output to 10 million gallons of water a day.  Sweetwater Authority had to dig five new wells for the desal plant, which is located in Chula Vista. “It’s a day to celebrate,” said Sweetwater’s Director of Engineering Ron Mosher.

OPINION: California’s Water-stealing Delta Tunnels Could Be Approved in September

In 2007, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger revived a plan that big agriculture loved – to build a peripheral canal or tunnels around or under the Sacramento Delta. Since then, a coalition of fishermen, Tribal leaders, conservationists, environmental justice advocates and Delta residents have been fighting to stop this Delta tunnels plan pushed by corporate agribusiness interests and Southern California water agencies. Now, 10 years later, we may be coming to the climate of that struggle.

County Water Panel Sued Over Closed-Door Meetings

Closed-door meetings conducted by the San Diego County Water Authority deprive the public of its right to monitor the agency and must be opened up to ratepayers and others, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in San Diego County Superior Court. The suit, brought by public-interest attorney Cory Briggs, demands an end to private, unnoticed and unrecorded gatherings long held by the agency’s appointed delegates to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, or MWD, a regional agency based in Los Angeles.