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Salton Sea Pelican Population Declining At Startling Rate

A new report paints a grim future for birds that rely on the Salton Sea habitat. Audubon California-released report uses bird-monitoring data from several different sources to show just how the destruction of the Salton Sea ecological habitat has decimated the populations of both pelicans and cormorants endemic to the area. As the Salton Sea recedes, the body of water’s salinity increases, which kills off its tilapia population. Without tilapia, the birds starve.

A Look Back At The Specifics Of A Wild, Wet And Snowy Winter In California And The Southwest

Following a pretty dry 2017-18 season, the storms came back with a frenzy this season across the Southwest, helping to propel many places to above-average precipitation. It was a fast transition in California in November from the destructive Camp and Woolsey fires in the first half of the month to storms, flooding and mudslides by the end of the month. December had extended dry periods, and most places ended up with below-average precipitation for the month. As a stormier pattern led to frequent storms and atmospheric river events as 2019 started, the heavy precipitation events caused flooding, mudslides and heavy snow.

E.P.A. Proposes Weaker Standards On Chemicals Contaminating Drinking Water

After pressure from the Defense Department, the Environmental Protection Agency significantly weakened a proposed standard for cleaning up groundwater pollution caused by toxic chemicals that contaminate drinking water consumed by millions of Americans and that have been commonly used at military bases. Standards released by the agency on Thursday eliminated entirely a section that would have addressed how it would respond to what it has described as “immediate threats posed by hazardous waste sites.” Those short-term responses, known as removal actions, can include excavating contaminated soil or building a security fence around a toxic area.

Cal Am Desal Plant Gets Narrow Planning Commission OK

Citing long-running efforts to secure a new Monterey Peninsula water supply and the state-imposed deadline for reducing unauthorized water usage, the county Planning Commission approved California American Water’s desalination plant north of Marina on Wednesday. By a 6-4 vote, the commission backed a use permit for the proposed 6.4 million gallon per day desal plant. The plant is designed to provide about 40 percent of the Peninsula’s planned new water supply to offset the state’s Carmel River pumping cutback order set to take full effect at the end of 2021, as well as reduce pumping from the Seaside basin. The commission’s approval can be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.

4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility Wins State Award

Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility has won a statewide award. It was named the California Water Environment Association’s 2019 “Small Plant of the Year” at the association’s annual conference on April 12. “OMWD is gratified to have CWEA confirm what we’ve known for years, our 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility is second to none,” said Christy Guerin, the district’s director. “The facility produces over a million gallons of recycled water each day through advance treatment processes. Almost every drop of wastewater is reclaimed and converted into a drought-resilient, sustainable water supply.”

Former Utilities Department Leader Says City Diverted Ratepayer Funds To Unrelated Services

A former Public Utilities Department leader is accusing the city of San Diego of illegally diverting $1 million in water and wastewater funds to other city services and firing her for refusing to conceal the activity, according to a claim she filed with the city on Monday. Susan LaNier, a former deputy director and internal auditor for the utilities department, was one of five utility leaders the city fired in February, following public outcry over billing errors and accusations of mismanagement within the department.