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Imperial Valley Conservation Efforts Benefit San Diego, Southwest

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors visited the Imperial Valley January 30 for a day-long tour that highlighted areas critical to the agency’s Regional Conveyance System Study. Board members approved a study in July 2019, to evaluate a new regional water conveyance system that would deliver water from the Colorado River to San Diego County and provide multiple benefits across the Southwest. The Board will hear results from the first phase of the study this spring before deciding whether to move ahead with Phase B. The tour started in southwestern Imperial County, where the All-American Canal meets the Westside Main Canal, an historic location where, starting in 1919, water from a canal system in Mexico first flowed into the western half of the Imperial Valley. 

San Diego Leaders Say $300M in New Federal Cash Will Help Build U.S. Facility to Capture TJ River Pollution

The San Diego region has secured $300 million in federal funding for a new U.S. facility to capture Tijuana sewage spills before they foul South Bay shorelines, elected leaders said Friday. “This has been an issue in our region for decades, and concrete federal action to address cross-border pollution has been long overdue,” said Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, at a news conference in Chula Vista. Congressional leaders announced the funding in December, but it wasn’t clear whether that money would be doled out across the entire southwest border or dedicated specifically to address pollution in the Tijuana River Valley.

City of San Diego’s Hodges Reservoir Reopens Feb. 5 for Recreation

The city of San Diego’s Hodges Reservoir will officially reopen to the public three days a week beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 5, allowing access for a variety of activities, including boating, fishing, hiking and picnicking. Hodges is normally closed November through January.

Hodges will be open Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from sunrise to sunset. It will also be open on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day holidays.

Opinion: 4 Things Arizona Should Learn From California’s Groundwater Regulation Fight

Arizona is debating the next steps it should take to protect limited groundwater, 40 years after the state’s landmark Groundwater Management Act became law. As the arguments take shape, it’s instructive to look west to California, which did not have groundwater legislation in place until 2014. The first round of management plans – which cover the basins with the most critical groundwater issues, mostly in the agriculture-heavy Central Valley – were due Jan. 31. The process has been laden with drama. And it’s anyone’s guess, after years of debate, whether California regulators will sign off on some basins’ plans.

Supervisors Add 39 Acres to San Luis Rey River Park

Two separate San Diego County Board of Supervisors actions, Jan. 15, added approximately 39 acres to the future San Luis Rey River Park. One 5-0 vote approved the purchase of approximately 37 acres from North American Resort Properties Inc., for the appraised value of $1,673,000. The other 5-0 vote approved an exchange of land in which 2.11 county-owned acres not contiguous to the planned active recreation area will be transferred to the San Diego County Water Authority and 2.11 acres of California Department of Transportation land contiguous to the active recreation property will be transferred to the county.

City of Ventura Faces Calls to Drop Legal Action, Water Adjudication

People crowded into an Ojai junior high school auditorium recently after thousands received legal notices or a court summons from the city of Ventura. The city notified 14,000-plus property owners in the Ventura River watershed of a potential adjudication of water rights. That move came years after the city faced legal action over its own water use. In 2014, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper filed a lawsuit alleging the city was taking too much water from the river, hurting habitat for steelhead trout and other wildlife. The nonprofit sued to compel the state to intervene, analyze the city’s pumping and set conditions on it if appropriate.

Changing the (Red) Tide: Experts to Discuss Cause, Impacts of Algal Blooms

“I didn’t know what was happening — the water, usually clear and blue, was brownish red and murky.” Emily Pomeroy, a program manager with Save Our Shores, recalled a visit to Monterey’s Del Monte Beach in the summer months of 2019. “I’d heard of red tides before … but I had never seen one in person,” she said. These periods of discolored water that Pomeroy had stumbled upon can be called a “red tide” though in reality they are better known as a “harmful algal bloom.” They occur when water temperatures and nutrient levels rise, Pomeroy learned, and often lead to devastating consequences for marine life and those who depend on it.

California Can Be Carbon Neutral in 25 Years-With Drastic Action

California can hit its goal of going carbon neutral by 2045 if it pulls emissions out of the air and slashes greenhouse gases from farming, landfills and other sources, according to a federal study released yesterday. The nation’s most populous state needs to remove 125 million tons of carbon emissions per year from the atmosphere, roughly equivalent of removing 26 million cars from its roads annually, said an analysis by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Opinion: Whose Water is Being Carried By Trump’s Latest Environmental Rollback?

When a Healdsburg winery leaked thousands of gallons of Cabernet into the Russian River last week, the jokes flowed, too. It was noted that the Russian was red, that water turned to wine, and that red wine doesn’t go with fish. But the spill coincided with a more sobering blow to clean water, coming to light the day the Trump administration announced it was ripping up expanded protections for streams, wetlands, and groundwater adopted by the Obama administration. And the revision goes beyond rolling back Obama-era policy to undo longer-standing protections under the Clean Water Act, which became law with overwhelming bipartisan support in 1972.

Powerful Storm to Usher In Damaging Wind Gusts Across Southern California

Through the past week, much of Southern California has experienced an offshore breeze, promoting above-average temperatures. Heading into the first full week of February, that will change as this storm system tracks through. A major storm system that is expected to bring feet of snow to the Intermountain West will usher in potentially damaging wind gusts to Southern California. Powerful north-to-northwest wind gusts will pick up in earnest late Sunday across Southern California and Nevada, leading to localized power outages and travel issues.