Governor Newsom's Water Resilience Portfolio Initiative Executive Order & Bob Wilkinson's Presentation from the June 19 Community Water Center Listening Session
From the CA Water Board's Media Release:
SACRAMENTO – The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) today
adopted rules to protect wetlands and other environmentally sensitive waterways throughout
More than 90 percent of California’s historic wetlands have been lost to development and other
human activity. Wetlands are a critical natural resource that protect and improve water quality,
provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and buffer developed areas from flooding and sea-level
The newly adopted rules provide a common, statewide definition of what constitutes a wetland.
They also provide consistency in the way the State Water Board and nine regional water
boards regulate activities to protect wetlands and other waterways, such as rivers and
streams, and bays and estuaries.
“Californians take pride in balancing both the ecologic and economic needs of our state,” said
State Water Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel. “It’s critical we established this consistent
statewide framework that protects and enhances our most sensitive water resources, while
creating regulatory certainty for housing, agriculture, water managers, conservationists, and
The rules have two components that support each other. First, the rules define what is
considered a wetland and include a framework for determining if a feature defined as a
wetland is a “water of the state” subject to regulation. Second, the rules clarify requirements for
permit applications to discharge dredged or fill material to any water of the state.
Please continue to read in full HERE.
by A.T. O’Geen, Matthew B.B. Saal, Helen Dahlke, David Doll, Rachel Elkins, Allan Fulton, Graham Fogg, Thomas Harter, Jan W. Hopmans, Chuck Ingels, Franz Niederholzer, Samuel Sandoval Solis, Paul Verdegaal and Mike Walkinshaw
Groundwater pumping chronically exceeds natural recharge in many agricultural regions in California. A common method of recharging groundwater — when surface water is available — is to deliberately flood an open area, allowing water to percolate into an aquifer. However, open land suitable for this type of recharge is scarce. Flooding agricultural land during fallow or dormant periods has the potential to increase groundwater recharge substantially, but this approach has not been well studied. Using data on soils, topography and crop type, we developed a spatially explicit index of the suitability for groundwater recharge of land in all agricultural regions in California. We identified 3.6 million acres of agricultural land statewide as having Excellent or Good potential for groundwater recharge. The index provides preliminary guidance about the locations where groundwater recharge on agricultural land is likely to be feasible. A variety of institutional, infrastructure and other issues must also be addressed before this practice can be implemented widely.
Please continue to read the research article in full HERE.
by Matt Weiser for Water Deeply
California Department of Water Resources manually opens 25 gates at the Sacramento Weir, which directs water from the Sacramento River through the Sacramento Bypass Wildlife Area and into the Yolo Bypass, on February 9, 2017. Experts say more floodplains like the Yolo Bypass are needed to help California weather extremes of drought and floods.Florence Low / California Department of Water Resources
IN JUST A few short weeks, Californians have been reminded that drought has an evil twin: flooding.
Droughts in the Golden State often end with floods, as seems to be happening this winter. But the state’s political and economic fortunes always seem to swing between the two, leaving precious little opportunity to explore the terrain where they intersect.
One place that happens is on floodplains. When rivers swell, floodplains absorb the excess flow, protecting cities built along rivers, recharging groundwater and providing vital aquatic habitat – all at the same time. When drought swings back, we can pump out the groundwater to serve farms and neighborhoods.
There are precious few floodplains left in California. Development long ago eliminated all but about 5 percent of the state’s original floodplain wetlands, aided by levee building that forced rivers into narrow channels between fragile levees.
Now a new effort is building to reunite rivers with their floodplains, a movement that could take the sting out of both drought and flooding.
“We’re kind of reimagining the management of groundwater and surface water,” said Graham Fogg, a professor of hydrogeology at University of California, Davis. “The more we look at it, the more optimistic we are that there are ways to do this differently and better.”
A major step in the transition is anticipated later this year, when state officials are expected to approve a new Central Valley Flood Protection Plan. The plan is expected to include a new “conservation strategy” intended to encourage flood safety agencies to incorporate habitat and water supply components in their levee projects.
What this means, in practice, is floodplain restoration. One way of doing that is to expand narrow river channels by moving levees farther apart. These so-called “setback levees” increase holding capacity for floodwaters between levees, and they also create new riparian habitat.
Continue to read in full HERE.