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October 21-22
2007 - Buckweed fire chars 38,356 acres, destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce [story]
Buckweed Fire


| Friday, May 8, 2020
salmon - The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta viewed from above Sherman Island, with the Sacramento River above and San Joaquin River below. | Photo: WorldIslandInfo.com/Wikipedia.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta viewed from above Sherman Island, with the Sacramento River above and San Joaquin River below. | Photo: WorldIslandInfo.com/Wikipedia.

 

FRESNO — With a recent victory over environmentalists in tow, the Trump administration was back in federal court again Thursday arguing it could continue boosting water to California farmers without harming salmon despite the state careening toward another drought.

The Trump administration is defending guidelines passed in 2019 that gave it more leeway in deciding how much water it can safely take from California’s largest estuary and sell to farmers. The feds claim the rules, or biological opinions, were crafted with the best scientific data and are a much-needed update to pumping limits enacted by the Obama administration in 2009.

But environmentalists and the state believe the rules were poisoned by political influence and meant to help President Donald Trump back up his campaign promise to “open up the water” to California farms. The parties have sued and are pressing a federal judge to toss the biological opinion and force a new set of environmentally sound rules.

In the meantime, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation — which operates one of the country’s largest water delivery systems with the Central Valley Project — has in recent weeks gulped past previous limits while the overarching lawsuit plays out in the Eastern District of California.

The bureau claims the number of endangered fish species such as Chinook salmon and steelhead trout that have been killed or injured by pumping stations thus far in 2020 are below historical trends and well within its incidental take permit.

As is often the case, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is once again the focus of California’s interminable water wars.

The drainage point of California’s largest rivers, the delta is the largest remaining estuary on the West Coast and the state’s most important water source. Stretching across 1,100 square miles and five counties, the delta is the hub of massive federal and state water projects which prop the state’s $50 billion agricultural industry and provide drinking water for over 25 million people.

For decades, the delta water supply has been jointly managed by the feds and the state. But the relationship has shattered during the Trump administration.

On Thursday, California and an assortment of fishing and environmental groups urged a judge to require the feds to abide by the old limits for the remainder of the month while the case continues. In oral arguments held remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, they claimed that if allowed, the excess pumping will “trap and kill endangered species at a crucial time in their life cycles and threaten habitat critical to their survival.”

Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice and various agricultural water suppliers accused the state of filing a last-minute motion for preliminary injunction meant to “waste” government and judicial resources. The federal court has combined California’s case with a matter filed by Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife and Golden State Salmon Association.

“In reality, [the state] has no justification for sitting out two months of briefing only to raise new allegations now, on the eve a decision regarding the [environmentalists’] preliminary injunction motion,” the feds countered in their opposition brief.

During the marathon hearing, U.S. District Judge Dale Drozd hinted the plaintiffs’ requests for a ruling by May 11 will be a tall task. Not only is the case complex and involves dozens of parties, he said the chaos caused by the pandemic is impeding the court’s ability to move swiftly.

“Based upon the amount of briefing and evidence and information that’s already been presented to the court, I have to say that I feel you have all overestimated my abilities,” Drozd said bluntly.

Drozd, appointed by President Obama in 2015, has already denied the environmentalists’ request for emergency relief and allowed the feds to exceed the 2009 pumping limits for a brief stretch in April. He said Thursday — during oral arguments that were interrupted routinely by background noise from participants and the public listening on their cellphones — that he’s doing his best to rule in a timely manner despite the obvious hurdles of handling a potentially landmark water lawsuit remotely.

“I’m trying to bring some sense of order to this chaos. What you all have told me in one way or another is ‘no judge, here it all is, decide it in four days.’” Drozd said. “All I can say is thanks.”

The dispute over the delta’s future is playing out on several fronts outside of Drozd’s courtroom and is becoming more complicated by the minute.

Irked by the Trump administration’s biological opinion, California for the first time issued managing rules for its State Water Project that were crafted without federal input. The state said its pumping rules are stricter and will prop salmon by ensuring enough water is in the river systems during critical spawning times.

Environmentalists believe the state’s version doesn’t go far enough, while water suppliers argue the second set of rules will cause further confusion in the management of the delta. Both sides have filed a variety of lawsuits against the state framework.

Meanwhile, the Golden State is preparing for another potentially devastating wildfire season after a mostly dry winter.

In its final snow survey of the season, the California Department of Water Resources reported the Sierra snowpack is only 37% of the average for this date, meaning the prospect of drought looms over much of the state. Both the feds and state largely base their take of delta water on the spring snowpack reports, and farmers’ surface water allocations will likely suffer and they will be forced to rely more heavily on groundwater.

— By Nick Cahill

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  1. Joe says:

    “Protect the harvest.com”. Gruesome Newsome and gang of incompetent morons need to go!!!

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020
Wednesday COVID-19 Roundup: 6,809 Cases in SCV, 290,486 in L.A. County to Date
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Wednesday confirmed 33 new deaths and 510 new positive cases of COVID-19, as the Santa Clarita Valley counts 6,809 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 72 deaths from the virus since the World Health Organization declared the pandemic on March 11.
Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020
Congressional Candidates Talk COVID, Federal Aid, Assembly Bill 5
With only two weeks left before the November election, candidates Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, and Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, honed in on their priorities during a virtual forum Tuesday.
Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020
Wednesday SCV Air Quality Unhealthy for Sensitive Individuals, Groups
Air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups and individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley and the East San Gabriel Valley Wednesday, October 21, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The city of Santa Clarita has increased the frequency of street sweeping throughout all areas of the city through the end of January.
Santa Clarita Increases Street Sweeping Through January
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Wednesday confirmed 33 new deaths and 510 new positive cases of COVID-19, as the Santa Clarita Valley counts 6,809 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 72 deaths from the virus since the World Health Organization declared the pandemic on March 11.
Wednesday COVID-19 Roundup: 6,809 Cases in SCV, 290,486 in L.A. County to Date
Fair Oaks Ranch Community School teacher Ken Newton has been named a recipient of a Fall 2020 Teacher Grant from the California Credit Union.
Fair Oaks Ranch’s Ken Newton Wins 2020 Teacher Grant from CCU
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday honored 18 student Academy Award winners from colleges and universities around the world at the 47th Student Academy Awards ceremony, held virtually for the first time
Medalists Revealed in 2020 Student Academy Awards
With only two weeks left before the November election, candidates Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, and Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, honed in on their priorities during a virtual forum Tuesday.
Congressional Candidates Talk COVID, Federal Aid, Assembly Bill 5
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a special virtual program titled “ACCESSIBILITY/VISIBILITY: Breaking Down the Barriers for People with Disabilities in Media,” going live October 26 at 5 p.m.
Academy Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act
Air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups and individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley and the East San Gabriel Valley Wednesday, October 21, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Wednesday SCV Air Quality Unhealthy for Sensitive Individuals, Groups
Nearly 300,000 more Americans have died so far in 2020 than in a typical year, with the excess deaths including the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 plus deaths indirectly tied to the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection said Tuesday.
COVID-19 Pandemic Blamed for 300K Excess Deaths in U.S.
A group of Black Lives Matter activists who rang Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s doorbell earlier this year were met by her husband holding a loaded handgun.
Black Lives Matter Sues L.A. District Attorney, Husband Over Gun-Pointing Incident
The California attorney general has asked a judge to enforce subpoenas served on the California Republican Party, to order the removal of unofficial ballot drop boxes placed across the state and to turn over the names of voters who used the boxes.
California AG Asks Court to Intervene in Ballot Box Fight With State GOP
2007 - Buckweed fire chars 38,356 acres, destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce [story]
Buckweed Fire
The daily COVID-19 report from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health was not available as of deadline Tuesday due to technical issues with the County's system.
Henry Mayo Reports Hospital’s 30th COVID-19 Death
A member of the William S. Hart Union High School District community has tested positive for COVID-19, district officials confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
COVID-19 Hits Hart District Community
The coronavirus has created at least one unexpected benefit for The Master's University men's golf team.
COVID-19 Precautions Lead to Unexpected Benefit for Mustangs Golf
While the announcement did not take place in a star-studded ballroom of a Beverly Hills hotel, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has awarded California State University, Northridge a total $80,000 to support the university’s film students, with $20,000 specifically designated to help students adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
Hollywood Foreign Press Awards CSUN $80K to Help Film Students Impacted By COVID-19
California will not allow Six Flags Magic Mountain and other large theme parks, such as Universal Studios and Disneyland, to reopen until their respective counties enter the least restrictive tier under the state’s metrics, officials announced Tuesday.
Magic Mountain, Large Theme Parks to Remain Closed Under CA’s New Reopening Guidelines
Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang released the 2020 Annual Report, reflecting growth and increases in the assessed value of all taxable real property and business personal property countywide. The report includes an updated ranking of the County’s 88 cities, including the highest valued cities and those with the highest percentage change from the prior year.
County Assessor: Pre-COVID Data Shows Santa Clarita Top Five Highest Valued Cities
A two-vehicle crash took down a traffic light in Santa Clarita late Tuesday morning.
Two-Vehicle Collision Leads to Downed Traffic Light
The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board will hold its regular meeting virtually Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 21: Hart District’s Governing Board Virtual Regular Meeting
Medical examiners with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office identified Murdewiyanti Finn, 48, of Lancaster, as the woman killed in a traffic collision on Highway 14 in Newhall Sunday evening.
Coroner Identifies Woman Killed in State Route 14 Fatality
For the second year, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department personnel were given the opportunity to trade out their regular patches for pink ones for October, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
SCV Sheriff’s Station Personnel Take Part in Pink Patch Project
Air quality in the Santa Clarita Valley will be unhealthy for sensitive groups/individuals Tuesday, Oct. 20, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District forecast.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV
1873 - Santa Barbara lawyers Charles Fernald and J.T. Richards purchase Rancho San Francisco (75 square miles of SCV) for $33,000, or 69 cents an acre, in a sheriff's sale [story]
souvenir title report
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Monday confirmed 1 new death and 923 new positive cases of COVID-19, as the Santa Clarita Valley counts 6,782 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 70 deaths from the virus since the World Health Organization declared the pandemic on March 11.
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: Nearly 300K Cases in L.A. County, 6,782 in SCV So Far
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