Tuesday, 07 February 2023


With California now in its third year of drought, collaboration among state, federal and local partners is critical to improving the resiliency of California’s water system.

The California Department of Water Resources announced it has released $29.8 million in funding to the Friant Water Authority, or FWA, to repair segments of the Friant-Kern Canal, a key water conveyance facility in the San Joaquin Valley damaged by land subsidence.

“Through this investment, we are furthering a partnership to restore California’s major water conveyance systems to improve the resiliency of California’s water supply during drought and flood conditions,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “The projects, when completed, will maximize the canal’s capacity to move water efficiently through the system and improve California’s ability to boost and store its water supply.”

The state-funded program, which aligns with Gov. Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio to improve water quality and supplies for California, is part of a cooperative approach to fixing California’s water conveyance infrastructure pursued by local, state, and federal agencies, who will financially support the projects.

The Friant-Kern Canal plays a critical role in delivering water to one million acres of farmland and more than 250,000 Californians from Fresno to Bakersfield.

In January, FWA began the first phase of the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project, which will restore carrying capacity along 33 miles of the 152-mile-long canal in eastern Tulare County.

The Friant-Kern Canal, owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, has lost more than 60 percent of its original conveyance capacity in the middle section due to land subsidence. Phase one of the project is expected to cost $292 million and be completed by early 2024.

“This funding is a large part of the reason that we were able to break ground on the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project in January,” said FWA Chief Executive Officer Jason Phillips. “Our partners at the State of California have invested in the San Joaquin Valley’s future at a critical time, and we are grateful to the Newsom Administration and for DWR’s dedicated efforts to release these funds as quickly as possible in recognition of the urgent need to implement the project.”

The Friant-Kern Canal is one of four projects that will receive funds as part of a $100 million initiative in the California Budget Act of 2021 to improve water conveyance systems in the San Joaquin Valley.

DWR is working on agreements for projects on the Delta-Mendota Canal, San Luis Canal, and California Aqueduct.

To receive program funding, participants must show proof of adequate non-state cost share to match the state financial assistance.

Program funds will be used to pay for planning, permitting, design, and construction of near-term subsidence rehabilitation projects, such as raising canal embankments or repairing check structures. Agencies with funded projects will need to investigate the risk of subsidence and how to prevent continued subsidence.

An additional $100 million in funding is slated for the coming fiscal year.

Subsidence is a long-term issue for water conveyance systems that has been exacerbated by recent droughts. If not addressed, continued subsidence will further reduce the water delivery capacity of regional canals and aqueducts and increase the costs for remediation.

The Cottonwood Creek Bridge in Butte County. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. — Caltrans announced Monday it has completed construction of the new Cottonwood Creek Bridge in Butte County.

The $15.3 million project includes $3.2 million in funding from Senate Bill (SB) 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.

The new bridge, located on State Route 99 north of the Thermalito Afterbay reservoir, replaces an aging structure damaged by erosion.

Over the years, swiftly moving water from Cottonwood Creek removed sediment around the bridge piers, compromising the integrity of the structure.

“The project is part of Caltrans’ effort to rehabilitate or replace several bridges in Butte County and neighboring Yuba and Sutter counties,” said Caltrans District 3 Director Amarjeet S. Benipal. “We’re continuing to honor our SB 1 commitments to all California travelers.”

The Cottonwood Creek Bridge in Butte County. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

In addition to building a new bridge, construction crews realigned a segment of roadway and widened the Nelson Avenue intersection at SR 99 by providing an additional left-turn lane onto eastbound lanes.

In the past two years, Caltrans has also upgraded the Western Canal Bridge on SR 99 in Butte County and replaced the SR 70 Simmerly Slough Bridge north of Marysville, the SR 20 Wadsworth Canal Bridge in Sutter County, and the SR 20 Dry Creek Bridge in Yuba County.

SB 1 provides $5 billion in transportation funding annually split between the state and local agencies. Road projects progress through construction phases more quickly based on the availability of SB 1 funds, including projects that are partially funded by SB 1.

For more information about other transportation projects funded by SB 1, visit rebuildingca.ca.gov.

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom announced the availability of three $50,000 rewards for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the murders of Tyler Dickson in Butte County; Jesus Sanchez in Ontario; and Iran Moreno in Pasadena.

Under California law, law enforcement agencies may ask the governor to issue rewards in certain unsolved cases where they have exhausted all investigative leads, to encourage individuals with information about the crimes to come forward. Public assistance is vital to law enforcement, and rewards may encourage the public cooperation needed to apprehend those who have committed serious offenses.

The rewards involve the following cases:

Butte County – Tyler Dickson: A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the murder of Tyler Dickson. On July 3, 2021, 20-year-old Dickson was fatally shot while sleeping in a tent at a campsite in Butte County. The Butte County Sheriff’s Office has exhausted numerous investigative leads and requested that a reward be offered to encourage any individuals with information about this murder to contact Butte County Sheriff’s Sergeant Patrick McNelis or Detective Tristian Harper at 530-538-7671.

Ontario – Jesus Sanchez: A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the murder of Jesus Sanchez. On October 23, 2021, 18-year-old Sanchez was fatally shot in Ontario in front of a house where there was a large party. The Ontario Police Department has exhausted all investigative leads and requested that a reward be offered to encourage any individuals with information about this murder to contact Ontario Police Detective Kyle Mena at 909-408-1769 or 909-395-2001.

Pasadena – Iran Moreno: A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the murder of Iran Moreno. On November 20, 2021, 13-year-old Moreno was killed by a stray bullet that came through his bedroom window in Pasadena. The Pasadena Police Department has exhausted all investigative leads and requested that a reward be offered to encourage any individuals with information about this murder to contact Pasadena Police Lieutenant Keith Gomez at 626-744-4517.

More information on the Governor’s Reward Program can be found here.

Crab pots. Photo courtesy of California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham has assessed entanglement risk under the Risk Assessment Mitigation Program (RAMP) and announced the closure of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5 and 6 (Sonoma/Mendocino county line to the U.S./Mexico border) effective at noon on April 8, 2022.

This closure is being implemented because of two recent humpback whale entanglements that occurred off San Mateo County and in Monterey Bay involving California commercial Dungeness crab fishing gear.

All commercial Dungeness crab traps must be removed from the fishing grounds by the April 8 closure date.

While this closure shortens the season for many fishermen, the RAMP regulations are designed to minimize risk and provide for a long-term viable fishery for all Californians.

In addition, the Director has authorized the Lost and Abandoned Gear Retrieval Program to begin removing commercial Dungeness crab traps left in the water beginning April 15, 2022, at noon in Zones 3, 4, 5 and 6.

CDFW asks fishermen and mariners to be on the lookout for entangled whales and report them so that a disentanglement response team can be mobilized to remove the gear. Reports can be made to 1-877-SOS-WHALE or contact the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16.

The recreational fishery in these zones remains open but may be subject to a future trap restriction when humpbacks return to forage during the spring and summer.

In addition, CDFW is continuing a Fleet Advisory and reminds all in the commercial and recreational fisheries to implement best practices, as described in the Best Practices Guide.

“The past few seasons have been difficult for fishing families, communities and businesses, but it is imperative that we strike the right balance between protecting humpback whales and providing fishing opportunity,” said Director Bonham. “The fleet has done an impressive job helping CDFW manage risk of entanglement in the commercial fishery, including starting to remove fishing gear when the entanglements were first reported. This partnership helps ensure we protect future opportunities to fish and the incredible biodiversity of our ocean.”

A map of all Fishing Zones can be found on the CDFW website.

For more information related to the risk assessment process, please visit CDFW’s Whale Safe Fisheries webpage.

For more information on the Dungeness crab fishery, please visit CDFW’s Crab webpage, including FAQs for the 2021-22 commercial fishing season and FAQs for the new recreational crab trap regulations.

On Wednesday, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02) announced that Sonoma County is set to receive over $3 million in federal funding to provide local jurisdictions the tools necessary to reduce the risks of natural disasters, including wildfires and earthquakes.

This funding comes from the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Community Development Block Grant Mitigation Resilience Planning and Public Services program which allocates $2,078,100 for Sonoma County and $1,000,000 for Santa Rosa.

“Mitigating the effects of natural disasters is one of the most important tools we have to reduce the impact these destructive events have on our lives,” said Thompson. “Reducing the risks of natural disasters could help us save lives, prevent property damage, and keep our communities safe. I’m glad to see this funding for our district so we can effectively prepare for fire season and ensure a robust response to any threats our district faces.”

“As the climate crisis worsens, so does the risk of natural disasters,” said Huffman. “We know all too well the devastating impacts these events can have on our region, and mitigation efforts are a critical part of our response. Rep. Thompson and I have been pushing for federal support that meets this urgent need, and this funding from the Biden-Harris administration will help ensure our communities are more resilient against future disasters.”

For Sonoma County, the $2,078,100 includes:

• $500,000 for a Community Emergency Response Team Training
• $500,000 for a Community Resilience Center Needs Assessment
• $500,000 for a Community Education and Marketing Plan
• $374,500 for a Disaster Recovery Plan
• $203,600 for a General Plan Safety Update

For the city of Santa Rosa, the $1,000,000 includes:

• $500,000 for a Storm Drain Master Plan
• $500,000 for a Vegetation Management Education and Inspection Program

The California Department of Housing and Community Development established the Resilience Planning and Public Services Program to provide federal resources to local jurisdictions for the acquisition of public services needs and mitigation-related planning that will reduce the risks of three primary hazards: wildfire, flooding and earthquake.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — On Monday, March 14, at 10:30 a.m., the North Coast Railroad Authority, or NCRA, will hold its final meeting.

After nearly 30 years of controversy, massive policy setbacks and straddling bankruptcy for years — the agency that was charged with trying to bring rail back to the North Coast will officially cease operations, per state law passed by Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire.

And, at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, the Great Redwood Trail Agency will spring to life.

This new agency, created by SB 69, will take over the rail corridor and is charged with advancing the master plan later this fall and building the Great Redwood Trail on top of the current rail bed.

When fully built, the Great Redwood Trail will run from the San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay, becoming the longest rail trail in America.

Sen. McGuire will be speaking to kick off their first meeting.

“The Great Redwood Trail will be a game changer for the North Coast. Over 25,000 miles of former freight rail line have been transitioned to trails over the past 30 years throughout America and we couldn’t be more excited to move the Great Redwood Trail forward here in Northern California,” said McGuire, the author of the legislative and budget items that created the new agency.

He added, “The Great Redwood Trail will be a world class destination for hikers, cyclists and nature lovers here at home and from across the globe. Stretching from San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay, the Trail will encompass 300 miles of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet. Monday will be a historic day for our region and we can’t wait to say goodbye to the dysfunctional North Coast Rail Authority and say hello to the Great Redwood Trail.”

The trail will serve not only as a recreational, social, and exercise path, but will quickly become an economic driver for the North Coast communities it runs through.

Outdoor recreation was a $93 billion industry in this state before COVID, and the revenue has been steadily climbing to return to that level.

The meetings will be held via Zoom.

NCRA’s final meeting:

Date and time: Monday, March 14, at 10:30 a.m.
Zoom Meeting ID: 825 2940 1844
Pass code: 808342

GRTA’s first official meeting:
Date and time: Monday, March 14, at 11:30 a.m.
Zoom Meeting ID: 833 3517 4933
Pass code: 808342

Upcoming Calendar

02.07.2023 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Board of Supervisors
02.07.2023 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Area Agency on Aging
02.07.2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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02.08.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
100+ Women Strong in Lake County
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Rotary Club of Middletown
02.09.2023 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Middletown Area Town Hall
02.11.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
02.12.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
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