Sacramento, CA (MPG) - After five years of drought, the 2017 water year brought unexpectedly heavy precipitation, ranking second only to 1983 as California’s wettest year for statewide runoff. The dramatic swing in water conditions highlights the need to develop better long-range weather forecasting to cope with the state’s highly variable annual precipitation. 

DWR begins water year 2018 intent on narrowing the forecasting gap with improved sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) forecasting. Working with researchers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, DWR is developing innovative technology to forecast land-falling atmospheric rivers.

“Current short-term forecasting for seven days out is 70 percent accurate, while the 14-day forecast is only seven percent accurate,” said DWR Director Grant Davis. “That isn’t adequate for water management. Advancing accurate, even longer-range forecasting is critical for our ability to plan for California’s highly variable weather.”

The water year that ended September 30 saw an extraordinary number of atmospheric rivers that created high water conditions throughout the state. The Feather River watershed received record runoff in January and February, which led to some of the highest inflows into Lake Oroville ever recorded. More accurate forecasting would have helped DWR manage reservoir levels to deal with significant inflow in the days following the February 7 discovery of erosion on the main spillway at Lake Oroville. Better forecasting also would help inform the spillway’s reconstruction timeline based on predicted precipitation.

The record-setting precipitation in Northern California and above-average rainfall elsewhere contributed to flooding in several river systems. Fifty-two counties declared states of emergency due to the January storm sequence, and flood fight materials and specialists were pre-positioned in Merced, Butte, Stanislaus, Fresno, and San Joaquin counties based on the forecasts in anticipation that local agencies would request support.

Despite record-breaking rainfall in Northern California in water year 2017, drought impacts still linger. Governor Edmund Brown Jr. issued an executive order in April to end the statewide drought emergency, but maintained a state of emergency for the counties of Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolumne, where homes with dry or contaminated private wells continue to receive emergency drinking water deliveries.

One success story stemming from the drought is the East Porterville Emergency Water Project, which will see 756 unincorporated East Porterville homes connected to the City of Porterville’s municipal water supply by the end of 2017. Similar projects are underway in the communities of Okieville, Monson, and Seville-Yettem to connect an additional 195 homes to a sustainable water supply.

Another highlight of the 2017 water year was the announcement that 99 percent of the state’s high- and medium-priority groundwater basins met a key deadline to form local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) under the state’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014. California depends on groundwater for a major portion of its annual water supply, particularly during times of drought. The long-term planning required by SGMA will reduce the impacts of groundwater overdraft, including subsidence, and provide a buffer against drought and climate change.

Although a wet 2017 minimized the risk of subsidence in historically affected parts of the San Joaquin Valley, DWR continues to fund satellite- and aircraft-based radar monitoring of subsidence by NASA to support local implementation of SGMA.

Looking ahead, DWR is preparing for the uncertainty of water year 2018 and beyond. In August, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board adopted the 2017 update to the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan, prepared by DWR, which recommends long-term multi-benefit actions to improve flood risk management. This past year DWR awarded more than $4.2 million in Delta Flood Emergency Response grants to improve Delta flood response and increase public safety.

In the past five years, DWR has awarded 46 grants totaling $25 million to develop and update flood safety plans, and increase coordination, training, and flood fight supplies for local agencies across the state.

Ongoing SGMA implementation will bring overdrafted groundwater basins into balance to protect our water supply against the impacts of prolonged drought and climate change.

California WaterFix will upgrade California’s water supply infrastructure to more reliably transport water through the Delta, protecting against the impacts of natural disasters and climate change. The project provides a more flexible and environmentally-responsible way to convey water during significant precipitation events for use in dry years. Construction could begin in 2018, pending support from public water agencies.

The first phase of reconstruction on the Lake Oroville spillways will be completed by November 1, 2017, ensuring the spillway can handle 100,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) this water year. Phase 2, which will be completed by end of 2018/early 2019, will bring the spillway to final design with a capacity of 270,000 cfs. The emergency spillway will be reinforced with several erosion-prevention features, including a cutoff wall to prevent head-cutting erosion.

In the face of California’s highly variable weather patterns, DWR and our local, state, and federal partners are working together to ensure that Californians are prepared. Infrastructure improvements and advances in accurate, long-term forecasting are critical to public safety and sustainability. When it comes to water, California must prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Read more about water year 2017 in the report “What a Difference a Year Makes.”

Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com.

Source: DWR

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Sacramento, CA  (MPG) - J.D. Power announced recently​ that the Sacramento International Airport​ (SMF) has ranked highest in customer satisfaction among medium-sized airports in North America. The ranking is based on J.D. Power’s 2017 customer-satisfaction survey of almost 35,000 travelers.

The J.D. Power Customer Service Satisfaction Study measures satisfaction among customers in medium, large and mega airports across the United States by examining six factors: Terminal facilities; airport accessibility; security check; baggage claim; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail amenities.

Sacramento International Airport ranked highest in the categories of security check and terminal facilities. 

“Customer satisfaction is the essence of our brand, and this survey underscores our commitment to giving customers an excellent experience,” said John Wheat, Director of Airports for the Sacramento County Department of Airports. “We have beautiful facilities, fast security lines, and we’re easy to get to. We’re very fortunate that our partners in our airlines, the TSA and concessionaires share this commitment to great service.”

The security checkpoint was singled out for praise by customers. 

“Over the last year, TSA Sacramento has worked hard to refocus on our core security mission and improve communication, both with our public and private stakeholders and within our organization,” said Sid Hanna, Federal Security Director for Sacramento International Airport. “We have involved our supervisors in routine security meetings with the airport and airlines to improve our effectiveness and teamwork.” 

View the J.D. Power survey results. 

Sacramento International Airport (SMF) offers more than 150 daily nonstop flights on nine domestic and international carriers to more than 30 destinations.  The Sacramento County Department of Airport is responsible for planning, developing, operating and maintaining the county’s four airports: Sacramento International Airport, Executive Airport, Mather Airport and Franklin Field.  The regional economic impact of the Sacramento County airport system is more than $4 billion annually. For more information, visit http://www.smf.aero

Source: Sacramento County Media

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The Birds are Back for Another Hoot

By Margaret Snider  |  2017-10-13

Member Mary Corral holds barn owl, Ms. Whisper.  Whisper was found as a very young owl in April 2017 with head trauma after falling out of a very tall palm tree. Photo courtesy Kelli Moulden

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG) - Nearly 100 people attended the August performance of Hawks, Honkers & Hoots at the Rancho Cordova Library. For those who missed the first program or just want to see it again, the bird ambassadors will return to the library at 4 p.m., Thursday, October 19.

“We’re known to have a lot of fun with our educational programs, and we’re known to involve the audience quite a bit,” said Kelli Moulden, president of the non-profit group. 

The organization’s purpose is to provide a home for birds with injuries that make them non-releasable to the wild, and to disseminate information on local and migratory birds.  It is based in El Dorado County and staffed entirely by volunteers. 

“People of all ages come, and I find that adults enjoy it just as well (as the children),” Moulden said.  “We not only present our birds, but we have a discovery table.  On that discovery table are actual wings, feathers and talons from birds that have unfortunately passed away . . . You can feel what a great horned owl wing feels like and feel how sharp their talons are.”

The performance offers fun, interactive natural history, and interesting facts about the birds of prey living in and around the Pacific Flyway. 

For more information on the organization or to donate, please see http://www.hawkshonkersandhoots.org.  

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Vice President Pence Visits Rancho Cordova

MPG Staff  |  2017-10-13

VP Mike Pence. US Gov. photo

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG) – United States Vice President Mike Pence made a visit to Rancho Cordova on Monday of this week to talk about federal tax reform.

VP Pence was joined by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield and met with local leaders at Stroppini Enterprises while touring the manufacturing plant.

Stroppini Enterprises has been doing business in Rancho Cordova for the past 40 years and is a full service contract manufacturing center which specializes in production machining and fabrication.

VP Pence was also on a western fundraising swing for other Republican candidates facing coming elections. Pence’s visit to Rancho Cordova came before a GOP dinner fundraiser at the downtown Sacramento Hyatt Regency.

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Sacramento, CA (MPG) -California Governor Edmund G Brown Jr. today (October 13th) declared a state of emergency to help control the state’s hepatitis A outbreak and increase the supply of adult hepatitis A vaccines to meet current needs.

“Vaccinating people at risk of exposure is the most effective tool we have to prevent the spread of hepatitis A infection during an outbreak,” said California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith.

To help combat the outbreak, CDPH has already distributed nearly 80,000 doses of the vaccine that were obtained through the federal vaccine program, but those supplies must be increased to continue to address the outbreak. Today’s declaration allows CDPH to immediately purchase additional vaccines directly from manufacturers and coordinate distribution to people at greatest risk in affected areas.

The adult hepatitis A vaccine is different than the one given to children, of which there is ample supply.

The risk of hepatitis A infection is associated with poor sanitation and hygiene and is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and drink or through direct contact with an infectious person. The current outbreak has largely impacted people experiencing homelessness and some illicit drug users. The virus can live for months in a contaminated environment, particularly in the absence of good sanitation.

To control this outbreak and prevent further spread, CDPH recommends the vaccination of people in affected areas who are homeless or using illicit drugs. CDPH also recommends vaccination of people who have frequent, close contact with at-risk populations in affected areas. CDPH is working with impacted counties to monitor the outbreak and implement vaccination efforts and is also providing guidance on improving sanitation, including access to handwashing facilities and toilets, to lessen the spread of the virus.

“Local public health officials are working hard to offer vaccines to people who are at the most at risk of infection, including homeless Californians,” said Dr. Smith. “Today’s order will help ensure communities can continue to deliver the vaccines where they are needed most.”

Hepatitis A infection typically causes fever, a general ill feeling with lack of appetite and nausea, and, later in the course of the infection, yellowness of the skin and eyes. Severe hepatitis A infection is rare but does occur in people with underlying liver disease and can cause the liver to fail, potentially leading to death.

For more information about hepatitis A, review our frequently asked questions and visit CDPH’s website.

Source: www.cdph.ca.gov

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Urges Donors to Make Future Appointments Due to Shelf Life of Blood

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - Following an overwhelming response from blood donors across the nation to support victims of the Las Vegas shooting, the immediate blood needs have been met. Donors came out in large numbers to give blood following the tragedy; however, they won’t be eligible to donate again until early December.  Since blood has a shelf life of just 42 days, BloodSource is urging donors to make future appointments to ensure that patients have an ample supply of lifesaving transfusions going into and through the winter holiday season. To make a donation appointment, visit BloodSource.org or call 866.822.5663.

Tragedy can strike without a moment’s notice, and the Las Vegas shooting proved that it is the blood already on the shelves that saves lives. In Las Vegas, and across the country, donors came forward to give blood following the tragedy to help replenish the supply and meet additional patient needs in the upcoming weeks. BloodSource actively monitors hospital needs and proactively encourages donors to make future appointments when the time is right to carefully match blood collections with anticipated transfusions.

“After natural disasters and other tragedies, blood donors often come out in large numbers to support those affected, but it is important to remember that hundreds of patients need lifesaving blood transfusions every day in our community,” said Steve Ferraiuolo, division president for BloodSource and the West Division, Blood Systems, Inc.  “Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs a transfusion of donated blood. To patients and families benefitting from lifesaving blood donations, blood donors are heroes.”

BloodSource, a Blood Systems blood center, is part of a multi-state system of blood centers. This network works in tandem moving lifesaving donations throughout the system to help ensure blood is available when and where it’s needed most. Individuals who are as young as 16 years of age (with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in general good health may be eligible to donate blood.

BloodSource has been this area’s nonprofit community blood provider since1948, and serves patients in more than 40 hospitals throughout Northern and Central California. It is a Blood Systems blood center. Blood Systems is one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit community blood service providers, currently serving more than 1,000 hospital and healthcare partners across 28 states to provide comprehensive transfusion medicine services for patients in need.

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Nearly 4,000 Volunteers Celebrate Five Years of Caring

By Kristin Thébaud  |  2017-10-13

Volunteers celebrate as United Way collects school supplies for its Stuff the Bus campaign, one of dozens of projects that took place during United Way’s 2017 Day of Caring in September. Photo courtesy United Way.

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) -  Since United Way California Capital Region held its inaugural 2013 Day of Caring, 3,692 volunteers have spent one day caring for their community over the last five years. Volunteers donated 18,054 hours of service, valued at $366,572, for 182 projects with nonprofits, parks and schools across the region, including on United Way’s 2017 Day of Caring that took place Sept. 22-23. 

“In just five years, Day of Caring has become the single largest volunteer day in our region,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “Thousands of volunteers have dug their hands in to help hardworking nonprofits, parks and schools that do so much for our community every day.”

Hundreds of volunteers donated time for United Way’s 2017 Day of Caring at dozens of volunteer projects, including building garden beds at schools, painting nonprofit program facilities and cleaning up parks. The event began with a kickoff breakfast and rally at Cal Expo that included an appearance by Mayor Darrell Steinberg. As part of this year’s Day of Caring, United Way held its inaugural Stuff the Bus campaign, which raised more than $11,000 in school supplies for Robla School District in Sacramento. 

Nationwide has been the presenting sponsor for Day of Caring since it began in 2013. Project sponsors for 2017 included Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, ESM Prep, KPMG, Law Offices of Deon R. Stein, Nelson Staffing, SAFE Credit Union, SMUD, Social Interest Solutions, Sutter Health, Syzmanowski Orthodontics, TaxAudit.com and Zurich. Media partners included Entercom Radio’s ESPN Radio 1320 AM, 98 Rock, Eagle 96.9 FM and 106.5 The End. 

Day of Caring is part of United Way California Capital Region’s Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer: www.yourlocalunitedway.org

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