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State Streamlines Domestic Water Tank Storage Process In Response to Drought

Media Contacts:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937
George Kostyrko, State Water Board Communications, (916) 341-7365

As the unprecedented drought continues in California, a number of the state’s coastal rivers and streams are in danger of reaching critically low stages later this summer, threatening rural drinking water supplies. But plans are now in place to assist landowners that store water for use later in the season through a state program.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) announced today that they will expedite approval for the installation of storage tanks by landowners who currently divert water from these important rivers and streams. The action comes under the State Water Board’s Small Domestic Use (SDU) registration program.

Installing tanks to divert and store water when flows are higher will help improve rural water supply reliability and fire safety while also relieving pressure for in-stream diversions during the drier months when fish need it most.

The State Water Board has an existing statewide registration program for domestic use of water, allowing home water uses such as drinking and fire protection. These small domestic registrations must comply with general conditions from the State Water Board and typically receive project specific conditions from CDFW.

Landowners eligible for the SDU program currently can request approval to divert to storage. However, this can be a lengthy process requiring site-specific evaluations that address in-stream and habitat needs.

With today’s action, CDFW has essentially “pre-approved” the installation of storage tanks that meet the general criteria. The State Water Board has agreed to incorporate these criteria as conditions of approval, and to expedite the issuance of the registrations. This action will result in the collection of water during any upcoming precipitation events, taking advantage of higher flows, and using the stored water later in the season when there may be little to no water available.

Some of these water tanks can provide months of storage to meet domestic water supply needs.

“We have been working in these coastal communities for many years, and have good reason to believe that these emergency changes are going to be welcomed,” said Charlton H. Bonham, Director of CDFW. “Many landowners who have wanted to take these steps can do so now more quickly with greater regulatory certainty from our department.”

This action is designed to capture water when it is raining and right after rain events. It is not designed to expand any applicant’s existing water right or amount of diversion. Capturing rain when it falls from the sky and storing it for use later can also help reduce the impacts to fish and wildlife from diverting water from streams during the driest times of the summer. Today’s action was the direct result of suggestions made by local communities and fish conservation organizations such as Trout Unlimited, Mattole River Sanctuary Forest and the Salmonid Restoration Federation.

“The drought is going to be really hard for fish and wildlife as well as agriculture and people,” said State Water Board Executive Officer Tom Howard. “CDFW and the State Water Board are open to any solution from any corner of the state on how to make it through these tough times together.”

Expedited permitting is available to applicants that meet all of the criteria set forth in the program. SDU program eligibility can be found at

Eligible parties are those that are already diverting from a stream under a riparian basis of right in CDFW Regions 1 or 3. The party should be diverting for domestic and fire protection use only, and has or will install a rigid style water storage tank. The storage tank should be big enough in size to store at least 60 days of water supply for the house.

Parties who are eligible will need to accept the general CDFW conditions, most importantly that they will use the stored water as a substitute for withdrawing additional water during the summer when flows are lowest. The State Water Board will expedite processing of registration forms where the party meets the CDFW eligibility criteria.

This will help protect fish during periods of low stream flow, especially this year with the drought conditions.

With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. The Governor signed legislation to immediately help communities deal with the devastating dry conditions affecting our state and to provide funding to increase local water supplies after it was passed with bipartisan support in the legislature.

Governor Brown met with President Obama about crucial federal support during the ongoing drought, and the state continues to work with federal partners to ensure coordinated drought monitoring and response. Governor Brown and the administration have also expressed support for federal legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Representatives Jim Costa, Tony Cárdenas and Sam Farr.

Across state government, action is being taken. The Department of General Services is leading water conservation efforts at state facilities, and the California State Architect has asked California school districts and Community Colleges to act on the Governor’s call to reduce water usage. The Department of Transportation is cutting water usage along California’s roadways by 50 percent. Caltrans has also launched a public awareness campaign, putting a water conservation message on their more than 700 electronic highway signs.

In January, the state took action to conserve water in numerous Northern California reservoirs to meet minimum needs for operations impacting the environment and the economy, and recently the Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced they would seek the authority to make water exchanges to deliver water to those who need it most. The State Water Resources Control Board announced it would work with hydropower generators and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to preserve water in California reservoirs, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Fish and Game Commission restricted fishing on some waterways due to low water flows worsened by the drought.

The state is working to protect local communities from the dangers of extreme drought. The California Department of Public Health identified and offered assistance to communities at risk of severe drinking water shortages and is working with other state and local agencies to develop solutions for vulnerable communities. CAL FIRE hired additional firefighters and is continuously adjusting staffing throughout the state to help address the increased fire threat due to drought conditions. The California Department of Food and Agriculture launched a drought website to help farmers, ranchers and farmworkers find resources and assistance programs that may be available to them during the drought.

Even as the state deals with the immediate impacts of the drought, it’s also planning for the future. In 2013, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and CDFA released the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.

Governor Brown has called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent, and the Save Our Water campaign launched four public service announcements encouraging residents to conserve and has resources available in Spanish. Last December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations and California’s preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water.

First Time Buyers

Cool-Late-March-20151.pngAs reported by the National Association of Realtors,  during 2014, 33% of recent home buyers were first-time buyers. Historically the norm for first time buyers was 40%.  Due to recent changes in the lending market and pent up demand, it is expected first time buyers will represent a larger share of the market in 2015. Initially, first time buyers should contact various  lending agencies to see what options are available to them. They should take  the time to fully understand the process.  The time to start searching for that first home, is after they pre-qualified or pre-approved by a lender.

2014 Humboldt County Housing Market Recap


Many folks have asked who’s buying and selling in Humboldt County. Camille in our office has identified that 33% of last years sellers are relocating out of our wonderful community.
The majority of last years buyers (29%) were first time purchasers. Check out the attached charts for all the details! Any questions? Just give us a call at 822-5971.

Water Right Law

Water right law in California and the rest of the West is markedly different from the laws governing water use in the eastern United States.

Seasonal, geographic, and quantitative differences in precipitation caused California’s system to develop into a unique blend of two very different kinds of rights: riparian and appropriative. Other types of rights exist in California as well, among them reserved rights (water set aside by the federal government when it reserves land for the public domain) and pueblo rights (a municipal right based on Spanish and Mexican law).

Riparian rights usually come with owning a parcel of land that is adjacent to a source of water. With statehood, California adopted the English common law familiar to the eastern seaboard; such law also included the riparian doctrine.

A riparian right entitles the landowner to use a correlative share of the water flowing past his or her property. Riparian rights do not require permits, licenses, or government approval, but they apply only to the water which would naturally flow in the stream. Riparian rights do not entitle a water use to divert water to storage in a reservoir for use in the dry season or to use water on land outside of the watershed. Riparian rights remain with the property when it changes hands, although parcels severed from the adjacent water source generally lose their right to the water.

Water right law was set on a different course in 1849, when thousands of fortune seekers flocked to California following the discovery of gold. Water development proceeded on a scale never before witnessed in the United States as these “49ers” built extensive networks of flumes and waterways to work their claims. The water carried in these systems often had to be transported far from the original river or stream. The self-governing, maverick miners applied the same “finders-keepers” rule to water that they did to their mining claims. It belonged to the first miner to assert ownership.

To stake their water claims, the miners developed a system of “posting notice” which signaled the birth of today’s appropriative right system. It allowed others to divert available water from the same river or stream, but their rights existed within a hierarchy of priorities. This “first in time, first in right” principal became an important feature of modern water right law.

In 1850, California entered the Union as the thirty-first state. One of the first actions taken by its lawmakers was to adopt the common law of riparian rights. One year later, the Legislature recognized the appropriative right system as having the force of law. The appropriative right system continued to increase in use as agriculture and population centers blossomed and ownership of land was transferred into private hands.

The conflicting nature of California’s dual water right system prompted numerous legal disputes. Unlike appropriative users, riparian right holders were not required to put water to reasonable and beneficial use. This clash of rights eventually resulted in a constitutional amendment (Article X, Section 2 of the California Constitution) that requires all use of water to be “reasonable and beneficial.” These “beneficial uses” have commonly included municipal and industrial uses, irrigation, hydroelectric generation, and livestock watering. More recently, the concept has been broadened to include recreational use, fish and wildlife protection, and enhancement and aesthetic enjoyment.

Up to the early 1900’s appropriators – most of them miners and nonriparian farmers – had simply taken control of and used what water they wanted. Sometimes notice was filed with the county recorder, but no formal permission was required from any administrative or judicial body.

The Water Commission Act of 1914 established today’s permit process. The Act created the agency that later evolved into the State Board and granted it the authority to administer permits and licenses for California’s surface water. The act was the predecessor to today’s water Code provisions governing appropriation.

These post-1914 appropriative rights are governed by the aforementioned hierarchy of priorities developed by the 49ers. In times of shortage the most recent (“junior”) right holder must be the first to discontinue such use; each right’s priority dates to the time the permit application was filed with the State Board. Although pre- and post-1914 appropriative rights are similar, post-1914 rights are subject to a much greater degree of scrutiny and regulation by the Board.

Riparian rights still have a higher priority than appropriative rights. The priorities of riparian right holders generally carry equal weight; during a drought all share the shortage among themselves.

For more information on water rights in California visit:

Help! I bought a fixer-upper, now what?

So you have looked all over for a diamond in the rough, walked through just about every property that came up on the market that needed some love and elbow grease. You have a Pinterest Board created and devoted soley to renovation…you know the posts about making cabinets from a stack of pallets found behind the local Mall. Yeah…you’re pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down…You are ready, you can do this…you want to buy a home that has “good bones” but needs some TLC. Sweat has a nice ring to it….am I right???

I have one thing to say to you…Join the club, we have tool belts! I sell real estate and I too have a Pinterest Board, What? I’m only human! Plus renovating a home has always sort of been a dream of mine…let’s call it a bucket list line item. So….One of my first sales as a newly minted real estate agent was also a purchase. We bought a Victorian 4-plex apartment building. It needed some love in a big way, and I’m not talking about paint and carpet, I’m talking about repairing lathe and plaster, putting in new kitchens and bathrooms (clawfoot tubs literally weigh a ton) and reconfiguring the spaces.

Anyway….I’m here to offer up some useful tips I learned dipping my toe into the investment/fixer property business.

1. Have a plan.
2. Stick to your plan (this is HUGE)

Just think of it like this…every time you get a great idea and change your mind midstream on the work being done, it’s like taking a $100 bill and lighting it on fire….it burns bright for a few seconds…provides a tiny bit of warmth, but in the end the cost far outweighs the benefit. To avoid burning your money for no good reason, have a plan that you have worked out with your contractor, and stick as close as possible to that plan…trust me…you’ll thank me later…you’re welcome.

3. Shop contactors
4. Check references (again HUGE)

Before I was a real estate agent, I was an HR professional. So reference checking is as natural as breathing air to me. Don’t be shy. Ask for past customer names and call them. I will give you some advice, when it comes to resumes, many (not all) but many individuals will put lipstick on that pig…it may look pretty at first glance, but when you start digging…it’s not quite what you thought it was. Unless you know the person and trust their work, take the time to check them out…it is time well spent.

5. Keep it simple
6. Shop for prices
7. Have a budget (add at least 15% for contingencies)
8. Be realistic

If your project is an investment property, remember that and shop accordingly. If you’re going to live in your project home, make a list of “must haves” and “just wants” …as the costs begin to rise, this list will come in handy. You have a plan, you have a contractor, you have shopped for pricing …budget and add a bit for those contingencies…like for when you discover that the floor joist has rotted and snapped in half under the laundry room….nice! I love surprises…don’t you??

I speak from experince. We have been working on our Victorian since May 2014. We recently finished remodeling the upper floor and both apartments rented quickly. We learned a great deal about how the process works. We just started renovating the bottom floor a few weeks ago, and I must say the process is going much more smoothly this time around. We made a plan, we are sticking to it, we hired a great crew, and we are keeping it simple and realistic. Giant learning curve, but well worth the effort.

If you are thinking about getting a fixer, there are plenty out there. If you prepare and budget, you can change that sow’s ear into a silk purse….and that is a fact.

Happy Hunting!!!

Valerie Reed, Realtor Associate

Trinidad Clam Beach Run

Feb. 3, 2015

Article re: event details from “Trinidad to Clam Beach Run Honoring Ford Hess”


Trinidad is located 285 miles north of San Francisco in Humboldt County, the heart of the Redwood Coast. A former whaling village, Trinidad is the smallest incorporated city in California. Spectacular scenery abounds; from rugged coastline, to pristine beaches and giant redwoods. Air transportation is available to Eureka – Arcata Airport by several major airlines.
The Trinidad to Clam Beach Run began as a winter training race for Humboldt State Track and Field runners. Over the years, it has evolved into a nationally known run, with a 3 mile and 5 ¾ mile run being added.The unique feature of the run is crossing the mouth of the Little River at Moonstone Beach. Thus, the date and start time of the race are determined by the height of the tide on either the last Saturday of January or the first Saturday of February.
The Trinidad to Clam Beach Run is sponsored by the Greater Trinidad Chamber of Commerce. Profits from the Run support the Chamber’s scholarship fund.

Tips for Remodeling a Bathroom

Tips for Remodeling a Bathroom

Tips from Matt Muenster, host of DIY’s BATHtastic!
More in Bathroom

diy host matt muenster gives project tips

  • The best place to start with any remodeling project is the budget. Not only will it have a big impact on the type of materials you select for your bathroom renovation, it will also help you set the boundaries of your design. Knowing what you can really afford to spend will make it a lot easier to decide what items you want to replace and where you need to get creative!
  • Going “green” is not only good for the environment; it’s also good for you. Green products have great design, tend to function better, which lowers utility bills, and they’re also chemical-free, making them better for your health. Having an eco-friendly approach to remodeling isn’t just about buying new products, doing something “green” can be as simple as painting a cabinet instead of tossing it in a landfill.
  • Want to save some big bucks remodeling your bathroom? Consider refinishing existing items such as your bathtub, shower, sink or tile. With refinishing, you’ll only pay a small fraction (as little as 10 percent) of the cost of replacement. Your bathroom won’t be torn up for weeks, you’ll avoid the big renovation mess and you’ve put one less big ol’ tub in the landfill
  • Don’t want your budget to skyrocket? Don’t move your plumbing. On the surface, switching your sink and toilet around may look easy enough, but the problem lies underneath and all the costs involved in moving that plumbing. Besides, if you spend less money on moving fixtures, you’ll have more to spend on that new sleek shower system or vanity you’ve been eyeing.
  • Be brutally honest about your DIY skill level. Assess which projects to do yourself and which are better left to the pros. You could save yourself a ton of money in the long run if you don’t have to call someone in to fix a project you’ve messed up. The best way to find a good contractor — seek referrals from friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and others who have had remodeling work done.
  • Some of the most effective updating in a bathroom can also be the easiest and the cheapest. Changing out all the hardware, such as drawer pulls, faucet handles and showerheads, can make a big impact. Be sure to use the same finish, such as stainless steel, aged bronze or brushed nickel, to keep the room looking cohesive.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of lighting in a bathroom. Sconce lighting at the vanity is the ideal way to get even lighting on your face, and installing it at eye level will help diminish unflattering shadows. Dim lighting is nice for a relaxing bath; bright lights are great for shaving or applying makeup. Adding more overall lighting can make a small bathroom seem larger.
  • Ventilation. Ventilation. Ventilation. Moisture is your bathroom’s greatest enemy. Mold and mildew will make quick work of any renovation you’ve done so be sure to install a vent fan of appropriate CFMs for the square footage of your bathroom. The rough guide is one CFM per square foot for bathrooms of one hundred square feet or smaller. New designs are quieter and more stylish than ever and are a must have for any bathroom remodel.