On New Year’s Eve 2012, the Sierra had 140% of the normal December snowpack and rivers swelled with storm runoff. But strangely, a crippling reduction of water pumping had already begun in Northern California. The muddy Sacramento River and mammoth water pumps had created a death trap for the protected delta smelt.
Buoyed by big December storms, the snowpack is about 150 percent of where it usually is at this time in the year, according to the California Department of Water Resources. And more may be on the way, weather forecasters said.
It’s hard to imagine that this quiet place once drew more visitors than Yosemite National Park. Back then, the Salton Sea was a boom town, rising out of the desert like a Las Vegas or a Palm Springs. The American Riviera, as it was known, was full of glamour and promise.
Putah Creek, an often-muddy stream that meanders through Yolo County, has been through a lot in the past 150 years. … Through it all, giant rainbow trout have somehow managed to thrive in Putah Creek. And earlier this month, the California Fish and Game Commission recognized that feat by designating the creek a “Wild Trout Water,” a distinction meant to ensure the creek always remains healthy for self-sustaining trout.
When the last big December storm was at its peak, overflowing storm drains and flash-flooding streets gave San Jose’s bayside community of Alviso an all-too-real reminder that if not for the levees and pumps, they’d be underwater.
The Bay Area developed a warm glow Sunday on account of a once-familiar friend known as the sun. … National Weather Service forecasters reckon the fiery orb will be sticking around until Christmas Eve.
In the wake of December’s storms, treasure hunters and scientists have found fossils on beaches and in sandstone cliffs in the Bay Area and elsewhere along the Pacific Coast that date back anywhere from 5,000 to 10 million years.
This paper recently questioned Southern California’s commitment to water conservation based on a single month (“Southern California’s Sad Conservation Record” — Dec. 13). Had the editorial examined roughly 50 years of Southern California’s conservation performance — success over the past generation and plans for no additional supplies from Northern California in the generation ahead, perhaps the conclusion would have been different.
Forty-five years ago, in December 1969, President Richard Nixon signed a unique Bi-State Compact approving California and Nevada’s plan to create the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. It was the first such undertaking of its kind, uniting two states, six local jurisdictions, and the federal government in a shared mission to protect Lake Tahoe’s sensitive environment from overdevelopment.
Earth is in a remarkable transition from a world in which human influence on climate has been negligible to one in which our influence is increasingly dominant. One of the most active research areas in the climate sciences is the field of detection and attribution: the effort to see and identify the fingerprint of climate change in our extremes of weather.
My copy of the “Cal Facts” book arrived on my desk Monday with a thud, a gift from thousands of number-crunching, bureaucratic elves from the north in the Legislative Analyst’s Office. … Time for a quiz: What is California’s top farm commodity: a. grapes. b. almonds c. strawberries d. milk.
Last Friday, the California Natural Resources Agency announced changes to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, most notably the elimination of the pumping plants and instead, using a gravity flow diversion.
I love this cartoon because it says so much about water and droughts in California. Alan Marciochi drew this during the 1976-77 drought. He knew what he was drawing. A farm boy from Los Banos with a degree in biology, Alan worked for me studying endangered Modoc suckers in remote northeastern corner of California. His main stipulation in working for me was that he had to have the melon harvest season free.