An investigation into last winter’s near catastrophe at Oroville Dam uncovered a litany of problems with how the dam was built and maintained, but one of them stands out: Even as workers built the dam, they were raising alarms about the eroded, crumbling rock on which they were directed to lay concrete for the 3,000-foot-long main flood control spillway.
California’s sweeping effort to regulate groundwater extraction is still in its infancy. But many community groups are already concerned that too little is being done to involve low-income and disadvantaged residents in managing aquifers dominated by agriculture. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, adopted in 2014, was a Herculean achievement for California.
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees will either be sent home or have been told to not show up to work at all on Monday, as furloughs due to the government shutdown that began Friday night start to affect workers around the country.
Critics who say state water policy tilts too far toward Southern California got additional ammunition last week, when Gov. Jerry Brown named a new director to run his Department of Water Resources. New DWR Director Karla Nemeth is married to Tom Philp, an executive strategist with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
In a blow for the Trump administration, the Supreme Court today sent a key case over the scope of the Clean Water Act to federal district courts. Justices rebuffed arguments by the administration that a federal appeals court should instead hear the litigation.
Friday night’s federal government shutdown had a minimal effect in the North State over the weekend but those who drove to Shasta Dam and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area found themselves locked out of the visitors centers there.
While the usual crowds swarmed Muir Woods and Alcatraz Saturday, visitors to many of California’s most popular national park sites began to experience the inconvenience that comes with fewer rangers, locked restrooms and shuttered information centers.
American bullfrogs, native to the eastern United States, are hopping around Northern California ponds, gobbling up lizards, snakes, bats and birds – anything that fits in their mouths. Among their prey are the adults and tadpoles of endangered native amphibians: Sierra Nevada and foothill yellow-legged frogs, said Colin Dillingham, a wildlife biologist with the Plumas National Forest.
The shutdown will have no impact on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees or government contractors engaged in hauling away tons of ash and debris from the October wildfires, said Nancy Allen, a Corps of Engineers spokeswoman.
The goal is to get people out so the county can begin cleaning the area of waste and hazardous debris, which county executives have said is needed to allow the flood control channel to serve its intended purpose.
This month’s tragic mudslides in Montecito, California are a reminder that natural hazards lurk on the doorsteps of many U.S. homes, even in affluent communities. Similar events occur every year around the world, often inflicting much higher casualties yet rarely making front-page headlines.
The funny thing about the newest book on the Colorado River is that it is not actually new at all. Yes, it is true that Where the Water Goes has a 2017 copyright, plus a forward-looking author in New Yorker contributor David Owen and a dust jacket decked in praise from contemporary writers including Bill Bryson.
[Billy] Barr began taking notes in 1974 out of boredom. Every day he would record the low and high temperatures, and measure new snow, snow-water equivalent and snowpack depth. Now he has stacks of yellowed notebooks brimming with a trove of data that has made him an accidental apostle among climate researchers.
We understand how some area residents are feeling it’s a bit of a frivolous lawsuit … and maybe we’re concentrating too much on banging the bureaucrats on the head. We have felt a little like that ourselves. But actually, we don’t think it’s such a bad idea: the city of Oroville bringing a lawsuit against the state Department of Water Resources.
Time is running out for Gov. Jerry Brown to fix two big legacy projects. If he doesn’t, his successor might just dump them in the trash. Brown has only until the end of the year to clean up and repair his bullet train and water tunnel ventures.
Our new climate reality is one of volatile swings, alternating from drought conditions in one year to flooded basins the following. For our state’s water managers, it’s a bit like riding Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. We zig and then we zag through the extreme weather cycles.
Both the history and the future of local water appear on this mountain 28 miles northeast of Nevada City. The day Jessica Erickson measured snowpack for Nevada Irrigation District, a below-freezing wind smacked her cheeks, pine trees threw long shadows and the afternoon sun cast an orange glow onto the peak above her.