Drought still stalks the California landscape, but enough water has fallen around the state for a ‘greening’ of what was pretty much a yellow-brown, desiccated landscape at this time last year. In my area of the state, this resurgence of life has brought a flourish of wildflowers, wild hares, quail and other organisms that have been scarcely seen – and grass two feet deep that I haven’t missed cutting as often – in the past couple of years.
I’m sure a few of you reading the title of this article and the current headlines related to California water will be wondering if my brain may be suffering from lack of water as much as the state. The few storms we have had since December will allow the California Department of Water Resources to send a little more water to most State Water Project customers than last year, but the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced a second year of a zero initial water allocation from the Central Valley Project for many agricultural users north and south of the Delta.
Earth Science Week occurs annually in the second week of October and is designed to promote awareness of the dynamic interactions between natural and human systems, while engaging students in exploring how this knowledge is applied in the geosciences.
Every one of the Project WET Facilitators I had the privilege of working with in California are a unique and special caliber of educator, volunteering their time and resources to provide some of the most engaging, experiential and content –rich water education professional development workshops and school education programs on the planet – and I do mean this literally, as several California Facilitators led Project WET trainings in a number of other countries!
The world outside my home office window in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada is a sea of green quilted with brilliant patches of wildflowers like the shards of a shattered rainbow come to Earth on this St. Patrick’s Day. It is hard to believe California is in the grip of a withering drought once more, as the scent of new mown grass heavy with dew fills the air. If one simply turned off the news and laid their head in the grass, all would seem right in the world – no drought, no more fire danger and no need to heed warnings to conserve water. But it’ll take more than wishful ignorance and a four-leaved shamrock to get us through the upcoming summer. California remains in the grip of drought, and the recent rains did little more than change the landscape from brown to green in much of the state. Our major reservoirs remain well below historical average capacity for this time of year at 40% to 50% of capacity, snowpack is at 28% of normal and disturbing reports have been coming out regarding groundwater levels throughout the Central Valley.