It’s perhaps no surprise new Delta
Lead Scientist Laurel Larsen finds herself in the thick of
untangling the many mysteries surrounding the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta ecosystem.
After all, Larsen grew up in Florida, where deep, marshy
backwaters of the Everglades are reminiscent of the large tidal
estuary that is California’s most crucial water and ecological
resource. Larsen’s background stirred her interest early.
Registration is now open for one of
our most popular events, the Water
101 Workshop, to be held this year virtually on the
afternoons of April 22-23.
The annual workshop serves as a refresher for more veteran water
professionals and a good statewide primer for others.
Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of the
state’s most precious natural resource.
Much of the western U.S. continues to endure a long-term
drought, one that threatens the region’s water supplies
and agriculture and could worsen wildfires this year. In fact,
some scientists are calling the dryness in the West a
“megadrought,” defined as an intense drought that lasts
for decades or longer. Overall, about 90% of the West is
now either abnormally dry or in a drought, which is among the
highest percentages in the past 20 years, according to this
week’s U.S. Drought Monitor.
Rep. Deb Haaland’s bid to become the first Native American
interior secretary was made more likely Thursday by an unlikely
Republican supporter, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of oil-rich Alaska,
who said she still had serious reservations about Haaland’s
past opposition to drilling. Murkowski was the only Republican
on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to approve
Haaland (D-N.M.) in the narrow 11-to-9 vote. Haaland’s
nomination now moves to the full Senate, where the entire
Democratic caucus and two Republicans, Murkowski and Susan
Collins (Maine), are expected to back her, cementing her
California’s legislative session came to a wild ending in 2020
when the clock ran out on major bills. Key pieces of
environmental legislation were among those that died on the
floor, and conservationists are hoping 2021 brings a different
story….Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, [proposed
a climate resiliency bond that] would include $240 million for
Salton Sea restoration, $250 million for groundwater management
and $300 million for grants for clean and reliable drinking
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave America’s
infrastructure a C- grade in its quadrennial assessment issued
March 3. ASCE gave the nation’s flood control infrastructure –
dams and levees – a D grade. This is a highly concerning
assessment, given that climate change is increasingly stressing
dams and levees as increased evaporation from the oceans drives
heavier precipitation events. … Climate scientists at
Stanford University found that between 1988 and 2017, heavier
precipitation accounted for more than one-third of the $200
billion in [flood] damage…
As part of the historic Colorado River Delta, the Salton Sea
regularly filled and dried for thousands of years due to its
elevation of 237 feet below sea level.
The most recent version of the Salton Sea was formed in 1905 when
the Colorado River broke
through a series of dikes and flooded the seabed for two years,
creating California’s largest inland body of water. The
Salton Sea, which is saltier than the Pacific Ocean, includes 130
miles of shoreline and is larger than Lake Tahoe.
Drought— an extended period of
limited or no precipitation— is a fact of life in California and
the West, with water resources following boom and-bust patterns.
During California’s most recent drought, from 2012–2016, much of
the state experienced severe drought conditions – significantly
less precipitation and snowpack, reduced streamflow and higher
No portion of the West has been immune to drought during the last
century and drought occurs with much greater frequency in the
West than in any other regions of the country.