About 130 private property owners around Lake Shasta could be forced to move if a plan to raise the height of Shasta Dam goes forward. That was just one of the pieces of information that came out of a community meeting about the project Monday night in Lakehead. … About 90 people attended the meeting to hear from U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials about how Lakehead residents and business owners will be affected if the height of the dam is raised 18½ feet.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife hit a milestone in its ongoing efforts to control the state’s nutria infestation on Friday morning when they successfully trapped Nutria number 300 at a pond in Merced County. … The department is currently expanding its operations in San Joaquin County, and is concerned by several reports of nutria on the doorstep of the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, a critical region for California’s agricultural infrastructure.
A Wyoming property rights attorney who’s long criticized what she calls federal overreach over public land management will take a position as one of the U.S. Department of Interior’s top litigators. The DOI confirmed in an email Monday that Karen Budd-Falen will join the agency as deputy solicitor for parks and wildlife.
More than a dozen years have passed since the U.S Army Corps of Engineers became concerned about water seeping through the auxiliary dam at Isabella Lake — not to mention the possibility of a massive earthquake leveling the earthen structure.
Certainly the Nevada Irrigation District’s board has seen some contested elections around some controversial issues. But the Centennial Dam, and whether the district needs to continue with the multimillion-dollar reservoir project, is arguably the most contentious issue the district has faced in decades.
“We will be able to reproduce earthquake motions with the most accuracy of any shake table in the world,” said Joel Conte, the UC San Diego structural engineer who is overseeing the project. “This will accelerate the discovery of the knowledge engineers need to build new bridges, power plants, dams, levees, telecommunication towers, wind turbines, retaining walls, tunnels, and to retrofit older structures. …”
San Diego joined 119 other California cities on Monday by banning polystyrene food and beverage containers, which have been blamed for poisoning fish and other marine life and damaging the health of people who eat seafood. … Nearly all national and regional restaurant chains long ago stopped using polystyrene, commonly called Styrofoam, in response to lobbying by environmental groups and backlash from customers concerned that foam isn’t biodegradable.
It is the fall harvest here in this fertile stretch of oaks and hills that produces some of the country’s best wine. This season, though, workers also are plucking the sticky, fragrant flowers of a new crop. Marijuana is emerging among the vineyards, not as a rival to the valley’s grapes but as a high-value commodity that could help reinvigorate a fading agricultural tradition along the state’s Central Coast.
Higher temperatures, more intense droughts and more damaging wildfires and floods are just some of the climate change effects already being seen in the California desert — and residents of low-income, minority communities in the Coachella Valley are most likely to suffer the consequences of those environmental stresses. That was one of the takeaways from a series of presentations by scientific experts last week at UC Riverside’s Palm Desert campus.
If horrific hurricanes and a new, scarier-than-ever United Nations report don’t change attitudes on climate change, perhaps a new report on barley will. A small international team of scientists considered what the effect of climate change would be for this crop in the next 80 years, and they are raising an alarm they hope will pierce the din of political posturing.
Despite what President Donald Trump says, scientists have long known that what’s warming the planet isn’t natural. It’s us. They even have the energy balance sheets accounting for changes in the climate to prove it. President Trump’s own White House put out a science report last year concluding that “the likely range of the human contribution to the global mean temperature increase over the period 1951-2010 is 1.1 to 1.4 F (0.6 to 0.8 C).”
The federal judge who in 2016 cleared a constitutional climate case for trial in Eugene has reiterated her position that the youth-led matter should be decided in court. U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken on Monday issued a long-awaited decision that keeps intact the central claims of a lawsuit that asserts the federal government’s policies regarding the use of fossil fuels are contributing to global warming and violating the rights of 21 youth plaintiffs who first sued the government in 2015.
Residents and businesses in South Lake Tahoe can track their water use thanks to a shift to advanced metering infrastructure. That change to the new system, which tracks water usage hourly, replaces old quarterly meter reads, according to South Tahoe Public Utility District.
With one of the highest costs for water in San Diego County, Padre Dam Municipal Water District has faced a lot of pushback from residents tired of expensive bills. But some relief is in sight. As of July 1, the district said, the average customer in its service area paid the third-highest cost for water in the county — just over $100 per month.
When it comes to the top three crops, Glenn and Butte counties are pretty similar, as you’d expect neighbors to be. But after that, they become distant strangers. The Glenn County crop report for 2017 was released last week by Agricultural Commissioner Marcie Skelton, and the top three crops were almonds, walnuts and rice. That’s the same three as Butte County, although the order was different.
A dry winter curtailed the presence of a deadly forest pathogen this year in Sonoma County and 13 other Northern and Central California counties, but experts still expect the oak-killing disease to spread and warned landowners to be vigilant.
There was a little party Monday evening under the old water towers at East Third and Orient streets in Chico, to celebrate that the towers will be standing there for some time to come. California Water Service Co. had announced in June 2017 that the towers would have to come down as they were not earthquake safe, and the cost of repairing them would run into the millions of dollars.
Reservoirs have turned to dust. Farmers have fallow fields. But don’t expect the skiing to languish. Ski resorts have spent many decades amassing water rights and water storage and continuously upgrading snowmaking systems to make the state’s vibrant, multibillion-dollar resort industry virtually immune to drought — so long as this winter, farmers and ranchers have repeatedly said over the summer, is wetter than last winter and those critical reservoirs are filled to brimming come spring.
The promise of digital disruption in agriculture is enormous. Producing food and fiber is a data- and capital-intensive business. On the data side, a farmer’s feel for how to combine seeds, soil, water, and weather can now be complemented by mobile-phone based extension services, remote sensing data, and artificial intelligence.
Much was written during California’s recent five-year drought about the amount of water used by almonds. The nuts have become California’s most lucrative agricultural commodity, and a major export product. Long before concerns about water use by almond growers emerged, the industry initiated measures to conserve water by embracing microirrigation systems. It has also become a leader in efforts such as recharging groundwater by flooding almond orchards during winter storms.