Rethinking water management in California: how to benefit people and wildlife
A new strategy could help California water managers meet the needs of people as well as the environment. This could benefit at-risk species like shorebirds and salmon that historically flourished in the state’s great Central Valley, which stretches 450 miles from Redding to Bakersfield. Today people use so much water in this intensively farmed region that rivers can run dry. The strategy arose from a pilot analysis—called the Merced River Basin Flood-MAR (Managed Aquifer Recharge) Reconnaissance Study—that modeled using flood flows to recharge groundwater in the Merced River watershed. The goal was to optimize aquifer storage, reservoir storage, and environmental flows.
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