“If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.”
It has been a heck of a summer of fire, heat and weeks of varying densities of smoke filled air painting what visibility we have had with a garish light one can imagine on some plane of Hell. But six months from now, our focus will likely turn from fires to floods – if decent amounts of precipitation fall. You’ve probably heard people wondering why anyone would live in or is allowed to live in these places – or news of people leaving the state after experiencing one of these events.
It is hard to believe it has been over 30 years since the release of a movie that became part of the “linguistic code talk” of the time period, but some of us have been dating ourselves by firing off lines like “No more rhyming, I mean it!” and getting looks of confusion rather than the expected reply of “Anybody want a peanut?”For those unfamiliar, “The Princess Bride” was a modern, fractured fairy tal
Crazy weather patterns or not, life is resurging – springing back – in the plant world around us. Yes, our evergreen neighbors have been active throughout the winter, hoping to take advantage of the dormancy of their deciduous relatives to catch a bit more solar energy in what is usually our wettest season of the year.
Rock snot… Quagga… Rattlebox… They sound like ingredients for a witch’s cauldron that Shakespeare missed or the names in a collection of wildlings from north of the wall in‘Game of Thrones,’ but they are names of actual species wreaking havoc on ecological systems and watersheds California. Most do not have names that generate a sense of foreboding or disgust as these may and quite a few can appear as cute and innocuous as the trick or treaters knocking on doors later this season.
Water is flowing forth from the Sierra Nevada, as a record setting snowpack begins to melt into a record setting flow of liquid propelled downhill by gravity. The U.S. Geological Survey Water Watch map of California is loaded with stream gages reporting near-flood levels on many of the state’s rivers and hundreds of cubic feet per second of water flowing into the Central Valley, Nevada and the lakes and valleys of the Eastern Sierra.
It seems Mother Nature has a wicked sense of irony and a fondness for the old saying, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ After five years of drought, the skies have opened up with a deluge of precipitation that for some it may be starting to seem like it’ll never end. Total precipitation was at 215% of average as of March 6th, with precipitation graphs for both the northern Sierra and
“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the Living Infinite.”
– Jules Verne, ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’
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!