The federal government passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973,
following earlier legislation. The first, the Endangered
Species Preservation Act of 1966, authorized land acquisition to
conserve select species. The Endangered Species Conservation Act
of 1969 then expanded on the 1966 act, and authorized “the
compilation of a list of animals “threatened with worldwide
extinction” and prohibits their importation without a permit.”
Federal reserved rights were created when the United States
reserved land from the public domain for uses such as Indian
reservations, military bases and national parks, forests and
monuments. [See also Pueblo Rights].
Devastating floods are almost an annual occurrence in the West
and in California. With the anticipated sea level rise and other
impacts of a changing climate, particularly heavy winter rains,
flood management is increasingly critical in California.
Compounding the issue are human-made flood hazards such as levee
instability and stormwater runoff.
When people think of natural
disasters in California, they typically think about earthquakes.
Yet the natural disaster that residents are most likely to face
involves flooding, not fault lines. In fact, all 58 counties in
the state have declared a state of emergency from flooding at
least three times since 1950. And the state’s capital,
Sacramento, is considered one of the nation’s most flood-prone
cities. Floods also affect every Californian because flood
management projects and damages are paid with public funds.
With the dual threats of obsolete levees and anticipated rising sea levels,
areas adjacent to waterways that flood during wet years—are
increasingly at the forefront of many public policy and water
issues in California.
Adding to the challenges, many floodplains have been heavily
developed and are home to major cities such as Sacramento. Large
parts of California’s valleys are historic floodplains as well.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, injects high
pressure volumes of water, sand and chemicals into existing wells
to unlock natural gas and oil. The technique essentially
fractures the rock to get to the otherwise unreachable deposits.
The United States
Geographical Survey (USGS) defines freshwater as containing
less than 1,000 milligrams per liter dissolved solids. However,
500 milligrams per liter is usually the cutoff for municipal and
commercial use. Most of the Earth’s water is saline, 97.5
percent with only 2.5 percent fresh.
A part of the federal Central Valley
Project, the 152-mile Friant-Kern Canal in California’s San Joaquin Valley plays a
critical role in delivering water to 1 million acres of farmland
and 250,000 people from the Fresno area south to Bakersfield.