Topic: Climate Change

Overview

Climate Change

Aquafornia news Institutional Investor

California’s complex water market faces new challenges

The supply and demand of California water are geographically and seasonally disconnected, a trend that could be exacerbated by climate change. Agriculture, urban and environmental use compete for limited supply in the state’s $1.1 billion water market.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Is ecosystem change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta outpacing the ability of science to keep up?

Radically transformed from its ancient origin as a vast tidal-influenced freshwater marsh, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem is in constant flux, influenced by factors within the estuary itself and the massive watersheds that drain though it into the Pacific Ocean. Lately, however, scientists say the rate of change has kicked into overdrive…

Western Water Gary Pitzer Layperson's Guide to the Delta By Gary Pitzer

Is Ecosystem Change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Outpacing the Ability of Science to Keep Up?
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Science panel argues for a new approach to make research nimbler and more forward-looking to improve management in the ailing Delta

Floating vegetation such as water hyacinth has expanded in the Delta in recent years, choking waterways like the one in the bottom of this photo.Radically transformed from its ancient origin as a vast tidal-influenced freshwater marsh, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem is in constant flux, influenced by factors within the estuary itself and the massive watersheds that drain though it into the Pacific Ocean.

Lately, however, scientists say the rate of change has kicked into overdrive, fueled in part by climate change, and is limiting the ability of science and Delta water managers to keep up. The rapid pace of upheaval demands a new way of conducting science and managing water in the troubled estuary.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Press release: Financing water supply and sanitation in a changing climate

Smart investments in water supply and sanitation can benefit both the climate and those living in poverty, finds a new report from the Pacific Institute and Water.org. “Financing Water Supply and Sanitation in a Changing Climate” explores the connections between water, sanitation, and hygiene and climate change

Aquafornia news NASA Earth Observatory

Blog: California’s rising and sinking coast

What geologists call vertical land motion—or subsidence and uplift—is a key reason why local rates of sea level rise can differ from the global rate. California offers a good example of how much sea level can vary on a local scale. “There is no one-size-fits-all rule that applies for California,” said Em Blackwell, a graduate student at Arizona State University.

Aquafornia news The Beach Reporter

Report gives California an ‘A’ grade for coastal protection

Most states are doing a mediocre job – and some even a poor one – of managing shorelines and preparing for sea-level rise, according to a new study by the Surfrider Foundation. California, on the other hand, is a “shining example” and has excelled in responding to changes along the coast, earning the only “A” grade in the nation — but the report found there are still areas that need improvement…

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Novato bayside levee project nears completion

Working over the last year, construction crews expect to complete a new 2-mile levee near Novato in the coming weeks. It will allow bay waters to eventually reclaim nearly 1,600 acres, or about 2.5 square miles, of former tidal marshes that had been diked and drained for agriculture and development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farmers look to plant more rice acreage in the Delta

Now in its second year, a long-term project intends to learn whether rice farming in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta can succeed economically while helping to preserve the region’s uniquely carbon-rich peat soils.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Environmentalists win key battle over Mission Bay Park redevelopment, get $1.25M for marshland study

Local environmentalists won a key victory this week when the regional water board approved a $1.25 million study focused on transforming much of Mission Bay’s northeast corner into marshland, which could help San Diego fight sea level rise.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Eastern Coachella Valley residents urge the state for action on the Salton Sea

On Sept. 30, we sent a letter to state officials requesting that restoration projects coming out of the Salton Sea Management Program consider impacts on nearby communities. We hope those officials will share in our vision of reforestation and green spaces around the Salton Sea, see the benefits of such projects in addressing the sea’s deteriorating environmental conditions, and act with the same urgency.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Mega-fires arrived 30 years early, confounding scientists

A major analysis by California researchers projected that the amount of area burned by wildfire could jump 77% by the end of the century. Another study by UCLA warned that by 2050 fire on average would scorch twice as much land in Southern California. A doubling happened this year, instead of three decades from now.

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Aquafornia news Science

Distant seas might predict Colorado River droughts

In 2011, heavy snows in the Rocky Mountains filled the Colorado River, lifting reservoirs—and spirits—in the drought-stricken U.S. Southwest. The following year, however, water levels dropped to nearly their lowest in a century… Now, scientists say they may have come up with a potential early warning system for the Colorado’s water levels—by watching temperature patterns in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, thousands of kilometers away.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: We need to rethink our San Diego coast to deal with sea level rise before it’s too late

The solutions are not just about spending money, but changing how we do coastal development — fewer expensive seawalls and roads, and more “living shorelines” and coastal parks that can temporarily flood.

Aquafornia news NOAA Research News

Lawns provide surprising contribution to L.A. Basin’s carbon emissions

The Los Angeles Basin is often thought of as a dry, smoggy, overdeveloped landscape. But a new study led by NOAA and the University of Colorado, Boulder shows that the manicured lawns, emerald golf courses and trees of America’s second-largest city have a surprisingly large influence on the city’s carbon emissions…The green spaces within megacities provide numerous benefits, including improving air quality, capturing runoff, moderating temperatures and offering outdoor recreation.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Desalination plant in Orange County will help ensure clean drinking water

California is facing an impending water shortage. With widespread fires, a COVID-19 provoked economic recession bringing widespread unemployment and a public health emergency, it would be easy, but not prudent, to forget that we face a water crisis around the next corner.

Aquafornia news American Geophysical Union

Research tidbit: Where will snow survive in a warming world?

Even if mean annual snowfall decreases, an increase in the intensity of snowfall events could prevent snow ablation, or the loss of snow due to melting, sublimation or evaporation. … In this study, Marshall et al. (2020) analyze spatial patterns in snowfall using both observational data from snow networks across the Mountain West [from the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains to the Rockies] and outputs from climate change simulations.

Aquafornia news Stanford News

New agreement on U.S. hydropower and river conservation

A dialogue organized by Stanford that brought together environmental organizations, hydropower companies, investors, government agencies and universities has resulted in an important new agreement to help address climate change… Dan Reicher, a former U.S. assistant secretary of energy and board member of the conservation group American Rivers, spoke with us about brokering this new agreement…

Aquafornia news E&E News

FEMA ends policy favoring flood walls over green protections

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has taken a dramatic step to encourage communities to use environmentally friendly features such as wetlands for flood protection instead of building sea walls and levees.

Aquafornia news Futurity

Multiple droughts can be a mixed bag for forests

Droughts usually leave individual trees more vulnerable to subsequent droughts. “Compounding extreme events can be really stressful on forests and trees,” says Anna Trugman, assistant professor in the geography department at the UC Santa Barbara. She compares the experience to a person battling an illness: You’ll be harder hit if you get sick again while you’re still recovering.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Mary Nichols may be EPA’s next boss. Here’s her vision

California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols yesterday outlined her vision for EPA over the next four years. And it starts with science.

Aquafornia news EOS.org

Linking critical zone water storage and ecosystems

Several years into the research at the California Critical Zone Observatories, a multiyear drought lasting from fall 2011 to fall 2015 hit the state, causing massive tree death in the southern Sierra, while in Northern California there was essentially none. The massive die-off in the Sierra was a wake-up call for land managers and researchers alike…

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Executive order aims to conserve land, biodiversity

A new California Biodiversity Collaborative will help determine how to carry out an executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom aimed at conserving 30% of California’s land and marine areas by 2030—and agricultural organizations said they would participate to assure the collaborative recognizes stewardship efforts carried out on the state’s farms and ranches.

Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

As waters warm, ocean heatwaves are growing more severe

Off the coast of California this August a sea monster of record size was spotted: a patch of warm water that grew to the size of Canada, 9.8 million square kilometers simmering up to 4 degrees Celsius warmer than usual. … Researchers are now scrambling to chart or anticipate the impacts…

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Environmentalists and dam operators, at war for years, start making peace

The industry that operates America’s hydroelectric dams and several environmental groups announced an unusual agreement Tuesday to work together to get more clean energy from hydropower while reducing the environmental harm from dams, in a sign that the threat of climate change is spurring both sides to rethink their decades-long battle over a large but contentious source of renewable power. The United States generated about 7 percent of its electricity last year from hydropower, mainly from large dams built decades ago, such as the Hoover Dam, which uses flowing water from the Colorado River to power turbines. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: La Niña may signal scant relief from California’s seemingly endless loop of hot, dry weather

California just recorded its hottest September on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the state looks to be stuck in a nearly endless loop of hot, dry weather. With a strong La Niña developing, the dry pattern is looking ever harder to break, and could be settling in to stay for a while.

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Aquafornia news The Press

Department of Water Resources calls for the community’s input

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently launched an environmental justice community survey to gather input to inform Delta Conveyance Project planning. The survey, entitled, “Your Delta, Your Voice,” seeks direct input from communities that may be disproportionately affected by the proposed project.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

What’s green, soggy and fights climate change?

Protecting intact peatlands [such as those in California] and restoring degraded ones are crucial steps if the world is to counter climate change, European researchers said Friday. In a study, they said peat bogs, wetlands that contain large amounts of carbon in the form of decaying vegetation that has built up over centuries, could help the world achieve climate goals like the limit of 2 degrees Celsius of postindustrial warming that is part of the 2015 Paris agreement.

Aquafornia news Christian Science Monitor

Setting ‘good fires’ to reduce the West’s wildfire risk

Prescribed burning … targets brush, grasses, and other accumulated vegetation, along with dead and downed trees, to improve ecosystem health and reduce the fuels that power wildfires. … “We’re trying to encourage a cultural shift in our relationship with wildfire,” says Sasha Berleman, a fire ecologist who runs a prescribed burn training program based in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Fire isn’t going away, so let’s change how we’re living with it.”

Tour Nick Gray Jennifer Bowles Liz McAllister

Bay-Delta Tour 2020: Encore Event
A Virtual Journey - November 10

Join us as we guide you on a virtual journey deep into California’s most crucial water and ecological resource – the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The 720,000-acre network of islands and canals support the state’s two major water systems – the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. The Delta and the connecting San Francisco Bay form the largest freshwater tidal estuary of its kind on the West coast.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Colorado River water supply is predictable owing to long-term ocean memory

A team of scientists at Utah State University has developed a new tool to forecast drought and water flow in the Colorado River several years in advance. Although the river’s headwaters are in landlocked Wyoming and Colorado, water levels are linked to sea surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and the water’s long-term ocean memory.

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Relief on the horizon for dramatically salty Point Reyes water

For decades, salt has infiltrated wells in Point Reyes Station during late summer, but this year the intrusion is higher than ever due to a confluence of factors. Sea-level rise brings bay water closer to freshwater aquifers, and a National Park Service project to remove a series of dikes and dams by Lagunitas Creek in 2008 stripped the watershed of protection from high tides. Two bulk users, a construction company and firefighters, consumed more water this year.

Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

Blog: California water managers not ready for climate change

Water managers are underprepared for climate change in ways that will leave the state simultaneously at increased risk of water shortages and floods, according to a new analysis released by the Union of Concerned Scientists and accompanying peer-reviewed study in Climatic Change.

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Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Happy New Water Year, where’d all that Colorado River water go?

Despite that reduction in flow, total storage behind Glen Canyon and Hoover dams has dropped only 2.6 million acre feet. That is far less than you’d expect from 12 years of 1.2 maf per year flow reductions alone. That kind of a flow reduction should have been enough to nearly empty the reservoirs. Why hasn’t that happened? Because we also have been using less water.

Aquafornia news Green Car Congress

Report says lithium from California’s Salton Sea can anchor US battery supply chain

Developing lithium from the Salton Sea in California can help anchor a multi-billion dollar domestic electric vehicle battery supply chain and inject thousands of jobs and billions of dollars into California’s economically disadvantaged Imperial Valley, according to a new report from New Energy Nexus.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California governor calls for protecting 30% of state land and waters

Newsom, who made the announcement in a walnut orchard 25 miles outside of Sacramento, said innovative farming practices, restoring wetlands, better managing forests, planting more trees and increasing the number of parks are all potential tools. The goal is to conserve 30% of the state’s lands and coastal waters in the next decade as part of a larger global effort.

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Aquafornia news University of Texas

News release: Key indicators discovered of climate change’s impact on California water supply

In the new study, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with the Union of Concerned Scientists found that leading climate projections used by the state strongly agree that climate change will shift the timing and intensity of rainfall and the health of the state’s snowpack in ways that will make water management more difficult during the coming decades.

Aquafornia news Fast Company

How to redesign a forest: Restoring California’s trees in the age of fire

Last spring, a tree-planting crew hiked into the hills near Paradise, California, to take on a challenge: What’s the best way to replant a forest when it’s very likely that it could burn again?

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

Droughts that start over the ocean? They’re often worse than those that form over land

A Sept. 21 study published in the journal Water Resources Research found that, of all the droughts that affected land areas globally from 1981 to 2018, about 1 in 6 started over water and moved onto land, with a particularly high frequency along the West Coast of North America….The current Western drought could soon rise to a crisis level, with federal water managers warning that … two key Colorado River reservoirs may drop to levels that could result in economically damaging cuts to water allocations in the Southwest and California. 

Aquafornia news Designboom.com

NUDES designs a towering rainwater harvesting concept for San Jose

in a bid to celebrate the importance of water in our lives, the collaborative design office NUDES has conceived a rainwater harvesting tower for San Jose in California. The soaring ‘rain water catcher’ is a design proposal that aims to address the global impact of climate change by advocating the need for water conservation.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Redwood City salt ponds subject to environmental protections, judge rules

A federal judge ruled Monday that a sprawling collage of salt ponds in Redwood City is subject to protection under the Clean Water Act — going against a previous decision by the Environmental Protection Agency that would have eased development along the bay.

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Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

In correcting misappropriation of water, Nevada must balance legal rights with existing use

In the area that the Moapa Valley Water District serves, water users are facing an uncomfortable future: People are going to have to use less water than they were once promised. Over the last century, state regulators handed out more groundwater rights than there was water available. Today state officials say that only a fraction of those rights can be used, which could mean cuts.

Aquafornia news Soquel Creek Water District

News release: Soquel Creek Water District receives $88.9 million low-interest loan from US EPA for Pure Water Soquel construction

The Soquel Creek Water District is pleased to announce that its low-interest loan from the US Environmental Protection Agency has been approved, to be used toward construction of the Pure Water Soquel Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion Prevention Project. The loan, up to a maximum of $88.9 million at an interest rate of 1.34%, is part of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act funding program.

Aquafornia news Voice of America

Western wildfires threaten water supplies, spur utilities to action

In California’s Placer County, an unusual partnership between a county water utility, the U.S. Forest Service and environmentalists is taking on the work to prevent catastrophic fires on more than 11,000 hectares in the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The partnership arose from the ashes of 2014’s King fire. 

Aquafornia news Caiifornia WaterBlog

Blog: Happy 2021! Here’s to a new water year!

As we leave 2020, the soils are dry (and ashen) and most reservoirs and aquifers have been somewhat drawn down by the dry year.  Most major water storage reservoirs have below average storage, but some are above average.  We enter WY 2021 with less stored water than when we entered 2020.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Unsafe to drink: Wildfires threaten rural towns with tainted water

Among the largest wildfires in California history, the LNU Lightning Complex fires killed five people and destroyed nearly 1,500 structures — including whole blocks of the Berryessa Highlands neighborhood where Kody Petrini’s home stood. Camped out in a trailer on his in-laws’ nearby lot, the 32-year-old father of two, along with all of his neighbors, was warned not to drink the water or boil it because it could be contaminated with dangerous compounds like benzene… 

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Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Opinion: Who will be the next water hero for Arizona?

As Arizonans contemplate how to cast their votes on Nov. 3, the issue of water should be part of the decision. In Arizona we are in a climate-driven, 20-year drought with no relief in sight. The aridification of the West coupled with record temperatures and lack of monsoon this summer should make all of us aware of the importance of water.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Mega fires and floods: New extremes require a response of similar scale

Californians are understandably focused on the wildfires that have charred more than 3 million acres and darkened our skies – forcing us to find masks that protect us from both COVID-19 and smoke. But Californians should also pay attention to the multiple hurricanes that have devastated the Gulf Coast this season. These disasters have much in common.

Aquafornia news E&E News

DOE study: Solar-hydro projects could power 40% of world

Linking floating solar panels with hydropower could produce the equivalent of 40% of the world’s electricity, according to a new study by researchers at the Department of Energy. … The study provides the first global look by federal researchers at the technical potential of the hybrid concept.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Orange County desalination project doesn’t pencil out

Unfortunately, some Wall Street water companies are trying to take advantage of California’s drought fears by pushing through overpriced and unnecessary water projects. Poseidon Water Co. is one of those companies. Poseidon has been working for years to build a seawater desalination plant in Orange County, seeking a deal that would lock the local utility into buying their water for decades, regardless of need.

Aquafornia news UC San Diego

News release: Researchers use satellite imaging to map groundwater use in California’s Central Valley

Researchers at the University of California San Diego report in a new study a way to improve groundwater monitoring by using a remote sensing technology (known as InSAR), in conjunction with climate and land cover data, to bridge gaps in the understanding of sustainable groundwater in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

How Measure AA funds are restoring the bay

Assessments of the worst-case scenario predict the Bay may rise a damaging 1.9 feet by 2050 and as much as nearly 7 feet by 2100. Restoring even a fraction of the Bay’s lost wetlands would provide long-lasting benefits.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Conflict over U.S.-Mexico water treaty escalates as farmers take La Boquilla Dam

Tensions between Mexico and the United States over water intensified this month as hundreds of Mexican farmers seized control of La Boquilla dam in protest over mandatory water releases. The protesters came from parched Chihuahua state, nearly 100 square miles of land pressed against the U.S. border, where farmers are opposing the delivery of over 100 billion gallons of water to the United States by October 24.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Paying for forest health projects

Four days before dry lightning ignited this year’s statewide wildfire siege, state and federal leaders signed an agreement to vastly expand vegetation management in California. This signals progress towards shared management of forests to reduce the risk of large severe wildfires and improve their resilience to the changing climate. … But are current funding sources enough to keep pace?

Aquafornia news KPBS

San Diego County Water Authority sets agricultural water discount in exchange for reliability

Participants will pay $1,295 per acre-foot for treated water, while municipal and industrial users will pay $1,769 per acre-foot. Farmers who participate will receive a lower level of water service during shortages or emergencies. That allows the water authority to reallocate those supplies to commercial and industrial customers who pay for full reliability benefits. In exchange, participating farmers are exempt from fixed water storage and supply reliability charges.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: How will climate change affect the economic value of water in California?

Climate change is affecting natural resources in California, with water being one of the most important in the state. Water source is critical for municipalities, agriculture, industry, and habitat/environmental purposes. Will future supply meet future demand? How will the economic value of water change over this century?

Aquafornia news UC Davis News

Natural capital a missing piece in climate policy

Clean air, clean water and a functioning ecosystem are considered priceless. Yet the economic value of nature remains elusive in cost-benefit analysis of climate policy regulations and greenhouse-gas-reduction efforts. A study published Monday in the journal Nature Sustainability incorporates those insights from sustainability science into a classic model of climate change costs.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

This year’s monsoon season in Las Vegas? More like a ‘nonsoon’

The monsoon season — that period from mid-June through September that each year brings rains to the Mojave Desert and other areas of the Southwest from the tropical coast of Mexico — has been a dud this year. Las Vegas is in the middle of a record-breaking stretch without rain, and residents should be prepared for it to stay that way, scientists say.

Aquafornia news The Rolla Daily News

Research links sinking land to regions of high groundwater demand

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology … are using a form of artificial intelligence known as machine learning to map the sinking – called land subsidence – to help water policy officials make informed decisions. … To carry out their research, Smith and his Ph.D. student, Sayantan Majumdar, compiled hydrologic and subsidence data from satellites and ground-based GPS stations across the western U.S., including California, Arizona, and Nevada.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Opponents of Colorado River pipeline project view delay as progress

Regional water conservation groups and a Clark County commissioner welcomed a request by Utah officials Thursday to extend the federal environmental review of a controversial plan to divert billions of gallons of water from the Colorado River to southwest Utah.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Students kayak the Salton Sea to raise awareness about lake’s plight

Three Coachella Valley high schoolers kayaked across the Salton Sea Saturday to raise awareness about the social and ecological crisis unfolding as California’s largest lake continues to shrink and toxic dust from its shores pollutes the air.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Locals gear up for fight to keep Kings River water

Just as they did more than two generations ago, Kern County farmers are looking to another Central Valley river to the north to refill their groundwater shortfall. But this time around, natives in the Kings River watershed are “sharpening their knives” to fight off what they say is a desperate water grab.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Walker Lake group to take water suit back to federal court

Lawyers representing Mineral County and the Walker Lake Working Group announced this week they intend to take a water rights case with broad implications back to federal appeals court to ask whether Nevada can adjust already allocated water rights to sustain rivers and lakes long-term.

Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: When it comes to droughts, the costs of climate change are too high for both birds and people

Although droughts may not garner as much attention as acute extreme events like hurricanes, floods or fires, their multidimensional effects are vast. … A multi-year drought in California has seen the number of breeding waterfowl dip 46% below average as wetlands shrink and dry up.

Aquafornia news Reuters

California outpaced Trump’s Forest Service in wildfire prevention work: data

While more than half of California’s forests fall under federal management, the U.S. Forest Service consistently spends fewer dollars than the state in managing those lands to reduce wildfire risks, a Reuters data analysis reveals. The relative spending by federal and state forest authorities undermines President Donald Trump’s repeated attempts to blame deadly wildfires on a failure by California to clear its forests of dead wood and other debris.

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Aquafornia news Truthout

West Coast wildfires underscore ominous global trend: Forests are dying

Behind the apocalyptic wildfires in California and Oregon, another ominous trend is creeping across the globe: Everywhere in the world, trees are dying, with the biggest trees going first. Entire forests are threatened worldwide.

Aquafornia news BBC News

Global warming driving California wildfire trends – study

Climate change is driving the scale and impact of recent wildfires that have raged in California, say scientists. Their analysis finds an “unequivocal and pervasive” role for global heating in boosting the conditions for fire. California now has greater exposure to fire risks than before humans started altering the climate, the authors say.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: The Gulf hurricane is a call to action to protect Californians from catastrophic floods

No California communities are more shaped by water than those in the Delta.  Water surrounds communities like Stockton.  Water shaped our history and still shapes our economy, quality of life, culture, and is essential for a healthy environment.  And for our communities, water-related disasters are devastating. We see proof of that every day.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Heat and drought team up more frequently, with disastrous results

The combination of drought conditions and heat waves, which can make wildfires more likely, is becoming increasingly common in the American West, according to a new study. The results may be predictably disastrous.

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Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Colorado River Basin states request a better forum to resolve concerns with Lake Powell pipeline

In Utah, there is a significant effort underway to build a water delivery pipeline from Lake Powell to transport part of Utah’s Colorado River entitlement to Utah’s St. George area. As the federal environmental review for the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline in Utah continues, Utah’s six fellow Colorado River Basin states weighed in as a group, cautioning that unresolved issues remain.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Collaboration on the Colorado River between Mexico and the US brings benefits for both countries

At the September meeting of Metropolitan’s Water Planning and Stewardship Committee, Laura Lamdin, an associate engineer in water resource management, gave a presentation on how the United States and Mexico built a collaborative relationship, the many accomplishments that have come as a result, and a look at the work currently in progress.

Aquafornia news Climate.gov

Blog: U.S. drought vulnerability rankings are in: How does your state compare?

Despite facing recurring multi-year droughts (relatively high exposure), California ranks very low in drought vulnerability. Thanks to a strong economy and well-developed adaptation measures, it’s better prepared for an extreme drought when it occurs than most other states.

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Aquafornia news Aspen Journalism

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Reservoir-release pilot project in Colorado begins this week

Beginning Wednesday, Front Range water providers will release water stored in Homestake Reservoir in an effort to test how they could get water downstream to the state line in the event of a Colorado River Compact call….A compact call could occur if the upper basin states (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico) can’t deliver the 7.5 million acre-feet of water per year to the lower basin states (Arizona, California and Nevada), as required by a nearly century-old binding agreement.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: How changing climate will impact the flow of sediment to the San Francisco Bay‐Delta

Results from the model showed potential increases in large flow events and sediment transport over the next century. While increased suspended sediment loads may have some negative effects, such as contaminant transport, increased sediment can improve fish habitats and help sustain wetlands in the Bay‐Delta.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Ranchers discuss managing land, herds in drought

Don’t be a victim: That’s the advice of Joe Fischer, a seedstock cattle producer near Auburn, talking of ranchers dealing with drought in California. His position: Be proactive and plan ahead.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Latest Western Water article examines major report that tries to make sense of science vital to Colorado River management

Practically every drop of water that flows through the meadows, canyons and plains of the Colorado River Basin has reams of science attached to it. Our latest article in Western Water news examines a new report that synthesizes and provides context for that science and could aid water managers as they prepare to rewrite the operating rules for a river system so vital to the Southwestern United States and Mexico.

Aquafornia news American Rivers

Blog: Investing in rivers is money well spent

Earlier this summer, American Rivers released a new report, Rivers as Economic Engines, detailing how the right investments in water infrastructure, natural infrastructure and river restoration can create jobs, strengthen communities and address longstanding injustices. … We are calling on Congress to invest $500 billion over 10 years to create the transformational change we need when it comes to ensuring clean water and healthy rivers for everyone.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House Dems set hearing on Western wildfires

A House Agriculture subcommittee this week will examine the response to Western wildfires, less than three months after its chairwoman predicted the COVID-19 pandemic would make this fire season like no other.

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Aquafornia news Writers on the Range

Opinion: A clear warning about the Colorado River

A crisis could be approaching. The two giant reservoirs on the Colorado River are both below 50 percent of capacity. If drought causes even more drastic drops, the Bureau of Reclamation could step in to prioritize the making of electricity by the hydro plants at lakes Mead and Powell. No one knows what BuRec would do, but it would call the shots and end current arrangements.

Aquafornia news SciTechDaily

OpenET: Transforming water management in the U.S. West with NASA data

California’s Delta Watermaster Michael George is responsible for administering water rights within the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which supplies drinking water to more than 25 million Californians and helps irrigate 3 million acres of farmland. For him, the development of OpenET signals an exciting opportunity for the future of water in the West.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: How California became ground zero for climate disasters

California is one of America’s marvels. By moving vast quantities of water and suppressing wildfires for decades, the state has transformed its arid and mountainous landscape into the richest, most populous and bounteous place in the nation. But now, those same feats have given California a new and unwelcome category of superlatives.

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Aquafornia news Microsoft

Blog: Microsoft will replenish more water than it consumes by 2030

By 2030 we will be water positive, meaning we will replenish more water than we use. We’ll do this by putting back more water in stressed basins than our global water consumption across all basins. … We will focus our replenishment efforts on roughly 40 highly stressed basins where we have operations….Our new Silicon Valley campus, opening later this year in California, features an on-site rainwater collection system and waste treatment plant to ensure 100% of the site’s non-potable water comes from onsite recycled sources.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better

President Trump dismissed evidence pointed to by California’s governor of climate change’s role in the state’s continuing wildfires during a Fox News interview on Sunday… The president went on during the interview to attack California over its water management policies, which he blamed on efforts to protect the Delta smelt…

Aquafornia news High Country News

Killing the Vegas pipeline — Nevada’s attitude toward water is changing

Over the years, these groups united against a single cause: the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s “Groundwater Development Project,” a proposal to pump 58 billion gallons of water a year 300 miles to Las Vegas from the remote rural valleys of Nevada and Utah. … In May, their three decades of resistance to the pipeline ended in victory: The project was terminated.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

S.F.’s Embarcadero could be devastated by earthquakes and rising seas, study warns

The Embarcadero faces severe threats, with regionwide repercussions from both earthquakes that could undermine the city’s seawall and a rise in bay waters that could flood downtown streets and inundate BART and Muni tunnels, according to an exhaustive new study from the Port of San Francisco.

Aquafornia news KAZU Radio

Santa Cruz County drinking water takes a hit after wildfire

The CZU Lightning Complex Fire badly damaged seven and a half miles of water supply lines made of polyethylene, a plastic, in northern Santa Cruz County. That triggered the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, State Water Resources Control Board, and Santa Cruz County Health Department to issue a Do Not Drink - Do Not Boil water advisory for over 3,000 households in Northern Santa Cruz County in late August.

Aquafornia news Marketplace

Water enters futures market, allowing buyers to lock in prices

There is a new product allowing businesses in California — mostly farms and other agricultural businesses that rely on water — to lock in prices for water. But there are plenty of questions as to how this will actually work. To state the obvious, it’s just not that easy to transact in water. It’s not a block of gold, or even a barrel of oil.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

What ‘eerie’ wildfire smoke is doing to Lake Tahoe

What is all this smoke from wildfires doing to Lake Tahoe itself? I called Dr. Geoffrey Schladow, director of the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, to find out. Schladow is part of a group of scientists that measure and track Tahoe’s clarity. … To answer my question, Schladow gave a standard scientist’s response: It’s complicated.

Aquafornia news Popular Science

California wildfires may give way to massive mudslides

When fires burn up vegetation, the charred remains become hydrophobic—meaning they repel away any water. The soil is also very dry, which counterintuitively makes it harder for water to infiltrate. … Fires can also destroy the natural clumps in soil, increasing their erodibility. Altogether, this means that water is hitting the ground with more force and the soil is unable to suck it up.

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Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Ending conflicts over water

In recent years, a wide range of water-related factors have contributed to political instability, human dislocation and migration, agricultural and food insecurity, and in more and more cases, actual conflict and violence.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Water wars at the Supreme Court: ‘It’s only going to get worse’

The U.S. Supreme Court kicks off its new term next month with a unique “original jurisdiction” water dispute—the likes of which could become more common as the climate changes. The justices are set to hear Texas v. New Mexico, virtually, on their first day of oral arguments Oct. 5. Here’s how original jurisdiction water cases work, what’s at stake this term, and what’s on the horizon.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Almond growers are committed to finding water solutions that work for people, farms, and fish

Through research funded by the Almond Board of California we are exploring ways to recharge groundwater aquifers, be good stewards of the water that we all collectively share as a state, and even helping the salmon industry understand how agricultural land, like rice fields, could play a role in supporting salmon health.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

East Tule agency to charge farmers for pumping water

Farmers whose only access to water is pumping from their own well will get their first glimpse at what the state’s new groundwater management law will cost them next month. On Oct. 1, the East Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency will hold a public hearing to discuss a groundwater extraction fee…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Friday Top of the Scroll: First water futures contract is coming with the West on fire

If the record heat and wildfires ravaging California weren’t a clear enough sign that the climate is changing, then consider this: Wall Street is about to start trading futures contracts on the state’s water supply. … They are intended to both allow California’s big water consumers—like almond farms and municipalities—to hedge against surging prices and can act as a benchmark that signals how acute water scarcity is becoming in the state and, more broadly, across the globe.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA facilitates progress of national water reuse action plan

On Wednesday, at the virtual 35th Annual WateReuse Symposium, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency facilitated a “charrette” to identify challenges and map solutions to continue advancing the National Water Reuse Action Plan… “Water reuse must be a central theme in EPA’s efforts to meet 21st century demands for water,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Water board must establish a state water budget that California can afford

Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt writes that a “Grand Bargain” in California water is needed to end the “political culture of deferral” and allow major water projects to advance. On the contrary, what’s needed is an adult regulator that will make hard choices that water users refuse to make.

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Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Where groundwater gives way to warm springs, a fight continues over building a new desert town outside Las Vegas

The housing developer and the powerful water utility, locked into past contracts, are caught in a fight, playing out in hydrologic reports and hearing rooms, over what might seem a simple question: How much water is there? That answer is complicated by how much is at stake — a Colorado River tributary, the survival of an endangered Nevada fish and the future of development in a sweeping area outside Las Vegas.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Meet the man who told Trump climate change is real

Wade Crowfoot, a California Cabinet secretary, didn’t plan on confronting President Trump on extreme heat and wildfires. Then Trump dismissed climate change.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

University of Arizona researchers unveil new model for desert farming in warming world

A team of scientists, led by the University of Arizona, has developed a new blueprint for arid-land agriculture using wild, native crops and modern growing techniques. The 14 researchers from the Southwest and Mexico believe their model can produce a sustainable, local source of food that will improve the health and well-being of consumers and farmworkers alike.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Blog: Wildfires can leave toxic drinking water behind – here’s how to protect the public

We recommend issuing “Do Not Use” orders in the wake of major fires to protect the public before water testing results are available. We believe it is acceptable to use water for fire fighting and toilet flushing, but not for purposes that involve ingestion, skin exposure or inhalation, such as bathing or cooking.

Aquafornia news USA Today

Creek Fire ignites fire management debate on beetles, climate change

When the Creek Fire exploded to 160,000 acres in just 72 hours, ripping through a jewel of the Sierra Nevada just south of Yosemite National Park, California and the world looked on in horror and surprise. But the stage had long been set for the megablaze, one of a half-dozen transforming millions of acres of Golden State landscapes to ash. Droughts supercharged by climate change dried out vegetation, aiding its transition into fuel.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Risk of Colorado River shortage is on the rise, could hit within 5 years, officials say

Following a hot and extremely dry spring and summer, the Bureau of Reclamation’s latest projections show that in a scenario of continuing drought between now and 2025, the chances of Lake Mead falling into a shortage has increased to nearly 80%. The odds of the reservoir dropping to critically low levels by 2025 under this scenario was estimated at nearly 20%.

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Aquafornia news Fast Company

This tool is mapping every tree in California to help stop megafires

Scientists at Salo Sciences, a startup that works on technology for natural climate solutions, began creating the tool after interviewing dozens of experts in California about the state’s challenges with wildfires: They need more detailed, up-to-date information about the forests so they can better predict how fast and in what direction fires will spread…

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Mexican farmers seize La Boquilla dam to protest water debt payments to U.S.

For 75 years, through tensions and disputes over immigration, narcotrafficking and trade, Mexico and the United States have sent each other billions of gallons of water annually to irrigate farms along the border under a treaty signed during World War II. But today, the 1944 agreement is facing increasingly violent opposition in drought-parched Chihuahua state, where protesters have seized control of a major dam to dramatize the plight of farmers…

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump downplays climate change, says California must thin forests

President Donald Trump, arriving in Sacramento for a briefing on Western wildfires, continued to downplay the role of climate change in California’s horrific fire season, claimed the earth will soon begin cooling — and told California and other states to solve the problem by managing their forests more wisely. Trump’s comments belied the broad consensus among scientists that climate change is contributing heavily to the worsening of wildfire seasons — and that the problem will get worse over time, not better. 

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Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

Changing patterns of ocean salt levels give scientists clues to extreme weather on land

New mapping of salt concentrations in the world’s oceans confirms what physics and climate models have long suggested: Global warming is intensifying Earth’s water cycle, speeding up the rate at which water evaporates in one area and falls as rain or snow somewhere else. That intensification has enormous implications because it worsens droughts and increases extreme rainstorms and flooding.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Mexican water wars: Dam seized, troops deployed, at least one killed in protests about sharing with U.S.

Mexico’s water wars have turned deadly. A long-simmering dispute about shared water rights between Mexico and the United States has erupted into open clashes pitting Mexican National Guard troops against farmers, ranchers and others who seized a dam in northern Chihuahua state.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Is climate change worsening California fires, or is poor forest management to blame? Yes

In recent years, nearly 150 million trees died around the state as their roots delved fruitlessly for water and a devastating bark beetle infestation took hold. Both the drought and the insect spread that came with it were exacerbated by changing climate conditions linked to humans burning fossil fuels, scientists concluded. Now those trees, like so much else in the American West, are burning as California contends with a reckoning more than 100 years in the making.

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Aquafornia news ASU Now

Blog: Arizona State University water policy expert addresses new concerns about state’s precious resource

The cuts are a plan to keep Lake Mead, a reservoir at the Arizona-Nevada boundary, functional. Water levels have precipitously dropped as a result of historic overallocation and a drought that started in 2000. … ASU Now checked in with Sarah Porter of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at the Morrison Institute on how these new developments will impact the Copper State and its residents.

Aquafornia news Audubon

A disease outbreak in California has killed an estimated 40,000 birds

As wildfires burn across California, temperatures hit record highs, and communities cope with the COVID-19 crisis, biologist Caroline Brady is helping respond to a different disaster: the worst avian botulism outbreak that anyone can remember at the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Colorado River Bundle By Gary Pitzer

The Colorado River is awash in data vital to its management, but making sense of it all is a challenge
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Major science report that highlights scientific shortcomings and opportunities in the Basin could aid water managers as they rewrite river's operating rules

The Colorado River threading its way through a desert canyon near Lee Ferry, Arizona. Practically every drop of water that flows through the meadows, canyons and plains of the Colorado River Basin has reams of science attached to it. Snowpack, streamflow and tree ring data all influence the crucial decisions that guide water management of the iconic Western river every day.

Dizzying in its scope, detail and complexity, the scientific information on the Basin’s climate and hydrology has been largely scattered in hundreds of studies and reports. Some studies may conflict with others, or at least appear to. That’s problematic for a river that’s a lifeline for 40 million people and more than 4 million acres of irrigated farmland.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Removing carbon from air, which increases water use, is no simple climate fix

Delaying emissions reductions now and having to deploy carbon removal at large scale in the coming decades could worsen water stress at the same time that water is already expected to become scarcer in some regions and seasons due to warming temperatures, said Andres Clarens, one of the study authors.

Aquafornia news E&E News

How record-smashing heat invited infernos to the West

California’s average temperature of 79 degrees last month was 5.3 degrees above normal in the state for August. August heat will have “a carryover effect” in California, University of Colorado fire scientist Jennifer Balch said, making forests and grasslands drier than normal and primed for ignition when the state’s peak wildfire season begins next month with the arrival of strong winds.

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Aquafornia news Forbes

Blog: Climate change may bring unexpected benefits to San Francisco Bay-Delta

The San Francisco Bay-Delta is literally threatened from all sides: rising sea levels from the ocean, disruptions to sediment supply from upstream, and within the Bay-Delta itself, development and other land use changes have left only a tiny fraction (5%) of marshland untouched. … A recent study by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey used historical streamflow and sediment data to predict what will happen to the Bay-Delta under varying levels of climate change.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta Independent Science Board: 10 years on

At the August meeting of the Delta Independent Science Board, the new members joined with the outgoing members for reflections and discussion to bring the new members up to speed on the Delta ISB’s ongoing work.

Aquafornia news UC Santa Barbara

Blog: Future flooding

California is on track to get drier over the coming decades. But that doesn’t mean the golden state’s water woes come only from too little rain. In a new study, researchers at UC Santa Barbara and UCLA warn that flooding potential associated with extreme precipitation events is set to sharply increase.

Aquafornia news EnviroBites

If a forest burns in a fire, does it return to normal?

“When a forest burns in a wildfire, should we expect it to return as it was before?” Research scientist Jonathan Coop and his team pose this question. It addresses a critical conundrum in ecology: How do ecosystems recover from disturbance and why?

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Study of ocean salinity reveals amped-up global water cycle

There is something in the water on planet Earth. A study published Wednesday reveals climate change has amplified the water cycle, which explains the more frequent extreme weather patterns in recent years.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The climate connection to California’s wildfires

While California’s climate has always made the state prone to fires, the link between human-caused climate change and bigger fires is inextricable, said Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Firestorm devastates Butte County again as California burns

Less than two years after the most destructive fire in California history tore through Paradise, the same region was under siege from a second monster firestorm that quickly grew to more than 250,000 acres, sweeping through mountain hamlets and killing at least three people. … Across the state, 28 major wildfires have prompted more than 64,000 people to evacuate…

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Aquafornia news Oregon Public Broadcasting

Audio: Plan to remove 4 Klamath River dams may stall again

In 2010, tribes joined the company that owns the dams and other stakeholders in an agreement to remove the dams in 2020. The plan was later delayed to 2022, and now it may stall again because of a recent decision by federal regulators.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Report: Great Salt Lake shrinking more than a foot annually

Utah’s Great Salt Lake is shrinking every year, but experts are implementing measures to slow the water loss, a new report said.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Nation’s largest solar farm approved for Tulare County

The project proposes to cover 3,600 acres near the town of Ducor with enough solar panels to … provide 100% of the power needed for 180,000 homes… The Tulare County Farm Bureau did submit a letter reminding the board of the law’s intent to preserve farm land and not to create solar farms, but ultimately agreed the project would give landowners with sparse access to irrigation water options to make their lands profitable.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Blog: DWR releases draft guidebook for 2020 Urban Water Management Plans

The Guidebook is designed to assist urban water suppliers with preparing UWMPs that are due to DWR on July 1. DWR also released its draft 2020 Agricultural Water Management Plan Guidebook related to long-term water supply and demand strategies for agricultural water planning.

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

With Baylands under flood threat, Palo Alto explores projects to address sea level rise

If current predictions hold, the entire Palo Alto Baylands could be submerged by the middle of the century because of sea level rise, a destructive predicament that would threaten both the sensitive habitat and the critical infrastructure in the nature preserve. To prepare for rising tides, the city is moving ahead with the creation of a new Sea Level Adaptation Plan…

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: ‘Ground zero’ for dead trees: How California mega-drought turned Creek Fire into inferno

By killing millions of trees in the Sierra National Forest, the historic drought that ended in 2017 left an incendiary supply of dry fuel that appears to have intensified the fire that’s ravaged more than 140,000 acres in the southern Sierra Nevada, wildfire scientists and forestry experts said.

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

‘Until the Last Drop’ documentary explains California water wars

The water wars are far from over, a point made clear in a just-released feature-length documentary, “Until the Last Drop.” If you can block from your mind the old Folgers “good to the last drop” commercials, the film title will evoke a combination of dripping water with a fight to the last drop of blood.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California sets record with 2M acres burned so far this year

Wildfires have burned more than 2 million acres in California this year, setting a state record even as crews battled dozens of growing blazes in sweltering temperatures Monday that strained the electrical grid and threatened power outages for millions. The most striking thing about the record is how early it was set, with the most dangerous part of the year still ahead…About 30 houses were destroyed in the remote hamlet of Big Creek, … [but] a school, church, library, historic general store and a major hydroelectric plant were spared…

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Aquafornia news YubaNet.com

Study: Climate change could deliver more sediment and pollution to the San Francisco Bay-Delta

Climate change could deliver more silt, sand and pollution to the San Francisco Bay-Delta, along with a mixed bag of other potential consequences and benefits, according to a new study in the AGU journal Water Resources Research, which publishes research articles and commentaries providing a broad understanding of the role of water in Earth’s natural systems.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona endorses GSC Farm LLC’s plan to sell Colorado River water to Queen Creek

Arizona’s top water regulator has endorsed a company’s proposal to take water from farmland near the Colorado River and sell it to the fast-growing Phoenix suburb of Queen Creek. The plan, which still would require federal approval, has generated a heated debate about whether transferring water away from the farming community of Cibola could harm the local economy, and whether the deal would open the gates for more companies to buy land near the river with the sole aim of selling off the water for profit.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Fort Bragg’s water shortage means steep cuts, no watering of lawns; climate scientists say to expect more

Starting in mid-July, the flows in the Noyo River began dropping faster than in any other summer on record. The river flow is below 2015 low flows, when the entire state was in a drought emergency. John Smith, director of Fort Bragg Public Works, said staff had never before seen water levels in the Noyo drop so precipitously.

Aquafornia news The Packer

Opinion: Growers must solve California’s water challenges

I visited in late August with Matt Angell about California San Joaquin Valley water issues. Angell is a chairman of San Joaquin Resource Conservation District 9, is a managing partner at Pacific Farming Co., and also is managing director of Madera Pumps. The conversation included discussion of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and what that will require of growers in the years ahead.

Aquafornia news American Chemical Society

News release: Regional variations in freshwater overconsumption

With an ever-increasing human population, water shortages already occurring in many areas are only expected to get worse. Now, researchers reporting in Environmental Science & Technology have estimated the freshwater supply and demand of about 11,000 water basins across the globe, determining that one-fourth of freshwater consumption exceeds regional capacities.

Aquafornia news KGO TV

Experts question impact of North Bay wildfires on endangered Coho salmon

As the North Bay continues to deal with thick smoke from still-smoldering wildfires, some experts are already beginning to wonder about this winter. They’re concerned about endangered salmon in the Russian River watershed. Ground zero is the Warm Springs Fish Hatchery just below Lake Sonoma, at the top of the Dry Creek Valley.

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Aquafornia news California Natural Resources Agency

News release: California/Nevada Tahoe Science Advisory Council elevates efforts to protect and restore Lake Tahoe

Nevada and California joined forces last week at the 24th annual Lake Tahoe Summit to advance the states’ shared priorities to protect and restore Lake Tahoe. … There is a long history of collaboration between Nevada and California to restore and protect the spectacular natural treasure of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding environment. This spirit of collaboration was a pillar of the 24th annual Lake Tahoe Summit

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: New approach needed to protect health of California’s rivers

Dams, diversions, and land conversion have substantially altered California’s rivers and disrupted the processes that sustain ecosystem health. The result is a crisis for native fish and wildlife and the loss of many benefits we derive from river ecosystems.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

EcoRestore update: Five years in, program makes big gains on Delta habitat restoration

California EcoRestore is an initiative started in 2015 under the Brown Administration with the ambitious goal of advancing at least 30,000 acres of critical habitat restoration in the Delta and Suisun Marsh by 2020. … At the August meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Bill Harrell, gave an update on the Eco Restore program and the progress that has been made over the past five years.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Regional Change

Report: Sustainable for whom? The impact of groundwater sustainability plans on domestic wells

Studies estimate that 1.5 – 2.5 million Californians rely on domestic wells to meet their household water needs. But because domestic wells are often shallow, they are also often sensitive to changes in groundwater levels. As such, sustainable groundwater management has an important role to play in safeguarding the health and safety of residents and the achievement of California’s recognized Human Right to Water.

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Aquafornia news University of Colorado Boulder

Blog: New grant supports interdisciplinary research on ‘the critical zone’ and the future of Western water

CU Boulder will collaborate with five other universities and two federal partners to better understand how water, trees, soils and rocks interact and change each other in the fire- and drought-prone landscapes of the American West. The team has chosen five locations in Colorado and California to test a variety of hypotheses about water in the critical zone. And not only from a physical perspective, but also from ecological and chemical perspectives.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Opinion: It’s time to re-envision the California water system

Recent research looking at projected global temperature increases and large-scale oceanic and atmospheric processes contains alarming news for California water and flood planners. According to this emerging science, intense precipitation and flooding from “pineapple express”-style winter storms could both shift eastwardly landward and intensify by up to 40% by the latter half of the century.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Environmentalists pledge to fight first local auction of federal oil leases since 2012

The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity last week said it’s targeting a federal plan to auction in December seven parcels totaling about 4,330 acres in or near existing oilfields in the county. The CBD called the auction plan a “breathtakingly vicious” move by the Trump administration to expand drilling and fracking at a time of wildfires driven by climate change in an area with some of the country’s worst air quality.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: In a California landscape defined — and divided — by water, a single issue unites people who live in the Delta: Digging in against the tunnel

Gov. Gavin Newsom, like governors before him, wants to overhaul how water moves through the delta. He’s proposing a 30-mile tunnel that would streamline the delivery of water from the Sacramento River, a bid to halt the ongoing devastation of the delta’s wetlands and wildlife while ensuring its flows continue to provide for the rest of the state. The pressures of climate change on water supplies have only increased the urgency to act. And the coronavirus pandemic and months of shelter-in-place orders haven’t slowed the planning. ….The tunnel, as much as anything, is the very symbol of the state’s never-ending water wars.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

As fire burns, activists sneak into Point Reyes to bring water to parched elk. Should they?

As darkness fell and a thick Pacific fog crept in over the Point Reyes peninsula on Sunday, a small band of animal activists waited for a National Park Service official to leave his check-post… At 6 p.m., as his shift came to a close and he drove away, the small bucket-brigade crept in. They were transporting roughly 200 gallons of water to the park’s tule elk…

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Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater authority approves transient pool, fallowing program

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority last week voted unanimously to adopt a transient pool and fallowing program and also approve findings that the programs are exempt from California Environmental Quality Act review — meaning the programs are not considered to have a significant impact on the environment.

Aquafornia news EOS.org

New tool quantifies and predicts snow droughts

Laurie Huning, a hydrologist at California State University, Long Beach, said snow droughts have been understudied relative to other types of drought, which is why she and her colleague Amir AghaKouchak sought to create a framework for monitoring and describing the phenomenon around the world.

Aquafornia news Water Buffs Podcast

Audio: Water managers cope with climate change

We discuss innovative water solutions with Cynthia Koehler, executive director of the Water Now Alliance, a nonprofit that works with water providers to help them address climate change and other challenges facing our water systems. Topics include water conservation, green infrastructure, tiered water pricing, big data and new technologies.

Aquafornia news Hi-Desert Star

Water district OKs contract for long-range planning

The Twentynine Palms Water District will pay the consulting firm of Kennedy Jenks $84,660 to create a new Urban Water Management Plan for the district. … The plan, General Manager Ray Kolisz told directors, helps with long term planning of water resources and existing and future needs. This year’s plan,he said, will need to address issues related to climate change.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Lab

News release: Some of America’s favorite produce crops may need to get a move on by 2045

New research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that by the years 2045-2049 future temperatures will have more of an effect on when cool-season crops, such as broccoli and lettuce, can be grown than on where, while for warm-season crops (cantaloupe, tomatoes, carrots) the impact will be greater for where they can be grown versus when.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Why CA spends billions but is vulnerable to big wildfires

Michael Wara, a climate and energy expert at Stanford University who’s advised the state Legislature on wildfire issues, said the state is still grappling with a legacy of spending money on fighting fires instead of on forest health, such as thinning overgrown brush and removing millions of drought-killed trees, building fire breaks around communities and intentionally setting fires when conditions safely allow it…

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Aquafornia news The Planning Report

Blog: CalEPA’s Jared Blumenfeld on grounding COVID recovery in climate action

As California grapples with record-breaking heat, wildfire, pandemic, and a $54 billion budget deficit, TPR spoke with CalEPAgency Secretary Jared Blumenfeld to discuss how his agency’s priorities have been impacted… Blumenfeld reiterates Gov. Newsom’s commitment to ensuring safe and affordable rural drinking water and opportunities to propel the state’s post-COVID economic recovery with clean jobs.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Third driest year on record for Lake Mendocino, Army Corps declares

With Lake Mendocino losing about a foot of water every five days, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers declared that 2020 is the “third driest year on record for the basin.” Though 2019 “was one of the wettest years over the past 25 years, this year is stacking up to be one of the driest,” the Army Corps explained…However, the Army Corps said a new forecasting model for storms developed over the last few years has definitely helped maintain the lake’s water levels.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Why conserving water today means more groundwater for tomorrow

Groundwater is California’s water savings bank account that can be tapped during dry years when water in lakes and rivers are low. Conserving water helps preserve groundwater, which is important for plants, animals and people.

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Saltwater intrusion at North Marin wells reaches historic high

North Marin Water District has struggled for decades with periodic and seasonal salinity intrusion resulting from the wells’ proximity to Tomales Bay, but the problem is especially dire this summer as freshwater becomes scarce.

Aquafornia news EcoWatch

We can solve water scarcity in the U.S., new study says

The study … says that some of the most water-stressed areas in the West and Southwest have the greatest potential for water savings. The paper attributes nearly half the potential to simply improving how water is used in agriculture, specifically in growing the commodity crops, corn, cotton and alfalfa.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Adapting to flood, fire, and drought: A case study of the American River

At ACWA’s virtual conference held in July of 2020, a panel comprised of agencies described the experience of the American River region in evaluating climate impacts on their watershed in a new cutting-edge study and the comprehensive suite of projects designed to address increasing threats from more frequent and intense floods, fires, and droughts.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Tom Philpott predicts the end of farming as we know it

The veteran food writer’s new book warns that the current trajectory of farming in California’s Central Valley and the Corn Belt could be setting us up for collapse.

Aquafornia news Innovation Center for Ecosystem Climate Solutions

News release: State-funded research collaboration surveys California stakeholders about climate resilience challenges

The Innovation Center for Ecosystem Climate Solutions (CECS), a state-funded collaboration between eight California research institutions, is working to develop innovative solutions to managing California’s wildlands to reduce negative impacts of drought and climate change. The Center’s goal is to identify land management practices that simultaneously enhance carbon sequestration, reduce wildfire severity, protect watersheds and increase ecological and community resilience. The center is conducting a survey to better understand stakeholder needs and develop data/information solutions for active ecosystem management. 

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: New $15.9b Delta tunnel cost estimate: Revisiting DWR’s 2018 analysis with updated costs shows it is a bad investment

Simply updating costs to this latest estimate ($15.9 billion in 2020 dollars is equivalent to $15 billion in the 2017$) reduces the benefit-cost ratio for State Water Project urban agencies from 1.23 to 0.92, and for agricultural agencies from 1.17 to 0.87. That’s a bad investment, but it is actually much worse than that.

Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: Lake Mead and Lower Colorado River to remain in tier Zero shortage for 2021

Above-average temperatures in spring resulted in a paltry 57% runoff, nowhere near enough water to refill the reservoirs that remain half-empty. Based on these conditions, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recently determined that 2021 will be a “tier zero” year under the Lower Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan, with reduced water deliveries for Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico.

Aquafornia news CalEPA

News Release: Study finds wastewater treatment plants could profit by processing food waste while reducing greenhouse gasses

A new report issued today by the California Environmental Protection Agency shows that at least half of California’s landfill-bound food waste could be processed at the state’s wastewater treatment plants and serve as an innovative power source.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Major California water agencies partner with Scripps to better predict atmospheric rivers and improve water management

The San Diego County Water Authority announced Monday it is partnering with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego to better predict atmospheric rivers and improve water management before, during and after those seasonal storms. [The other affiliates are: Irvine Ranch Water District, Orange County Water District, Sonoma Water, Turlock Irrigation District, and Yuba Water Agency.]

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Bruce Babbitt: Gov. Newsom must clarify his Delta tunnel plan

Tunnel proponents say they do not expect to operate the tunnel at capacity, and it would be in use mainly to draw from the periodic storms that send more water through the Delta out to San Francisco Bay. But how much would that be? The usual answer is: we will leave that to the experts.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

20th century dam building found to have offset sea level rise

Most scientists in the field agree that sea levels should have risen more than they did over most of the past century. In this new effort, the researchers have taken another look at the problem and suggest the reason for the discrepancies was water being captured in reservoirs by dams.

Aquafornia news ScienceAlert.com

Blog: Up to half the world’s water supply is being stolen, a troubling report reveals

There is some debate about what counts as water theft – or even if it exists at all, as water is a natural resource that we all have access to. But the team looked at three separate case studies involving improper water use: growing marijuana in California, strawberries in Spain, and cotton in Australia.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

To manage wildfire, California looks to what tribes have known all along

Men and women from Native American tribes in Northern California stood in a circle, alongside university students and locals from around the town of Mariposa. … For the next two days, the group would be carefully lighting fires in the surrounding hills. Also sprinkled through the crowd were officials from the state government, which a century ago had largely prohibited California’s tribes from continuing their ancient practice of controlled burns.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Lower Basin use of main stem Colorado River water dropping to levels not seen since 1980s

A friend last week pointed out something remarkable. Arizona, California, and Nevada are forecast this year to use just 6.8 million acre feet of their 7.5 million acre foot allocation of water from the main stem of the Colorado River. And that’s not just a one-off.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California says Delta tunnel project will cost $15.9 billion

After months of relative quiet, Newsom’s administration released a preliminary cost estimate for the scaled-back project Friday: $15.9 billion for a single tunnel running beneath the estuary just south of Sacramento. That’s nearly as much as the old $16.7 billion price tag put on the larger, twin-tunnel plan…

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Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Nobody’s talking about the sports arena flood zone

Developers submitted dueling bids for the right to revamp a 48-acre triangular stretch of land off Sports Arena Boulevard in San Diego’s Midway District. Critics are fixated on whether to replace the old, grain bin-looking sports arena. … But whatever stands there in the end could be up to its ears in seawater in the second half of this century.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Basin replenishment fee passed

The basin replenishment fee was passed by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority with a vote of four to one Friday afternoon. IWV Water District Director Ron Kicinski was the sole no vote. The IWVGA voted after the basin replenishment fee protest hearing Friday failed. The IWVGA did not announce the number of protest votes received…

Aquafornia news Popular Science

California shut off power grids, but not because of clean energy

It will take time to conduct a thorough autopsy of the blackouts. Some observers have said the shutoffs were actually unnecessary, that the state had enough power to make it through the heat wave. Gov. Newsom has called for an investigation into the matter.

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Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

California and Colorado fires may be part of climate-driven transformation of wildfires around the globe

The wildfires that exploded over the past few days in California and Colorado show clear influences of global warming, climate scientists say, and evidence of how a warming and drying climate is increasing the size and severity of fires from the California coast to the high Rocky Mountains.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Springs Gazette

Colorado mulls joining massive water conservation project

A statewide public effort to determine whether Coloradans should engage in perhaps the biggest water conservation program in state history — a Lake Powell drought contingency pool — enters its second year of study this summer.

Aquafornia news The Sierra Nevada Ally

Audio: The climatologically altered future of Lake Tahoe

Kristen Averyt, PhD, is Nevada’s first State Climate Policy Coordinator and offered a 42 minute presentation on climate change and what it means for the environment and economics of the Lake Tahoe Basin, region, and planet. On this edition of the Wild Hare we take you on a tour of Dr. Averyt’s comments…

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Hurricane Genevieve may be gone, but its ‘ghost’ may bring more thunderstorms to fire-ravaged California

Hurricane Genevieve fizzled after hammering Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, but its remnant moisture and spin may boost thunderstorms in the Desert Southwest and fire-ravaged California through Monday.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Monday Top of the Scroll: California fires: State, feds to thin millions of acres of forests

Under the plan, California agencies and the U.S. Forest Service will use brush clearing, logging and prescribed fires to thin out 1 million acres a year by 2025 — an area larger than Yosemite National Park every 12 months, and roughly double the current rate of thinning, which already is double rates from a few years ago.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California’s largest water body shrinking as goals remain unmet

California still hasn’t met habitat restoration and dust suppression goals for the Salton Sea, the state’s largest lake that has long been plagued by a shrinking coastline, rising salinity numbers, insect infestations, and dying fish populations. State Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot acknowledged during a workshop Wednesday that “we’re coming from behind”…

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

‘Save Searles’ aims to save mineral plant from 7000 percent water fee hike

’The “Save Searles” campaign was launched Tuesday, three days before the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority public hearing on a controversial replenishment fee. The fee would increase water costs for Searles Valley Minerals by nearly $6 million a year, “pushing the company and the local community towards extinction,” according to the campaign…

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

What’s driving Northern California’s freak ‘fire siege’?

The weekend’s record-bursting heat wave and freak summer lightning storm have left an already parched Northern California with a rash of rapidly spreading wildfires — more than 300 blazes — something rarely seen before and possibly unprecedented in scope, climate scientists say.

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Aquafornia news University of Arkansas

News release: Sea-level rise linked to higher water tables along California coast

In the new study, researchers modeled the effects of rising sea level along the entire California coastline. While results varied with local topography, the study indicates rising sea levels could push inland water tables higher, resulting in damage to infrastructure and increased severity of flooding.

Aquafornia news Boulder City Review

Opinion: Utah pipeline plan an affront to Nevada

Nevada and Utah share more than borders. We share the coveted and much-fought-over Colorado River. But it seems as if only one state — Nevada — is doing the difficult work to protect our most valuable resource

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California still hasn’t found analyst to study Salton Sea water import proposals

Long-term fixes for the ever-shrinking Salton Sea remain stalled as California Natural Resources Agency officials on Wednesday revealed they have been unable to find an analyst to study proposed solutions to a nearly two decades-old problem.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Opinion: Forest thinning, fire can boost Western watersheds

We know there are ways to actively manage our Western forests to improve water quality, provide for jobs, reduce the cost of firefighting and increase forest resiliency. Now we have new tools to assess how proper management of watershed vegetation can increase water yield.

Aquafornia news Yale Climate Connections

Blog: California’s cap-and-trade program pays for clean water fund

Last year, California passed a law establishing a fund for safe and affordable drinking water. Using money from the state’s cap-and-trade program, it allocates up to $130 million to solutions each year for a decade.

Aquafornia news KPBS

State urges officials not to postpone planning for sea-level rise

A report from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office has sobering reminders of what sea-level rise will do to our coastline, our economy and to our public and private property. The report urges local and state governments not to get distracted by COVID-19 from planning ahead for the rising seas.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Q&A: Global methane emissions soaring, but how much was due to wetlands?

Last month, an international team of scientists, including Berkeley Lab’s William Riley and Qing Zhu, published an update on the global methane budget as part of the Global Carbon Project. … They built one of the computer models that allows scientists to quantify these methane emissions from wetlands at global scale.

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Company at a crossroads: Huffman’s Klamath forum wraps with sharp questioning of power company executive

North Coast Congressmember Jared Huffman hosted a forum of the Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee he chairs Tuesday afternoon, orchestrating a two-hour panel discussion focused on the stalled agreement to remove four hydroelectric dams from the ailing Klamath River.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Green

In California’s brutal climate loop, heatwaves raise fire risk

The current heatwave broiling Californians like no event in decades is also elevating the risk for another potential disaster in the weeks ahead: wildfires. … As a result of climate change, California sees more than twice as many fall days with “fire weather” as it did a generation ago.

Aquafornia news Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes

Blog: Forecast informed reservoir operations using ensemble streamflow predictions for a multi‐purpose reservoir in Northern California

Sonoma Water Engineer Chris Delaney led development of a forecast informed reservoir operations (FIRO) decision support system for Lake Mendocino… Center For Western Weather And Water Extremes… A proof-of-concept model was originally developed by Chris in 2015 as a personal research project, and has been refined over the past 5 years with research and real-time testing…

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Forecast: Plenty of CAP water for Tucson and AZ for now despite overheated drought

The latest forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, released last week, predicts that by the end of 2020, Lake Mead, which furnishes Central Arizona Project water, will be at 1,085 feet elevation. While that’s 5 feet lower than the lake stood at the end of 2019, it’s still 10 feet higher than the water level that would trigger the first major shortage, slicing more than 520,000 acre feet of water, roughly one-third of the state’s total supply.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada, West face reckoning over water but avoid cuts for now

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released projections Friday that suggest Lake Powell and Lake Mead will dip 16 feet and 5 feet, respectively, in January from levels recorded a year earlier. Despite the dip, Lake Mead would stay above the threshold that triggers severe water cuts to cities and farms, giving officials throughout the Southwest more time to prepare for the future when the flow will slow.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Fish surveys in the estuary: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

The San Francisco Estuary is a dynamic and altered estuary that supports a high diversity of fishes, both native and non-native. … Since the 1950s, various agencies and UC Davis have established long-term surveys to track the status of fish populations. These surveys help scientists understand how fishes are responding to natural- and human-caused changes to the Estuary.

Aquafornia news Reuters

World temperature record set in California’s Death Valley

One of the hottest air temperatures recorded anywhere on the planet in at least a century, and possibly ever, was reached on Sunday afternoon at Death Valley in California’s Mojave Desert where it soared to 130 Fahrenheit (54.4 Celsius).

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Aquafornia news The Desert Review

Opinion: Over a century of agriculture research and extension

The University of California Desert Research and Extension Center (UC DREC) was established in 1912 and is the oldest research and extension center in the UC system. For the past 108 years, UC DREC has conducted innovative and relevant agricultural, natural resources, and environmental research and extension in arid desert regions.

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