Topic: Climate Change

Overview

Climate Change

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Environment experts to Newsom: Now’s your moment

Back in September, while wildfires raged and the pandemic wore on, California Gov. Gavin Newsom held a virtual press conference to announce a bold new climate goal. By 2035, he said, all new cars and trucks sold in California would be zero-emission, in order to seriously curtail climate warming-emissions. … But while Newsom has grabbed attention for his clean car policy … environmental experts say he hasn’t moved boldly enough on ecological issues… Last summer, the governor issued a water resilience portfolio that outlines 142 state actions to help the state deal with water as the climate crisis worsens….

Aquafornia news Redlands Daily Facts

Opinion: California must change course to avoid water shortages

Californians have recently endured increasingly aggressive wildfires, rolling power outages, and smoke-filled air for days. Unless the state government changes course, we can add water shortages to this list. … However, the dirty little secret is that 50 percent of California’s water supply is used for environmental purposes and is ultimately flushed out into the Pacific Ocean, 40 percent goes to agriculture, and only 10 percent goes for residential, industrial, commercial, and governmental uses.
-Written by Daniel Kolkey, a former judge and former counsel to Governor Pete Wilson and board member of Pacific Research Institute.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Will California’s new climate leaders rise to the challenge?

Newly appointed leaders at the California Air Resources Board began this year with a monumental task ahead of them. California’s progress on climate change is slipping – and it will take bold leadership and a visionary approach to put the state back on track. … For the first time in six years, California’s greenhouse gas emissions ticked upward in 2018…
-Written by F. Noel Perry, businessman and founder of Next 10, and Hoyu Chong, practice lead for sustainable growth and development at Beacon Economics.

Aquafornia news KPBS

When wildfire burns a high mountain forest, what happens to the snow?

Record-breaking wildfires in 2020 turned huge swaths of Western forests into barren burn scars. Those forests store winter snowpack that millions of people rely on for drinking and irrigation water. But with such large and wide-reaching fires, the science on the short-term and long-term effects to the region’s water supplies isn’t well understood.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

FEMA plan would free up billions for preventing climate disasters

Federal officials, showing how rapidly the Biden administration is overhauling climate policy after years of denial under former President Donald J. Trump, aim to free up as much as $10 billion at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to protect against climate disasters before they strike. The agency, best known for responding to hurricanes, floods and wildfires [such as those that struck California last year], wants to spend the money to pre-emptively protect against damage by building seawalls, elevating or relocating flood-prone homes and taking other steps as climate change intensifies storms and other natural disasters.

Aquafornia news Patch

Stanford study: Climate change-caused floods have cost U.S. $75b

Flood damage attributed to climate change over a period of three decades has cost the United States nearly $75 billion according to a Stanford study released earlier this month, Stanford News reports The study estimates blames climate change for more than a third of the estimated $199 billion in damages caused by floods related to climate change from 1988 to 2017, the report aid.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Radhika Fox appointed to lead EPA’s Office of Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the selection of US Water Alliance CEO Radhika Fox as the Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water. Fox was a Day One Presidential Appointee in the Biden-Harris Administration. She will serve as the Acting Assistant Administrator for Water.

Aquafornia news Denver Post

Colorado forests primed for megafires without large-scale action, federal managers warn

Federal officials entrusted with managing millions of acres of forest in Colorado and surrounding states say they’re facing accelerated decline driven by climate warming, insect infestation, megafires and surging human incursions. They’ve been struggling for years to restore resilience and ecological balance to western forests. But they’re falling further behind on key tasks…

Aquafornia news Grist

38 countries have declared a ‘climate emergency.’ Should the US be next?

After 10 days of protests, Britain’s Parliament did a surprising thing: Its members approved a proposal to declare a state of emergency in response to the rapidly overheating planet. And while the U.K. was the first country to do so, it wasn’t the last. Today, at least 38 countries around the world — including the whole of the European Union, Japan, and New Zealand — and thousands of towns, cities, and counties have issued some kind of resolution declaring climate change a crisis. … A week into his term, President Joe Biden is already under pressure to do the same.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Editorial: The new reality – Year-round fire dangers amid drought

Oh, that the rain of the past few days would be enough. And, perhaps it will be, if forecasts for more during the upcoming week hold true. At the least, however, the rain that does fall will not dampen the possibility of more fires. Think about that: Fires in January? 

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Is fire season now a year-round reality? Experts weigh in on extreme Bay Area weather

Warm temperatures. High winds. Wildfires. In January. Many Bay Area residents were caught off-guard this week by the unexpected chain of weather events that left them patching up fences and clearing wind-whipped debris. The week started out feeling more like late summer fire season than a midwinter day. A combination of unseasonal heat, low humidity, lack of rainfall and predicted offshore winds created the perfect recipe for a wildfire, triggering a rare red flag warning late Monday morning.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Biden faces tough climate balancing act on public lands

The Trump administration left President Biden a dilemma in the California desert: a plan to remove protections from millions of acres of public lands and open vast areas to solar and wind farms. Biden’s team could easily block the proposed changes, which were slammed by conservationists as a last-gasp effort by the outgoing administration to support private industry at the expense of wildlife habitat and treasured landscapes….There are also places to put solar and wind installations besides intact habitat, including Central Valley farmland with dwindling water supplies … 

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Aquafornia news KRCR

Drought conditions continue in California due to a La Niña weather pattern

We had a very late start to the rainy season this year, similar to what we have seen in recent years. We’ve seen about one-third of the normal rainfall for the current date—well below the normal amount. There could be a weather pattern explaining some of the lack of rain. That is called a La Niña weather pattern.

Aquafornia news Wired

The ongoing collapse of the world’s aquifers

A booming agricultural industry in the state’s San Joaquin Valley, combined with punishing droughts, led to the over-extraction of water from aquifers. Like huge, empty water bottles, the aquifers crumpled, a phenomenon geologists call subsidence. By 1970, the land had sunk as much as 28 feet in the valley, with less-than-ideal consequences for the humans and infrastructure above the aquifers. … All over the world—from the Netherlands to Indonesia to Mexico City—geology is conspiring with climate change to sink the ground under humanity’s feet.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Fight to make Big Oil pay for climate change heads to Supreme Court

Baltimore may be a continent away from San Francisco, but the coastal cities have at least one thing in common: rising seas. Both are seeing more flooding, more shoreline erosion and more battered infrastructure, and both want the oil industry to pay for the damage. They blame fossil fuels for the global warming that’s causing sea level rise. On Tuesday, Baltimore will lead the campaign to recoup billions of dollars from oil companies in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Aquafornia news CNN

Nearly 2 years’ worth of rainfall possible in parts of Southern California over the next week

The historic run of dry weather has been one for the record books across the Western US, but now forecasts show some much needed relief is on the way. Over 70% of the Southwest is in grip of extreme drought. … Long-range models suggest three, or possibly four, separate storms will impact California, Nevada and Arizona during the final two weeks of January.

Aquafornia news NBC

Dry, warm weather fuels unusual January fires in Northern California

High winds, dry vegetation and unseasonably warm weather fueled several wildfires in Northern California on Tuesday as hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate, state fire officials said. Fire crews were working on multiple fronts to contain at least five active fires that ignited within the CZU Complex Fire burn area in Santa Cruz County. Several nearby neighborhoods were evacuated and firefighters struggled to gain access because of hazardous tree conditions from the previous blaze, according to state fire officials.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: After COVID-19, drought threat still looms

California is enveloped in balmy weather that’s more like spring than mid-winter — and that’s not a good thing. We have seen only scant rain and snow this winter, indicating that the state may be experiencing one of its periodic droughts and adding another layer of crisis to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession. The all-important Sierra snowpack, California’s primary source of water, is scarcely half of what is deemed a normal depth.
-Written by Dan Walters, CalMatters columnist.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Water partnerships between cities and farms would help prepare for a changing climate

San Joaquin Valley farms and Southern California cities are facing different but equally daunting water challenges.  For Valley farmers, the requirement to achieve groundwater sustainability in coming years has heightened interest in expanding water supplies to reduce the need to fallow irrigated farmland. For Southern California, falling demands since the early 2000s have reduced water stress during normal and wet years, but a warming climate makes future droughts a major concern. Both regions’ water futures could be more secure if they jointly developed and managed some water supplies.
-Written by Alvar Escriva-Bou, a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California 

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Sonoma County flirts with drought as reservoirs recede in water-poor winter

About a mile of bare, cracked earth now lies like a desertscape between the boat ramp at the north end of Lake Mendocino and the water’s edge of a diminished reservoir that helps provide water for 600,000 Sonoma and Marin County residents. The human-made lake near Ukiah is about 30 feet lower than it was at this time last year, and Nick Malasavage, an Army Corps of Engineers official who oversees operations at the reservoir, said the scene is “pretty jarring.” 

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: COVID-19 is a precursor for infectious disease outbreaks on a warming planet

From the wildfires that destroyed millions of acres across Australia and California to a record-setting hurricane season, climate change has collided with COVID-19 to mark one of the most difficult years in modern human history. And while two highly effective vaccines have provided hope for the pandemic’s end, we must not become complacent. We must act aggressively on climate to prevent future pandemics from occurring more frequently. 

Written by Christine James, of Climate Health Now, and Sweta Chakraborty, news commentator for CNN, FOX and BBC.​

Aquafornia news The Daily Sentinel

Opinion: Lasting Colorado River solutions come from Main Street, not Wall Street

Sensational headlines, like those speculating that Wall Street will make billions off the Colorado River or that West Slope farmers should pack it in now, certainly attracts readers. Unfortunately, these articles wholly fail to convey the reality of the water challenges facing the Colorado River Basin. … The Colorado River is certainly in bad shape. Last year was marked by extremely hot temperatures, low flows and massive fires.

Written by Dan Keppen, executive director of Family Farm Alliance; Scott Yates, director of Trout Unlimited’s Western Water & Habitat Program; and Taylor Hawes, Colorado River Program director for The Nature Conservancy.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Wildfire danger in January? In ultra-dry California, PG&E says safety blackout is coming

At the height of what should be California’s rainy season, PG&E Corp. is warning it might need to shut off power to thousands of customers to reduce the risk of a wildfire. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said it could impose a “public safety power shutoff” … in portions of nine counties — Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Madera, Mariposa, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Tuolumne counties. By Sunday, PG&E scaled back the planned blackout down by 15,000 customers to approximately 6,100 in Fresno, Kern, Madera, Mariposa and Tulare counties.

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Aquafornia news EcoWatch

Research: Shifting tropical rain belt will increase food insecurity

A study published Monday found billions more could face food insecurity as Earth’s tropical rain belt shifts in response to climate change, causing increased drought stress and intensified flooding. … Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions analyzed how the tropical rain belt would respond to a future where greenhouse gas emission continued to rise through 2100, UCI News reported. Their findings, published in Nature Climate Change, revealed the rain belt will shift northward over the Eastern Hemisphere, impacting countries in southeastern Africa.

Aquafornia news The Michigan Daily

Opinion: It’s time to say goodbye to golf

California is home to over 1,000 golf courses, so when there was a lack of water and public officials had to decide where to allocate the water, the choice should have been obvious. California should have shut down the golf courses and made sure that every resident had access to clean drinking water.  However, this was not the case. As many as two-thirds of Californian golf courses stayed open and the average 18-hole course continued to use 90 million gallons of water each day.

Written by Alex Noble, a columnist for the newspaper

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Activists want Biden to protect Grand Canyon, restore national monuments

Wind rustles the barbed fence surrounding Canyon Mine as Amber Reimondo patrols its perimeter. For the last four years under the Trump administration, Reimondo, the energy director for the Grand Canyon Trust, has worked to make the temporary Obama-era uranium mining ban around the Grand Canyon permanent. So far, her efforts have not paid off.  But with an impending change in presidents, Reimondo hopes change is in the wind. 

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Report: California’s future – water and a changing climate

The pandemic and its economic fallout are affecting many aspects of water management, while climate change has major implications. And a much-needed national conversation about racism has illuminated water equity issues—such as how we address climate change, safe drinking water, and water scarcity.

Aquafornia news Public News Service

Satellite data, teamwork help chart future of Colorado River basin

The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the American West, but the viability of the massive river basin is being threatened by climate change. To plan future water use in the region — which includes Arizona — the Central Arizona Project is teaming up with NASA and Arizona State University, to evaluate how climate and land-use changes will affect patterns of hydrology. Using state-of-the-art satellite imaging, scientists will measure and evaluate how water flows throughout the basin. 

Aquafornia news Greeley Tribune

Opinion: We need to collaborate to protect the Colorado River from drought, speculation

Colorado is headwaters to a hardworking river that provides for 40 million people. The importance of the Colorado River to the state and the nation cannot be overstated, and its recent hydrology serves as a reminder that we must continue to find workable solutions that will sustain the river. History shows that we are up to the challenge. … Colorado and the other Basin states face big challenges. Drier hydrology, competing demands on the river, and those who seek to profit from such circumstances, impact the types of tools available to address these challenges. 
Written by Rebecca Mitchell, who serves as the state of Colorado’s Colorado River Commissioner as well as director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. 

Aquafornia news France 24

Global population hit by extreme drought set to double

Available freshwater is on track to decline sharply across two-thirds of Earth’s land surface toward the end of the century mostly due to climate change, with the number of people exposed to extreme drought doubling, researchers have reported. Even under a scenario of moderate decline in greenhouse gas emissions, land area scorched by extreme to exceptional drought conditions increases from three to seven percent … Mexico City is currently facing a water crisis, and California has been coping with a lack of rain for most of the last decade. 

Aquafornia news Arizona State University

Blog: New research director for Kyl Center focused on equity in water access

Arizona depends heavily on the Colorado River, and it is over-allocated, meaning, we collectively take more water from the system than nature puts in. To make matters worse, the Colorado River basin has been experiencing a prolonged drought of more than 20 years. When you take the longer term view, a lot of communities in Arizona are heavily dependent on fossil groundwater supplies. Once you pump them out, they’re gone forever. There are real problems looming when it comes to groundwater management and the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news UCLA

News Release: Could the ocean hold the key to reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

Most experts agree that halting climate change — and the global warming, extreme heat events and stronger storms that come with it — will require the removal of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. But with humans pumping out an estimated 37 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, current strategies for capturing it seem likely to fall short. Now, a UCLA research team has proposed a pathway that could help extract billions of metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. Instead of directly capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide, the technology would extract it from seawater, enabling the seawater to absorb more. Why? Because, per unit volume, seawater holds nearly 150 times more carbon dioxide than air.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: The permanent heat wave — 2020 rivals 2016 for Earth’s hottest year on record

The year 2020 was either tied for the hottest on record or second hottest — an unwelcome distinction whichever you choose to go with. Two reports released Thursday by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, while measuring heat a bit differently, both show the planet was more than 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer last year than the 20th century average, highlighting an unrelenting shift toward a hotter and less-hospitable future. The heat hit California head on. 

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Aquafornia news Kings River Conservation District

News Release: KRCD joins over 200 organizations urging President-elect Joe Biden to address aging water infrastructure

A national coalition of over 200 agricultural organizations and urban and rural water districts urged President-elect Joe Biden and congressional leadership to address aging Western water infrastructure in any potential infrastructure or economic recovery package. Kings River Conservation District was among the organizations to sign on to the letter.

Aquafornia news Financial Times

Fund manager bets on new source of renewable power: old river dams

Dams built long ago to control floods or ease river transport are gaining attention as a potential zero-carbon electricity source in the US, as environmentalists and the hydropower industry drop their longstanding antagonism in the face of climate change.  Hydroelectricity is like wind, solar and nuclear power in that it emits no planet-warming carbon dioxide, yet hydro capacity has not grown for decades after big dams became impossible to build. 

Aquafornia news Axios

Thursday Top of the Scroll: A “forever” drought takes shape in the West

The Southwest U.S. is mired in an ever-worsening drought, one that has left deer starving in Hawaii, turned parts of the Rio Grande into a wading pool, and set a record in Colorado for the most days of “exceptional drought.” Why it matters: These conditions may be the new normal rather than an exception, water experts say, as climate change runs its course. And worsening drought will intensify political and legal battles over water — with dire consequences for poor communities.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Turkey drought: Istanbul could run out of water in 45 days

Major cities across Turkey face running out of water in the next few months, with warnings Istanbul has less than 45 days of water left. Poor rainfall has led to the country’s most severe drought in a decade and left the megacity of 17 million people with critically low levels of water … and farmers in wheat-producing areas such as the Konya plain and Edirne province on the border with Greece and Bulgaria are warning of crop failure.

Aquafornia news News 18

Two-third of Earth might face severe drought by the end of this century

Available freshwater is on track to decline sharply across two-thirds of Earth’s land surface toward the end of the century mostly due to climate change, with the number of people exposed to extreme drought doubling, researchers have reported. Even under a scenario of moderate decline in greenhouse gas emissions, land area scorched by extreme to exceptional drought conditions increases from three to seven percent, while the population at risk jumps from 230 million to about 500 million … Mexico City is currently facing a water crisis, and California has been coping with a lack of rain for most of the last decade.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Pendulum swings in Clean Water Act regulation

The regulatory pendulum is expected to swing toward stricter Clean Water Act enforcement, though experts say the Biden administration’s changes probably won’t be immediate. Farmers and environmentalists have been in a political tug-of-war over the law’s scope for years, largely due to ambiguous legal interpretations of the statute. While Democrats will now have power over Congress, their majority is too slim to make changes to the law, said Don Parrish, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s senior director of regulatory relations.

Aquafornia news OOSKAnews

Human depletion of groundwater resources exacerbates climate change impacts

Large swathes of land in densely populated parts of the world are subsiding rapidly as a result of groundwater depletion. Paired with rising sea levels caused by global warming, this could place many coastal cities at risk of severe flooding by 2040.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: 3 critical lessons California offers to improve restoration of land on a global scale

California has lost more than 90% of its wetlands since the arrival of European settlers. Wetlands play an increasingly crucial role in absorbing excess water and protecting coastal and inland communities from flooding. They also provide critical habitat for wildlife, including a variety of species found nowhere else on Earth, some of which are at risk of blinking out of existence…. we’ve identified three critical lessons California has to offer the world to improve restoration on a global scale…
-Written by Julie Rentner, president of River Partners, and Manuel Oliva, CEO of Point Blue Conservation Science.

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Sunlight powers portable, inexpensive systems to produce drinking water

The U.S. Department of Energy will soon announce semifinalists for its Solar Desalination Prize. The goal: a system that produces 1,000 liters of usable water for $1.50… Such systems could surmount a big downside of reverse osmosis: it typically desalinates only half of the input saltwater, and the solution left behind eventually builds up enough salt to clog the membrane…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Researchers exploring how San Diego County wetlands can be part of climate-saving strategies

Buried in San Diego County’s lagoons are centuries worth of carbon, cached in muddy stockpiles that scientists say could help combat climate change. Recently, scientists with the conservation organization Wildcoast and Scripps Institution of Oceanography started studying how much carbon coastal wetlands can capture, and how to restore these environments to boost that capacity.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Turning the page on a disruptive year in the water world

Last year was one for the record books, with the pandemic, a statewide wildfire emergency, ongoing drought, and a lingering recession roiling California’s water landscape. These crises have exacerbated longstanding inequities in access to water services, and made it that much harder to accomplish important work to improve the resilience of the state’s water system and vulnerable ecosystems. Yet despite all the setbacks, the essential work of providing drinking water and wastewater services proceeded without a hitch—to which we all owe water workers a debt of gratitude.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Climate change causing one-third of flood damage in United States, Stanford study finds

Increasingly strong storms are responsible for more than a third of the nation’s flood costs, swelling the tab by billions of dollars a year as climate change continues to fuel more extreme weather, according to new research at Stanford University. The research, which is among the first to put a price tag on heavier rainfall, found that the changing weather is responsible for $75 billion of the cumulative $199 billion of U.S. flood damage between 1998 and 2017. … Many of the losses over that period were in California.

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Aquafornia news Yale Climate Connections

Drought-stricken Colorado River Basin could see additional 20% drop in water flow by 2050

Colorado is no stranger to drought. The current one is closing in on 20 years, and a rainy or snowy season here and there won’t change the trajectory. This is what climate change has brought. “Aridification” is what Bradley Udall formally calls the situation in the western U.S. But perhaps more accurately, he calls it hot drought – heat-induced lack of water due to climate change.

Aquafornia news PV Magazine USA

Water use in the West can hurt…or help…the energy sector, report says

A team of researchers have developed a framework to evaluate complex connections between water and energy, and options for adaptations in response to an evolving climate. Their study, “Evaluating cross-sectoral impacts of climate change and adaptations on the energy-water nexus: A framework and California case study,” was published in the open-access journal Environmental Research Letters.

Aquafornia news American Rivers

Blog: Can Wall Street profit off the Colorado River?

The convergence of a multi-decadal, climate-fueled drought, a trillion-dollar river-dependent economy, and a region with growth aspirations that rival any place in the country has peaked speculative interest in owning and profiting from Colorado River water. 

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Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: After decades of inequity, this woman is bringing long-overlooked voices to California’s land and water decisions

Vicky Espinoza is on a mission. Vicky is passionate about making sure rural, low-income communities and small-scale farmers have a say in land-use and water-management decisions in the San Joaquin Valley. 

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Research: Two-thirds of Earth’s land is on pace to lose water as the climate warms

The world watched with a sense of dread in 2018 as Cape Town, South Africa, counted down the days until the city would run out of water. The region’s surface reservoirs were going dry amid its worst drought on record, and the public countdown was a plea for help. … California also faced severe water restrictions during its recent multiyear drought. And Mexico City is now facing water restrictions after a year with little rain. There are growing concerns that many regions of the world will face water crises like these in the coming decades as rising temperatures exacerbate drought conditions.

Aquafornia news Jamaica Observer

2020 ties 2016 as hottest year on record

2020 has tied 2016 as the hottest year on record, the European Union’s climate monitoring service said Friday, keeping Earth on a global warming fast track that could devastate large swathes of humanity. The six years since 2015 are the six warmest ever registered, as are 20 of the last 21, evidence of a persistent and deepening trend, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) reported.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Researchers offer framework for evaluating climate change impacts on state’s water, energy systems

As the planet continues to warm, the twin challenges of diminishing water supply and growing energy demand will intensify. But water and energy are inextricably linked. For instance, nearly a fifth of California’s energy goes toward water-related activities, while more than a tenth of the state’s electricity comes from hydropower. As society tries to adapt to one challenge, it needs to ensure it doesn’t worsen the other. 

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Aquafornia news NOAA Climate

2020 U.S. billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in historical context

NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) has released the final 2020 update to its Billion-dollar disaster report, officially confirming what communities across the nation experienced first-hand: 2020 was a historic year of extremes. There were 22 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters across the United States, shattering the previous annual record of 16 events…A record-breaking U.S. wildfire season burned more than 10.2 million acres. California more than doubled its previous annual record for area burned …

Aquafornia news Data Center Frontier

Tackling data center water usage amid historic droughts, wildfires

The seven-year-long California drought that ended in early 2019 and the wildfires that ensued are just two recent events that have cast a spotlight on the far-reaching consequences of worsening water shortages…. Data centers are under particular scrutiny. In the U.S. alone they are expected to consume an estimated 174 billion gallons of water in 2020. A 15-megawatt data center can use up to 360,000 gallons of water a day.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Worsening US drought conditions are a major 2021 weather story

Drought is an insidious climate threat — by the time it has a hold of a region, impacts on ecosystems and water supplies can be locked in. It may not grab extreme weather headlines like the disrupted polar vortex or record hurricane season, but drought during 2020 and heading into 2021 is a looming story likely to grow in importance….In the Southwest, population growth and years of drought conditions are putting the region on a collision course with drastic water management decisions. On Wall Street, traders can now bet on California water futures on commodity markets, enabling them to hedge against future scarcity…

Aquafornia news UC Santa Barbara

Blog: Researchers propose a framework for evaluating impacts of climate change on California’s water and energy systems

As the planet continues to warm, the twin challenges of diminishing water supply and growing energy demand will intensify. But water and energy are inextricably linked. For instance, nearly a fifth of California’s energy goes toward water-related activities, while more than a tenth of the state’s electricity comes from hydropower. As society tries to adapt to one challenge, it needs to ensure it doesn’t worsen the other. To this end, researchers from UC Santa Barbara, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley have developed a framework to evaluate how different climate adaptations may impact this water-energy nexus.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post News

Long Beach’s climate action and adaptation plan to be presented to City Council

In an attempt to mitigate the effects of climate change that are attacking Long Beach, the city has put together a comprehensive Climate Action and Adaptation Plan with input from scientists, business people, city leaders and the public…The mammoth document and its appendices clocks in at more than 900 pages and tackles the main challenges of climate change: drought, sea level rise and flooding, extreme heat and air quality.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Study: Warming already baked in will blow past climate goals

The amount of baked-in global warming, from carbon pollution already in the air, is enough to blow past international agreed upon goals to limit climate change, a new study finds. But it’s not game over because, while that amount of warming may be inevitable, it can be delayed for centuries if the world quickly stops emitting extra greenhouse gases from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, the study’s authors say. [The study was co-authored by researchers at California's Lawrence Livermore National Lab.]

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Four water stories to watch in 2021

Now that the calendar has flipped to January 2021, it’s time to say goodbye to the mess of the past year, yes? … The pandemic’s economic dislocation continues to reverberate among those who lost work. Severe weather boosted by a warming climate is leaving its mark in the watersheds of the Southwest [including the Colorado River]. And President-elect Biden will take office looking to undo much of his predecessor’s legacy of environmental deregulation while also writing his own narrative on issues of climate, infrastructure, and social justice….Litigation over toxic PFAS compounds found in rivers, lakes, and groundwater is already active. Lawsuits are likely to continue at a brisk pace…

Aquafornia news San Diego Community News

Port of San Diego, California State Coastal Conservancy collaborate to create a native oyster living shoreline

The Port of San Diego is one step closer to creating a living shoreline to attract and establish native oyster populations while also protecting the shoreline from impacts related to future sea level rise. The first nature-based solution of its kind in San Diego Bay, the native oyster living shoreline pilot project and study is in collaboration with the California State Coastal Conservancy.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California must burn more of its forests to save them. Is the public ready?

Even as research touted the benefits of prescribed fire more than a half-century ago, the practice was long held back by misguided forest management policies, a legacy of injustice toward Native Americans and a more nebulous, deep-seated cultural resistance to flames and smoke. Finally, the tide is turning — slowly. California took a huge step forward this year when it reached a landmark deal with the federal government to reduce fire risk on 1 million acres of forest and wildlands annually, including through prescribed fire.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Why disease is killing California’s wild ducks and shorebirds

A decade ago, a diverse coalition of tribes, farmers and conservationists hashed out water-sharing settlements that would have given the [Klamath basin] refuges a steady supply of water each year, and in the process stopped years of lawsuits, protests and acrimony. But Congress killed their efforts. Now the refuges — and Lower Klamath in particular — are at risk of drying up. And the fighting over water will only continue as the watershed grows increasingly dry from climate change.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Many scientists now say global warming could stop relatively quickly after emissions go to zero

Parts of the world economy may have been on pause during 2020, dampening greenhouse gas emissions for a while. But that didn’t slow the overall buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which reached its highest level in millions of years.  If anything, research during the year showed global warming is accelerating…As polar ice melts more quickly, sea level rise also accelerates…The acceleration could be felt especially strongly along the West Coast, where sea level is starting to rise much faster than in recent years, according to NASA.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – a short history of big changes

Deltas globally adjust with changes and fluctuations in external conditions, internal dynamics, and human management.  This is a short history of big changes to California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) in the past and present, and its anticipated future.  This history is important for understanding how many of the Delta’s problems have developed, changed, and continue to change.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Clues from wines grown in hot, dry regions may help growers adapt to a changing climate

In California, where the $43-billion [wine] industry produces more than 80 percent of U.S. wine, growers are particularly concerned about shifting temperatures and water availability, according to a 2009 Stanford University report, commissioned by the California State Legislature. As it turns out, the grapevines themselves may harbor clues to resilience. A new study [from UC Davis] suggests that varieties grown in warmer, drier regions harbor physiological traits that might help growers adapt to changing conditions.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Drought, climate change and groundwater sustainability – Western Water news year in review

The ability of science to improve water management decisions and keep up with the accelerating pace of climate change. The impact to precious water resources from persistent drought in the Colorado River Basin. Building resilience and sustainability across California. And finding hope at the Salton Sea. These were among the issues Western Water explored in 2020. In case you missed them, they are still worth taking a look at.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

2020 may be the hottest year on record. Here’s the damage it did

With just a few weeks left, 2020 is in a dead-heat tie for the hottest year on record. But whether it claims the top spot misses the point, climate scientists say. There is no shortage of disquieting statistics about what is happening to the Earth…climate scientists say the warming climate set the stage for fires to get out of hand. California experienced the hottest October on record…

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California officials vow to collaborate on sea level rise

Local and state officials in California vowed Thursday to serve as a united front as they seek state funding to mitigate the anticipated devastating impacts of sea level rise on the Golden State’s coast in the years to come. 

Aquafornia news KSUT Public Radio

Colorado River Basin winter forecast signals dry times ahead

All signs are pointing to a dry start to 2021 across much of the Colorado River watershed, which provides water to about 40 million people in the Western U.S. A lack of precipitation from April to October made this spring, summer and fall one of the region’s driest six-month periods on record. And with a dry start to winter, river forecasters feel more pessimistic about the chances for a drought recovery in the early part of 2021.

Aquafornia news Audubon Magazine

A struggling California marsh gets an overhaul to prepare for rising seas

The sun shines meekly through a veil of morning fog and wildfire smoke while several figures in orange vests, hard hats, and face masks move slowly through a marsh on the north shore of San Francisco Bay. …It’s early October at the mouth of Sonoma Creek, where an unusual conservation project that broke ground five years ago is nearing the finish line. Audubon California and partner agencies are turning what was once a 400-acre stagnant backwater into a thriving wetland ecosystem that will serve as a refuge from rising seas for decades to come.

Aquafornia news UC Davis

Blog: Can water saving traits help wine survive climate change?

Climate change is expected to make many grape-growing regions too hot and dry to produce high-quality wine from traditional varieties. But scientists at the University of California, Davis, have found that wine grape varieties from regions that are more prone to stress have traits that could help them cope with climate change.

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Aquafornia news AgriPulse

Climate change calls for better breeding, conservation and water resilience, says soil scientist

A UC Davis soil scientist says the increasing scarcity of water under projected climate scenarios will require crops that are less water-intensive and for farmers to reduce the amount of irrigated acres and adopt innovative approaches to capturing runoff. Ranchers could incorporate forage crops with shorter growing seasons.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Droughts aren’t just about water anymore

In recent years, researchers have been learning more about how an increasingly “thirsty atmosphere” in California and the West is influencing drought. We talked to Mike Dettinger—a climate scientist and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center’s research network—about this phenomenon.

Aquafornia news Estuary News

How the Great Flood of 1862 inspired Measure AA

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in 2012, it was a wake-up call for Bay Area Council members, who were glued to coverage of the devastation from their tenth floor offices near San Francisco’s Ferry Building… They asked themselves if the disaster unfolding 3,000 miles away could strike here too. [They] realized the answer was yes when they learned about the Great Flood of 1862, the worst in California’s recorded history.

Aquafornia news KQED

Groundwater beneath your feet is rising with the sea. It could bring long-buried toxins with it

Rising seas can evoke images of waves crashing into beachfront property or a torrent of water rolling through downtown streets. But there’s a lesser-known hazard of climate change for those who live along shorelines the world over: freshwater in the ground beneath them creeping slowly upward. For many Bay Area residents who live near the water’s edge, little-publicized research indicates the problem could start to manifest in 10-15 years, particularly in low-lying communities like those in Oakland, Alameda and Marin City.

Aquafornia news Science Daily

Study: Error correction means California’s future wetter winters may never come

California and other areas of the U.S. Southwest may see less future winter precipitation than previously projected by climate models. After probing a persistent error in widely used models, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory estimate that California will likely experience drier winters in the future than projected by some climate models, meaning residents may see less spring runoff, higher spring temperatures, and an increased risk of wildfire in coming years.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: It’s close but 2020 likely to end up hottest year on record

Just how warm Earth stays this December will determine if 2020 goes down as the hottest year on record. And it’s looking a lot like it will. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calculated Monday that last month globally was the second-hottest November on record, behind only 2015. Yet NASA and a European climate monitoring group said it was the hottest November on record. NASA has coverage over the poles that NOAA does not — and both the Arctic and Antarctic were very warm in November…California had its hottest fall. 

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Opinion: Colorado’s intensifying drought conditions call for urgent collaboration

The entire Colorado River Basin within Colorado is experiencing “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.  The next few months are predicted to be warmer and drier than normal, which will further reduce snowpack runoff into our reservoirs even with a normal snowpack this winter. Unfortunately, 2020 is not an anomaly; rather, it is a harbinger of a future to which we must adapt. 

Aquafornia news Vice

The climate scientist who is demystifying extreme weather

For Daniel Swain, climate scientist at UCLA, weather is an obvious inroad into engaging people on climate change, as people are way more likely to respond to a fire or flood at their doorstep than a chart of rising emissions…Swain studies why extreme events are changing, how we’re experiencing them, and what we can do to adapt to a new, disaster-prone world. This year, he released papers tying flood exposure and autumn wildfires in California to climate change…

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Aquafornia news CBS News

U.S. to shatter record for billion-dollar climate disasters in 2020

From social justice protests to politics to the pandemic, 2020 has been unprecedented in any number of ways. And although it didn’t always receive top billing, the climate crisis and the extreme weather that comes along with it also escalated to levels not experienced before. The U.S. experienced major disasters like the western wildfires, a record-breaking hurricane season and the mid-summer Midwest derecho that caused extensive damage….The vast majority of wildfires happened in the western states, where California endured 5 of its 6 largest fires on record…

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Steps to cool the climate will improve water quality, too

While much of Washington remains mired in partisan gridlock, there is new cooperation in two areas critical to managing climate change: reducing carbon emissions from agriculture and shifting to electric vehicles.  This is obviously good news for the climate, and it will help protect the quality of rivers, streams and coastal waters across the United States. It turns out that what’s good for the climate pays dividends in clean water.
-Written by Jeff Peterson, a retired senior policy advisor at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Aquafornia news USA Today

Opinion: Climate change: Many states most at risk are also the least prepared

Climate change is often seen as a problem for the future, a calamity that looms over the coming decades. In fact, it is already here, and wreaking havoc… As they increase preparedness, states will need to adopt varying approaches, depending on the risks they face as well as the particular vulnerabilities of their population. For example, California faces a far higher risk of wildfire than Michigan. 
-Written by authors from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Trust for America’s Health. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

With drought and pumping, Hopi natural springs are drying up

The Hopi have lived for thousands of years on the mesas of the Colorado Plateau. Flowing springs and seeps have sustained them, providing sources where they have collected drinking water, grown corn and beans, and maintained a spiritual connection to life-giving water.   But the springs are dwindling. Some are completely dry.  

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Delta adapts — Creating a climate resilient future

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent Executive Order (N-82-20) reinforced the urgency of accelerating “nature-based solutions to our climate and extinction crises.”…The forthcoming Delta climate vulnerability assessment is innovative and essential, but it is only a first step.

Aquafornia news NPR

California’s ancient redwoods face new challenge from wildfires and warming climate

After this year’s historic wildfires, California’s oldest state park — Big Basin Redwoods — looks more like a logging village than an iconic hiking and camping mecca. It’s estimated the wildfire, awkwardly named the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, burned through 97% of Big Basin’s more than 18,000 acres, scorching its 4,400 acres of ancient redwoods and obliterating most of the park’s infrastructure for camping and recreation.

Aquafornia news KNPR

For the West’s drinking water, wildfire concerns linger long after smoke clears

For many communities in the West, the water that flows out of kitchen faucets and bathroom showerheads starts high up in the mountains, as snowpack tucked under canopies of spruce and pine trees.  In high alpine ecosystems, climate change has tipped the scales toward drier forests, lessened snowpack, hotter summers and extended fire seasons.  Wildfires don’t just cause problems while they’re burning. For municipal drinking water systems, fires are felt for years after they’re snuffed out. 

Aquafornia news California Water Blog

Is California heading for a multi-year drought?

Yes, California will have another multi-year drought. California has immense hydrologic variability, with more droughts and floods per average year than any other part of the country.  California’s water users, managers, and regulators should always be prepared for droughts (and floods). Eventually, California will have a multi-year drought worse than any we have ever seen.

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Aquafornia news Alameda Sun

Alameda leading Bay Area in studying impacts of sea level rise locally

The Alameda City Council unanimously accepted a pioneering report on the effects of sea level rise on groundwater. The report, “The Response of the Shallow Groundwater Layer and Contaminants to Sea Level Rise” finds that rising groundwater levels are a hidden threat related to sea level rise.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

California farmers work to create a climate change buffer for migratory water birds

In the Central Valley, where agricultural and urban development have claimed 95 percent of the region’s historic wetlands, flooded croplands provide food and habitat that help egrets, sandhill cranes and other iconic water birds get through the winter. But many farmers are moving toward wine grapes, olives and other “permanent crops” that don’t provide the same habitat benefits as row crops. And now these land use changes, combined with the uncertain effects of a warming world, have left scientists scrambling to safeguard critical habitat in one of most important wintering regions for water birds in North America. 

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

Cows get hot, too: A new way to cool dairy cattle in California’s increasing heat

California dairy farmers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year trying to keep their cattle cool, as increasingly high summer temperatures, driven by climate change, heat up the country’s biggest dairy state. Cows are especially sensitive to heat and produce less milk when they are overheated, so farmers in California try to keep them cool using shade, fans and sprinkler systems. But these cooling systems use huge amounts of water and electricity, adding costs and wasting resources in an already resource-stretched state. 

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

As fires rage, California center aims to better understand atmospheric rivers

At the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, researchers feel the urgency as they examine connections between West Coast precipitation and a devastating wildfire season, which has yet to conclude.

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Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Celebrating Healthy Soils Week in the Sacramento Valley

The California Department of Food and Agriculture and more than twenty partners are hosting Healthy Soils Week 2020 to highlight the importance and multiple benefits of soil health on the farm to the ecosystem. The leaders in the Sacramento Valley have fully embraced nature-based solutions as called for by Governor Newsom in his October 7 Executive Order and healthy soils are important for population health and multi-benefit water management.

Aquafornia news NOAA Climate

Blog: A warm pool in the Indo-Pacific Ocean has almost doubled in size, changing global rainfall patterns

Recent NOAA-funded research shows that a large pool of the ocean’s warmest waters,  stretching across the Indian and west Pacific Oceans, has grown warmer and almost doubled in size since 1900. This expanding warm pool not only impacts ocean life; according to the study, it is driving changes in the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), a key weather and climate pattern, and in regional rainfall around the globe.

Aquafornia news CBS News

Severe wildfires burning 8 times more area in western U.S., study finds

According to a new study, there’s been an eight-fold increase since the mid-1980s in annual area burned by high-severity wildfires — defined as a fire that kills more than 95% of trees. The transformation in fire behavior has happened fast, with this exponential increase happening in just one generation over the course of 30 years. These more intense fires have a lasting impact on the ecosystem…Five of the six largest fires in California history and three of the four largest in Colorado history all burned this year.

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Aquafornia news KPBS

San Diego coastal marshes may become important tools to battle climate change

San Diego researchers and environmentalists are taking a close look at a pocket habitat that may become an important tool as the climate changes.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Delta farmers express doubts on ‘carbon farming’

Plans to convert nearly 200,000 acres of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta farmland into rice production or tule-based carbon farms are being greeted with skepticism among representatives of delta farmers. The Delta Conservancy, a state agency, has partnered with environmental organizations and universities on pilot projects aimed at stopping or slowing ongoing land subsidence in the delta under a California Wetland Protocol.

Aquafornia news Christian Science Monitor

California blazes prompt rethinking of who ‘owns’ wildfire

The West has endured three decades of deepening hardship as ailing forests, climate change, and unrestrained development force a reckoning with wildfires gaining in scale and intensity. Five of the six largest wildfires in California’s history have occurred this year… A national strategy to reform wildland fire management … identifies wildfire and prescribed fire as essential to the resilience of forests, grasslands, and watersheds.

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Aquafornia news Pasadena Now

Metropolitan Water District COO to Discuss Making System More Resilient to ‘Catastrophic Scenarios’ at Virtual Pasadena Rotary Meeting

The COO and assistant general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, where Pasadena sources a significant amount of its water, will be discussing ways to strengthen the water system against “catastrophic scenarios” ranging from earthquakes and floods to climate change and shifting regulations.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

If aridification choked the Southwest for thousands of years, what does the future hold?

The past could also become the future, science tells us. In fact, thanks to global warming, regional climate patterns linked to extended periods of heat and drought that upended prehistoric life across the Southwest thousands of years ago are setting up again now. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Eroding coast paves way for ‘managed retreat’ in California

With the realities of climate change looming ever closer, California transportation officials are now moving a key stretch of highway more than 350 feet inland — one of the first major efforts by the state to relocate, or “manage retreat,” critical infrastructure far enough from the coast to make room for the next 100 years of sea level rise.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Functional flows can improve environmental water management in California

Over the past three years, a team of scientists from universities, NGOs, and state agencies across California have been working to provide guidance on how to better manage river flows for freshwater ecosystems throughout the state. A key product of this effort is the California Environmental Flows Framework (Framework), a guidance document and set of tools to help managers and stakeholders develop environmental flow recommendations for California’s rivers.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR calls for increased collaboration in climate change fight with “moving to action” plan

To adapt to intensifying extremes, federal, state, and local governments must be proactive in analyzing how climate change may impact California’s natural resources – as well as people and property. In a step to toward that goal, the Department of Water Resources released “Moving to Action”, a call for essential partnerships, planning, and collaboration with state, federal, and local agencies.

Aquafornia news California Natural Resources Agency

News release: California partners with NASA to enlist earth-observing satellites in climate change efforts

A new partnership with Pasadena-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) will help state agencies better understand climate change impacts and identify opportunities to build resilience, conserve biodiversity and use California’s natural and working lands to store and remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin County seeks flood tax in Santa Venetia

Marin County flood planners are turning to Santa Venetia voters to help pay for an estimated $6 million project to upgrade the timber-reinforced berm that protects hundreds of homes from overtopping tides.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tribes battle agencies, old policies to restore fire practices

By burning and brushing, nurturing important plants and keeping lands around their homes clear of dead brush and debris, Native peoples carefully stewarded the lands to sustain the biodiverse ecologies California is known for. Their work resulted in a richly productive landscape that provided food and habitat for not only humans but many land, air and water animals. That included the salmon, a staple of tribes in the West for millennia. All that changed when California became a U.S. state in 1850.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg CityLab

Harvesting rainwater in a desert city

In September, Tucson declared a climate emergency, setting the ambitious goal of going carbon neutral by 2030. The desert city has gradually implemented policies over the past decade to further rainwater harvesting with the aim of bolstering conservation, lowering water bills and creating more green spaces.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Video: Building a water-resilient California

What are key California water priorities for the coming year, in light of ongoing disruptions from the pandemic, the recession, lingering drought, and a record-breaking fire season? The PPIC Water Policy Center brought together three panels of experts to discuss possibilities at our annual water priorities conference.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Podcast: Craig Tucker on Klamath dam agreement

Karuk Tribe natural resources spokesperson Craig Tucker joined John Howard to talk about the historic agreement, its impact on the region’s Salmon fisheries, and the potential for replication in other places where dams are contested.

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Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Milestone Colorado River management plan mostly worked amid epic drought, review finds

Twenty years ago, the Colorado River’s hydrology began tumbling into a historically bad stretch. … So key players across seven states, including California, came together in 2005 to attack the problem. The result was a set of Interim Guidelines adopted in 2007… Stressing flexibility instead of rigidity, the guidelines stabilized water deliveries in a drought-stressed system and prevented a dreaded shortage declaration by the federal government that would have forced water supply cuts.

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Aquafornia news South Yuba River Citizens League

News release: North Yuba Forest Partnership receives $1.13 million for forest health, wildfire resilience treatments

The North Yuba Forest Partnership has entered into an agreement to receive $1.13 million to plan future forest health and wildfire resilience treatments within the North Yuba River watershed. This funding originated from the US Forest Service’s Fireshed Program.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Over $1M in grants secured for Kings River improvements

The Kings River Conservation District, along with co-applicant Tulare Lake RCD, received this grant to help remove invasive species and debris from levees and riverbank along the Kings River, improve water flow, strengthen flood protection, increase carbon capture, and improve delivery of clean water to downstream users.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Tom Birmingham: Why restoring tidal marsh is good for SJ Valley farmers

Why would a public water agency that exists primarily to serve irrigation water to farmers on the west side of Fresno and Kings counties undertake an ecosystem restoration project in the Delta?

Western Water Colorado River Bundle By Gary Pitzer

Milestone Colorado River Management Plan Mostly Worked Amid Epic Drought, Review Finds
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Draft assessment of 2007 Interim Guidelines expected to provide a guide as talks begin on new river operating rules for the iconic Southwestern river

At full pool, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States by volume. but two decades of drought have dramatically dropped the water level behind Hoover Dam.Twenty years ago, the Colorado River Basin’s hydrology began tumbling into a historically bad stretch. The weather turned persistently dry. Water levels in the system’s anchor reservoirs of Lake Powell and Lake Mead plummeted. A river system relied upon by nearly 40 million people, farms and ecosystems across the West was in trouble. And there was no guide on how to respond.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Climate change and ‘atmospheric thirst’ to increase fire danger and drought in NV and CA

In a new study published in Earth’s Future…climate change projections show consistent future increases in atmospheric evaporative demand (or the “atmospheric thirst”) over California and Nevada. These changes were largely driven by warmer temperatures, and would likely lead to significant on-the-ground environmental impacts.

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Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Is third time the charm for Klamath dam removal project?

On Nov. 17, California, Oregon, PacifiCorp, and the Yurok and Karuk Tribes announced a new agreement with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation to reaffirm KRRC’s status as dam removal entity and provide additional funding for the removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. The agreement is the latest development in a decade-long effort…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Friday Top of the Scroll: Colorado River users expect Biden to put focus on climate change

The incoming Biden administration will lead efforts to craft a new water-management regime for the seven-state Colorado River Basin, and people involved in the process expect any changes to reflect the impact of climate change in the basin.

Aquafornia news E&E News

This is America’s riskiest place for wildfires

Placer County, Calif., is a postcard place of picturesque parks and trails, quaint towns and wineries, high-elevation lakes, and ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Historic deal refreshes plans for major dam removal

America’s largest dam removal project has been brought back to life with a new agreement among California, Oregon, tribes and a utility owned by billionaire Warren Buffett. The decadeslong effort to remove four dams on the Klamath River in Northern California that have had a devastating impact on salmon runs had appeared in danger following an unexpected July regulatory order.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Kern farmers tapped for $14 million to study Delta tunnel

The Kern County Water Agency board of directors voted unanimously to approve an agreement with the Department of Water Resources to pay $14 million over 2021 and 2020 as its initial share of the early planning and design phase for what’s now being called the Delta Conveyance Facility.

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Aquafornia news Ducks Unlimited

Blog: Riches to rags: The decline of the Klamath Basin refuges

How did two of the most important waterfowl refuges in the United States reach such a sad state? The decline of the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath refuges was a hundred years in the making. There are no villains here; rather it is simply a tale of too little water to go around on an arid landscape.

Aquafornia news Casino.org

Will Vegas run out of water?

For a city built in an arid desert basin in Nevada, the USA’s driest state with around 10 inches of rainfall a year, this doesn’t sound too surprising. But the climate emergency and recent droughts have changed the complexion and urgency of the problem.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Radio

USGS report: Climate change will reduce groundwater in Lower Colorado River Basin

The lower Colorado River Basin, which is primarily in Arizona, is projected to have as much as sixteen percent less groundwater infiltration by midcentury compared to the historical record. That’s because warming temperatures will increase evaporation while rain- and snowfall are expected to remain the same or decrease slightly.

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Aquafornia news Nevada Today

Blog: Researchers quantify carbon changes in Sierra Nevada meadow soils

Meadows in the Sierra Nevada are critical components of watersheds. In addition to supplying water to over 25 million people in California and Nevada, meadows contain large quantities of carbon belowground. … A new study led by researchers at the University of Nevada Reno demonstrates for the first time that meadows throughout the region are both gaining and losing carbon at high rates.

Aquafornia news Greenbiz.com

In the 1980s, solar water heaters took off in Israel, but stalled in the U.S. It’s a simple fix

For Gershon Grossman and Ed Murray, 1978 was a big year. Grossman, then a solar energy pioneer at Technion, Israel’s premier technological institute, was launching the first International Conference on the Application of Solar Energy. Murray, an idealist attending college, joined an upstart solar heating company in Sacramento, California’s capital… Four decades later, however, they live in two different worlds.

Aquafornia news Central Coast Public Radio

King tides project documenting a rising sea level future

“King tides are about one-to-two feet higher than an average tide, and it turns out that is about what we expect to see in California in the next few decades from sea level rise,” said Annie Cohut Frankel of the California Coastal Commission. “We invite the public to look at how these high tides are impacting our public beaches, our beach access ways, wetlands, roads and other coastal infrastructure.”

Aquafornia news E&E News

How Biden could undo Trump’s water regulations

The incoming Biden administration is widely expected to undo President Trump’s regulatory rollbacks on a range of water rules including stream and wetland protections, drinking water contamination, and the permitting of controversial energy and flood projects.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

Why understanding snowpack could help the overworked Colorado River

The U.S. Geological Survey is in the beginning stages of learning more about this river via an expanded and more sophisticated monitoring system that aims to study details about the snowpack that feeds the river basin, droughts and flooding, and how streamflow supports groundwater, or vice versa.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Groundwater agency discusses how to manage future of Ukiah Valley Basin

Plans to regulate groundwater for the first time ever in the Ukiah Valley Basin are moving forward. And though the details are wonky and a little esoteric, the results could affect water and ag policy for years to come. Last week, the Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency discussed how their mammoth project of sustainably managing the groundwater is coming along.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: First rains of year didn’t bring much to Northern California — but another storm is coming

Whatever came down in the first rains of the season was a mere drop in the bucket. The precipitation, the first for the rain year that began Oct. 1, measured .15 inches in downtown Sacramento, according to the National Weather Service. That puts the city at 8 percent of normal for rainfall this year, according to weather service records… A new storm system is coming on Tuesday night, with showers continuing on into Thursday, forecasters said.

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Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Barge overtaken by king tide leaks fluids into Petaluma River

A marine construction barge that apparently became stuck in the mud at low tide in the Petaluma River on Saturday was inundated by the rising tide overnight, becoming partially submerged and leaking fluids into the tidal slough… Moving the barge out of the navigation channel was expected to be a long-term challenge, and a problem for large boats just starting to use the river again after its recent, long-awaited dredging.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

On climate, Biden urged to follow the ‘California agenda’

California sees itself as a national leader in the fight against climate change, especially during the Trump administration. Now, postelection, green advocates see the state as a guidebook President-elect Joe Biden can follow.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

What is the state’s role in financing conveyance projects?

On July 28, Gov. Newsom issued the final water resilience portfolio which calls for actions to meet California water needs through the 21st Century. Specifically, Action 19.4 directs the Water Commission to assess the state’s role in financing conveyance projects that could help meet needs in a changing climate. At their October meeting, commissioners began the work set out for them in the portfolio…

Aquafornia news EOS.org

Blog: Reimagining the Colorado River by exploring extreme events

Intersecting events such as major floods, decades-long megadroughts, and economic or governance upheavals could have catastrophic effects on the water supply for the 40 million people who live in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

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Aquafornia news Politico

Friday Top of the Scroll: How California will shape U.S. environmental policy under Biden

“Probably water allocation and climate change would be the two big pivots and increased opportunity for collaboration between California and the federal government after 4 years of conflicts and really outright warfare,” said Rick Frank, a former California chief deputy attorney general. He is now a professor at UC Davis law school.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: The Colorado River Basin’s Tanya Trujillo named to Biden Interior transition team

Tanya’s a New Mexican, former chief counsel to the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, and current member of the commission. She served as a legislative aide to New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman, in Interior in the Officer of Water and Science, and as executive director of the Colorado River Board of California.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Answers for private well, drinking water questions in Fresno

Private wells in the central San Joaquin Valley are at risk of water quality issues, failing equipment and declining groundwater supplies. To help residents address these concerns, The Fresno Bee contacted public officials, water advocates and other experts to answer frequently asked questions about common issues.

Aquafornia news Writers on the Range

Opinion: A move toward water speculation

There’s a concept called “demand management” in the news in Colorado, and here’s a simple definition: Landowners get paid to temporarily stop irrigating, and that water gets sent downstream to hang out in Lake Powell. It’s an idea long talked about because of increasing drought and the very real danger of both Lake Mead and Lake Powell dropping into “dead pool” where no hydropower can be generated.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Tensions around a wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California

There’s some fascinating tension around a proposed wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California. The project, if it goes forward, would provide some 150 million gallons per day (~170,000 acre feet per year) of treated effluent. Water now being discharged into the ocean would instead be available for aquifer recharge within Southern California.

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Report: Oroville Dam safe, but still vulnerable

A team of experts released their findings Monday, concluding that no urgent repairs are needed right now on the Oroville Dam. The report goes on to say that the largest earthen dam in America is safe to operate. However, the Oroville Dam is not completely in the clear.

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Aquafornia news Western Water

A Colorado River leader who brokered key pacts to aid West’s vital water artery assesses his legacy and the river’s future

Managing water resources in the Colorado River Basin is not for the timid or those unaccustomed to big challenges. … For more than 30 years, Terry Fulp, director of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Basin Region, has been in the thick of it, applying his knowledge, expertise and calm demeanor to inform and broker key decisions that have helped stabilize the Southwest’s major water artery.

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Aquafornia news Medford Mail Tribune

Opinion: The message is clear: We must manage our resources better

Why are our food producers, including many century-old family farms with 100-year-old water rights, facing a shortage of water? Because we drain Oregon’s largest lake to artificially increase water supply in California.

Aquafornia news Malibu Times

A statewide response to sea level rise

The California Coastal Commission has been issuing policy guidelines for sea level rise for the last six years. … The commission is now taking the first steps toward rethinking some of its current policies and looking at the state as a whole, realizing that one size does not fit all when it comes to ways of adapting to sea level rise.

Aquafornia news Grand Junction Sentinel

River managers turn eyes to new Powell-Mead deal

A 2007 deal creating guidelines governing how Lake Powell and Lake Mead are operated in coordination isn’t scheduled to expire until 2026. But water officials in Colorado River Basin states are already beginning to talk about the renegotiations that will be undertaken to decide what succeeds the 2007 criteria.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Science group issues valley-focused advice on climate change

The San Joaquin Valley has received a specially addressed message from the Union of Concerned Scientists about what it thinks people across the region should be doing about looming water shortages, worsening air quality and generally more volatile weather in the years ahead.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: Rain, snow in California forecast — though climate experts warn of deepening drought

California is expecting its first rain of the season this weekend, a major shift in weather that’s likely to bring scattered showers and chilly breezes to the Bay Area, and freezing temperatures and snow to the Sierra. While the unavoidable turn toward winter, starting Friday, is sure to offer at least some relief from this year’s unrelenting fire season, forecasters warn that wildfire risk is likely to persist for another month — possibly much longer.

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Aquafornia news NASA

Blog: Changing Pacific conditions raise sea level along U.S. West Coast

Ask your average resident of California, Oregon or Washington to name the natural hazard that concerns them most and sea level rise probably won’t bubble to the top of the list. After all, the region is better known for its wildfires, earthquakes, heat waves, and mudslides.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Study: Drilling of deeper wells in United States is ‘unsustainable’

In areas where groundwater levels have fallen because of heavy pumping, people have often responded by drilling deeper wells. But exactly how much that has occurred on a nationwide scale wasn’t clear until water experts compiled nearly 12 million well-drilling records across the country. In a new study, [UC Santa Barbara] researchers found that Americans in many areas from coast to coast are drilling deeper for groundwater….The study confirmed that drilling deeper wells is common in California’s food-producing Central Valley…and household wells remain vulnerable to pumping by deeper agricultural wells. 

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Scripps Institution scientists receive DWR climate science service award

The Department of Water Resources presented Climate Science Service Awards to four early-career scientists with the University of San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. These partnerships fuel innovations that help DWR and other water agencies respond to water supply and flood-risk management challenges…

Aquafornia news Escalon Times

Coping strategies shared for valley climate impacts

The Union of Concerned Scientists has published an educational guide for people living in California’s San Joaquin Valley to better understand how climate change threatens their communities and what they can do to prepare for worsening living conditions.

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Aquafornia news Pacific Sun

Marin artist follows rising tides with aquatic sculptures

Over the past several months, a curious sight has arisen from the waters surrounding South Marin. Four markers, painted in black-and-white stripes and adorned with nautical symbols, have been placed throughout the Bay to document the rising tides in a new visual model created by Marin County sculptor Jeff Downing.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

New national climate change guide focuses on impact in San Joaquin Valley communities

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists outlines wide-reaching environmental impacts affecting the health and economy of San Joaquin Valley communities from extreme heat to water scarcity and pollution.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: ‘Major change’ in Bay Area weather forecast for Friday

The National Weather Service is forecasting a “major change” in the weather across the Bay Area on Friday and through the weekend, with temperatures dropping, winds kicking up and the potential for rain.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin salmon monitors get new tracking tools

Using a system of radio tags and electrical fields, the equipment is expected to give researchers more accurate counts of coho salmon that will return to Lagunitas Creek to spawn beginning later this month as well as the young salmon leaving the creek and entering the ocean in the spring.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

After another dry October in the Bay Area, is drought back?

Though the monthly average is just over 1 inch, October is a highly variable month, and it’s not unusual to end the month with little or no rain in the Bay Area. It is however exceptionally bad timing to do it twice in a row for only the second time in the last 170 years, as the state reels from fires, heat and smoke, on the heels of a record-breaking dry winter and as most forecasts [for California] call for a drier than normal winter ahead.

Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

Blog: Scientists share coping strategies for San Joaquin Valley households at risk of extreme climate impacts

“As temperatures rise, climate change compounds the already difficult circumstances of vulnerable communities, increasing inequities related to access to clean water, clean air and socioeconomic opportunities” said J. Pablo Ortiz-Partida, climate scientist at UCS and co-author of the guide.

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Aquafornia news Voices of Monterey Bay

A salamander vanishes

Desertification is dawning on the Central Coast, according to University of California, Santa Cruz ecology professor Barry Sinervo, and the impact can be seen in the disappearance of a uniquely giant and talkative amphibian from a southern Monterey County site: the Pacific giant salamander.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: What California can learn from Cape Town about water policy

Two years ago, Cape Town, South Africa, a city of 4 million people, informed its shocked citizens that the city was just a few months away from running out of water due to drought. It was a wake-up call for all of us to become much better stewards of our own water. … California of course continues to have its own foreboding water challenges.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

World’s fish scientists appeal for action to reduce greenhouse gases

In their statement, the scientists laid out the grim picture that has emerged from thousands of peer-reviewed studies: Climate change is inflicting extensive harm to aquatic ecosystems, both in freshwater and the oceans. The degradation of these ecosystems, which are among the most threatened on Earth, is accelerating.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Fight climate change, preserve nature in one stroke

The Protecting America’s Wilderness Act (H.R. 2546) would protect and restore over one million acres of public lands and well over 500 miles of rivers throughout the state, including in Northwest California’s wild lands and along the Central Coast.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: The freezer of horrors

Down the dark corridors of the UC Davis Watershed Sciences building are freezers of dead fish. Frozen Chinook Salmon carcasses and their dissected eyes and muscles in neat vials are stacked next to White Sturgeon fin clips, Striped Bass scales, and tubes of stomach contents. This might sound like the stuff of horror movies, but these freezers are vital to understanding our native California fishes.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Climate change and the water policy funnel

Climate change, as I’ve often heard Brad Udall point out, is water change. By that, Brad means that the effect of a changing climate on people and ecosystems is most clearly felt through changes in how much water there is.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Split county board OKs cannabis cash for Salinas Valley well destruction

The [Monterey County] Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to spend about $2.66 million in cannabis tax revenue over three years to cover the local cash match for a Salinas Valley well destruction program. The majority argued the well destruction program would have a broad community benefit by battling seawater intrusion threatening Salinas Valley agricultural and residential water supplies.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Report: Water partnerships between cities and farms in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley and urban Southern California each face growing water challenges and a shared interest in ensuring reliable, affordable water supplies to safeguard their people and economies. Both regions’ water futures could be more secure if they take advantage of shared water infrastructure to jointly develop and manage some water supplies.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Marin County native will lead new state climate change corps

The new Climate Action Corps plans to deploy more than 250 people throughout the state next year, paying them a stipend and offering scholarships to plant tens of thousands of trees, harden homes against wildfire threats, expand programs to reduce food waste and organize volunteers.

Aquafornia news Yuba Water Agency

Blog: Yuba-Feather forecast-informed reservoir operations

Recognizing the central role that atmospheric rivers play in both flood risk and water supply – two of Yuba Water’s core mission areas – the agency is investing in new research and tools to better understand, forecast and manage for these powerful storms.

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Aquafornia news Ensia.com

Why aren’t solar water heaters more popular in the U.S.?

In the U.S., the number of households that have a solar water heater is less than 1%. In California, many people don’t even know the technology exists. … Heating water accounts for 25% of residential energy use worldwide, mostly achieved by burning fossil fuels. Solar water heaters do the job without combustion.

Aquafornia news Utah Public Radio

Forecasting water supply in Colorado River may benefit water resource management

Yoshimitsu Chikamoto, a climate scientist at Utah State University, used dynamic climate modeling to try to predict water supply in the Colorado River. They found ocean surface temperatures have a larger impact on predicting drought than atmospheric processes like precipitation. … Chikamoto said oceans provide a long-term memory that can be used to forecast drought.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: 5 reasons to rethink the future of dams

The future of our existing dams, including 2,500 hydroelectric facilities, is a complicated issue in the age of climate change. Dams have altered river flows, changed aquatic habitat, decimated fish populations, and curtailed cultural and treaty resources for tribes. But does the low-carbon power dams produce have a role in our energy transition?

Aquafornia news Heal the Bay

Blog: Changes are coming to the L.A. River

After the river was concretized, Indigenous People, activists, and environmental organizations demanded the restoration of the L.A. River and its tributaries back into a functioning natural river ecosystem. Now with the climate crisis, we can no longer afford to have a concretized river system that solely provides flood control.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Western wildfires: Experts say time to fight fire with more fire

Vastly increasing the number of these low-intensity, carefully managed fires is key. Experts say it reduces dangerous levels of highly combustible fuel and underbrush built up over more than a century of trying to snuff out most every forest fire. The conditions set by that longstanding federal and state policy are now worsened by climate change, with fires growing larger, more frequent and more destructive.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Setting aside environmental water for the San Joaquin River

Protecting the health of California’s rivers, estuaries, and wetlands has been the grandest—and perhaps thorniest—of the many challenges facing the state’s water managers. The San Joaquin River watershed, the state’s third largest and an important water source for irrigating farmland in the San Joaquin Valley, epitomizes this challenge. Yet California is making progress here, bringing a glimmer of hope.

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…

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.

Western Water 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.