An ecosystem includes all of the living organisms (plants,
animals and microbes) in a given area, interacting with each
other, and also with their non-living environments (air, water
Ecosystems are dynamic and are impacted by disturbances such as a
drought, an extraordinarily freezing winter, and pests.
Longer-term disturbances include climate change effects.
Ecosystems provide a variety of goods and services upon which
people depend. Ecosystem management emphasizes managing natural
resources at the level of the ecosystem itself and not just
managing individual species.
The California Legislature was the first in the country to
protect rare plants and animals through passage of the California
Endangered Species Act in 1970. Congress followed suit in 1973 by
passing the federal Endangered Species Act.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has
certified the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a
project aiming to restore the largest coastal wetlands complex
in Los Angeles County and increase public access to outdoor
recreation and natural spaces in one of the most densely
populated areas in the world. The Ballona Wetlands Ecological
Reserve (BWER) project will enhance and establish native
coastal wetlands and upland habitat…
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.
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
The Yurok people have lived in the 15,700 square miles Klamath
River Basin, in what is now called Northern California, for
millennia. They are among the key organizers in a coalition of
Indigenous groups, environmentalists, concerned citizens and
commercial fishers that have joined forces in a decades-long
movement to Un-dam the Klamath.
BlueGreen Water Technologies has secured approval from the
California Department of Pesticide Regulation for its
algaecide, Lake Guard Oxy, for commercial application in the US
state. According to the firm, in the past year, there has
been a marked rise in the severity of toxic algal blooms, also
called as ‘blue green algae’ and ‘red tide’ in several of the
state’s lakes as well as on the coasts.
California’s labyrinthine system of dams and levees cut off
once roaring rivers from millions of acres of their
floodplains, drastically reducing the habitat and food salmon
need to thrive. Climate change may hasten extinctions by
raising water temperatures and disrupting flows with bigger
floods and more frequent and severe droughts, which also
threaten to reignite conflicts over increasingly scarce
water. But such dire prospects have inspired a novel
alliance in one of the most productive agricultural valleys in
the country, which has turned adversaries into allies to offer
salmon and other threatened wildlife a lifeline.
Under Proposition One, passed by the voters in 2014, the Delta
Conservancy was allocated $50 million for ecosystem restoration
in the Delta. Currently, the Conservancy has awarded
funding to 29 projects for about $39 million of that $50
million with a potential ecological benefit on up to 8,000
acres as a result.
For years, pairs of grebes would zoom across the water at Lake
Hodges in a dazzling mating dance, and then build their nests
on mats of dried brush suspended above the waterline. This
year, some of the birds are still pairing up, but their nesting
area near Interstate 15 no longer floods with seasonal rains,
and can’t sustain them. The eastern finger of the lake, which
long alternated between riparian woodland and seasonal ponds,
is permanently drained because of state-ordered changes to the
A winter storm is expected to blow through Northern California,
bringing much-needed rain to the Valley and snow to the Sierra.
Rain coming in waves like it is this week is huge for
fish. To date, we are really behind in precipitation
across most of the state.
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.
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.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt started off 2020 empowering
his most controversial public lands deputy, a move that a
federal judge later deemed “unlawful.” He’s ending the year in
quarantine, having tested positive for COVID-19. In between
these bleak-sounding bookends, the 51-year-old Bernhardt
rewrote how the Interior Department works. While the results
get mixed reviews, and in some cases may get erased by the
incoming Biden administration, 2020 was undeniably
consequential for the department.
Holidays are a natural time of introspection on who we are,
what we do, and why. Towards a bit of our own self-reflection,
some researchers from UC Davis’ Center for Watershed Sciences
(CWS) have each contributed a photo and short description of
their work. We hope you enjoy reading about us and learning
even more about us. It is hopefully a soft bookend to a wild
The Salton Sea’s shoreline is receding, exposing a dusty
lakebed known as the “playa.”…The problem isn’t new. Yet
California, though largely responsible for fixing it, has
barely touched the more than 25 square miles of exposed
playa. It’s been almost two decades since an agreement was
signed in 2003, committing the Imperial Irrigation District,
the Colorado River’s largest user, to conserve water that once
flowed from farms into the lake and send it to other districts.
Knowing the lake would recede, the state committed to
mitigating the health and environmental impacts.
There’s an ecological crisis underway in California’s lonely
corner of the American West. Invasive grasses are causing fires
to explode. Wild horses are trampling fragile habitats.
Thousands of water birds are dying miserable deaths. Wolves are
settling down in hostile territory. Sacramento Bee reporter
Ryan Sabalow examines the hardline politics, romantic notions
of the West and intractable idealism that have made these
problems harder to solve.
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
The Water Forum is pleased to announce the selection of Jessica
Law as its new Executive Director. The Water Forum is a diverse
group of local governments, environmentalists, water managers,
businesses and others working together to balance the coequal
goals of providing reliable water supplies for the Sacramento
region and preserving the environment of the Lower American
As we reflect on this tumultuous year, we have much to be
thankful and a lot to learn. Along with the truly special
people that grace our lives, we are all thankful for the
Sacramento Valley’s unique combination of water, land and
sun–the essential ingredients for bountiful life and the
amazing biodiversity of our region.
A group of agriculture, timber and environmental organizations
is asking the state to commit to spending up to $1.5 billion on
wildfire prevention programs in the next year. Representatives
from those groups said Wednesday that bureaucratic red tape and
funding issues have held up needed fire prevention projects to
prevent the types of deadly wildfires California has endured
the past five years.
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.
Conservation science and restoration ecology are challenging
and interdisciplinary fields. Managing for ecological function
necessitates focus on multiple scales of ecological
organization while simultaneously integrating feedback loops
with critical environmental drivers like temperature, flow and
habitat change. This means scientists working on these issues
can emerge from diverse areas of inquiry including ecology,
engineering, hydrological sciences, fisheries, geology,
geography, and law.
A project to remove a major barrier to the recovery of
endangered coho salmon was completed Friday in West Marin. The
years-long effort led by the Olema-based Salmon Protection and
Watershed Network, or SPAWN, removed artificial obstacles on a
section of San Geronimo Creek for the first time in 120 years.
They had stymied the migration and survival of coho salmon and
threatened steelhead trout.
After the signatories to the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement
Agreement officially recommitted to removing four dams on the
Klamath River last month, local politicians brought up concerns
with Oregon, California and PacifiCorp committing more funds to
the project…Much of the skepticism has centered around the
ability of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, a dam removal
entity created to carry out the KHSA, to complete the project.
The Lake Elsinore & San Jacinto Watersheds Authority recently
wrapped up a one-year study that evaluated the Lake Elsinore
fishery and identified potential solutions to improve the
lake’s ecosystem and overall water quality in Lake Elsinore.
Placer Land Trust has permanently protected a 185-acre addition
to the Laursen Bear River Preserve north of Auburn, making the
total preserve 546 acres. The expanded Laursen Bear River
Preserve, along with other adjacent preserves, creates a block
of more than 8,000 contiguous acres of protected lands in the
Bear River and Raccoon Creek watersheds.
The U.S Army Corps of Engineers has approved a report that
opens the door for the removal of Rindge Dam on Malibu Creek.
The Corps’ signing of the Malibu Creek Ecosystem Restoration
Report puts removal of the dam closer to reality. The document
still must be approved by the U.S. Office of Management and
Budget and U.S. Congress before actual demolition work can
The Biggs-West Gridley Water District, Ducks Unlimited and the
Bureau of Reclamation recently announced the completion of
Phase II (of five total phases) of the water supply project for
the world-renowned Gray Lodge Wildlife Area.
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.
Lake Elsinore is being restocked with fish — the latest in
continuing efforts to help improve the lake’s water quality and
ecosystem. Early Friday, Dec. 4, the lake was stocked with
bluegill, black crappie, striped bass and redear sunfish. The
species were chosen after a year-long population study found
that some types of fish — including channel catfish, largemouth
bass, silverside minnows and mosquitofish — were overpopulating
The Delta Science Program is conducting a survey to understand
perceptions of the Delta Independent Science Board (Delta ISB)
and usage of Delta ISB reviews among Sacramento-San Joaquin
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.
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
The State Water Resources Control Board approved a
comprehensive plan to ensure lab testing and analysis for
toxicity in waterways are completed using the same protocols
and standards statewide. This will help address toxicity in
California’s waterways and significantly improve protections
for fish and other aquatic life.
The federal role in restoring the Salton Sea is limited to a
handful of projects that address issues on lands in and around
the sea that are managed by federal agencies, including the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau
of Land Management, and Department of Defense. Unlike in areas
such as Lake Tahoe, the Everglades, and the Chesapeake Bay, the
federal government does not have a comprehensive program to
restore the Salton Sea.
When ecologist Jackie Charbonneau learned that cattle ponds in
the East Bay hills are vital to rare amphibians, it came as a
surprise. Stock ponds can be so muddy and trampled that “they
can look like a bomb hit them,” said Charbonneau… But the
stock ponds dotting East Bay rangelands are in
trouble…. Today Charbonneau is part of a multi-agency
team that restores these unconventional wildlife habitats.
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.
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.
In early November, the Domestic Names Committee of the U.S.
Board of Geographic Names voted unanimously to name a peak in
Nevada’s Amargosa Valley, outside of Death Valley National
Park, for the endangered Devils Hole and the Ash Meadows
While Republican members of Congress praised the most recent
step toward approving raising the height of Shasta Dam, fishing
and environmental groups criticized it as the illegal actions
of a “lame duck federal agency.”
California oil regulators ignored their own regulations and
issued improper permits for hundreds of new wells last year,
according to an audit … finalized this week. … The audit
was requested after stories in The Desert Sun
revealed that CalGEM employees used so-called “dummy”
folders to approve new injection wells for
several oil companies that do risky steam injection.
Crews began work this month in the marsh system of Taylor and
Tallac creeks in the Southwest portion of the Tahoe Basin to
remove aquatic invasive plants from an abundant and impacted
marsh ecosystem, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency announced.
A recent exchange of letters between a public utility and a
state water authority highlights the continued stalemate in the
effort by the Monterey Peninsula to develop a new water supply
and end the overdrafting of the Carmel River.
While many people look towards the mountains for accessing
beautiful nature, the San Joaquin Valley Floor is home to many
amazing sights of nature and in particular, birds. Not only is
Tulare County home to over 100 types of birds, it is part of
the Pacific Flyway – one of the most important bird migration
paths in the world.
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.
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.
Joining a growing list, Turlock and Modesto Irrigation
Districts filed a Petition with the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission asking that the commission find that the State of
California has waived certification under the Clean Water Act.
… The Districts are seeking a new FERC license for two
hydropower projects on the Tuolumne River, the Don Pedro
Project and the La Grange Project.
Climate change and overuse are causing one of the Colorado
River’s biggest reservoirs, Lake Powell, to drop. While water
managers worry about scarcity issues, two Utah river rafters
are documenting the changes that come as the massive reservoir
hits historic low points.
The proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir [in western Stanislaus
County] would store 82,000 acre-feet of water for downstream
agricultural users. The coalition said the dam would flood an
“important cultural and recreation site for the surrounding
community and destroying valuable wildlife habitat.”
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced
Tuesday it’s awarding $10.7 million for fisheries habitat
restoration program projects. Ten out of the 27 projects
selected by the CDFW are in Humboldt County and will receive a
total of nearly $2.7 million of the funding.
All of Northern California is now in some kind of drought,
according to the federal Drought Monitor, with the Bay Area in
“severe” drought conditions and much of the Coast Range and
Central Valley in “extreme” conditions.
The history of our city is one of oil, land and water scandals,
of genocide and segregation. … Should we change the names of
any buildings, streets or charities bearing the names Chandler,
Huntington, Mulholland or Hellman?
With its Séka Hills olive oil, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation [in
Northern California’s Capay Valley] is reclaiming its ancestral
land with a crop for the future. … Wherever possible, the
tribe uses sustainable farming practices, and has received
several grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
Natural Resource Conservation Service for water and rangeland
A Kernville hatchery that has served local anglers for almost a
century will soon close down again 20 months after it reopened
following three years of renovations. The Kern River Hatchery
… must close for repairs Dec. 1 mainly because a 50-year-old
pipeline that delivers water to the facility needs to be
A refillable water station will replace a drinking fountain at
Main Beach as part of Laguna Beach’s ongoing effort to reduce
single-use plastics from littering beaches and the ocean and
ultimately harming marine mammals. The water station – planned
for a January installation – is thanks to a collaborative
effort by the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition and several other
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.
Clear Lake continues to struggle with long-lasting impacts of
nutrient pollution. High concentrations of nutrients such as
nitrogen and phosphorus fuel large algal blooms and contribute
to poor water quality in the lake.
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
Twice each year, Elizabeth Azzuz leads an unusual expedition
into the Klamath River forest in Humboldt County, where her
tribe has lived for thousands of generations. To set it on
fire. “Help us guide our hands as we bring the greatest tool
left to us, to the land, which is fire,” Azzuz says, calling on
the spirits of the elders.
A proposed dam in California’s Central Valley is billed as a
vital agricultural resource. But conservationists say it would
also flood important cultural and recreational sites for
surrounding communities and destroy wildlife habitat.
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
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.
After decades of new and deeper wells, degraded water quality
and groundwater level declines, residents in the [Madera] area
have a chance to influence how local groundwater will be
managed and used for decades to come — and the deadline to
participate is quickly approaching.
At its Nov. 18 meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board
approved $19 million in grants to help restore and protect fish
and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 26
projects will benefit fish and wildlife — including some
endangered species — while others will provide public access to
important natural resources.
Work crews have been busy this week along Twin Cities Road near
Courtland. They are conducting core sampling, the first step in
drafting an environmental impact report for a tunnel plan known
as the Delta Conveyance Project.
The Trump Administration Thursday released the Shasta Lake
Water Resources Investigation Final Supplemental Environmental
Impact Statement to increase water storage capacity in the
Shasta Lake reservoir by 634,000 acre-feet,
The California Natural Resources Agency recently announced the
investment of almost $50 million in Proposition 68 funding for
projects to promote salmon recovery. More than $220 million in
Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 funds have also been dedicated
for multi-benefit flood protection projects in the past two
years that will benefit salmon.
HR 8775, the Salton Sea Public Health and Environmental
Protection Act, would create an interagency working group
called the Salton Sea Management Council to coordinate projects
around the lake’s receding shoreline.
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.
Early season storms typically sweep a slurry of debris from
streets and sidewalks into rivers, creeks and bays. This year,
the fall flush not only contains the usual gunk, waste experts
say, but a whole lot of discarded PPE — or personal protective
equipment, the detritus of the pandemic.
A Biden administration won’t be able to untangle the legal and
regulatory “mess” under part of the Clean Water Act that
determines which streams, wetlands and other waters get federal
protection, legal scholars and litigators say.
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…
The rule change, which goes into effect Thursday, gives Forest
Service officials authority to use loopholes called categorical
exclusions to bypass NEPA requirements. Categorical exclusions
are projects deemed to have no environmental impact, and as the
rule is written, they can be applied across the nearly 200
million acres of forest that the Forest Service
manages…Forests are a source of drinking water for more than
150 million people.
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.
Rangeland ecologists at the University of California, Davis,
found that when ranchers invest even one week a year in
practices that keep cows away from creeks — like herding,
fencing and providing supplemental nutrition and water — they
can improve riparian health by as much as 53 percent.
An annual search for a tiny endangered and contentious fish in
the sprawling California Delta has once again come up empty.
The state’s annual Fall Midwater Trawl found no Delta smelt in
September’s sampling of the critical waterway. … Hoping to
reverse the trend, Westlands Water District and the California
Department of Water Resources announced completion of a Delta
habitat restoration project on Wednesday.
There really hasn’t been many salmon in Pescadero Creek north
of Santa Cruz for years. On Tuesday, that changed. …
Ranchers, farmers and all manner of public agencies finally got
on the same page and major portions of the creek are now
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
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.
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.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District and its
partner, the California Department of Parks and Recreation,
Angeles District, are one step closer on a project to restore
Malibu Creek’s ecosystem after receiving support from the
Corps’ top brass.
PG&E Corp. named a new CEO on Wednesday, hiring a Michigan
utility executive to run California’s largest utility as it
confronts the state’s mounting wildfire risks following a stint
in bankruptcy. Patricia K. “Patti” Poppe, who has been CEO of
Michigan-based CME Energy Corp., will take over Jan. 4.
“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.”
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.
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
Gov. Gavin Newsom and his Oregon counterpart signed a landmark
deal Tuesday to take control of four aging dams targeted for
removal on the Lower Klamath River, an agreement designed to
push the controversial $450 million plan over the finish line.
… The agreement “ensures that we have sufficient backing” to
get the four dams demolished, said Chuck Bonham, director of
the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
For decades it’s been an environmental jewel wedged between the
urban sprawl of Marina Del Rey and Playa Del Rey. But now the
Ballona Wetlands State Ecological Reserve, home to diverse
plant and animal wildlife, has become a battleground for
conservationists and other activists.
The U.S. EPA’s water infrastructure financing programs would be
in line for approximately level funding next year under a plan
for FY21 appropriations released by Senate Republicans last
week. … The Republicans’ proposal would provide EPA with just
under $9.1 billion next year, roughly in line with the agency’s
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
A research team from California State University, Chico will
continue its exceptional work to re-establish juvenile salmon
and salmonid habitats along the Sacramento River, after
learning it would continue to be funded by the United States
Bureau of Reclamation.
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
The COVID-19 pandemic and related economic turbulence forced
the state legislature and Governor Newsom to make tough
decisions this year about which issues to prioritize and which
to sideline. … Despite the challenging circumstances, several
high-priority bills covering safe drinking water and wildfire
risk reduction were enacted.
The last three administrations have been active in Klamath
Basin issues regardless of political party. Negotiations for a
basin-wide agreement began under the Bush Administration and
continued under the Obama Administration until faltering in the
House of Representatives — though each president’s approach has
varied. Dan Keppen, executive director of the Family Farm
Alliance, said Biden’s experience in the Obama Administration
could prove an asset, if he brings a similar approach.
Reported deficiencies in the design and construction of the
water delivery system have resulted in poor water circulation
that has caused algae to overbloom, while cattails and duckweed
are growing like wildfire along pond shores, creating
conditions ripe for mosquitoes. Fairview Park administrator
Cynthia D’Agosta said maintenance costs have ballooned far
beyond the annual $40,000 anticipated at the outset of the
The Yuba Water Agency is in the process of applying for a new
license to continue its hydroelectric operations along the Yuba
River, but agency leaders say some requirements issued by the
State Water Resources Control Board threaten the effort by
making it too costly. The agency filed lawsuits in state and
federal court Friday to essentially vacate the state board’s
requirements to obtain what is called a water quality
Removal of the 90-year-old Rindge Dam from Malibu Canyon — a
long-anticipated, multi-million-dollar project — moved a
crucial step closer to reality on Friday, Nov. 13, when the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the project’s report was
signed and sent to Congress for funding.
A new order from Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, published
Friday afternoon, would, among other things, essentially give
state and local jurisdictions veto power over how communities
spend and match grants through the Land and Water Conservation
Fund, which funds access to recreation in states and federal
The Army Corps of Engineers … is considering another rule
change that would also shrink federal protection of small
streams, ecologists and lawyers say. The Corps said in its
proposal it is acting in response to the president’s order to
review regulations that burden energy development. Some of the
proposed changes will have essentially the same consequence as
the Trump administration’s contraction of the Clean Water
A new and improved tool that tracks salmon survival in
Lagunitas Creek was installed on ranchlands west of Point Reyes
Station last month, potentially changing the way the Marin
Municipal Water District manages the watershed. Every year,
ecologists implant a rice-sized microchip in hundreds of
juvenile Coho salmon. Now, antennas anchored at the mouth of
the creek will register their passage when they swim to or from
“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.
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…
After fires marred the San Lorenzo Valley near Santa Cruz,
in August, the local water district issued a “Do Not Drink Do
Not Boil” notice to residents. Volatile organic compounds
including benzene, residents were warned, could be seeping into
the water system — just as the toxic chemicals did in Santa
Rosa and Paradise, California, in the wake of wildfires in 2017
To protect smelt and salmon, there need to be reasonable water
temperature standards in the Delta. The existing water
temperature standard in the lower Sacramento River above the
Delta is 68oF, but managers of the state and federal water
projects pay it almost no heed.
Dow Chemical Company and Shell Oil Company have been hit with a
lawsuit by the central California county of Madera alleging
they knowingly polluted Madera’s drinking water wells by
manufacturing and selling fumigants, used in agricultural
fields, laced with a toxic chemical.
For over a century, one of the most important salmon runs in
the United States has had to contend with historic dams – and
now four of them are set to be taken down….The dams built on
the Klamath River have been identified as one cause of the
drop in salmon numbers.
On the Oregon border lies Lower Klamath National Wildlife
Refuge. For over a century, visitors have flocked to Klamath’s
wild tule marshes and open waters to canoe, fish, bird watch
and hunt. … But this year, something sinister lies beneath
the Klamath Basin’s immense beauty.
We’ve identified five priorities for the Biden-Harris
administration and Congress in our 2021 Blueprint for Action.
While some of these priorities can be accomplished by the new
administration itself, many will require congressional action.
Proposals to divert water in New Mexico, Nevada and Utah have
run up against significant legal, financial and political
roadblocks this year. But while environmental groups have
cheered the setbacks, it’s still unclear whether these projects
have truly hit dead ends or are simply waiting in the wings.
Burning rice straw after harvest was a traditional and
economical practice that was phased out in 2000. … The side
effect is it has created millions of acres of seasonal wetlands
in the rice-growing region of the state – and with a variety of
conservation contracts, provided additional income for growers
whose costs rose when straw burning was prohibited.
How wildfires can affect water quality are well documented. But
increasing—and increasingly intense—Western conflagrations are
leading to fears they also could constrict the water quantity
available in some of the nation’s most water-stressed
areas….“It’s absolutely a threat to our water supply—the
quantity and quality of the water that’s able to flow across
the landscape,” said Dave Eggerton, executive director of the
Association of California Water Agencies…
Communities across the United States and the globe rely on
clean water flowing from forested watersheds. But these water
source areas are impacted by the effects of wildfire. To help
water providers and land managers prepare for impacts from
wildfire on water supplies, the U.S. Geological Survey is
working to measure and predict post-fire water quality and
California’s war with Washington over the environment will soon
come to an end. … President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to
act quickly to restore and strengthen dozens of protections on
public lands, water and wildlife. In addition, California’s
efforts to fight climate change will no longer face hurdles put
up by the White House, which has downplayed the global threat.
Clarity on which wetlands and waterways count as “waters of the
U.S.” or WOTUS, subject to federal oversight, has been elusive
for years. … Trump officials’ narrow definition … is facing
lawsuits in a half-dozen federal courts. New litigation is
guaranteed if Biden officials attempt to revert to the
Obama-era rule or craft their own program.
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.
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.
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
In autumn swarms of flying insects cloud the skies on the lower
Colorado River near Bullhead City, Ariz. Caddisflies are a
nuisance to recreationists who want to boat, swim or fish on
the river. So city officials have started an unprecedented
experiment to get rid of them.
There could be lead in your tap water. There could be PFAS in
your bottled water. Microplastics might be in both. Do you
choose neurotoxic heavy metals or carcinogenic “forever
chemicals”? That’s the predicament facing Americans every time
they take a drink of water. … There are no EPA or FDA
standards for microplastics in drinking water, though
California decided to start monitoring for microplastics by
The recent removal of the sediment-filled York Dam in Napa
County has reconnected two miles of steelhead trout habitat
that has been blocked for over a century. … Thousands of
barriers to stream flow and fish passage similar in size and
impact to York Dam are scattered throughout California,
contributing to population declines in native fishes and other
Recently the Santa Clarita Planning Commission approved a
project that would qualify as “backward planning”: planning
that pays no attention to modern issues, instead using methods
long abandoned by others. To me, as a member of the local
Groundwater Sustainability Advisory Committee, the worst of
these is the plan to concrete a portion of Bouquet Creek along
with the groundwater recharge areas on the property.
Not only are non-native predators abundant, but predation risk
may be compounded by the prevalence of invasive vegetation such
as Brazilian waterweed (Egeria densa). These non-native plants
may deal a double blow to Chinook salmon by restricting their
access to formerly open-water habitat and by providing
predators like largemouth bass an edge in a habitat they are
The Department of Water Resources has moved one step closer to
starting the Delta’s largest multi-benefit tidal restoration
and flood improvement project… Lookout Slough is in
unincorporated Solano County, near the border of Yolo County.
It is adjacent to additional tidal restoration efforts,
including Yolo Flyway Farms and Lower Yolo Ranch, to create a
contiguous wetland restoration complex spanning 16,000 acres in
the Cache Slough region of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
A declaration suit filed in Superior Court in Sacramento by
attorneys for some of the leading environmental groups in
America accuses the California Department of Water Resources of
trying to prevent anyone in California from filing a court
action challenging … the financing of a single tunnel that
would be built under the Delta for 35 miles.
At the October meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection
Board, Elizabeth Vasquez, Deputy Program Manager for the San
Joaquin River Restoration Program for the Bureau of Reclamation
and Paul Romero, Supervising Engineer with DWR’s South Central
Region Office, updated the board members on the ongoing
implementation of the program.
Voluntary agreements have been proposed as a collaborative,
modern and holistic alternative to the State Water Resources
Control Board’s staff proposed update to the Bay-Delta Water
Quality Control Plan. … Westlands and other public water
agencies are eager to reengage in the process to finalize the
voluntary agreements, as they offer the best path forward for
The Bureau of Reclamation has once again proposed raising
Shasta Dam, which is already the largest reservoir in
California, after several proposals in the past decade. Each
time, it has faced fierce public opposition from state
government, environmentalists, locals and Native Americans.
As California contends with its worst wildfire season in
history, it’s more evident than ever that land management
practices in the state’s forested mountains need major changes.
… Today the U.S. Forest Service estimates that of the 20
million acres it manages in California, 6 million to 9 million
acres need to be restored.
Local leaders, farmers and others in the Central Valley report
additional progress in addressing salinity in surface water,
and salt and nitrates in groundwater, in compliance with a
program adopted last fall by the State Water Resources Control
A former quarry in south Santa Clara County will be humming
with fish and wildlife in the coming months as birds, frogs,
turtles and a variety of other species benefit from a newly
created wetland habitat and a restored Llagas Creek.
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.
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.
Just weeks after the Bobcat fire ravaged the San Gabriel
Mountains, state and federal biologists are racing to salvage
as many federally endangered species as possible before storms
could inundate the animals’ last outposts with mud and debris.
… “This may be the last time in my life that I see wild
mountain yellow-legged frogs in the last best place for them,”
said biologist Robert Fisher…
By experimenting with how salty ocean water mixes with fresh
water within Suisun Marsh, the California Department of Water
Resources has found a way to improve habitat conditions for
endangered delta smelt within the upper San Francisco Estuary.
What’s in the Tijuana River? Ammonia, a byproduct of raw
sewage. Phosphorous, an ingredient in soaps and cleaners that’s
banned in the U.S. Metals used in the industrial plating
industry. Parasitic worms. And DEHP, a chemical added to
plastics. And of course, there’s poo.
Should the public have access to documents that show why the
federal government changed its stance on the impact an EPA rule
would have on vulnerable species? That’s the question the
Supreme Court will set out to answer Monday in the case Fish
and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club, which deals with a Freedom
of Information Act request for documents underpinning a 2014
rule for cooling water intake structures at power plants.
The first phase of a highly touted tidal marsh recovery plan
was completed this week when a levee was breached and the
restored marsh area was reconnected to the San Francisco Bay
estuary for the first time since the late 1800s. The first
phase of the Montezuma Wetlands Restored Tidal Marsh Project
was completed Tuesday.
Launched in a post-World War II chemical boom, PFAS have slowly
made their way into water systems around the country. They flow
through reservoirs and faucets and bleed into aquifers and
irrigation systems that sustain crops and livestock that end up
on our plates.
Napa Sanitation District is marking a county-transfiguring
anniversary—it formed 75 years ago to turn the Napa River from
an “open cesspool” with raw sewage into a water recreation
draw. Signs of success abound.
The Delta Conveyance Project is a necessary investment to
secure California’s water future. Let’s face it, our climate is
changing rapidly and becoming more unpredictable – wildfires
are larger and more frequent, the seas are rising, droughts are
lasting longer and storms are fiercer. The need for this
project has never been clearer.
If plastic pipes or tanks are melted, or even just heat up, or
loose pressure, drinking water can become contaminated. In the
case of Big Basin Water Co., the system lost water pressure and
much of its infrastructure was destroyed. That triggered the
State Water Resources Control Board and the Big Basin Water Co.
to put a Do Not Drink, Do Not Boil water advisory into effect.
Judith Marshall joined the corps’ Portland office in 2011 to
manage several projects, including the agency’s 13 dams in the
Willamette River Basin. She quickly learned the corps was out
of compliance with several major environmental laws for
virtually all of them. She got nowhere when she raised her
concerns to her supervisors. Then she was harassed and bullied.
Now Marshall is blowing the whistle.
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.
Kendra Atleework’s new memoir Miracle Country, published in
July by Algonquin Books, maps the region of Eastern California
where William Mulholland stole the water and terraformed the
SoCal landscape into the place we now know.
The pesky 3-foot-long, buck-toothed nutria is getting the
better of California. The large rodent is chewing up rivers and
wetlands and threatening to mow down farmland and
infrastructure, and the state is struggling to contain
it. Relief may be on the way.
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
Wildlife in the upper Putah Creek watershed was devastated by
the LNU Complex Fire, which started on Aug. 17, was finally
extinguished on Oct. 2, and grew to be the fourth largest in
California history. However, the oak woodlands in this region
have evolved with fire, and with natural resiliency and a
little support from local agencies, recovery is expected.
Many who oppose the restoration project say it includes a plan
to install new infrastructure adjacent to the wetlands. “The
last thing we need when we are in a crisis of climate change is
to build new fossil fuel infrastructure,” said representatives
for The Sierra Club Ballona Wetlands Restoration Committee. And
who is investing in fossil fuel use? SoCalGas owns a natural
gas facility adjacent to the wetlands.
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.
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency filed a lawsuit Tuesday
alleging toxic chemicals from products manufactured by those
named in the case were discharged into the environment.
Raytheon Technologies, Chemours, DuPoint and 3M Co. are among
dozens named in the lawsuit “for their roles in introducing
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) into the water
Scientists from several fish and wildlife agencies have
launched a rapid research and response effort for deficiency of
thiamine, or Vitamin B1. This deficiency was recently found to
be increasing juvenile mortality among Chinook salmon in
California’s Central Valley. The magnitude of its effect is not
clear. However, it could be a risk to Chinook stocks, including
endangered winter-run Chinook salmon and the fishery for
fall-run Chinook salmon.
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.
Lobbing another hurdle at California’s $16 billion plan to
tunnel underneath the West Coast’s largest estuary,
environmentalists on Thursday sued to freeze public funding for
the megaproject championed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Led by Sierra
Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, a familiar
coalition of critics claim the cash-strapped state is pursuing
a “blank check” for a project that isn’t fully cooked.
When driving over the Yolo Bypass in the winter, one can’t help
but notice the flooded fields. … Historically, the area used
to be wetlands and floodplain habitat, but now, farmers grow
rice there. After harvest, the fields are flooded to not only
help decompose the leftover rice straw but also, as a surprise
to many, recreate a surrogate habitat for many area wildlife,
most notably birds.
Cham-Cal, operator and owner of a facility in Garden Grove that
manufactures commercial truck accessories, used and stored
tetrachloroethene (PCE) in its vapor degreasing operation,
resulting in repeated discharges of the suspected
cancer-causing contaminant to soil and groundwater on
industrial property owned by Western Avenue Associates.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a grant of $700,000
to Audubon California towards the stabilization, restoration
and enhancement of wetlands near the town of Bombay Beach, on
the Salton Sea.
The Bureau of Reclamation announces the selection of four
funding award recipients to implement $40 million in salmon
habitat improvement projects along the Sacramento River. The
restoration projects will enhance and improve spawning and
rearing habitat for salmon at approximately 25 different
locations across 132 river miles.
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?
At the Oct. 22 meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Delta
Watermaster Michael George gave a detailed presentation on
estimating water use in the Delta… He also discussed
implementation of the state’s policy of reducing reliance on
the Delta and provided updates on the preparations for the next
Located right below Slab Creek Dam and Reservoir and priced at
$16.5 million … the project has two main functions. One
includes a recreational flow release on a nine-mile stretch
below the reservoir that will improve boating, rafting and
kayaking opportunities… The other release feeds water into
the powerhouse to drive the turbine.
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.
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
In a review of Feather River fall-run Chinook salmon in
September 2019, I described their status through the 2018 run
and expressed optimism for the 2019 run. My assessment proved
overly optimistic, as the 2019 run numbers came in lower than
expected. The lower-than-expected returns appear to be the
consequence of the 2017 Oroville Dam spillway failures.
The proposed structure will span the width of the existing
channel and feature an operable weir crest gate that can be
raised for diversion to the intake structure and lowered to
bypass diversions. An engineered roughened channel will be
constructed in the section of the stream directly downstream of
the diversion structure for future fish passage. The new intake
will be equipped with a trash rack and fish screens.
Adrian Harpold and his team are conducting a field study on the
impact of wildfire on the Illilouette Creek watershed in the
Yosemite wilderness area in California. They’re looking at how
much water makes it to streams for people and downstream
agriculture after a fire, and how much water stays in the
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.
The lake is particularly small and low right now for a few
reasons, said Matt Graul, the East Bay Regional Park District’s
chief of stewardship. Wildcat Creek runs dry in the rainless
months of summer and early fall, but has been hit harder than
ever since the Bay Area received less rainfall than typical
last winter. Once the rains start and fill the creek, there
should be water again in the lake, he said.
Five California Conservation Corps (CCC) crews are assisting
Butte County Public Works and Department of Water Resources in
making sure that the watershed is protected from potential rain
water run-off from homes burned in the North Complex Fire.
U.S. Rep. John Garamendi has filed an official objection to a
plan backed by Sonoma County and his House Democratic colleague
Jared Huffman to remove Scott Dam on the Eel River and drain
Lake Pillsbury, a popular recreation spot for nearly a century.
The UC Santa Barbara scientist was supposed to be studying
methane seeps that day, but with a deep-sea robot on loan and a
few hours to spare, now was the chance to confirm an
environmental abuse that others in the past could not. He was
chasing a hunch, and sure enough, initial sonar scans pinged
back a pattern of dots that popped up on the map like a trail
California has experienced record-breaking wildfires in 2020
with more than 4 million acres burned, increasing the risk of
flash flooding along with mud and debris flows to communities
and homes downslope of burn areas. The impacts caused by
wildfires can be drastic when it comes to flood risk.
The desire for crystal clean water is one that the president
repeats frequently, even dating to his 2016 presidential
campaign. Immaculate water, he has also said. Clear water.
Beautiful water. But the focus on appearances is superficial,
according to a number of water advocates and analysts.
Revisions to environmental rules that the administration has
pursued during the first term of the Trump presidency will be
detrimental to the nation’s waters, they said.
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…
Members of local tribes, fishermen and conservationists are
calling on Warren Buffett to undam the Klamath. People across
the country joined members of the Karuk, Yurok, Klamath and
Hoopa Valley tribes on Friday for a day of action to get the
attention of Buffett, the owner of Pacific Power and the
Klamath River dams…
Completely dry riverbeds, record low flows, and diminished fish
populations — that’s what staff and volunteers from a local
environmental nonprofit found when they surveyed tributaries of
the Eel River earlier this month.
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.
Dam failure, though rare, can cause catastrophic destruction of
property and lives. Repairing hazardous dams can help, but
simply removing them can be a better, more cost-effective
option with accompanying environmental benefits … a mere
five states account for half of all removals: Pennsylvania
(343), California (173), Wisconsin (141), Michigan (94), and
In the absence of appropriate management, excessive livestock
damage can occur in sensitive habitats such as riparian areas
that provide drinking water, forage, and microclimates sought
by free-ranging livestock. … Fortunately,
conservation-grazing management strategies can reduce the
likelihood of livestock damage to riparian areas.
With California’s worst wildfire season on record still raging,
experts from across the state are calling for a $2 billion
investment in the next year on prevention tactics like
prescribed burns and more year-round forest management
Virtual rallies will be held Friday at the utility’s
headquarters in Portland and in Buffett’s hometown of Omaha,
Neb., according to a Save California Salmon news release. A
rally will also be held in Seattle, home of the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation, the top shareholder in Buffett’s
Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate. Berkshire Hathaway Energy is
PacifiCorp’s parent company.
Contra Costa County Flood Control Division officials told the
Oakley City Council recently that they’re still assessing the
issues of concern caused by beavers that built a dam in an area
of Marsh Creek near Creekside Park earlier this year. At the
time, the city and county received a lot of backlash from the
community and beyond because the county’s answer to the problem
was to kill two beavers that built the dam.
Del Puerto Water District directors approved a final
environment study Wednesday on a 82,000 acre-foot reservoir
near Patterson. … The reservoir is proposed to increase
reliability of water deliveries to thirsty farms and improve
management of groundwater. The project in a canyon just west of
Patterson has stirred debate. It would inundate part of scenic
Del Puerto Canyon and raises fears the dam near Interstate 5
could fail, flooding the city of 23,000.
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…
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.
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.
Seawater desalination operator Poseidon is poised to take over
the Agua Hedionda Lagoon maintenance dredging that has been
done by local power companies since 1954. Permits are being
obtained for the work to begin in November or early December
with expectations to finish by mid-April…
A national environmental organization is preparing to sue Gov.
Gavin Newsom’s administration for issuing new fracking permits,
including six approved on Friday, Kassie Siegel, director of
the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute,