California’s aquatic ecosystems and the species that depend on them are in trouble. Dramatic changes in water and land use over the past 150 years have transformed the state’s freshwater landscape, and the latest drought brought additional stress. We talked with Lewis Bair, general manager of Reclamation District No. 108, about where we need to go from here
The Rim fire in 2013 brought devastation to a vast swath of Sierra Nevada forests west of Yosemite National Park. But the third largest wildfire in state history also seemed to have worked a political miracle, at least for a while. In the aftermath of the blaze, environmental organizations, timber interests, state officials and the U.S. Forest Service buried decades of discord to forge an ambitious restoration and reforestation plan.
More than 6,000 marijuana plants were eradicated and nine people arrested as part of sweep of illegal cultivation operations led by the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday and Friday. The operation focused on environmental and water violations stemming from illegal marijuana cultivation, said Leslie Carbah, public information officer for the sheriff’s office.
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman announced that 27 entities were selected to receive a total of $2.6 million to establish or further develop watershed groups in order to address water quantity or quality through Cooperative Watershed Management Program Grants. Of the 27 entities selected, 19 are existing watershed groups, including one from the Virgin Islands, and 8 are establishing a new watershed group.
A final draft plan for the San Joaquin River system has been released by state water regulators. … But Friday the State Water Board also released a “framework” for a similar plan being prepared for the Sacramento River watershed, which would see even larger reductions of diversions in the north valley.
“Regional water officials have shaped a plan to improve water quality in the Lagunitas Creek watershed, which provides habitat for coho salmon, steelhead trout and California freshwater shrimp, all listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.”
“A rural creekside property used in the past as a golf course and a horse pasture is a conservation group’s latest and biggest purchase to protect and restore Marsh Creek, the second longest creek in Contra Costa County.”
“The San Lorenzo River Alliance, a partnership founded by the Coastal Watershed Council, an environmental nonprofit, concluded its four-part public forum series Monday at Santa Cruz’s Patagonia Outlet.”
“The Bureau of Reclamation’s Cooperative Watershed Management Program is accepting applications from entities seeking to establish or expand watershed management groups. The funding opportunity announcement is available at www.grants.gov by searching for funding opportunity R14AS00038.”
From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld today [April 22] announced nearly $5 million in EPA grants to state and local agencies to restore water quality and wetlands throughout the San Francisco Bay watershed at a ceremony held at Breuner Marsh (Richmond, Calif.)—one of the sites to receive federal restoration grant funding. The ceremony was attended by U.S.
“A conservation group is working on a demonstration project in the Salinas River to inject science into an emotional argument about the best way to achieve flood protection for growers while maintaining critical habitat for endangered wildlife.”
“President Barack Obama is bringing additional drought aid with him Friday, as he arrives in California’s stricken San Joaquin Valley.
“The new assistance includes sped-up livestock disaster assistance for California producers, provided under a newly signed farm bill, as well as targeted conservation assistance, watershed protection funds, additional summer feeding programs and emergency community water grants.”
“With California’s drought reaching crisis level and the long-term weather forecast calling for sunny skies, the Calaveras County Water District held a Water-Forestry Forum at the San Andreas Town Hall Thursday, Jan. 23.
From Greenversations, An EPA Blog About Science Matters, in a post by Marguerite Huber:
“EPA researchers studying green infrastructure (using vegetation, soil, and other naturalistic techniques to reduce stormwater runoff) collaborated with colleagues in the Agency’s New England office (EPA Region 1) to develop a new public-domain software app called the Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool (WMOST).
“The goal of the tool is to help water resource managers and planners identify cost effective, sustainable green infrastructure options for their local jurisdictions.