From the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Blog:
“An award-winning watershed assessment tool, the Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment (AGWA), was deployed to assess potential Rim Fire threats in Yosemite National Park in California. …
“BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response) is a multi-agency group that includes USDA’s Forest Service and others, and is responsible for identifying potential threats such as downstream flooding and developing plans to rehabilitate and restore burned areas.
“State water quality officials announced Saturday their intent to reduce the rate of sediment pollution in the Elk River by 97 percent over the next 20 years by limiting it in timberland areas for both residents and logging companies.”
“What is a LAFCO? Until this week, many local residents would have been hard-pressed to answer this question. Yet on Wednesday, a majority of the appointees to the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission demonstrated why it is important for counties to have strong and principled LAFCOs.”
“As autumn turns to winter and rain falls over the charred landscape left behind by the Rim fire, forest rangers and emergency planners have a new worry: water.
“Over 90% of the blaze burned in the Tuolumne River watershed, where more than 2,600 miles of streams cut through steep, now-burned slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Those mountains are primed for flooding and debris flows in a big storm.”
“A state regulatory agency on Thursday gave the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 60 days to submit a plan for restoring 49 acres of wildlife habitat that it plowed under at two locations along the Los Angeles River without proper authorization.”
“The prospect of restoring the Los Angeles River as wildlife habitat, recreation opportunity and civic amenity may have once sounded like a whimsical notion whipped up on the spur of the moment by a handful of dreamers. If it ever was, it’s certainly not now. …
“The L.A. River watershed is one of only seven such first-phase Urban Waters projects nationwide.”
From the Commonwealth Club of California Climate One blog:
“An emerging area of economics aims to put a price on nature as a way of justifying preserving it in societies dominated by the wisdom of markets. A mountain stream, for example, provides many economic benefits beyond people who own property near it or drink water from it. The same is said of bees that pollinate our food, wetlands that cleans water, and trees that drink up carbon dioxide.
From the UC Davis’ Center for Watershed Sciences’ California WaterBlog, in a post by Sarah Yarnell:
“Every spring for the past 12 years, a class of a dozen or so UC Davis undergraduates ride a river in the American West for a learning adventure like none other in their college life.
“Whether rafting the Colorado through the Grand Canyon, plying the undammed Skeena in British Columbia or paddling the Kobuk in Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve, the educational strategy has charted the same course:
“Take the pieces of environmental science that students lear
“After years of study, legal turmoil, public debate and legislative uncertainty, county planners say it’s going to take another year of staff work, an ombudsman and a citizens committee to figure out how to regulate creekside lots in Marin.
“Development rules that have proven politically elusive are up for another round of review at the Civic Center Tuesday morning as the Board of Supervisors reconsiders a controversial ’stream conservation area’ zone program that affects what happens near creek banks.”
“Just four weeks after the most intense day of California’s Rim Fire — when wind and extremely arid conditions created a conflagration that turned 30,000 acres of dense conifers and oaks into a moonscape — life is returning as the forest begins to repair itself.
From The Sacramento Bee in a commentary by David Mas Masumoto:
“As the smoke clears, the Rim fire has exposed a fundamental question for me: What’s my connection with Yosemite? …
“The Valley watershed begins in the Sierra – the water from the dramatic waterfalls and rivers winds down into our lands. Typically, we simply wait for the liquid gold to come spilling down for our thirsty fields and cities.”
“Perched atop a charred ridge, scientist Brad Rust stares at a tiny bead of water — which sits, motionless, glistening like a perfect pearl in a sea of ash.
“The soil does not absorb the droplet, it repels it — a finding that tells Rust and his colleagues that fierce winter rains could rush down these hillsides burned barren in the 260,000-acre Rim Fire, flushing dirt, rocks and ash from one of California’s most pristine watersheds.”