Water and Land Use
From the Local Government Commission:
In 2005, the California Legislature passed new laws that enable communities to join together to adopt Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) policies and practices. This comprehensive planning approach considers water and related land resources as an interconnected regional system rather than as a combination of fragmented parts.
Local jurisdictions across the state convene as Regional Water Management Groups to implement their plans. Anticipated and realized benefits of IRWM include improved cost-effectiveness and outcomes for planning and management of water quality and supply, as well as better distribution of water between ecosystem and human use.
While water management and land-use planning remain highly fragmented across the nation, many states are moving toward this more integrated approach, especially when setting new state-level policies, regulations, and guidance.
Building Cities to Better Support Biodiversity
From the San Francisco Estuary Institute:
By 2040, about 10 million people will live in the Bay Area. Most will live in highly urban environments. Climate change will bring more extreme weather: hotter days, more drought, increased flooding, and sea level rise. Can we revitalize nature in these communities where our children and grandchildren will live? Can we create healthy neighborhoods where people and nature thrive?
Dr. Erica Spotswood and a team of SFEI scientists have developed a framework outlining the key elements for supporting biodiversity in urban environments.
As part of the Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands Project, the new framework entitled Making Nature’s City synthesizes findings from decades of urban ecology research to inform innovative urban design. It identifies seven key elements to consider when designing cities for both people and nature: habitat patch size, connections, matrix quality, habitat diversity, native vegetation, special resources, and management. The report uses Silicon Valley as a case study to illustrate how urban planners and conservationists can use geospatial data to assess opportunities and assets within each of these categories.
Various challenges are facing cities as their populations continue to grow, sea levels rise, and weather patterns shift with climate change. Making Nature’s City provides critical insights to help cities become more resilient to these changes and more livable for people, plants, and animals.
Protecting Groundwater Quality in California: Management Considerations for avoiding naturally occurring and emerging contaminants
From the Environmental Defense Fund:
California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), signed into law five years ago, requires local leaders to balance groundwater demand and supplies for the first time. Groundwater is an important foundation of California’s water system, and SGMA is a crucial way of strengthening that foundation and creating a more resilient future for the state.
However, balancing groundwater budgets will not be easy. And this major challenge is further complicated by the fact that activities designed to increase groundwater supplies can unintentionally cause new groundwater quality problems or worsen existing contamination.
A new working paper that Environmental Defense Fund co-authored with Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; Green Science Policy Institute; and the Energy and Environmental Sciences Area of Berkeley Lab outlines how groundwater management activities can affect not only the quantity but also the quality of groundwater.
NEW REPORT: Innovation Drives Advances in Stormwater Capture
New white paper highlights groundbreaking approaches that could increase SoCal water supply through stormwater capture
From the Southern California Water Coalition:
Southern California is on track to lead the nation in harnessing the power of its rainstorms through innovative stormwater capture projects. As these projects are planned and built, agencies are challenged to balance cost-effectiveness with design that brings multiple benefits, such as mitigating the effects of climate change, drought and emerging water quality and regulatory issues.
A new white paper released today by the Southern California Water Coalition aims to further the discussion through its provision of nine case studies of successful stormwater capture projects from California to New York. The case studies and analysis provide critical insights into the elements of success for innovative local water supply projects, which will likely play a key role in California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio initiative.
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