DAILY DIGEST, 1/10: Will CA get out of drought this winter?; Salmon spawn in the Bay Area for the first time in 18 years; Newsom’s budget would add billions to fight drought, fires and boost CA farms; Current reservoir and snow conditions; and more …
Wet season watch: Will California get out of drought this winter?
“California is hoping for a good soaking this wet season. After two extraordinarily dry years, water supplies are running short, low-flowing rivers have pummelled fish and wildlife, and parched forests and grasslands have increased the risk of wildfire. Most of California’s precipitation comes between December and April. Winter storms from the Pacific Ocean bring rain to thirsty hills and valleys and drop snow on mountaintops, which later melts and provides an additional burst of needed moisture. … Water managers are monitoring these winter months closely. So are we. On this constantly updating page, we are keeping tabs on some of the most important data that help us answer the question: Will California be relieved from drought this winter? ... ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Wet season watch: Will California get out of drought this winter?
Continued drought early in a possibly wet year
“California’s 2021 calendar year is over, but its 2022 Water Year (which started October 2021) is already three months old and still early in its wet season. So far this wet season is actually wet. It is a good time to assess the condition of the present drought and whether it is likely to end with this wet season. And under such conditions, what are water management activities and policy initiatives we should be doing? ... ” Continue reading at the California Water Blog here: Continued drought early in a possibly wet year
Nearly extinct salmon spawn in the Bay Area for the first time in 18 years
“At first, barely visible beneath the rippling waters of Montezuma Creek in Forest Knolls, the bright red tail of a coho salmon suddenly emerged, splashing along the surface as it swam upstream. The recent sighting by Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) biologist Ayano Hayes was a milestone for the Bay Area, marking the first time the endangered fish has been spotted in the small tributary of the San Geronimo Valley in Marin County since 2004. “This is extremely exciting and is the result of big storms that have let coho salmon maneuver through culverts under roads that are a barrier to migration under lower flows,” said Hayes in a statement. … ” Continue reading from SF Gate here: Nearly extinct salmon spawn in the Bay Area for the first time in 18 years
Study predicts rising heat and hardship for San Joaquin Valley farming communities
“Within three decades, the San Joaquin Valley’s annual average temperature could increase by 4 degrees, worsening water quality and health hazards in the impoverished communities of California’s agricultural heartland, according to a new regional climate change report. Those hit hardest by the increasing heat will be poor farming communities that lack the resources necessary to adapt, according to the UC Merced report. That conclusion was based on dozens of recent scientific studies on a variety of issues related to climate change, and assumes a worst-case scenario for global carbon emissions. “Many families in San Joaquin Valley rely on agriculture as their main source of income,” said Jose Pablo Ortiz-Partida, a climate and water scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists and co-author of the report. “Now, climate change is gunning for them. They need all the help they can get.” … ” Read more fromt he LA Times here: Study predicts rising heat and hardship for San Joaquin Valley farming communities
Could a small dam on Dry Creek ease flooding in Modesto area? Here are some options
“A new report examines how erecting a small dam on Dry Creek might reduce its role in Modesto-area flooding. Stanislaus County Public Works will hold a Jan. 18 open house on the idea. It does not have funding yet for the project, which could cost as much as $48 million based on the consultant’s work. The report looks at 11 possible sites where Dry Creek might be impounded, generally in the Waterford area. It recommends four of them for further study, which the county Board of Supervisors could consider in the spring, Public Works Director David Leamon said in an email Friday. … ” Read more from the Modesto Bee here: Could a small dam on Dry Creek ease flooding in Modesto area? Here are some options
Back in So Cal: Pacific lamprey found in Santa Margarita River, for the first time in decades
“”They will recolonize, if we pave the way for them,” said Damon Goodman, former biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Arcata office who is now a regional director in Northern California for CalTrout. If this sounds similar to the Field of Dreams famous quote: “if you build it, they will come,” it is. And it is exactly what happened with Pacific lamprey recolonizing in the Santa Margarita River in Southern California. Found in the river in August 2019 for the first time since last documented in 1940, this is now the furthest south the species has currently recolonized, 260 miles south of the previous location in San Luis Obispo which recolonized in 2017. These results were confirmed again in 2020 and 2021 – this followed unsuccessful efforts in the 1990s, 2005 and 2014 without locating a single lamprey. … ” Read more from the US FWS here: Back in So Cal: Pacific lamprey found in Santa Margarita River, for the first time in decades
Newsom’s budget would add billions to fight drought, fires and boost California farms
“Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday will propose spending billions of additional dollars on drought response, wildfire suppression and rural workforce development programs, according to budget documents reviewed by The Sacramento Bee. The governor’s plan includes $750 million in one-time money to help communities affected by the drought, including for water conservation, water efficiency, replenishing groundwater supplies and helping small farmers. That money comes on top of $5.2 billion Newsom and lawmakers approved last year for drought response and will build on clean drinking water projects previously funded through the state budget, an administration official told The Bee. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Newsom’s budget would add billions to fight drought, fires and boost California farms
Winter storms deal death blow to iconic California rock formation
“Not even the magic of Christmas could save an iconic California rock formation from collapsing. On Christmas Eve, the historic rock arch along a San Luis Obispo beach in California’s Montana de Oro State Park, situated about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, collapsed in on itself, according to reporting from the Los Angeles Times. The rock formation’s collapse has been blamed on the record-breaking weather in California during the month of December, which seemingly weathered the ancient arch until it could no longer stand. The December rainfall totals in San Luis Obispo County were as high as 12 inches, and the storms that have pelted the coast have brought high waves, pounding fragile coastal features. … ” Read more from AccuWeather here: Winter storms deal death blow to iconic California rock formation
Out of the Woods: Could biomass technology help reduce megafires and build a wood-products market in California?
” … The California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force is part of a $1 billion effort to fundamentally change the ways forests throughout the state are managed. It involves all of the land management agencies managing California’s forest — state, federal and tribal — as well as representatives of private forestland owners, including logging companies and individuals. Its mission is to establish “healthy and resilient forests that can withstand and adapt to wildfire, drought and a changing climate.” One of the primary ways the task force is working to achieve that goal is through forest thinning. Its published plan includes a directive to use this harvest to help “build a sustainable wood-products market in California.” Because this wood has no value as lumber, there have been hopes, in the three years since the task force convened, that it might be used as a source for biofuel. … ” Read more from Comstock’s Magazine here: Out of the Woods: Could biomass technology help reduce megafires and build a wood-products market in California?
Watch: West Coast Megadrought threatening food production, farmers
“The West Coast’s megadrought is threatening our nation’s food production, and the people who produce it. Severe water shortages in California, Nevada and Arizona are drying up the supply needed for crop irrigation. For example, the Colorado River is a vital resource for Arizona farmers. Right now, it’s only at 39 percent capacity. Trying to conserve what’s left, regulators are cutting off 65 percent of the water supply to farmers. Correspondent Dina Demetrius traveled to Casa Grande, Arizona to talk with the Caywood family about the drought that’s drying up their land.” Watch video at KCRA here: West Coast Megadrought threatening food production, farmers
In Ojai Valley, a glimpse of how to nurture land in a drier, post-hydrocarbon world
Stephanie Pincetl, professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and founding director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA, writes, “The Ojai Valley in Ventura County is a magical place. Consider its elements: the sweet smell of California citrus blossoms in the spring, the open space preserved by orchards, the seasonal creeks that run free through the cultivated lands. But the Ojai Valley is also a place in peril. That’s because the water source that keeps this inland Ventura hamlet thriving is nearly dry. Lake Casitas reservoir was built in the late 1950s, when decades of plentiful rain hid the true nature of California’s arid climate. Back then, the official projections for water-resources potential were optimistic. Today, that story has changed dramatically. It’s this fear of water shortages that is dominating conversations and creating antagonisms: farmers versus city dwellers, farmers versus farmers, water officials versus everybody. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: In Ojai Valley, a glimpse of how to nurture land in a drier, post-hydrocarbon world
Snowtography Handbook puts water data into the hands of small farmers and ranchers
“A new handbook, Snowtography: Snowpack & Soil Moisture Monitoring aims to put snowmelt and soil moisture data directly into the hands of ranchers, small farmers and other stakeholders in the western U.S. The handbook describes the importance of snow monitoring and provides easy-to-understand instruction on how to build and maintain a snow monitoring station using automated trail cameras. “We want to build a network of snowtography stations but keep it in the hands of the stakeholders,” said Joel A. Biederman, a Research Hydrologist with the Southwest Watershed Research Center in Tucson, Arizona. Biederman co-wrote the handbook with Elizabeth Payton of the Western Water Assessment, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder and Marcos Robles of The Nature Conservancy. … ” Continue reading at the High Plains Journal here: Snowtography Handbook puts water data into the hands of small farmers and ranchers
Cargo, with a side of hornets, flies and crabs
“In July 2021 federal agents in New Orleans abruptly ordered the 600-foot cargo ship Pan Jasmine to leave U.S. waters. The ship, which had sailed from India, was preparing to offload goods when inspectors noticed fresh sawdust on the cargo deck and discovered non-native beetles and ants boring into wooden packaging materials. The unwelcome insects included an Asian longhorn beetle, a species that was introduced into New York 25 years ago, where it has killed thousands of trees and cost $500 million in control efforts. The crew of beetles aboard the Pan Jasmine is not an isolated incident. … ” Read more from The Revelator here: Cargo, with a side of hornets, flies and crabs
2021’s biggest climate and weather disasters cost the U.S. $145 billion – here’s what climate science says about them in 5 essential reads
“The disasters just kept coming in 2021, from Hurricane Ida’s destruction across Louisiana and the Northeast to devastating wildfires in the West and damaging storms, tornadoes and floods. Nearly half the U.S. was in drought, and extreme temperature spikes disrupted power supplies just when people needed cooling or heating most. In all, the costliest U.S. weather and climate disasters of the year did an estimated US$145 billion in damage and claimed at least 688 lives, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Jan. 10, 2022. It was the third-most expensive year on record. ... ” Continue reading at The Conversation here: 2021’s biggest climate and weather disasters cost the U.S. $145 billion – here’s what climate science says about them in 5 essential reads
About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.