Sacramento liberals have tried to starve agriculture during California’s ongoing drought through water restrictions. But farmers could increase production, while decreasing water usage by 25,000 gallons per acre, if they increase the concentration of organic matter in the soil by one percent. One of California’s nicknames is the “Horn of Plenty,” because its $37.5 billion in annual agricultural sales is more than any other state in the nation. Due to a combination of soil and climate, California’s output per acre is 50 percent higher than neighboring states.
Archive for date: June 7th, 2016
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A new government study casts doubt on predictions of severe continental-scale droughts plaguing the planet because of global warming.
It turns out, climate models predicting mega-droughts from increased warming may be wrong since “such drying seems inconsistent with observations of dryland greening and decreasing pan evaporation,” according to government scientists.
Firefighters are tackling larger and more aggressive wildfires as drought conditions continue for a fifth year in California, drying out swaths of forest land.
Raging wildfires in Northern and Southern California kept firefighters busy over the weekend, pushing the number of acres burned so far this year to well over 20,000. In the north, crews tackled the 3,200-acre Coleman fire as it tore through Los Padres National Forest, threatening several homes. Farther south in Calabasas, residents left their homes as flames consumed more than 500 acres.
Colorado’s average snowpack across the state shot up to 201 percent of normal during May thanks to cold, wet weather, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service reported Tuesday. The statewide snowpack sat at about 95 percent of last year’s level as of June 1, the agency reported.
The Colorado River Basin, which includes the Roaring Fork River watershed, was at 204 percent of normal and 99 percent of last year’s snowpack as of June 1, according to the conservation service.
Low-elevation snowpack across the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades will disappear in the coming decades if global warming continues unabated, according to a new study. The changes will cause water shortages in the region and dry out forests and grasslands, the study’s authors say.
According to the research, the snow line—the altitude above which it snows, and below which it rains—will climb as much as 800 feet in the Colorado Rockies, and 1,400 feet in the Rockies of Idaho and Wyoming by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate.
As debate continues in San Diego County and around the state over how aggressively to conserve water amid a historic drought, a new study finds that reductions in urban water use have saved significant amounts of electricity and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
The analysis, published by UC Davis, capitalized on the unique circumstances created by California’s drought. It culled statistics that electric utilities and water districts statewide were required to submit because of Gov. Jerry Brown’s unprecedented order for residents and businesses to lower water consumption by an average of 25%.
Southern California’s largest water supplier was temporarily blocked from buying sprawling farmland that could be used to help build twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a court ruled Tuesday.
The state’s 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento granted a temporary restraining order the day before escrow was set to close on Metropolitan Water District’s $175 million deal for 20,000 acres. The ruling delays the district’s purchase by no more than a few weeks, Metropolitan attorney Catherine Stites said.
A state panel on Tuesday dismissed a $1.55 million fine it levied last year against a Delta-area agency accused of ignoring an order to stop diverting water during the drought.
State water regulators alleged last June that Byron-Bethany Irrigation District in the southern Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta defied a state order issued to dozens of senior water rights holders. The order told them to stop pulling water from streams and rivers due to extremely dry conditions.
Delta smelt have hovered close to extinction for years, but biologists say they’ve never seen anything like this spring.
“There’s nothing between them and extinction, as far as I can tell,” said Peter Moyle, a U.C. Davis biologist who has studied smelt and other Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fish species for nearly four decades. Last week, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife released the results of spring trawling surveys that track adult delta smelt. The surveys found just handfuls of fish across the huge area where they are known to spawn.
A state appellate court has temporarily blocked the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s $175 million purchase of five islands in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. On Tuesday, the 3rd District Court of Appeal granted a temporary stay preventing the sale from closing.
Last month, a San Joaquin County judge refused to grant a request for a preliminary injunction filed by environmental groups, local water districts, and San Joaquin and Contra Costa counties. Those groups sued in April, aiming to halt the sale pending an environmental review.