You are now in San Diego County category.

Los Angeles County Proposal to Let Landowners Use Hauled-In Water Worries Environmentalists

Los Angeles County is considering a controversial plan to spur housing development in rural unincorporated areas by allowing property owners to haul in drinking water if no other source is available.

If adopted, the initiative would make 42,677 parcels in the northern one-third of the county potentially eligible to construct as many as 3,680 single-family homes over the next two decades, officials said.

Biologists Go E-Fishing for Steelhead

With Lake Cachuma water levels plunging to historic lows, the Bureau of Reclamation began releasing 320 acre-feet of water down the Santa Ynez River a day and will continue doing so until 7,800 acre-feet have been let go as part of a legally mandated program to replenish the groundwater basins of downstream cities and water providers. With this release, the bathtub ring surrounding the lake will become much more visually dramatic. For those trying to maintain struggling populations of federally endangered steelhead trout: “We’re afraid we’re witnessing an extinction-level event,” said Scott Engblom, a biologist with the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board.

Community event permit workshop, chamber mixer, water conservation and more

The county Board of Supervisors has approved the final map for Paseo Village Townhomes, a condominium project just north of state Route 67 and bordered by La Brea, Day and Vermont streets.

The condo project by Ramona developer Steve Powell will consist of 31 dwelling units on 2.28 acres and include street improvements.

Also at their June 22 meeting, supervisors approved the final map to convert Boulder Ridge Villas, 1918 and 1922 Kelly Ave., to condominiums.

A multi-pronged Delta smelt strategy revealed

Under a comprehensive strategy released Tuesday, state and federal agencies will work to rapidly improve conditions for endangered Delta smelt, which are close to extinction after several extremely dry years.

According to a California Natural Resources Agency press release, the strategy represents a management shift for state and federal water and wildlife agencies, which are addressing multiple stressors on Delta smelt in a systematic way while studying the synergy of the actions.


Actually, La Niña Might Be A Big Bust Too

So, that “Godzilla” El Niño that had a “95 percent chance” of coming and was “too big to fail“? Yeah, it didn’t happen (at least not in SoCal).

What resulted, instead, was a cooling of the Pacific around the equator, which suggested that a La Niña may be approaching. This was unwelcomed news; while El Niño (usually) leads to a rainy winter season for SoCal, La Niña often means a drier winter for us. Seeing as how we never got the tons of rain that we were promised, the prospect of an La Niña was dispiriting.

Senate Bill addresses water use of marijuana cultivation

Fish and Wildlife will now take a more active role in protecting California waterways after the passing of Senate Bill 837. Scott Bauer, a Senior Environmental Scientist with California Fish and Wildlife said, “It provides for additional resources for our own department, our watershed enforcement team, for the state water board and it helps us better regulate water use on marijuana cultivation sites.” Bauer estimates there were about 5,000 grows in 2014 in Humboldt County. He believes that number is even higher now, and says that means more grows and more diversions from local streams and rivers.

OPINION: Why Santa Monica is staying in drought mode

Last year, faced with one of the worst droughts in California history, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a mandate to cities across the state to cut water use by 25%. And guess what – the cuts were successful. Up against a daunting challenge, Californians proved that, when asked, they could come together to meet the task at hand.

Last month, however, in response to heavy rains filling reservoirs in the northern half of the state last winter, the governor relaxed his conservation mandate. But the drought is not over by any stretch of the imagination — particularly in the Southland.

Winter Rains Boon For Thirsty, Drought-Stricken Birds

Funny what a little rain can do. Last summer, the Grassland Ecological Area — a sprawling wetland tucked into agricultural fields near Los Banos in California’s Central Valley — was bone dry. For the hundreds of thousands of traveling birds that stopover in the wetlands each year, it was if someone had boarded up the last roadside Denny’s.

The numbers of Mallard ducks began to plummet by 40 percent, much to the chagrin of the area’s numerous duck hunting clubs. Most of the other 270 avian species frequenting the area followed.

We are the 5 percenters, stretching our water supplies to get by

Water supplies in many parts of the state are seemingly better than they’ve been in recent memory. Major reservoirs in northern California are near capacity. The state water board lifted mandatory restrictions on urban water use. Some water agencies say they won’t be asking their customers to conserve this summer.

Obligatory restrictions may have gone by the wayside thanks to a little El Niño rainfall, but an important fact remains: California is in its fifth year of drought and, across the Central Valley, farmers and ranchers are struggling.

Concern Raised Over Water Agencies’ Stress Tests

California has shifted its message on the drought. Now, instead of calling on residents to cut their water consumption collectively by 25 percent, water agencies are saying something akin to this: “Trust us, it’s all under control.”

In May, the State Water Resources Control Board threw out the numerical conservation mandates it had imposed on more than 400 California water agencies. Instead, it adopted what it calls a “stress test.” Water agencies must show that they have enough water to serve customers for three more years, based on average demand during the just-concluded 2012-2015 drought period.