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OPINION: Delta Fish Health Vital to All

The drought that has caused profound impacts on California’s residents and businesses has similarly taken a toll on the San Francisco Bay-Delta ecosystem. In a world increasingly sensitive to the warning signs of ecological crisis — including climate change — the effect of the drought on species in the Bay-Delta requires careful attention.

Biologists warn Delta smelt, once the Delta’s most abundant fish, is on the brink of extinction.


Why Healthy Forests Mean Better Water Supply

Like many people who work on forestry issues in California, Jim Branham, executive officer of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, is still trying to wrap his head around the drought’s toll on the region’s forests and the 66 million dead trees reported in the Sierra Nevada last month.

“It’s hard to comprehend,” he said, especially considering that in some areas of the Southern Sierra communities may see 85 percent of the trees around them dead or dying. “The magnitude of the problem is staggering,” he said.

Tribes, farms wary of proposed cuts in water deliveries from Lake Mead

Tribes are apprehensive, cities are more upbeat and farmers stand somewhere in between over a proposed plan to cut CAP water deliveries to keep Lake Mead from falling to dangerously low levels.

At separate meetings here this week, tribal officials, attorneys and irrigation officials grilled Central Arizona Project officials about the proposal. It would require a 33 percent cut in water deliveries once the lake dropped another 4 or 5 feet below where it’s expected to be at the end of this year, and cuts of up to 40 percent later.

Warming at Alarming Rate, Lake Tahoe Reflects Rapid Sierra Climate Change

Lake Tahoe is showing some severe impacts from the changing climate. Indicators released Thursday in the annual “State of the Lake” report packed a few surprises, even for scientists.

For one thing, the lake has been warming faster than ever recorded. In 2015 the lake’s average temperature rose 0.48 degrees Fahrenheit — and over the last four years, the rise was 15 times faster than the lake’s historic warming rate. “That came as a surprise to me,” says Geoffrey Schladow, a UC Davis freshwater scientist and lead author of the report.


Calif Scorching Temps Astound Climate Scientists

As wildfire rages in California, flooding affects millions in India and China, and eggs are fried on sidewalks in Iraq, scientists say global climate catastrophe is surpassing predictions. Southern California’s years-long drought has resulted in one of the “most extreme” wildfires the region has ever seen.

Record global heat in the first half of 2016 has caught climate scientists off-guard, reports Thompson Reuters Foundation. “What concerns me most is that we didn’t anticipate these temperature jumps,” David Carlson, director of the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) climate research program, told Thompson Reuters Foundation late Monday.

Can Flooded Rice Fields be a Solution in California Water War?

California is the country’s second-largest rice producer, after Arkansas, and the $5 billion crop is particularly well suited to the Sacramento Valley’s clay soil.

Sierra Nevada Giant Sequoias Respond to Water Stress With Clever Adaptations

The leaves atop giant sequoias in the Sierra Nevada are better at storing water than those closer to the ground, an adaptation that may explain how their treetops are able to survive 300 feet in the air, researchers at American River College and Humboldt State University have found.

“It can take over a week for water to get from the ground to the top of the tree,” says Alana Chin, who led the study and is an instructor at American River College. “When you’re that tall of a tree, you’re under tremendous water stress.”