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California Farm Communities Pay Price for Decades of Fertilizer Use

A pollutant that has leached into California aquifers since farmers first began using synthetic fertilizer continues to accumulate and would not be removed from groundwater even if the state’s agriculture businesses abruptly quit using nitrogen-based materials to boost the productivity of their crops. That’s one of the themes of a new study from the UC Davis Agriculture Sustainability Institute that assesses the scale and sources of a kind of pollution that can harm infants if it seeps into groundwater and contributes to respiratory problems if it drifts into the air as a gas.

Low Lake Level Prompts Reduced Speed Limit on Folsom Lake

There’s plenty of summer left, but the season for boating at Folsom Lake is getting cut short because of low lake levels. Starting Monday, the maximum speed limit for boaters and other watercraft will be reduced to 5 miles per hour [mph]. “It’s very early, and it’s sad,” boater Darrell Perry said. “It feels unfair because it’s our water here. We’re getting penalized for it.”

Northern California Wildfire Forces Hundreds to Evacuate

A Northern California wildfire has destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses and forced area residents to flee their lake community, authorities said Sunday.The fast-moving Clayton fire broke out late Saturday afternoon off Highway 29 and Clayton Creek Road, forcing the entire community of Lower Lake — located more than 100 miles north of San Francisco — to evacuate, officials said. Extreme hot weather combined with the dry brush allowed the fire to grow overnight, burning about 1,400 acres and destroying four homes, according to Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.