The ponderosa pine had taken root decades before the Revolutionary War, making a stately stand on this western Sierra Nevada slope for some 300 years, Nate Stephenson figures. Then came the beetle blitzkrieg. Now the tree is a dab in the gray and rusty death stain smeared across the mountain range. At the base of its massive trunk, a piece of bark has been cut off, revealing an etched swirl of insect trails. Higher up, naked branches reach out, as if from a many-armed scarecrow. “This was alive until the drought killed it,” Stephenson says mournfully.
Archive for date: January 28th, 2017
You are now in California and the U.S. category.
The arrival of rains with the new year have tempered one of California’s most severe ongoing drought periods on record, which officially entered its sixth year in October 2016. The question remains whether California, and Orange County specifically, can see light at the end of the dry tunnel. The historic drought has caused local, regional and state agencies to take unprecedented action to address extraordinary conditions. However, drought or no drought, Californians must reevaluate their relationship with water.
Northern California and Oregon farmers who lost irrigation water in 2001 for the sake of fish are plunging into a climactic courtroom battle for tens of millions of dollars in compensation. Years in the making, the trial set to start Monday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims near the White House involves a lot of money, but that’s not all. For other Westerners, too, it can have broader implications, clarifying what the government may owe for water steered away from crops toward environmental protection.