The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) and the Salton Sea Task Force released a ten-year plan to protect habitat and human health for the state’s largest inland lake that has been plagued by decreased flows, drought and rapidly increasing salinity and pollutants. Exposed playa, or lakebed, along the sea’s shores create toxic dust, as many locals have developed respiratory illness in the Imperial Valley. Tiny particulate matter is exposed on the playa and carried through the air as dust into Riverside and Imperial Counties.
Archive for date: March 30th, 2017
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As California water officials confirmed Thursday that the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada remains well above average, pressure was mounting on the state to lift emergency water restrictions that have been in place for two years. The snowpack across the mountains is now 164 percent of average, a closely watched marker in the nation’s most populous state — and biggest economy — where one-third of all the drinking water comes from snow-fed reservoirs.
Two years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown stood on a patch of bare Sierra dirt that should have been covered in feet of snow and declared the state was in a “historic drought.” Things couldn’t be more different this year as the state enters the traditional start of its long dry season. On Thursday, the state recorded 94 inches of snow where Brown stood in 2015 at the Phillips Station off Highway 50 in the Sierra. Melted down, that would be the equivalent of 46 inches of water. The readings represent 183 percent of the long-term average at that particular measuring station.
The skies were gray, snow was falling and it was bitterly cold when state snow survey chief Frank Gehrke made his monthly march out to a deep pillow of snow in the Sierra Nevada town of Phillips on Thursday morning. He plodded across the white mounds, plunged his metallic pole into the powder beneath him, pulled it out and made his proclamation: 94 inches deep. The 2016-17 winter created one of the largest snowpacks in California’s recorded history and it’s loaded with enough water to keep reservoirs and rivers swollen for months to come.