Carrizo Plain National Monument is a place of extremes. The grassland, the largest of its kind in California, stretches across over 250,000 acres of unforgiving wilderness. Caliente Mountain and the Temblor range border the plain, while the San Andreas Fault cuts it down the middle. Surface fractures are visible across the dry landscape. The species that call home to the Carrizo Plain don’t just survive, but thrive in its acute conditions.
Archive for date: April 15th, 2017
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Seems like California is not the only land mass to benefit from a surplus of water these days. The moon of Saturn, Enceladus, is swimming in warm liquid water, enough to create plumes of hydrogen gas erupting from the subsurface of the ocean floor, NASA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists reported Thursday. In both California and Enceladus, water means life. On Saturn’s moon, the possibility of a food source dissolved in waters is just that, a possibility, as is the outside chance of finding life on the cold, icy moon.
Knee-high tufts of grass dot the streets of Hardwick, a rural neighborhood with a few dozen homes hemmed in by vineyards and walnut and almond orchards in California’s agriculture-rich San Joaquin Valley. Nearby, the Kings River — swollen with rainwater and Sierra Nevada snowmelt — meanders through fields. Water is abundant in the river but it may not last. Despite winter storms that have turned much of California’s parched landscape to vibrant green, the drought has yet to loosen its grip on thousands of residents in the valley. Many people must still use water stored in large tanks in their yard to wash dishes and bathe.
Canyon Lake is closer to living up to its “a little bit of paradise” billing, thanks to some recent developments on issues facing the gated enclave and its namesake lake. The city’s nearly 11,000 residents will have the right to boat, ski, swim and fish on the 380-acre reservoir at the community for the next 49 years now that a lease dispute with the lake’s owner has been resolved.
Blowing past state officials’ financial projections, three construction contractors submitted bids for the Oroville Dam repairs that begin at $275 million, the Department of Water Resources said Saturday. DWR, in a brief announcement, said its engineers had estimated the repairs to the two damaged spillways would come in at $220 million. The low bid was $275.4 million from a subsidiary of Kiewit Corp. of Omaha, Neb.; followed by an affiliate of Barnard Construction Co. of Bozeman, Mont., at $277 million. The high bid was made by Oroville Dam Constructors, a joint venture between Sacramento’s Teichert Construction and Granite Construction of Watsonville, at $344.1 million.
A new nationwide study has unearthed the huge hidden potential of tapping into salty aquifers as a way to relieve the growing pressure on freshwater supplies across the United States. Digging into data from the country’s 60 major aquifers, the U.S. Geological Survey reports that the amount of brackish — or slightly salty — groundwater is more than 35 times the amount of fresh groundwater used in the United States each year.