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Klamath Dam Removal Project In Final Approval Stage

A plan to remove four dams on the Klamath River is now just one step away from final approval, which would make it the largest dam removal project in U.S. history. The Klamath River Renewal Project includes four separate dams on the Northern Portion of the Klamath River near the California Oregon border.

In The U.S. Southwest, ‘Drought’ Doesn’t Tell The Whole Story

In early June, more than 1,000 people near Durango, Colorado, had to leave their homes as the 416 Fire swept across the landscape. Following a dismal snowpack, the region experienced a spring so hot and dry that the U.S. Drought Monitor labeled conditions “exceptional drought,” the worst category. Colorado wasn’t alone. An irregular bull’s eye of dryness radiated outward from the entire Four Corners region, where Colorado meets New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

California Revives 100-Percent Carbon-Free Energy Bill

California lawmakers on Tuesday revived a long-stalled proposal to set a goal of generating 100 percent of the state’s energy from carbon-free sources. With other controversial and high-stakes energy legislation also moving forward, California lawmakers face an array of decisions with vast implications for the Western energy grid, the future of renewable power and consumers’ electric bills. A state legislative committee sent the 100 percent clean energy bill to the full Assembly, setting up a vote later this year.

Report: Camp Pendleton Officials Skipped Water Radiation Tests

Officials on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, failed to test base water for radiation over the final two quarters of 2017, according to a water report obtained by Although never considered at an unsafe level, the base’s water supply had been found to contain radiation levels three points above the acceptable contaminant level in early 2017, an official with the state Water Boards told

Sweetwater Authority To Consider Water Rate Hikes

The Sweetwater Authority governing board next month will consider increases to its water rates under a proposal that would create three separate fees for customers. The charges would include a fee to cover the cost to purchase water from the San Diego County Water Authority and two separate fees to cover costs from the Metropolitan Water District for purchased water. The costs from the outside agencies are embedded in the Sweetwater Authority’s current water rates.

Temperature Could Hit 117 Degrees In San Diego County During Weekend Heat Wave

San Diego reveled in “Goldilocks” weather Wednesday — the Fourth of July. A sea breeze made temperatures “just right” countywide, drawing hundreds of thousands of people to parks and beaches for fireworks shows that were set to begin at nightfall. But there’s about to be abrupt change in a county that’s quickly falling into drought.

Create a healthy growing environment for your new landscaping with the "soil lasagna" method. Graphic: Water Authority

Cook Up A Soil Lasagna

Healthy, living soil is full of oxygen, water, and life to support your plants. Building healthy soil using layers uses a process called soil sheet mulching, or “Soil Lasagna.” If you have ever cooked lasagna, this will seem familiar. Soil Lasagna boosts healthy microbes so much that they actually cook down the organic matter and start eating old grass in your landscape as food.  

Once you’ve created Soil Lasagna, all you need to do is keep it moist so the microbes will stay active. How long the process takes from start to finish depends on the kind of grass you have. When you are ready to plant, you can dig a hole right into it, cutting through any paper or cardboard that might still be there, planting in the delicious and healthy soil below.  

Supply List to Create Soil Lasagna 

    • Shovels and rakes 
    • Wheelbarrow(s) 
    • Bins to hold removed grass and soil 
    • Mulch 
    • Landscape flags 
    • Painters’ paper or large cardboard sheets 
    • Compost, worm castings, or compost tea 
    • Hose with a shutoff nozzle 

NOTE: If you need any permits, call DIG ALERT (8-1-1) two days in advance. Also, check with your local water agency for any local water use restrictions.  

Once you have checked for permits and any water-use restrictions, you will need to remove your lawn. See our previous column on removing your lawn without killing the existing microbes. You will end up removing about six inches deep of grass and soil. You will need to haul this away. Consider renting a dumpster. 

Dig a trench 8 to 12 inches deep (about one shovel depth), and 12 to 24 inches wide around any hard surfaces and building foundations. Also, complete contouring for rainwater absorption and retention and any other hardscaping such as moving or installing patios, paths and other features.  

Use landscape flags to mark sprinkler heads so you can find and adjust them later. 

Layers Are Key To Your Soil Lasagna  

Add an inch deep layer of compost on top of the graded soil. You can also use humates (a freeze-dried compost available at specialty landscaping stores) or spray with compost or worm tea. You are adding an instant food sources and additional microbes to the soil. 

Water thoroughly. Roll out your painters’ paper or cardboard. Overlap at the seams about six inches and be sure all of the soil is covered. At the hardscape borders, make a burrito of rolled paper and mulch to prevent grass from resprouting.  

Water the paper, and then add another layer of compost if you wish. Rake a thick, six-inch larger of mulch over the paper and compost. Now you’re seeing why this is called a Soil Lasagna.  

Water again thoroughly. The mulch will absorb a lot of water before it becomes soaked through.  

You can plant right through the Soil Lasagna layers. If you can wait, the soil will develop more healthy microbes for new plants, but you can plant right away if the grass has been removed.  

Finally – step back and savor your hard work!  

This article was inspired by the 71-page Sustainable Landscapes Program guidebook available at Hardcopies are available free of charge at the Water Authority’s headquarters, 4677 Overland Ave., Kearny Mesa. The Water Authority and its partners also offer other great resources for landscaping upgrades, including free WaterSmart classes at