Forget March madness. For nature lovers and hikers on the thousands of miles of trails in San Diego County, there was March gladness. Wildflowers flourished. Poppies populated the green hillsides, and lilacs and lupines scented the air. Butterflies flitted in swarms from Carlsbad, to Escondido to Borrego Springs. The bugs will be back later this spring, although some may not be as dainty and welcome as the painted lady butterflies that still have plenty of nectar to feast on. “This is an incredible year – absolutely,” said Richard Miller, the chapter director of the San Diego Sierra Club. “This year we’re seeing flowers we have rarely seen before – like 10 years or more.”
Archive for date: April 1st, 2019
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Lawmakers are considering spending $150 million to fund new high-tech measurements of the snowpack using lasers. A pilot program with NASA has been in place for several years and results show lasers record snowpack measurements with near perfect accuracy. Up until now, California has measured the snowpack manually, with experts physically sinking a metal pole into the snow at various monitoring locations. Snow survey expert Frank Gehrke has been doing the manual measurements for thirty years and says the manual approach has resulted in measurements that are up to 60 percent incorrect.
With Colorado’s statewide snowpack totals nearing 150 percent of average, he and his crew of guides are eagerly awaiting the spring melt. Customers have noticed, too. Marquis already has seen a spike in summer bookings for his whitewater rafting trips. “As a business owner, I am very excited,” he said. Colorado has suffered from drought that has parched much of the state, hitting the Four Corners area especially hard, since late 2017.
Infrastructure projects that secure California’s future are being pursued every day in our great state. For better or worse, California is known to have the toughest environmental review laws in the nation with its CEQA framework that can impact these projects. CEQA has been roundly criticized over the years given the extent of its requirements and the legal challenges it allows — killing or delaying good projects that could create well-paying jobs and needed affordable resources for working families. In recent years, the Legislature, recognizing the impediment CEQA can be to needed infrastructure, has moved bills that try to reform CEQA or that grant exemptions from it.
It’s been a big year for snow in the Sierra Nevada range. This is the time of year—April 1—when the snowpack is typically at its peak and on Tuesday, when surveyors do their monthly manual survey, they’re likely to find a snowpack at about 160 percent of the average. Mammoth Mountain, which soars to 11,000 feet in the central Sierra, has had 50 feet of snow pile onto its sweeping inclines. The nearby Mammoth ski resort tweeted that it had broken its snowfall record for February—and it was only two weeks into the month.
San Diego water customers will soon pay $6 to $13 more a month to fund the first part of the city’s new recycled water project, according to a newly released estimate. The city is working on a multibillion-dollar plan to purify enough sewage to provide a third of the city’s drinking water by 2035. Most of Southern California’s water now comes from either the rivers of Northern California or the Colorado River, which are not only hundreds of miles away but prone to drought. The city’s wastewater recycling project, known as Pure Water, is meant to provide more reliable water. Of course, that will come at a cost.