The forecast looks warm and continued dry this winter in California and the Southwest, which raises the disturbing prospect of a perpetual fire season. More than 45% of the continental U.S. is experiencing drought right now, especially in the West.
Archive for date: October 19th, 2020
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The recent wildfires and a coming dry winter from the developing La Niña amplify the perils of climate change for our fair city. These threats do not stop at the shore — holding back the ocean should also be on our radar.
In 2011, heavy snows in the Rocky Mountains filled the Colorado River, lifting reservoirs—and spirits—in the drought-stricken U.S. Southwest. The following year, however, water levels dropped to nearly their lowest in a century, imperiling a supply vital to millions of people and dozens of ecosystems.
Conservationists in Colorado are dreaming big. In a time of political turmoil and legislative impotence, a consortium of Colorado conservation groups is floating an audacious plan to conserve 30% of the land in the state — roughly 20 million acres — by 2030. Since statehood, the state has protected only 6 million acres.
Although these days no one seems to agree on anything, there is one thing we can all agree on: every Californian should have a right to clean drinking water. But even with that, California is facing an impending water shortage.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has taken a dramatic step to encourage communities to use environmentally friendly features such as wetlands for flood protection instead of building sea walls and levees. A new FEMA flood policy released late last month with no public announcement is drawing praise from environmentalists because it will promote mitigation projects that provide environmental benefits in addition to flood protection.
It all started with a 2002 state law demanding quake-resilient water delivery. Nearly $5 billion later, San Francisco has retrofit the system from Hetch Hetchy to the city, just now crossing the finish line on the shore of Lake Merced.