California’s greenhouse gas emissions declined by about 1% in 2017, with a continued shift toward renewable electricity keeping the state ahead of schedule in meeting its 2020 climate target, according to a report released Monday by air quality regulators. The state Air Resources Board inventory found 2017 was the first year since the state began tracking planet-warming emissions that electricity generated from solar, wind, hydroelectric and other renewable sources surpassed what was generated by fossil fuels. Clean power provided 52% of the electricity California used in 2017, according to the report. The gains came so heavily from the electricity, environmental policy experts say, that the sector is making up for more lackluster areas of the economy, such as transportation and industry.
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A growing menace in the form of 15-pound swamp rodents is threatening Delta waterways, and the state is throwing money, hunting dogs and birth control at the invasive pests which have the potential to destroy crops and wetlands.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has received $10 million in new funding for the eradication of nutria, or coypu, which are native to South America and have found their way to the Golden State after wreaking havoc in Louisiana and other places. Louisiana has lost hundreds of thousands of acres of wetlands to the rodent, a voracious herbivore with a largely indiscriminate palate
The nation’s coasts were hit with increased tidal flooding over the past year, part of a costly and perilous trend that will only worsen as sea levels continue to rise, federal scientists warned Wednesday.
South Coast Water District General Manager Rick Shintaku recalls the California drought from 1987 to 1992 as a pivotal moment in his career in water resources. “Where was I in 1991? I was back in college sharing a house with four other guys. We weren’t flushing our toilets and we weren’t washing our clothes very much,” Shintaku said at a SCWD public hearing for the Doheny Desalination project on June 27. Shintaku reflected on the major changes in the water world and the conservation mandates that rolled out.
Nearly one out of five California schools found detectable levels of lead in the drinking water, according to recent data from the State Water Board. Lead is linked to learning disabilities, behavior problems and many other health effects.
The ag community at a Friday afternoon IID water conservation meeting wanted to know what the IID plans to change with water conservation payments projected to exceed the budget by $11.7 million. IID’s conservation needs under water transfer agreements with the San Diego County Water Authority and others are 303,000 acre feet. Of that, 103,000 acre feet comes from system conservation. The rest comes from on-farm water conservation.
On a sunny afternoon in mid-April, Professor Eric Sanford crouched in a tide pool off Bodega Bay and turned over algae-covered rocks in search of a chocolate porcelain crab, a dime-size crustacean with blue speckles. The creature has been spotted in small numbers around Bodega Bay for decades. But five years ago a severe marine heat wave, dubbed “the blob,” caused a sharp increase in its numbers north of the Golden Gate, says Sanford, a marine ecologist who researches climate change and coastal ecosystems at UC Davis’ Bodega Marine Lab. “I look at how organisms adapt to climate change,” says Sanford, who regularly publishes articles in scientific journals on how life between the Northern California tides is changing.
Jim Madaffer of the San Diego County Water Authority has been named to the Colorado River Board of California, which represents the state in talks with other states and federal agencies regarding management of the Colorado River. The appointment was announced Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office. Madaffer, 59, is a former San Diego councilman who has been president of Madaffer Enterprises since 2009. Now the chair of the county Water Authority board of directors, he’s a former Jerry Brown appointee to the California Transportation Commission, but resigned in January after becoming chair of the water authority.
After years of defending its proposed water grab from our region’s rivers, the state Water Board chose to ignore all science and impose orders to take the water anyway. Likewise, until recently when Gov. Newsom wisely said “no” to the twin tunnels, the state insisted on devastating the Delta by stubbornly refusing to consider alternatives. And five years after passage of the historic 2014 water bond, no new water storage facilities have even started construction. The state does a fine job of reducing water supplies to communities in need – whether through conservation orders or new groundwater restrictions, both of which are important parts of the solution to protecting and preserving water supplies for the future.
It’s disgraceful that 1 million residents statewide do not have regular access to safe water supplies — a problem that is concentrated in rural agricultural communities in the Central Valley and Southeast California with little or no water infrastructure. But Gov. Gavin Newsom’s push to impose a first-ever tax on water to respond to the problem was never the right answer. The state is running a surplus of more than $20 billion and sitting on billions of dollars in water bonds that state voters approved in 2014 and 2018. Fortunately, the proposal now appears dead. Unfortunately, Assembly Bill 217, by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, is very much alive, having passed two committee votes.