In the first week of May a young salmon boat captain struggled to keep his boat stable and fishing while getting bashed by an unruly spring wind storm near the San Mateo-Santa Cruz county line. Far offshore, where the continental shelf drops off and a huge volume of marine nutrients circulate from the ocean bottom to the surface, salmon gathered. So did borderline gale force winds on top of a 10-foot swell. It looked like the scene at the end of the movie, “The Perfect Storm.”
The biologists working in a fish hatchery near Shasta Dam grew increasingly concerned last year when newly hatched salmon fry began to act strangely — swimming around and around, in tight, corkscrewing motions, before spiraling to their deaths at the bottom of the tanks.
Certain runs of chinook salmon in California are imperiled; the hatcheries and the fry raised there are the federal government’s last-ditch effort to sustain these ecologically and economically vital fish populations.
When wildfires swept through the hills near Santa Cruz, California, in 2020, they released toxic chemicals into the water supplies of at least two communities. One sample found benzene, a carcinogen, at 40 times the state’s drinking water standard.
Our testing has now confirmed a source of these chemicals, and it’s clear that wildfires aren’t the only blazes that put drinking water systems at risk.
Scientists with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography will soon have a deeper insight into how Santa Cruz waves impact local flood events, thanks to a coastal buoy installed on Sunday. The wave buoy will track wave height, direction, speed, as well as water and air temperature.
The fire that rampaged through the San Lorenzo Valley in August and September burned hotter and destroyed more acreage than anyone in these rugged, rural and breathtaking mountains can remember.
After a wildfire ripped through central California last month, residents in the Riverside Grove neighborhood in the Santa Cruz Mountains discovered another danger: contaminated water coursing through their pipes.
Benzene, a chemical tied to cancer, leukemia and anemia, was detected in the town’s drinking water after 7 miles of plastic water piping was torched in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire south of San Francisco. Plastic pipes are used for their flexibility in earthquake-prone California. Today, about 450 homes there remain under a “do not drink” advisory.
Emergency repairs are underway after a historic fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains wreaked havoc on the San Lorenzo Valley’s water infrastructure
The CZU Lightning Complex Fire’s threat to water quality in Santa Cruz came into sharper focus Tuesday as a Cal Fire emergency watershed response team neared completion of a damage study.
The most pressing risk is debris that could clog the San Lorenzo River near River Street and Highway 1 where water enters the city’s system, said Santa Cruz Water Director Rosemary Menard. The San Lorenzo River is the city’s largest water source. It represents about 45% of the water supply.