At the top of Donner Summit, an old cabin rests in a thicket of tall trees. The structure is three stories tall, including the basement. Still, in the heaviest of winters, the snow drifts are deep enough to bury the front door, so the only way into the building is through a window on the top floor.
Touting ways to shield California’s most precious resource from climate change, Governor Gavin Newsom released strategies Tuesday to improve drinking water quality, revive a stalled multibillion-dollar tunnel and build new dams.
Hoping to head off one of the biggest California water wars in decades, state officials Wednesday proposed a sweeping, $1.7 billion plan to prop up struggling fish populations across many of the state’s most important rivers. Capping 30 days of feverish negotiations, the Department of Water Resources and the Department of Fish and Wildlife unveiled a dramatic plan that would reallocate more than 700,000 acre-feet of water from farms and cities throughout much of the Central Valley, leaving more water in the rivers and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to support ailing steelhead and Chinook salmon populations.
Satellite data and images are provocative, even disturbing. They confront us with a global view that can be at once breathtaking, like a piece of art, and yet, in this era of rapidly changing climate, they paint a picture of the demise of the environment. How and if we will respond to what we see is uncertain. That uncertainty lies at the root of our perilous future.