- Author: Faith Kearns
On a long dammed river in northwestern California, researchers are determining how many Chinook salmon and steelhead trout could live upstream of the dam if given the means to pass. The endeavor has meant intensive field work in some of the most remote parts of the state.
The Eel River watershed is the third largest contained completely within California. It once had the state's biggest Chinook salmon run. Historic estimates of salmon and trout populations are upwards of one million fish running the river and its tributaries annually as they migrated from the Pacific Ocean and back to spawn. Current estimates are at between one and three percent of these historic populations.
The reduction in...
- Author: Mohammad Safeeq
California's recent drought was the worst in memory. However, in a relatively quick turnaround, this year the state's water infrastructure is full and water managers are battling the wettest winter on record in quite some time. Now, by many accounts, the drought is over for much of the state.
The uniquely wet winter of 2016-2017 has highlighted a key issue surrounding our surface and ground water storage infrastructure: We could have stored this abundant water, not in new reservoirs, but right under our feet. The cycles of drought and flood will continue in California; in order to survive the droughts we have to move winter precipitation to groundwater storage in greater quantity and more...
- Author: Leigh Bernacchi
Helen Dahlke, an assistant professor in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources Department of UC Davis, has stood on glaciers in Europe and studied Sierra Nevada snowmelt streams. She's working with alfalfa farmers to recharge groundwater. And now she's informing Congress about the future of water in the United States.
A native of Germany, Dahlke established her research program in 2013. She focuses on catchment and experimental hydrology, but her expertise in hydro-climate interactions is what led her to the Capitol.
Dahlke spoke broadly about water and climate challenges in California. “I described how agricultural groundwater banking can help to improve...
- Author: Josephine Devanbu
Over the past 25 years, environmental regulations have reshaped California's agricultural industry. These regulations have brought with them an ever increasing need for oversight, meetings, and paperwork, not to mention consultants, legal counsel, and lobbyists to manage the regulatory landscape farmers now find themselves in.
This shift is deeply trying for many farmers and landowners. Regulations add another expense and source of uncertainty to farming, and threaten to interfere with established lifestyles. More and more of the work required to maintain a farming operation takes place in an office. Keeping pace in this new landscape requires consistently engaging with regulatory...
- Author: Josephine Devanbu
Groundwater regulation as culture-shift for California farmers
During times of drought in California, groundwater turns from crutch to lifeline, swelling from 40% of the state's total consumption to as much as 60%. Today, after five years of too little rain and snow, many areas are in overdraft -- meaning that the rate of groundwater pumping exceeds the rate of replenishment. Thousands of agricultural and domestic wells have gone dry.