- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Long before European settlers arrived in America, the Los Angeles River was an important source of food and water for native peoples. Europeans settled the Los Angeles area in part because of the river and the fertile alluvial soils it provided. The river and its tributaries frequently flooded and changed course, forming wide alluvial floodplains that extended across southern Los Angeles from modern day Santa Monica to Long Beach. When Los Angeles began its transition to teeming metropolis and settled these flat floodplains, the river's natural characteristics led to disastrous flooding.
In the interest of saving lives and property, civil engineers sloped the banks and encased them in more than 30 miles of concrete, a move that...
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Growing concern about social issues related to agriculture – working conditions for laborers and environmental impacts, for example – is giving rise to consumer and retailer interest in buying products that were farmed using “sustainable” methods.
“Sustainable agriculture” is not easy to define. In general, the system puts an emphasis on practices that have long-term environmental and social benefits – such as reducing pollution and providing stable jobs. Sustainable products are perhaps not as familiar as “organic,” but examples of retailers capitalizing on the concept are numerous.
- Walmart is training 1 million farmers and workers worldwide on...
- Author: Ann King Filmer
A new winery, brewery and food-processing complex at the University of California, Davis, is the most environmentally sophisticated complex of its kind in the world, one that promises to unravel scientific enigmas and solve practical problems related to foods, beverages and health.
The $20 million, 34,000-square-foot teaching-and-research complex is the first winery, brewery or food-processing facility expected to earn LEED Platinum certification, the highest environmental rating awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is intended to become self-sustainable in energy and water use.
Neal Van Alfen, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, said, "It will serve as a model for...
- Author: Chris M. Webb
Invasive weeds can be very problematic, affecting agricultural productivity, public health, natural resource biodiversity; increasing the risk and severity of wildfire; and reducing water quality and quantity.
A nationwide program designed to map invasive weed locations online was started at the University of Georgia in 2005. What’s Invasive! Community Data Collection provides a way for people to map invasive weeds they see while visiting national parks.
The U.S. Forest Service is instantly alerted to the location of habitat-destroying species. This information is useful for increasing knowledge about the location and...
- Author: Janet Byron
Geographic information system (GIS) models developed at UC Davis are being used to pinpoint the best farmland for conservation in the Central Valley. A new landscape-scale method, described in a recent issue of California Agriculture journal, was applied in Fresno County, and the approach is being extended regionally in the San Joaquin Valley.
“Policy programs and local planning agencies must assess farmland before implementing policies and programs aimed at farmland conservation,” lead author Evan Schmidt wrote in California Agriculture. “The application of GIS to existing land-assessment practices can update...