Safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving
Sudden Oak Death (SOD), a serious exotic tree disease, threatens the survival of tanoak and several oak species in California. Currently, SOD infects trees in 14 coastal California counties, from Monterey to Humboldt. The disease, which was estimated to have killed over 50 million oaks and tanoaks over two decades, has changed the coastal forests composition in Northern California and Southern Oregon.
Though SOD occurs in patches, the overall infection area continues to grow with each passing year. Researchers had previously discovered that Phytophthora ramorum, the pathogen that causes SOD, most often spreads on the leaves of infected California bay laurel and tanoak. Forest managers can use proactive methods for controlling the disease — including sanitation, chemical treatments, and the targeted removal of bay trees — but such tools are preemptive in nature, only useful before oaks and tanoaks are infected. Timely detection of the disease in these species is therefore critical to slowing the epidemic.
With this in mind, UC Berkeley joined with over 30 local organizers in 2019 to assemble 25 SOD Blitzes staffed by trained volunteers. More than 400 volunteers were taught to identify SOD symptoms and to carefully collect symptomatic leaves from California bay laurels and tanoaks. Armed with this training, the teams surveyed 16,227 trees across 16 California counties, collecting approximately 9,000 leaves from 1,732 symptomatic trees. Samples were sent to the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory for processing and analysis.
The benefits of SOD Blitzes are becoming increasingly clear. Importantly, they educate the community about Sudden Oak Death, getting locals involved in detecting the disease while creating detailed maps of infected areas. Analyses of these maps help forest managers figure out where proactive measures, such as chemical treatments or tree removal, most effectively stop an infestation. All results from the data collection are made publicly available on SODBlitz.org, SODMap.org, and on the SODmap mobile app available at the Apple Store and at Google Play. (Results can also be accessed directly on the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory website.)
Using the app allows anyone to estimate the risk of oak infection, specific to their current location. While standing next to a tree of interest, a person can tap the app's “RISK” button and determine whether an oak is in danger of contracting SOD. In addition, results meetings and treatment training workshops will be held for the public in various Bay Area locations during fall 2019.
Matteo Garbelotto, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and adjunct professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, has led the SOD Blitzes for 12 years. The program enrolls approximately 500 volunteers yearly to canvas California woodlands for symptoms of SOD. Results of the surveys are made available nearly in real-time, immediately after completion of the lab analysis.
“We estimate that as many as two to three million people may have accessed the SOD Blitz results to determine whether trees on their property may be at risk,” Garbelotto said. “This is a huge success and shows the great societal value that citizen science has, and it highlights the importance of collaborating with volunteers on issues that are relevant to safeguard trees that are an important part of California's natural heritage.”
2019 SOD Blitz Results
Across the state, the number of trees infected with SOD, along with the estimated SOD infection rate, has almost doubled since 2018. In some areas, infection rates were as much as 10 times higher than the previous year. These results suggest that the overall risk of oak infection by SOD is rising.
Spikes in the estimated SOD infection level at certain locations are particularly noteworthy; for example, from 1 to 12 percent in the western part of the East Bay between Richmond and San Leandro, including distinct outbreaks discovered in El Cerrito, Kensington and Berkeley. The western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains in San Mateo County have also seen an increase in SOD infection rate (from 6 to 18 percent), which may make safeguarding recreational venues and ecologically important forest sites more difficult. In Sonoma County, the 2019 SOD infection rate was approximately double that of 2018, and in the same timeframe, Napa saw a fourfold increase in detection. Peninsula towns between Redwood City and Los Altos Hills had a very high infection rate (21.6 percent) with an expansion of outbreaks to the east and north.
Some additional key results that came from the 2019 SOD Blitzes include:
- Two tanoaks were positive for SOD in a state park east of Crescent City in Del Norte County, marking the first report of SOD for the county. This was an important finding because, until 2019, Del Norte was the only county free of the disease in the area between the vast California infestation and the Southern Oregon outbreak. The SOD Blitz finding does not have immediate implications for regulations, but regulations will be imposed once CDFA can confirm the finding.
- An extensive survey of San Luis Obispo failed to identify SOD; however, multiple trees were found to be infected in the southernmost canyon of Monterey County. Previously, this canyon had only provided positive findings from water monitored by UC Davis scientists, but not from trees.
- Although Humboldt County has a few significant SOD outbreaks, and Trinity County has a marginal SOD outbreak in its southwestern border, SOD Blitzes in tribal lands in Humboldt and Trinity counties did not yield any SOD positives.
- San Francisco parks, including the Presidio, were negative for a second year in a row, suggesting that disease management practices have been successfully implemented in the area.
- Several cases were identified in the northern neighborhoods of the City of Napa. No positives had been found in this area since 2011.
- All isolates of the pathogen belonged to the NA1 lineage, which is more easily treated and common in the region. This is good news because of uncertainty about the potential virulence of the EU1 lineage recently discovered in Oregon forests.
A sampling of other noteworthy 2019 SOD Blitzes results follow. More results are available on the websites and app:
- The first infected Bay laurel was identified a few miles east of the town of Mendocino (Mendocino County) along the Comptche-Ukiah Road.
- Multiple SOD positive trees were identified between Guerneville and Duncan Mills in Sonoma County. The Russian River area has long been known to be affected by SOD.
- An outbreak was identified in southwestern Petaluma, while infestations were confirmed in Bennett Valley, Santa Rosa and east of Rohnert Park.
- Multiple infestations were identified in Marin County, including the ones northeast of San Rafael, Larkspur, Woodacre, Mount Tamalpais, Marin City and north of Inverness.
- In the Peninsula, SOD was identified in Burlingame Hills, northern Woodside, Emerald Hills, Palomar Park, Portola Valley. In Los Altos Hills and Loyola, SOD positive trees were detected both East and West of Interstate 280. An outbreak was detected west of Saratoga.
- High levels of infection were identified all along Skyline between Bear Gulch Road and Highway 17, and on the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains between Skyline and Pescadero.
- SOD was confirmed between Felton and Santa Cruz and between Aptos and Santa Cruz.
- In Monterey County, the chronic Big Sur outbreak was once again confirmed to be active, while the disease appeared also in drier areas of the Carmel Valley, where it had been absent for a few years.
The SOD Blitz program was funded in part by the U.S. Forest Service's State and Private Forestry Organization and by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. It was also made possible by a collaboration with the California Native Plant Society, CalFire, the Humboldt/Del Norte and Sonoma County UC Cooperative Extension, the Sonoma County UC Master Gardeners, the U.S. National Parks, California State Parks, the East Bay Regional Parks, the San Francisco Public Utility Commission, Mid-Pen Open Space, the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, Santa Cruz Open Space, the Santa Lucia Conservancy, the Karuk and Hoopa Nations, the Mendocino Botanical Garden, the City and County of San Francisco Parks and Recs Office, and Strybing Arboretum. Many individuals, who have generously devoted their time and efforts, have been pivotal for the existence and success of the program.
- Matteo Garbelotto: Leading the citizen science contagion
- First known cases of sudden oak death detected in Del Norte County
- SOD Blitz Project
- SOD Blitz map of results and summary table
California's working landscape and the industries associated with agriculture and natural resources contribute significantly to the state's economy, according to a new study by the California Community Colleges Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research, California Economic Summit and the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“When people think of California's economy, they think of entertainment, information technology and other industries. They may not think of working landscape,” said Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president, agriculture and natural resources. “People may be surprised to learn that California's working landscape accounts for 6.4% of the state's economy, supports more than 1.5 million jobs and generates $333 billion in sales.”
To measure the economic impact of the working landscape, researchers from the Centers of Excellence, California Economic Summit and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources analyzed federal data associated with employment, earnings and sales income of the nine segments that are essential to the working landscape: agricultural distribution, agricultural production, agricultural processing, agricultural support, fishing, forestry, mining, outdoor recreation and renewable energy.
Their analysis of 2018 data from the North American Industry Classification System showed the value of the working landscape in California comes in ahead of the health care, real estate, retail and construction industries. The top five economic drivers were government (21.9%), manufacturing (10.2%), information (9.3%), professional, scientific and technical services (7.5%), and finance and insurance (6.4%).
The researchers found the nearly 70,000 businesses associated with the working landscape paid $85 billion to workers in 2018 and generated $333 billion in sales income. In terms of job numbers, earnings, sales income and number of establishments, four segments dominate: agricultural distribution, agricultural production, agricultural processing and agricultural support.
Agricultural production provides the greatest number of jobs, more than 325,000, and generates the second highest sales income, $61 billion in 2018. Although agriculture accounts for 79% of working landscape sales income, it is important to note that other working landscape segments are still sizeable when compared to the rest of the nation.
In addition to evaluating the contribution of the industries to the state's economy, the researchers measured the importance and impact of the nine working landscape segments by region. For example, some segments, although relatively small in terms of employment or sales income, are cornerstones of local economies and play a critical role in the livelihoods of communities.
The Los Angeles/Orange County region, the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Joaquin Valley have the greatest concentration of jobs for agricultural distribution, agricultural processing, agricultural support, mining and renewable energy. The San Joaquin Valley leads in agricultural production, followed by the Central Coast. Los Angeles/Orange County has the most forestry, fishing and outdoor recreation jobs.
This report does not include economic values for ecosystem services provided by California's working landscape such as clean water, nutritious food and a livable climate, or intangible goods that contribute to human well-being, such as recreation, aesthetic inspiration and cultural
To read the report “California's Working Landscape: A Key Contributor to the State's Economic Vitality,” visit http://ucanr.edu/WorkingLandscape. A one-page executive summary is available at http://bit.ly/2WTA7Vz.
Strategies for Increasing Ranch Income
(AgNetWest) Brian German, Oct. 31
There are multiple approaches that producers can take to help increase ranch income that ranges from improving traditional avenues of revenue to taking a more unconventional approach to the diversification of income. A workshop coming up on November 20 in Watsonville is focused on helping producers better understand the value of marketing their products.
“Some of the things that we're going to be talking about in this workshop are really basic things like what is marketing? How can we demystify marketing? What are its functions in your livestock operation and how can marketing benefit your operation?” said Devii Rao, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor for San Benito, Monterey, and Santa Cruz Counties. “We wanted to start bringing up that conversation and help ranchers share with each other their successes and their challenges.”
Vineyards can help stop fires. They did in the Alexander Valley
(San Francisco Chronicle) Esther Mobley, Oct. 30
…“Vines are green and full of water,” said S. Kaan Kurtural, UC Davis professor of viticulture and oenology. “With the amount of water they can hold in their tissue, they become an oasis in a hot environment.”
Sounds simple enough. But if all it takes to stop a fire is a living plant, then why don't trees do the trick?
“Forests have a lot of underbrush, so there's a lot of fuel for a fire underneath the canopies,” Kurtural said.
Early UC Hemp Research Already Yielding Results
(Canna Product News) Oct. 30
For the first time ever, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) researchers harvested an industrial hemp crop at one of its nine research and extension centers this fall.
“It's an interesting crop,” said UC Cooperative Extension specialist Bob Hutmacher. “We don't have a lot of experience in UC ANR with hemp at this time. There is a tremendous amount of research that can be done to understand its growth and best cultural practices, optimal planting dates either by seed or transplants, irrigation and fertilization management, and, particularly, to address pest and disease management.”
(Devil's Garden Horses blog)
The 80-acre UC Berkeley Forestry Camp in Plumas County serves as a unique opportunity to implement techniques and research related to fire. With wildfires in California growing in intensity over the past few years, many foresters are trying to educate the public about using fire as a tool to reduce fuel loads. Last weekend we had the pleasure of attending a two-day Prescribed Fire on Private Lands workshop, hosted by the UC Cooperative Extension. It was a really educational workshop, especially going in with limited knowledge and exposure to forestry practices.
Are locally owned utilities an alternative to PG&E?
(KCRA) Vicki Gonzalez, Oct. 28
Sacramento is home to a municipality. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District is a community-owned, not-for-profit service, with a locally elected board of directors.
“SMUD is one of the best operating municipals in the nation,” said Keith Taylor, with UC Davis Cooperative Extension. “They are very responsive to local consumers, local policy makers, so municipals are also another wonderful alternative we can pull into the conversation.”
Taylor goes a step further. He argues that although electricity co-ops are common in other parts of the country, they are almost nonexistent in California.
Why so many fires when PG&E power was off? Here's what we know
(San Francisco Chronicle) Jason Fagone, Oct. 28
Despite historic power shut-offs that have plunged much of the Bay Area into darkness — a Hail Mary by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to prevent new wildfires from starting and spreading in hot, dry winds — a spate of new fires have recently kicked up across the region.
Early clues point to malfunctioning power equipment as the cause of some fires, and PG&E is already under investigation in multiple incidents, including the devastating Kincade Fire in Sonoma County. But no one yet knows what sparked the other fires.
“Shutting off the power and expecting ignitions to go away is overly simplistic. It's very naive,” said Max Moritz, a wildfire specialist at UC Santa Barbara's Bren School. “There are many different human causes (of wildfires) in addition to power lines. And the patterns vary up and down the state, and through time.”
Orchard Recycling Getting Closer to Financial Assistance
(AgNet West) Oct. 28
Whole orchard recycling is a pricey practice, but financial assistance is on the way. The California Department of Food and Agriculture is looking to include the method in its Healthy Soils Incentives Program. U.C. Cooperative Extension's Brent Holtz has been researching the practice for over a decade and said the benefits include increased nutrients, water holding capacity, and of course, carbon sequestration.
Electric Utilities Can't Blame Wildfires Solely on Climate, Experts Say
(Scientific American) Daniel Cusick, Oct. 25
…“I find myself wanting to squash statements that this is the ‘new normal,'” said Yana Valachovic, Northern California lead forest adviser for the University of California Cooperative Extension program. “You hear a lot of people promoting that idea, but I find it very defeating. It assumes an external force is operating on us in a way we can't deal with.”
In fact, part of adapting to changing climate conditions in California involves understanding risks from wildfire and then making choices to reduce them. “Unfortunately, we've been very unaware and uninterested in how we can design, construct and maintain our homes,” Valachovic said.
California's Power Shutoffs Might Prevent Wildfires. But Are They Worth the Risks?
(TIME) Tara Law, Oct. 25
… But Max Moritz, a wildfire specialist at UC Santa Barbara, says turning off the power won't prevent every wildfire. As he points out, wildfires can be ignited by anything from campfires to lightning to arson. And if a wildfire starts regardless of an outage, blackouts could make it harder for people in potential danger to get information or call for help. “You can't imagine a worse time to not have power,” Moritz says. Meanwhile, leaving thousands of people without electricity can have its own deadly consequences, especially for people with health issues, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups. And even absent a fire, power outages can present problems of their own — people may miss work, their food or medicine may spoil, and heat becomes a concern without air conditioning.
… But Moritz says that PG&E is running what he calls a “very large-scale experiment” with little evidence to show that reducing the chances of a fire starting one particular way makes people safer overall. For his part, he would like to see more detailed plans from companies like PG&E regarding the outages, as well as evidence that they do in fact prevent fires. Indeed, a fire began in Sonoma County on Thursday in an area where PG&E said it had already cut power. While it's unclear what sparked this new blaze, the company says one of its power transmission towers malfunctioned just minutes before the fire began.
“I think we're missing this larger-scale and longer-term framework for how [shutoffs] fit in to an overall plan,” Moritz says. “Lacking that, it seems like an experiment.”
Potential E-Verify Deal Would Give Legal Status to Farmworkers
(Pew Trusts) Tim Henderson, Oct 24
…There have been numerous attempts since then to balance the needs of farmers, who depend on the labor, and those who want to discourage unauthorized immigration, said Philip Martin, an emeritus professor of agriculture and resource economics at the University of California, Davis.
Growers also would like to get easier temporary guest-worker visas with lower pay and fewer housing requirements, which may be part of the deal, Martin said.
Farmworkers from Mexico are more fearful now than in years past about crossing the border and moving around in the United States because of increased immigration enforcement. In the late 1990s almost 80% of farmworkers in the country illegally migrated from job to job, according to a 2016 University of California, Berkeley, study. That number was down to 6% by 2016.
11 tips to beat grape fungal diseases
(Good Fruit Grower) Leslie Mertz, Oct. 22
Grapes face all kinds of fungal diseases — from mildews, rots and blights to leaf spot and anthracnose. What's a grower to do? Here are 11 tips from Annemiek Schilder, who spent many years as a small fruit pathologist at Michigan State University and now serves as director of the University of California Cooperative Extension in Ventura County.
The New Yorker, Frank Mitloehner, Oct. 21
Tad Friend, in his piece on Impossible Foods, a startup that makes imitation meat in the hope of solving climate change, writes, “Every four pounds of beef you eat contributes to as much global warming as flying from New York to London” (“Value Meal,” September 30th). As a professor who studies the environmental impact of livestock production, I was surprised that Friend relied on such a high per-pound emissions rate for beef, since most estimates are much lower. According to a recent paper in Agricultural Systems, the carbon footprint of four pounds of U.S. beef is equivalent to about eighty-eight pounds of carbon dioxide. Per passenger, a flight from New York to London adds roughly 1,980 pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, about twenty times more than the production of four pounds of beef.
Climate change is coming for your Cabernet
(CBS News) Oct. 19
…In Napa Valley, Cabernet is king. It's also where researchers are trying to save it with 11 different projects happening all around the area.
Beckstoffer Vineyards is investing tens of millions of dollars partnering with U.C. Davis for the world's most ambitious Cabernet Sauvignon root stock and clone trial. They're looking for more resilient combinations of Cabernet.
Vineyard manager Clint Nelson and researcher Kaan Kurtural said the area has heated up by nearly two degrees per decade. That may not sound like much, but viticulturists say it's enough to eventually make Cabernet grapes extinct.
"You cannot just say, 'Oh we gotta think about it 20 to 30 years from now.' You have to take action now," Kurtural said.
Sweet excess: How the baby food industry hooks toddlers on sugar, salt and fat
(Washington Post) Laura Reiley, Oct. 17
…Lorrene Ritchie, director of the Nutrition Policy Institute at the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, worries that low-income parents will be more inclined to spend their money on these heavily advertised baby foods, toddler milks and packaged snacks at the expense of healthier options.
“The amount of funding spent to promote healthy foods, which is mostly via federal nutrition education dollars such as WIC and SNAP-Ed, is dwarfed by food marketing which is mostly for unhealthy and ‘treat' foods and beverages,” she said. “I fear we will never make a big dent in diet-related chronic disease until we level this playing field.”
We Got The Snack Receipts For LA Rec And Park's After-School Programs — It's Mostly Junk
(LAist) Alyssa Jeong Perry, Oct. 17
…In 2017, 45% of all 5th graders in L.A. County were considered overweight or obese, according to data collected by the California Department of Education. About 41% of kids statewide were overweight or obese.
Child nutrition expert Lorrene Ritchie of the Nutrition Policy Institute, a research center connected with the University of California system, said eating junk food at snack time can affect a child's overall health.
"It's not massive gorging that contributes to obesity," Ritchie said. "It's just the small amount of extra calories every day."
PG&E outage fallout a test for Newsom, agencies
(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, Oct. 16
…But while many Californians were inconvenienced by the blackouts, University of California Cooperative Extension fire scientist Lenya Quinn-Davidson told Time magazine she worries that too much emphasis is being placed on utilities as the cause of fires.
Why we need to treat wildfire as a public health issue in California
(The Conversation) Faith Kearns and Max Moritz, Oct 15
… As researchers who have worked extensively on fire in California, we believe it is time to treat fires that affect communities as the public health challenge they have become. This means taking a more robust approach to a host of issues, including focusing on where and how we build, taking the needs of vulnerable populations seriously, and ensuring that solutions are equitable.
As Groundwater Law Plows Forward, Small Farmers Seek More Engagement
(KVPR) Kerry Klein, Oct. 15
… Ruth Dahlquist-Willard argues that more small farmers need to be taking part in such decisions, though as a small farms advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension, she acknowledges those growers can be harder to reach. They tend to have fewer resources than bigger outfits to leave the fields and go to meetings. Many don't speak English, and those who lease land from far-off owners may not see policy mailings. “There's not the social network either, what we might call social capital, where you have other chances to hang out with the people that are making the decisions,” she says. Even five years after SGMA was passed, many small farmers have still never heard of the law.
But that's no reason not to engage, Dahlquist-Willard argues. With their Groundwater Sustainability Plans due to the state at the end of January, most GSAs in the Valley have drafted their plans and posted them to the web for public comment. “Right now is the time when farmers and anyone else who is interested can actually provide input on the plans that are going to be implemented next year,” she says.
In September, Dahlquist-Willard organized a meeting for small farmers and GSA representatives to come together in Fresno. Dennis Hutson attended; Chong Ge Xiong came out to a similar meeting for Asian business owners. “The goal was to connect the farmers with people who are putting the plans together that are going to affect how groundwater is going to be managed in the San Joaquin Valley,” she says.
Her Superb Swimming Didn't Stop With Pregnancy
(Wall St. Journal) Jen Murphy, Oct. 14
Lauren Au Brinkmeyer spent two years training and gained 10 pounds to swim the English Channel. After completing the approximately 21-mile crossing in July 2018 in 11 hours and 54 seconds, she was prepared to hang up her swim cap and start a family in Oakland, Calif., with her husband.
But when registration for the 20 Bridges Swim, a 28.5-mile circumnavigation of Manhattan, opened last November, she applied and earned one of the 67 spots for the July 2019 event. “I couldn't resist the pull of the open water,” she says. When she struggled to become pregnant, she initially blamed her intense training in 50-degree water without a wetsuit. But her doctor told her many women her age have trouble getting pregnant right away.
An associate researcher at the Nutrition Policy Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Au Brinkmeyer, 34, shifted her focus back to the water. She set her sights on achieving the triple crown of open-water swimming, a challenge that consists of the English Channel, the 20 Bridges Swim and the Catalina Channel, which runs about 20 miles between Santa Catalina Island and Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
Eco-tip: Focus of composting may change from backyard to business
(Ventura County Star) David Goldstein, Oct. 13
…Residents may get some guidance from an upcoming workshop sponsored by Master Gardeners of Ventura County, a project of the UC Cooperative Extension. Meeting from 9-11 a.m. Oct. 26 at The ARC of Ojai, 210 Canada St., it will focus on winter vegetable gardening but also will include soil preparation methods, such as composting. You can register at http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=28244.
California Is Trying to Prevent Fires. No One Expected a Smoking Garbage Truck.
(New York Times) Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Oct. 12
…“Some of these things are really quite unbelievable when you hear about them,” said William C. Stewart, a forestry specialist at the University of California, Berkeley. “But they just occur with a certain probability. They just do.”
Mr. Stewart has seen several fires that began when a lawn mower scraped against a rock on a hot day, sending sparks into the dry grass. The Sandalwood fire was the first time he had heard of a garbage truck's load igniting a wildfire, but not much surprises him anymore.
“There's just an endless series of things that people do to create sparks and fires,” Mr. Stewart said. “This time of year, when everything is bone dry, it really is just like kindling.”
Who Are Master Gardeners?
(My Motherlode) Rebecca Miller-Cripps, Oct. 11
You probably know a Master Gardener and may not even know it. Master Gardeners are your neighbors. We live in your community, and work in your local nurseries and hardware stores. Master Gardeners love plants and gardening and face the same gardening challenges that you do. We may be members of the local garden club, rose society, or California Native Plant Society. Master Gardeners are volunteers trained and certified by the University of California Cooperative Extension in home gardening and horticulture. We promote the application of useful basic gardening practices. Our purpose is to teach and extend research-based information to home and community gardeners.
California Fire Map: Track Fires Near Me Today
(Heavy.com) Stephanie Dube Dwilson, Oct. 10
…A new interactive fire map is below, provided by UCANR.edu https://ucanr.edu/wildfire. Note that this map is only updated up to twice daily, so it may not be not as current as the two interactive maps above.
'People Are Freaking Out.' Thousands of Californians Left Powerless Amid Electricity Cuts to Prevent Wildfires
(TIME) Tara Law, Oct. 10
As hundreds of thousands of Californians grapple with a power shutoff intended to reduce the risk of wildfires, people affected by the outages say that their communities are racked by anxiety and frustration about the disruption — as well as fear that the complications associated with the outages outweigh the intended benefits.
“People are freaking out around here,” says Jeffery Stackhouse, a Livestock and Natural Resource Advisor from Fortuna, Calif who spoke with TIME along with his colleague, Lenya Quinn-Davidson, the area fire advisor with UC Cooperative Extension in Humboldt County, Calif., and director of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council. They said the outages have fundamentally disrupted life in their community: Schools have closed, some businesses can't run credit cards, people have lined up outside of gas stations to try and get fuel, and cars have been stuck in traffic jams as a result of traffic light outages.
… “If a fire starts because of other causes — which could easily happen under severe conditions — now we have no way to communicate,” Quinn-Davidson says. “Seriously, like, if this power outage happened when the Carr Fire happened — how would you evacuate people? That's completely possible. You could have a power outage and have a fire start from a roadside cigarette. Or arson. Or anything. And then what?” (The Carr Fire was reportedly sparked by a vehicle.)
You've heard of chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The Modesto area also grows them
(Modesto Bee) John Holland, Oct. 9
…Chestnut acreage might be small, but the state has the advantage of an early harvest compared with other growing regions, said Roger Duncan, county director for the University of California Cooperative Extension.
“We would be one of earliest in the world market, so there is some price advantage to it,” he said.
Sudden Oak Death: Detected in Del Norte County, quarantine continues in Curry
(Curry Coastal Pilot) Jeremy C. Ruark, Oct. 9
…Lee: The samples were collected as part of a UC Berkeley-led effort called a SOD blitz. For this effort, the Forest Pathology and Mycology Lab at UCB provides collection materials to samplers throughout the range of sudden oak death in California, then tests the samples that are sent back to them in order to help track the distribution and progress of sudden oak death in California from year to year. For Del Norte County, the SOD blitz is the latest part of an effort to monitor the county for signs of the disease that dates back to 2004. Over the years, this effort has involved University of California Cooperative Extension, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, Cal Fire and the Del Norte County Agriculture Department.
As dangerous fire conditions target California, Weather Service is rethinking its warning system
(Washington Post) Diana Leonard, Oct. 8
…Yana Valachovic, a forest adviser and county director with the UC Cooperative Extension, thinks specific actions taken in the hours and days before a wildfire could help prevent future disasters.
“We need to get more sophisticated in helping the public understand what the vulnerabilities are and how to prepare,” she said.
Her post-fire investigations of neighborhoods destroyed in California's 2017 and 2018 firestorms reveal lessons about both wildfire evacuation and home wildfire protection. For example, knowing when to leave, even without an official evacuation order, is crucial during fast-spreading wildfires. That decision requires close monitoring of (and access to) weather and wildfire information. And for last-minute home preparation, if time allows, she said, residents should target the immediate zone around the home — zero to five feet from outside walls and decks— and clear any materials that could ignite in an ember storm.
“I think education is really important, and the alerts are a very good example of where that education needs to happen,” she said.
Navel Orangeworm Plague Might be Growing Out of Control
(Growing Produce) Christina Herrick, Oct. 8
…“Although this is a proven practice, we still see some growers are not doing this practice, for whatever reason. Sometimes, it is difficult to do mummy sanitation due to the rainfall in the winter, or due to the heavy ground in some orchards. But it is important to plan in advance considering these factors. Sanitation can be done at any time between October and Feb. 1,” Jhalendra Rijal, University of California Cooperative Extension Area Integrated Pest Management Advisor for the Northern San Joaquin Valley, says.
A Cow, a Controversy, and a Dashed Dream of More Humane Farms
(Wired) Megan Molteni, Oct. 8
On the morning of August 7, Alison Van Eenennaam awoke to a tweet from a man she had never met. He had sent her a link to a story written in German, illustrated with a clip-art cow next to an udder-pink biohazard symbol. “Aren't you involved in the hornless cows criticized here by a German NGO?” the man tweeted at Van Eenenaam from nine time zones away. “Can you give us some details on what @US_FDA found?”
Horned bull genetically edited by scientists becomes 'dad' to six hornless calves
Hornless Genome-Edited Bull Passes Trait to Offspring
Scientists Used Gene Editing to Create a Bull Without Horns. It Passed the Trait to its Offspring
Country Life Today: Sir David Attenborough's heartfelt call to arms
West Coast Rodent Academy Set for November 6-8
(PCT Online) Brad Harbison, Oct. 7
The West Coast Rodent Academy (WCRA) will be held at University of California's South Coast Research and Extension Center, Irvine, Calif., November 6-8th.
…The featured speaker is Niamh Quinn, the new University of California Cooperative Extension Human - Wildlife Advisor, based at the South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine.
Survey Helps UC Understand Cannabis Production Challenges in State
(Cal Ag Today) Patrick Cavanaugh, Oct. 7
Results from a UC Cooperative Extension survey of registered and unregistered marijuana (cannabis) growers in California will help researchers, policy makers and the public better understand growing practices since cannabis sales, possession and cultivation first became legal for recreational use.
“This survey is a starting point from which UC scientists could build research and extension programs, if possible in the future,” said lead author Houston Wilson, UCCE specialist with UC Riverside. A report on the survey results was published in the July-December 2019 issue of California Agriculture journal, the research publication of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.
California ignores the science as it OKs more homes in wildfire zones, researchers say
(LA Times) Joshua Emerson Smith, Oct. 6
…“The notion that this is all about how we will plan our future developments ignores the 800-pound gorilla of the built environment as it exists on the landscape today,” said Keith Gilless, professor of forest economics at UC Berkeley and chairman of the state's Board of Forestry and Fire Protection.
…“It's really common to see post-fire neighborhoods and there's a lot of the vegetation left,” said Max Moritz, a wildfire specialist with the University of California Cooperative Extension. “You realize, it was embers that started some of the homes on fire, and then the homes themselves generated a bunch of heat and fire that caught the neighboring homes on fire.”
CA Gov. Newsom signs 22 bills for wildfire mitigation
(Daily Cal) Olivia Buccieri, Oct. 4
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a package of 22 bills for California's wildfire mitigation and preparedness efforts Wednesday, building on the $1 billion allocated for wildfire and emergency investment in the budget.
Multiple Assembly members and senators contributed individual bills related to wildfire intervention, ranging from fire prevention techniques to mitigating climate change through clean energy policies.
[Should be Yana Valachovic] Lenya Quinn-Davidson, an area fire advisor for the UC Cooperative Extension, worked closely on AB 38 with Assemblymember Jim Wood's office, D-Santa Rosa. AB 38 works to develop community-wide resilience through home-hardening techniques and defensible space development. Assemblymember Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, author of AB 1584, wrote about the relevance of climate change in enhancing wildfire risk.
Value up, acreage down in 2018 ag report
(Imperial Valley Press) Tom Bodus, Oct. 3
…”The agricultural industry is not alone in their contribution to our economy in Imperial County,” said Agricultural Commissioner Carlos Ortiz, in a written statement. “What contributes to the success of agriculture is the support and advocacy from such organization as Imperial County Farm Bureau and Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association and agencies including the University of California Cooperative Extension and the Agricultural Commissioner's staff who all work tireless to promote and support the industry.”
California's Prune Orchard of the Future
(Progressive Crop Consultant) Oct. 3
Luke Milliron | UCCE Farm Advisor for Butte, Glenn and Tehama Counties
Franz Niederholzer | UCCE Farm Advisor for Colusa, Sutter, and Yuba Counties
Dani Lightle | UCCE Orchards System Advisor for Glenn, Butte and Tehama Counties
Katherine Jarvis-Shean | UCCE Orchards System Advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo Counties
California will likely have a large prune crop in 2019 following favorable bloom conditions and lower yields in 2018. Unfortunately, in prune production with larger crops typically comes smaller fruit, of which there is currently an over-supply in the world market. High production of small fruit world-wide has come at a time when demand for small fruit from consuming nations like China, Brazil, and Russia has been in decline. California handlers have been strongly urging their growers to use shaker thinning to reduce the fruit number during spring and help deliver large, high-quality fruit at harvest.
How to Prepare for Wildfire Season, According to Experts
(Inside Hook) Diane Rommel, Oct. 3
…Whether you blame climate change or population shifts, utility companies or bad luck, one thing is clear: a drier, hotter environment requires new thinking, and some difficult questions. Does your Napa Valley wedding spot have an evacuation plan? Is an autumn getaway in the mountains worth the risk? For the answers, we went straight to the experts: Dr. Tom Scott and Area Fire Advisor Lenya Quinn-Davidson of the University of California Cooperative Extension.
California leads the nation in agricultural production, producing nearly all the nation's leafy green vegetables, most nut and fruit varieties, and is ranked first in egg and dairy production.
What that means is that California also produces a lot of agricultural waste materials, including lots of manure.
Historically these waste materials have been used as a rich source of compost. However, researchers at UC Cooperative Extension are researching innovative uses for this material.
Dr. Pramod Pandey, a faculty member and Cooperative Extension specialist at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, focuses on better ways to manage waste material for both large and small farms. Dr. Pandey researches how to convert the organic matter in manure and other waste materials into a renewable energy source that can be used to power our state.
Converting manure to renewable energy
California gets over 27% of its energy from renewable resources like solar wind, and hydroelectric. Our goal is 50% renewable energy by 2030. California is taking steps towards this goal by building a network of dairy digesters which use bacteria to break down dairy manure and convert it into biogas. Clean burning fuels, such as biogas, are a sustainable source for generating energy because when they are burned, harmful by products are not produced.
A bonus is that the solid material left after the digesters have done their job is a fertilizer that can be used to grow the fruits, vegetables and nuts that our state is famous for. This type of fertilizer contains nutrients that are more readily available for plants because the digestion process breaks up organic materials more efficiently than traditional composting. The digestion process also helps reduce the number of harmful bacteria found in manure, making it much safer for use on plants grown for human food.
California leading in discovery and innovation
When we think about where agriculture has been and where it is going, innovation, efficiency and environmental sustainability are hallmarks of our approach in California. People like Dr. Pandey are driving forward research and technology to minimize the impact of agriculture production on the environment. When we think about where agriculture has been and where it is going, innovation, efficiency and environmental sustainability are hallmarks of our approach in California. His multidisciplinary approach to solving this complex problem of agricultural waste materials and water/air quality helps improve the economic wellbeing of farmers, and benefits Californians by providing nutrients for safe, healthy, and nutritious food.
While the importance of California's agriculture might be huge, its footprint on the environment doesn't have to be, and it is researchers like Dr. Pramod Pandey who are ensuring our state leads in discovery and innovation for many harvests to come.
Heather Johnson, Instructional Systems Designer, Gregory Wlasiuk, E-Learning Curriculum Designer, and Dr. Sara Garcia, Project Scientist, with the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security at the University of California, Davis, provided the script for the video which was used in this story. View Heather, Sara and Greg's filming and editing skills in the video below. Greg provides the narration./h3>/h3>/h3>