Posted on September 2, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Increased plant growth projected to use more water
Global warming is likely to have a big impact on mountain runoff. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Forests and brush moving up mountainsides as the climate warms could take a big gulp from streams and rivers, potentially cutting runoff by as much as 25 percent by the end of the century. Warmer temperatures will accelerate plant growth, triggering more water absorption and evaporation, according to researchers with UC Irvine and UC Merced.
“Scientists have recognized for a while that something like this was possible, but no one had been able to quantify whether it could be a big effect,” said UCI professor of Earth system science Michael L. Goulden. “It’s clear that this could be a big effect of climate warming and that water managers need to recognize and plan for the possibility of increased water losses from forest evaporation.”
According to the researchers, runoff from mountain ranges is vulnerable to temperature hikes that lengthen growing seasons and result in more vegetation growth at high elevations, according to the study, to be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, rivers, water | Tagged: California, climate change, drought, global warming, hydrology, runoff, Sierra Nevada, Water Resources | 4 Comments »
Posted on August 29, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A fracking operation in Colorado. bberwyn photo.
Some conclusions flawed by lack of adequate data, environmental advocates say,
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The battle over fracking probably won’t die down until humankind slurps up the last of the planet’s fossil fuel resources, and a new report by a California agency probably will intensify the debate.
The short-term study shows that fracking could threaten California ground water and pose human health risks, but was characterized as incomplete by environmental groups, who said it’s based on just a few months of data with big information gaps resulting from lack of complete reporting by state regulators. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking | Tagged: BLM, California, energy, Environment, fracking | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
State decides on endangered species status for wolves even as feds proceed with national de-listing push
Wolf pups near the Oregon-California border may be the offspring of a wolf that has lived part-time in California the past few years. Photo courtesy USFWS.
FRISCO — When wolves start to reclaim their historic territories in the wilds of California, they’ll be protected under state law. The California Fish and Game Commission voted last week to protect gray wolves under the state’s Endangered Species Act after being petitioned by the Center for Biological Diversity.
The decision came just a few days after biologists documented the presence of two wolf pups in the Oregon portion of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest that straddles the California-Oregon border. The pups, which are likely to be part of a litter of four to six pups, are the offspring of the wolf known as OR-7, which has made California part of his range for the past four years. Continue reading
Filed under: endangered species, Environment | Tagged: California, endangered species, wildlife conservation, wolves | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Legendary Squaw Valley, California.
Resort residents want to form town to exert more control over land use
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The never-ending ski town battle between local residents and corporate interests has morphed into a new form at historic Squaw Valley. Residents are on a quest to incorporate a new town, to be called Olympic Valley, and they’re crowdsourcing for financial support on indiegogo.com.
Using web-based social networks may be a new twist, but many of the issues are the same that affect many other mountain communities, as real estate exploitation and environmental degradation threaten the very values that made those towns so appealing to begin with. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, ski industry, Ski Resorts | Tagged: California, KSL Partners, Placer County, resort development, ski industry, Squaw Valley | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Nutrient-rich area crucial for feeding whales, seabirds
The northern boundary of the proposed expansion is a few miles north of Port Arena. Photo courtesy Jennifer Stock/CBNMS/NOAA.
Expansion of marine sanctuaries will benefit a wide variety of wildlife.
FRISCO — Seals, salmon, sharks and seabirds will have a little more room to play off the coast of California, with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries releasing a proposal to expand the boundaries of Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries. The agency is accepting public and stakeholder comments on the proposal and related regulations through June 30.
The proposal is intended to protect the distinctive marine ecosystem north and west of the sanctuaries’ current boundaries. It would include waters and submerged lands off of Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, including North America’s most intense “upwelling” site offshore of Point Arena. The nutrients brought to the surface during upwelling events at Point Arena are carried south into the sanctuaries by the prevailing California Current; these nutrients fuel an incredibly productive ocean area protected by GFNMS and CBNMS. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment | Tagged: California, Cordell Banks, Environment, Gulf of Farallones, marine sanctuaries, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 23, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Around the world with Summit Voice
A classic sunset view of San Francisco sky from the Coit Tower.
FRISCO — If you’ve been a Summit Voice reader for a few years, then you’ve probably had a chance to visit a few special places with us — maybe the olive groves of Corfu, ancient castles and world heritage sites in Albania or the icefields of Antarctica. This year’s trips included a short visit to San Francisco early in the year, and an autumn journey to Iceland, fulfilling a long-time travel dream. It’s hard to narrow down hundreds of shots to find some “favorites,” so I just went with my gut feeling, choosing the images that evoked the strongest feeling as I scrolled through the archives. Happy trails to you in 2014! Continue reading
Filed under: California, Iceland, Morning photo, photography, Travel | Tagged: California, Iceland, photography, Travel | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 25, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
USGS outlines threats to critical infrastructure
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Farmers and cities in central California are pumping so much groundwater that the land is rapidly subsiding across a large area, with potentially serious consequences for the region’s water infrastructure.
In a report released last week, the U.S. Geological Survey said the subsidence is occurring in such a way that there may be significant operational and structural challenges that need to be overcome to ensure reliable water delivery. In some places, the land subsided as much as 25 feet between 1926 and 1970.
Delivery of surface water from the north helped relieve pressure on the aquifers, but drought conditions between 1976–77 and 1987–92, and drought conditions and regulatory reductions in surface-water deliveries during 2007–10, once again led to increased pumping and renewed subsidence. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, water | Tagged: California, Central Valley, Delta–Mendota Canal, Environment, land subsidence, San Joaquin Valley, water | Leave a comment »