Environment

News about energy and the environment

After Massive Bee Kill, Beekeepers Want Answers From Fresno County

May 17, 2017

The Beekeeper

When Rafael Reynaga came to check on his bee colonies in a Fresno almond orchard, he found a carpet full of dead bees on the ground.

Reynaga picked up a hive and found two inches of bees at the bottom. He says most were dead, but a few were still moving.

Dead bees reek, Reynaga says, like a dead rat.

He's been working with bees since the 1980s but he says he'd never experienced a bee kill firsthand until this February.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Last month President Donald Trump signed an executive order putting 20 plus national monuments across the country under review including Giant Sequoia National Monument in the mountains of Tulare, Fresno and Kern counties. Now 17 years after the monument's creation, its existence is in question.

Valley PBS

Earlier this month Valley PBS launched a documentary miniseries called "Tapped Out: The History and Battle over Water in California’s San Joaquin Valley." 

The four-part series examines the history of water in California. Each episode delves into a different part of the history and future of water in the region and includes the voices of farmers, water leaders and environmentalists.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

A new bill unanimously approved by the Assembly Agricultural Committee Wednesday could significantly alter the way the California Department of Food and Agriculture works with farmers of color. 

Flickr/David Prasad / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday questioning the future of 24 national monuments created since 1996. One of those is Giant Sequoia National Monument in the Southern Sierra.

 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Customers love the guacamole served tableside at El Torito in Downtown Fresno so much that about half of them order it. Daniel Avalos is the general manager there.

Avalos and I just ordered some guac. For $10 the appetizer is created on a platter in front of us.

“She cuts the avocados in half and then she’s getting the pulp out of the avocado and putting in the molcajete where we smash the avocado and mix it with veggies,” says Avalos.

Ezra Romero/KVPR

Earlier this month Governor Jerry Brown declared the California drought over in all but Tulare, Kings, Fresno and Tuolumne counties.  Now the state says it won’t fund drought assistance programs past June. Tulare County is still seeing drought impacts and to continue drought assistance there it'll take about $4 million annually. More than $19 million has been spent on drought assistance in Tulare County alone.

Flickr User TVZ Design

Recent data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimate that carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere have risen close to 40 percent since before the industrial revolution. The effects of this rise on climate, sea levels and human societies are still being modeled, but one long-standing mystery for scientists has been how plants respond to rising CO2 levels, and how their ability to store the greenhouse gas feeds back into the carbon cycle.

John Chacon / CA Department of Water Resources

1,2,3-TCP is a known carcinogen that was used over 20 years ago as an industrial solvent and pesticide additive. The pollutant affects around 8 million people across the state and is now in the process of being regulated by the State Water Resources Control Board.

 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

For today's show, we're exploring the Valley's natural resources. Those can include lots of things, like water, historical artifacts, and animal species, but today we're focusing on rocks, minerals and ancient fossils. We’ll tell you how to find neat resources like these in and around the Valley, and how you and your kids can learn more about them. The audio version even features a few bonus geology puns!

GOLD IN THE REGION

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Some of the same people who warned state leaders about the probability of Oroville Dam failing are now sounding the alarm at San Luis Reservoir in Merced County.

It’s the first time since before the drought began that San Luis Reservoir in the hills west of Los Banos is nearly full at about 97 percent.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is defending the Trump administration’s policies on public land. The secretary took his message Friday to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  

Zinke says he came out west to reaffirm his commitment to federally managed lands, including national parks. He spoke with reporters at an event in Kings Canyon National Park, a day after meeting with California Governor Jerry Brown, one of the president’s harshest critics.

Ezra David Romero

Farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta got some good news this week. For the first time since 2006 farmers and ranchers who buy water from the federal Central Valley Project will have a full water supply. The Bureau of Reclamation announced Tuesday they will increase deliveries from the 65 percent forecast in late February to 100 percent.

 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Les Wright oversees all of Fresno County’s crops. He’s the agricultural commissioner here. Often he’s meeting with growers and ranchers on their farms, but today he’s fielding calls from his Fresno office.

The reason? He says farmers are busy doing office work because the rain means they can’t be in the fields.

“Some are welcoming more rain, others aren’t,” Wright says. “I was talking to one of the major growers out on the Westside and they were trying to mud-in their onion seed because it was so wet.”

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new map released by NASA earlier this year shows that large portions of California are sinking. The worst of it is in the San Joaquin Valley. One of the main reasons is the over pumping of groundwater, especially in the last five years of drought.

All that sinking and all the snow melting in the Sierra has Central Valley water managers like Dustin Fuller worried.

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