Environment

News about energy and the environment

Ezra David Romero

In this episode, we’re venturing to a different kind of destination.

It’s not exactly outdoors…but there’s no heating or air conditioning. 

It’s musty, damp and that’s what some people love about it. Often the only light source is the light you bring.

We’re going underground. In this episode we’re exploring the world of spelunking. But people who do this don’t actually call it that. They refer to the activity as caving.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The valley’s fruit and nut trees need cold temperatures in the winter in order to go to sleep and wake up healthy in the spring. New research suggests that in as little as 30 years, it may be too warm in the valley to grow these trees due to climate change. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports that the agriculture industry is taking the issue very seriously.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A report released this week argues the consequences of the drought have been more pronounced in some communities than others.

The analysis from the Pacific Institute and the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water says water shortages, hikes in water rates and fishery declines have been concentrated in low-income and disadvantaged communities. Additionally, Laura Feinstein with the Pacific Institute says those effects extend beyond the central valley, even to typically wet areas on the North Coast and Central Coast.

National Weather Service, Hanford.

California has been hit hard by storms over the last week. There's been flooding, rain at high elevations and national park closures. To tell us more about what to expect in the coming days we were joined by National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Rowe on our program Valley Edition. To listen to the interview click play above. 

Kerry Klein / KVPR

Lost Lake Park just below Friant Dam in Fresno County was closed to the public on Monday due to flooding. But federal scientists say the flooding was controlled and not historical—and it provided an opportunity for scientific study.

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey on Monday visited Lost Lake Park, where water has risen seven feet since last week. They’re here to measure the water’s flow rate, which will help calibrate the automatic sensors and gauges that monitor the river here 24 hours a day. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

This weekend’s string of heavy rain has put a lot of pressure on families and local officials to respond to the threat of flooding, especially in mountains. Residents in some communities have even been forced to evacuate to escape the rising tide.

Many a normally small, peaceful mountain creek has now been transformed is now a broad fast moving river.

The days of heavy rains have caused the Madera County Sheriff to order mandatory evacuations in some of the low-lying areas of the town of North Fork south of Bass Lake.

Friant Water Authority

While a major “atmospheric river” storm system is expected to pummel Central California with historic amounts of rain and snow this weekend, there’s one place you won’t find floodwater: the Friant Kern Canal.

The Friant Water Authority says the 152 mile canal, that carries water from Millerton Lake on the San Joaquin River near Fresno all the way to Kern County has been shut down since late last year for maintenance and construction. 

This weekend’s storm could be good news for valley farmers, who hope they’ll be able to store some of the anticipated runoff.

Ara Azhderian is the water policy administrator for the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, which represents 29 water contractors that use the San Luis Reservoir. He says the outlook for 2017 is already good.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The Bureau of Reclamation has started to increase releases out of Millerton Lake to clear way for water from a winter storm expected this weekend. That could mean the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam will flow at higher level than is usual for this time of year. It's the first time large flood flows have been released out of Millerton Lake since July 2011.

 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Plans for a new dam on the San Joaquin River above Millerton Lake are on a collision course with a new proposal from the Bureau of Land Management to designate a portion of the area as a “Wild and Scenic River.” Conservationists say it would save some rare land values while improving public access, but supporters of the dam say the designation would essentially kill the project. What does the incoming Trump administration mean for the reservoir? FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

 

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