News about energy and the environment

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The Erskine Fire that broke out in the mountains near Kern County in June burned around 50,000 acres. More than 280 homes were reduced to rubble by the fire displacing thousands of people. Now those residents are trying to figure out whether rebuilding is worth it.

Shellie Bryant has worked in Kern County’s oil industry for more than 30 years. She saved and used some of her retirement so she could buy a plot of land and a trailer in the community of South Lake not far from the shores of Lake Isabella.

Pacific Crest Trail Association

Efforts to save a meadow in Kern County along the Pacific Crest Trail have proven successful. FM89's Ezra David Romero reports. 


Landers Meadow in the Piute Mountains east of Bakersfield is home to 78 bird species, black bears, mountain lions and mule deer.

The 245 acre wet meadow was put on the market late last year. The seller gave the Pacific Crest Trail Association an early option to buy.



Due to drought bark beetles have ravaged lots of pine trees in the Sierra Nevada forcing homeowners to fall dead trees around their houses. Now one organization is offering a class to teach people what they can do with all these dead trees.


Instead of hauling dead pine trees killed by bark beetles to sawmills across Central California, Jonathon Tepperman with the group Dirtlab Bushcraft wants to offer another option to homeowners.


Courtesy of Dr. Sallie Phillips

The Goose Fire burning in the foothills of Fresno County near Prather has burned more than 1,800 acres. It’s threatening 400 structures and has forced hundreds of people to evacuate. The blaze is 15 percent contained. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports that people aren’t the only evacuees. 

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is reporting that 600 animals have been evacuated off mountain ranches and homes because of the Goose Fire.   

Bureau of Land Management

Wildfires across the country have burned more than two millions acres of forest this year. And as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports fire officials hope a new real-time warning system will keep civilian operated drones out of the fire fight.


Kerry Klein/KVPR

In the Sierra Nevada, it’s estimated that tens of millions of trees have died as a result of drought, many of which succumbed to infestations from bark beetles. As a result, we’ve been told our risk of wildfire is far higher than normal, but FM89’s Kerry Klein says the science doesn’t necessarily agree.

The effort to preserve a healthy population of salmon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a huge challenge. Those little salmon have a lot of factors working against them. Now a bill in the House of Representatives is trying to take on one of them, the striped bass.

The “Save Our Salmon Act” by Republican Jeff Denham of Turlock would update a 1992 environmental law that manages fish in the Delta. That law sought to increase the number of salmon, but it also set out to double the number of striped bass.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/USDA Forest Service

New data from NASA is helping forest managers deal with millions of dead trees in the Sierra. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the mapping project is already yielding results.

Since 2013 NASA has flown a plane over the Sierra Nevada collecting images to map changes in the landscape. Zachary Tane with the Forest Service developed an algorithm to break down those measurements and layered the data into a map detailing the exact concentration of dead trees.

flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode

Fresno has many hidden gems. One of them is tucked away on Winery Avenue not far from the Fresno Airport. It's called The Discovery Center. It's here on Friday nights during June, July and August  that a local professor leads what he calls Star Parties

Study: Water Windfall Beneath California's Central Valley

Jun 28, 2016
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new study finds California’s Central Valley has three times more water beneath it than previously estimated. As Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton reports, researchers say that doesn’t mean accessing the groundwater will be cheap or easy.

Researchers at Stanford University found what they call a “water windfall” deep beneath the Central Valley. Stanford Earth Science Professor Rob Jackson is the report’s co-author.