Environment

News about energy and the environment

Courtesy of Bethany Weeks / Creative Commons

UPDATE: Since this story was produced the Pacific fisher population in the Southern Sierra Nevada has been listed as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act. The Pacific Fisher was not listed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Farmers in the western part of the San Joaquin valley will receive 5% of their water allocation from the Central Valley Project. That's the word from the federal Bureau of Reclamation.

If it’s an April fool’s joke, farmers, water managers and Fresno County leaders aren’t laughing.

After two years of zero percent allocation, the Bureau announced that this year, despite El Nino conditions, many growers on the valley’s west side, will only get five percent of their promised water.

Farmer Sal Parra says the announcement is a gut punch.

California Farmers Already Adapting To Climate Change

Mar 29, 2016
UC Regents

UC Davis agricultural economists say climate change is affecting what crops are planted in California. Ed Joyce reports from Sacramento.

The study looked at 12 crops in Yolo County, using 105 years of local climate data and 60 years of county planting history.

UC Davis agricultural economist Dan Sumner says warmer winter temperatures would reduce "chill hours," potentially reducing yields for some crops, while extending the growing season for others.

And that could cause growers to change planting practices.

US Bureau of Reclamation

Just two years ago California voters approved a water bond that set aside billions to pay for new water storage. Now a new group backed by many of the valley’s most influential farmers says that’s not enough to build new dams and expand existing ones.

State Water Project Estimates Most Deliveries Since Drought's Start

Mar 17, 2016
CA Dept Water Resources

Cities and farmers who rely on the State Water Project will receive the most water they’ve received since 2012. The California Department of Water Resources announced today that it plans to meet 45 percent of requests for deliveries.

It’s a major increase from December, when the state planned to fulfill only 10 percent of requests. Paul Wenger with the California Farm Bureau says it is welcome news. But he and other farmers are hoping the federal Central Valley Project will be able to meet requests.

California Experiencing "Miracle March" With Rain And Snow

Mar 16, 2016
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The northern Sierra has seen nearly double the average precipitation since the beginning of March. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, one of the state’s top water managers says it’s definitely a “Miracle March.”

John Chacon / California Department of Water Resources

California reservoirs are filling up and the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada is larger than at any point in this four-year drought. Even still FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports all that precipitation may not mean more water for some growers. 

Firebaugh farmer Joe Del Bosque is worried that despite all the rain and snow the state’s received so far this year that he might get a zero percent water allocation for a third year in a row. 

foothills
Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

California needs as much rain and snow as it can get. So far this year El Nino caused storms have watered the hills of the Sierra Nevada so much this winter that as a result they’re bursting with color earlier in the year than usual.

“If you actually go up and look at those grasses you’ll see that they’re already starting to flower,” says Sequoia National Forest Supervisor Kevin Elliott. “So it means that they’re coming at the end of their lifecycle.”

Elliott says even before spring rain ends grass and flowers could turn brown.   

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

With spring around the corner citrus trees are starting to push out new growth, but FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports new leaves and stems also mean more space for an invasive pest.

The citrus industry is asking California residents with outdoor orange or lemon trees to help them fight a potentially devastating pest. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Entomologist Beth Grafton-Cardwell says the Asian citrus psyllid can carry a disease that is fatal to citrus trees.

Delta Smelt Populations Plummet

Mar 8, 2016
Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

This is the worst year in history for populations of the tiny threatened fish that’s often on the frontline in California’s water wars. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has found a mere handful of Delta smelt in its January and February trawls.

The department caught seven fish in January and six in February. UC Davis fish biologist Peter Moyle says catches have historically been in the hundreds.

Pages