Environment

News about energy and the environment

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.

https://twitter.com/NWSHanford

This past weekend’s El Nino caused storms brought needed rain to the region and as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports enough fell in the Valley to mark a milestone in California's drought. 

US Forest Service

The lighting sparked Rough Fire burned over 150,000 acres in the Central Sierra Nevada last year. Today most of that area is closed and as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports forest agencies are antsy about reopening.

It’s too early for officials to know when the public will be able to access the area deep in the Sequoia National Forest that burned in the Rough Fire east of Fresno over six months ago. 

Leaders of the City of Fresno have officially broken ground on one of the biggest public utilities projects in city history.

Although trucks are already working on the 58-acre site in southeast Fresno, city leaders celebrated the start of the nearly $200 million project Wednesday by signing a section of the 6-foot diameter pipe that will carry water from the Kings River to the plant.

Once the surface water treatment plant is fully operational it is expected to deliver as much as 80-million gallons of drinking water a day to the city.

Obama campaign - YouTube

Former Senator Dean Florez says the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District isn't doing enough to protect the health of local residents. Last week Florez was appointed to the powerful California Air Resources Board (CARB) by California Senate leader Kevin de Leon.  

Florez: "I think there's a lot more they could be doing. I think they should move quicker. There's a lot more tools in their toolbox than there were 10 years ago. Anything I can do to make this board move quicker from the state level, I'm going to do."

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