The federal government passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973,
following earlier legislation. The first, the Endangered
Species Preservation Act of 1966, authorized land acquisition to
conserve select species. The Endangered Species Conservation Act
of 1969 then expanded on the 1966 act, and authorized “the
compilation of a list of animals “threatened with worldwide
extinction” and prohibits their importation without a permit.”
Federal reserved rights were created when the United States
reserved land from the public domain for uses such as Indian
reservations, military bases and national parks, forests and
monuments. [See also Pueblo Rights].
Devastating floods are almost an annual occurrence in the west
and in California. With the anticipated sea level rise and other
impacts of a changing climate, particularly heavy winter rains,
flood management is increasingly critical in California.
Compounding the issue are man-made flood hazards such as levee
instability and stormwater runoff.
When people think of natural disasters in California, they
typically think about earthquakes. Yet the natural disaster that
residents are most likely to face involves flooding, not fault
lines. In fact, all 58 counties in the state have declared a
state of emergency from flooding at least three times since 1950.
And the state’s capital, Sacramento, is considered one of the
nation’s most flood-prone cities. Floods also affect every
Californian because flood management projects and damages are
paid with public funds.
With the dual threats of obsolete levees and anticipated rising
sea levels, floodplains—low areas adjacent to waterways that
flood during wet years—are increasingly at the forefront of many
public policy and water issues in California.
Adding to the challenges, many floodplains have been heavily
developed and are home to major cities such as Sacramento. Large
parts of California’s valleys are historic floodplains as well.
Despite levees and upstream dams, floods in these areas have
caused billions of dollars in damage.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, injects high
pressure volumes of water, sand and chemicals into existing wells
to unlock natural gas and oil. The technique essentially
fractures the rock to get to the otherwise unreachable deposits.
States Geographical Survey (USGS) defines freshwater as
containing less than 1,000 milligrams per liter dissolved solids.
However, 500 milligrams per liter is usually the cutoff for
municipal and commercial use. Most of the Earth’s water is
saline, 97.5 percent with only 2.5 percent fresh. Of this water,
about 70 percent is confined in glaciers and permanent snow in
the Arctic, meaning the remaining available water is accessible
after treatment, as potable water.
A part of the federal Central Valley Project, the 152-mile
Friant-Kern Canal in California’s Central Valley plays a critical
role in delivering water south to Bakersfield.
The Friant-Kern Canal is part of the Friant Dam, which was built between
1939 and 1944 on the upper
San Joaquin River, creating Millerton Lake. The Madera Canal
also begins at Millerton Lake and travels 36 miles north.