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.
The United 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.