In increasingly arid regions such as the western U.S., water managers are learning that careful management and restoration of watershed ecosystems, including thinning trees and conducting prescribed burns, are important tools in coping with a hotter, drier climate.
When 2019 started, California’s snowpack was at 67%. Now it’s at over 136% and rising. The atmospheric rivers that are dumping rain along coastal California are also dumping massive amounts of snow in the state’s Sierra Nevada.
The interrelated nature of water issues has given rise to a management approach that integrates flood control, environmental water, and water supply. The Yuba Water Agency manages its watershed in this kind of coordinated manner. We talked to Curt Aikens, the agency’s general manager, about the lessons they’ve learned from this “integrated management” approach.
If you try to figure out the total water stored in the Sierras, you run into a methodological wall. There’s no good way to get there directly. Starting about two decades ago, a small group of scientists suggested a new solution: What if they could measure the water cycle from space?
Two years after California’s historic drought came to an end, the sweeping die-off of the state’s forests has slowed, yet vast tracts of dry, browning trees continue to amplify the threat of wildfire, federal officials reported Monday. About 18.6 million trees died in 2018, mainly the result of dehydration and beetle infestation, according to new estimates from the U.S. Forest Service. That pushes the total number of dead since 2010, shortly before the five-year drought began, to 147 million. It’s a toll not seen in modern times.
An effort is underway to hire a full-time watershed coordinator focused on forest management projects in the Yuba River Watershed and a grant from the Yuba Water Agency could help. … The coordinator would work with public and private landowners to plan and coordinate projects within the watershed, including a biomass facility in Camptonville and a forest health project in the north Yuba Watershed.
Imagine Lake Tahoe with no snow year round. Every winter storm that reaches the basin brings only rain. No skiing. No snowboarding. No winter sports of any kind. … A dramatic decline in the Sierra Nevada snowpack will be felt the most in Northern California by mid century, according to a study published in December 2018 by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Incredible amounts of snow have fallen throughout parts of the Mountain West since last Friday after a one-two punch from winter storms Kai and Lucian. The Sierra Nevada, straddling the border between California and Nevada, has been particularly hard-hit, where one ski resort tallied 6 feet of snow in just one day.
From Water | Food | Environment — The Blog of David Guy:
Every year my family looks forward to visiting Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park—where you not only experience the beautiful alpine meadow, but you can also take in one of the wonderful presentations at the Parsons Memorial Lodge.
Long accustomed to dealing with bad news “garbage” bears that become hooked on improperly stored trash at homes and businesses around Lake Tahoe, Nevada wildlife officials say they’re increasingly responding to a new kind of troublemaker they’ve started calling “drought” bears.
A Ghost Ships exhibit at the Tahoe Maritime Museum highlights some of the many underwater stories and secrets Lake Tahoe has harbored, and offers some hints about may what yet be found in her famously clear, cold depths. The exhibit runs through April 2015.
Five hundred million dollars in road and water-quality improvements are underway on the California side of Lake Tahoe. … The new roads are designed to collect storm water and filter out pollution in 30-by-60-foot sand pits.
“Residents were told they could return to some 1,000 mountain homes on the southern end of California’s Sierra Nevada range as firefighters stunted the growth of a wildfire, one of several wildland blazes making problems for western states.”
“A wildfire burning in the Sequoia National Forest in Kern County is expected to expand deeper into the woods Monday, its flames fueled by wind and unseasonably dry conifer trees and grass, officials said.”