Since World War II and a booming state population that increasingly sought out the great outdoors to relax, the state’s water-based recreational activities have continued to grow more popular and diverse, occurring in a multitude of sources – from swimming pools and spas to beaches, reservoirs, natural lakes and rivers.
Public water supply projects, such as the State Water Project, have helped to provide additional recreational opportunities for Californians. In some cases, reservoir releases can contribute to downstream recreation benefits by improving fisheries or by creating whitewater rafting opportunities that would not be possible in the absence of reservoir regulation. However, there are conflicting values and needs for the same river system.
Should the state of California honor a commitment made in 2003 to restore the Salton Sea, despite moving water away from the area to thirsty coastal cities? Or should this artificial, long-festering sea be left alone to dry up entirely? While politicians have dithered, Bombay Beach’s atmospheric decay has drawn filmmakers, novelists and other artists who marvel at the thriving community hidden inside seemingly derelict properties.
A new study released by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation predicts a release of up to 9 million acre-feet of water from Lake Powell to Lake Mead this year, which means a possible shortage declaration looming in 2020 might be averted. The snowpack in the Colorado River Basin is about 130 percent of average, with flows into Lake Powell predicted to be 128 percent of average during the runoff season.
A new analysis from Trout Unlimited shows the U.S. Geological Survey underestimates the number of streams nationwide that flow only following rain. … The analysis comes as the Trump administration is soliciting comments on its Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule that would eliminate Clean Water Act protections for ephemeral streams, which flow only following rainfall.
Fed up neighbors in Imperial Beach are taking action over the pollution problem. The coastline in South County has been plagued by sewage spills coming from Mexico for years. … After spending the morning cleaning the sand, neighbors took to the streets to demand clean water. Holding signs, and repeating protest chants, demonstrators marched on the Imperial Beach Pier and then held a rally.
From the first LA River cleanup in April 1989 when 10 people showed up to the thousands that arrive on the river banks each April, the group has attracted 70,000 volunteers who have collectively removed 700 tons of trash in 29 years, the group reported. … Many argue the cleanup events are the No. 1 reason for the nonprofit’s successes in making the LA River a cause celeb.
When state surveyors measured the Sierra snowpack on April 2, they found 106.5 inches of snow, with an equivalent of 51 inches of water — … Compared to average measurements for this time of year, those readings represent 200% of normal levels. That means the snows that drew skiers this winter will soon deliver thrills to another group of outdoor enthusiasts: whitewater rafters.
Nevada County residents tend to think of the Yuba River or Scotts Flat Reservoir when they want to go play in the water. But Rollins Reservoir, while arguably getting less local love, generates a lot of income for the community from out-of-town visitors.
It’s not clear how much water this year’s snowpack will produce, but the record snowpack in 2017 produced about one million acre feet of water. That’s too much for a funnel only about one-third that size. That means that water managers have to figure out where to put the excess water as it melts off the mountains. And the problem becomes potentially worse if a warm streak hits and melts the snow fast
At its core, the Borrego Valley Stewardship Council exists to ensure that the town of Borrego Springs survives and benefits from the groundwater sustainability plan process. To that end, BVSC members are taking a more creative look at the town as the hospitality hub for the state park, relying on a geotourism program from National Geographic, and aggressively trying to buy out 70% of water from farmers.
Administered by the National Park Service (NPS), NHAs are defined by NPS as a grassroots, community-driven approach to heritage conservation and economic development. They differ from national parks in several significant ways. Primarily, NPS does not take ownership of the land encompassed within an NHA and no land-use restrictions are placed upon landowners.
Specifically, the Feather River Recovery Alliance is asking FERC to not reissue a license to the state Department of Water Resources to operate the Oroville Dam until terms of the agreement are renegotiated, including a new recreation plan. The group says it received 6,469 local signatures on the petition.
The use of public art to bring about social change created the interactive art event called the “Bombay Beach Biennale” on the shores of the Salton Sea. Organizers hope to bring attention to the long-ignored environmental issue facing the region, once one of the premier tourist destinations in Southern California.
An oversight at the Coleman National Fish Hatchery resulted in the death of some 390,000 fall Chinook salmon this week. Water was shut off to one of the hatchery’s raceways and wasn’t turned back on during fish-tagging operations Thursday night..
Conservationists and weekend volunteers have toiled in the Bolsa Chica Wetlands for years, weeding out invasive plants and replanting native vegetation squeezed out by the invaders. … Now, these wildlife custodians are expanding their botanical battle across Pacific Coast Highway to the sand dunes of Bolsa Chica State Beach. After all, no matter how many enemy plants are removed from the wetlands, ocean winds will carry more seeds from non-native plants growing in the dunes.
Whitewater rafting businesses are holding out hope of getting a safe landing area near the Ward’s Ferry bridge over the Tuolumne River, as a condition of relicensing the Don Pedro hydroelectric project. At a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hearing Tuesday in Modesto, speakers said an existing takeout for rafts on the Tuolumne, upstream from Don Pedro Reservoir, is under water because of dam operations. And the options for getting boats out of the water are not safe.
Heavy snowfall this winter is expected to delay the seasonal opening of many Yosemite tourist attractions, including Yosemite Valley campgrounds, Half Dome’s climbing cables and Tioga Road into the high country, park officials announced Wednesday.
Recent plans to enlarge California’s Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet have raised concerns over possible cultural and ecological implications on wildlife among the Winnemem Wintu people and environmental groups alike. … The change in flood patterns would likely affect vital sacred sites for the Winnemen Wintu Puberty Ceremony for young women, according to the Winnemem Wintu website. The project would also relocate roads, railroads, bridges and marinas, according to a fact sheet from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
A wide-ranging bill that revives a popular conservation program, adds 1.3 million acres of new wilderness, expands several national parks and creates five new national monuments has won congressional approval. … The bill would permanently reauthorize the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the country. The program expired last fall after Congress could not agree on language to extend it.
Lake Tahoe is the place to be this winter. It holds the best snowpack in the western United States and the crowds are flocking to the world-class slopes. Traffic has been insane, infuriating and downright miserable at times — all while the snow continues to fly.
Ominous predictions about the desert lake’s ecological collapse are beginning to occur. You can see this sea up close during our Lower Colorado River Tour, Feb. 27-March 1, when we will visit the fragile ecosystem and hear from several stakeholders working to address challenges facing the sea.
In the event that water elevation decreases below 1,050-feet, officials have developed a plan to address operational needs. Due to the government shutdown, the public wasn’t able to provide comment on the low water plan for Lake Mead. So an extension has been provided through Feb.15.
Several areas of the Oroville Dam and lake are undergoing extensive renovations and improvements, and the Oroville Recreation Advisory Committee met Friday to hear reports from the various member organizations overseeing them. … Aaron Wright of the California Department of Parks and Recreation said that several of the recently reopened areas near the dam have received a good amount of traffic.
Sonoma County water officials, under order from the state to improve the capacity of their sewage system, say a valve malfunction and leaky pipes resulted in a string of spills this month that released 2.7 million gallons of waste and stormwater, some of which flowed into local creeks and San Pablo Bay.
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman today named Ernest A. Conant director of the Mid-Pacific Region. Conant has nearly 40 years of water law experience and previously served as senior partner of Young Wooldridge, LLP.
A group of Lake Nacimiento residents is suing Monterey County for $120 million, claiming officials ignored the needs of recreational users by releasing more water from the reservoir than necessary. The lawsuit, filed in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court in Paso Robles, alleges the county agency has mismanaged the reservoir and “operated the lake in a manner that renders it almost unusable by property owners and visitors for recreation.”
A simple web search will pull up nearly a million articles, videos and photos featuring Frank Gehrke. He’s no fashion icon like Kim Kardashian or a dogged politician like Gov. Jerry Brown. But he has broken a lot of news. … For 30 years, you might have seen Gehrke on TV, the guy trudging through snow with a measuring pole, talking about how deep the pack is each winter on the evening news. He retired from his post as the state’s chief snow surveyor in December, but he’s not letting go of his snowshoes and skis anytime soon.
Congressman John Garamendi, D-3rd District, has reintroduced the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Act along with a handful of other representatives. A National Heritage Area designation would authorize $10 million in federal funding over 15 years to provide matching grants to local governments, historical societies, and community nonprofit organizations throughout the Delta.
Last week, the relicensing effort reached a milestone when FERC issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement. The environmental document essentially looks at what changes a licensee has proposed for a specific project, the impacts of those changes and provides conditions they must meet if awarded a new license.
At Monday’s meeting of the Metropolitan Water District’s Planning & Stewardship Committee, officials said that with no Drought Contingency Plan in place (Arizona being the hold out), they are beginning to draw down their storage in Lake Mead. “If there is no Drought Contingency Plan, we don’t want to leave potentially half a million acre-feet or more locked up in Lake Mead if we go into shortage,” said General Manager Jeff Kightlinger.
Featuring artists, photographers, first-person narratives, historical and scientific essays, long-form journalism and fiction, the magazine revolves around the fascinating people and wonders that make up the greater Bay – Delta region of California.
Colorado River water managers were supposed to finish drought contingency plans by the end of the year. As it looks now, they’ll miss that deadline. If the states fail to do their job, the federal government could step in. Luke Runyon, a reporter with KUNC who covers on the Colorado River Basin recaps what’s been happening and why it’s so important.
Due to rising average temperatures, snowpacks in the Great Basin appear to be transitioning from seasonal, with a predictable amount and melt rate, to “ephemeral,” or short-lived, which are less predictable and only last up to 60 days. “We might not get as much water into the ground, throwing off the timing of water for plant root systems, reducing our supply and use, and even affecting businesses such as tourism,” says lead researcher Rose Petersky.
There’s every reason to expect that 2019 will be far better, largely because of Measure W, which was passed by voters in November. The initiative imposes a Los Angeles County parcel tax that will generate $300 million per year to reduce pollution from runoff and capture storm water to add to the water supply.
The report issued by California’s State Water Resources Control Board marks a key step in a decade-long effort to remove four hydroelectric dams and restore the health of the Klamath River. The dam-removal project is part of a broader effort by California, Oregon, federal agencies, Klamath Basin tribes, water users and conservation organizations to revitalize the basin, advance recovery of fisheries, uphold trust responsibilities to the tribes, and sustain the region’s farming and ranching heritage.
Montgomery is known for fostering collaborative relationships among stakeholders and as a leader in protecting and restoring water quality within California and throughout the Southwest and the Pacific Islands. He is currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Water Division in the US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 9).
CANCELED: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold one hearing to provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, views, or information concerning the proposed rule changes affecting wetlands and ephemeral waters.
Since 1964 the Land and Water Conservation Fund has used royalties from oil and gas leasing to protect natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage, as well as to provide recreation opportunities. The Fund expired at the end of September, but both the House and Senate have proposed bills to permanently reauthorize it so its future doesn’t remain in jeopardy.
To fend off lawsuits over its plans to build a new city in the rugged countryside northwest of Los Angeles, Tejon Ranch Co. made a landmark concession to environmentalists. It promised a decade ago to preserve 90% of its land — 240,000 acres — as an untouched ecological conservancy for public enjoyment through educational and research programs.
The National Park Service expects to spend about $25 million to move marinas and extend boat launch ramps if Lake Mead continues to shrink in the coming years, according to a new low-water plan released Thursday. Marina operators would pay an additional $8 million under the plan, which lays out how recreational access to the water can be maintained should the lake drop to a once-unthinkable level 125 feet lower than it is now.
Riverside County is moving forward with a Salton Sea restoration plan that officials say could generate more than $1 billion in tax revenue, which would help fund construction of a permanent, horseshoe-shaped lake at the north end of the dying sea.
A request from the state Department of Water Resources to temporarily make more than 50 miles of trails in Oroville open to multiple user groups has been denied by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. DWR proposed this with backing from the Oroville Recreation Advisory Committee, or ORAC, as a compensation for trail closures as a result of the 2017 Oroville Dam spillway emergency.
Williamson Rock is a sheer granite wall that rises from chaparral in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Crisscrossed with 300 routes, it has been a proving ground for Southern California rock climbers since the 1960s. But in a move that outraged many in the climbing community, the area was shut down in 2005 to protect an isolated colony of federally endangered Southern California mountain yellow-legged frogs from being trampled.
The owners of a Lake Tahoe ski resort in a legal battle with an environmental group over a redevelopment project have failed to persuade a California judge to penalize the conservationists with an order to pay more than $225,000 in attorney bills. Placer County Judge Michael Jones ruled in August against Sierra Watch’s claim the county violated public meeting laws when it approved Alterra Mountain Co.’s expansion at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows near Tahoe City, California.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request from Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla to weigh in on the long-running battle over Martins Beach in San Mateo County, turning down a case that could have rewritten coastal access laws in California and across the United States.
A popular program that supports conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the country expired after Congress could not agree on language to extend it. Lawmakers from both parties back the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but the program lapsed Monday amid dispute over whether its renewal should be part of a broader package of land-use and parks bills.
Despite decades of research, the trigger that causes algal blooms to begin poisoning their environment has long confounded scientists. Now, researchers from Scripps and UC San Diego have found the genetic underpinning of domoic acid, a harmful neurotoxin. … In California, closures due to toxic blooms have become increasingly common.
America’s national parks are warming up and drying out faster than other U.S. landscapes, threatening iconic ecosystems from the Everglades in Florida to Joshua Tree in California to Denali in Alaska. That’s the conclusion of a new climate change study published Monday, the first to examine rainfall and temperatures in all 417 national parks sites.
The clock is ticking down to the Sept. 30 expiration date on the [Land and Water Conservation] fund, established by Congress in 1964 to conserve open spaces, fish and wildlife habitat and cultural, historic and recreation sites. A new poll of roughly 822 owners and managers of outdoor businesses in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Montana found that eight in 10 business support reauthorizing the conservation program, speakers in a teleconference said Thursday.
Under a new legal settlement, the federal government has agreed to present plans to protect eight California rivers and streams that Congress designated years ago as “wild and scenic” rivers. The agreement ends a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, which sued in March to demand President Donald Trump’s administration develop plans for the rivers.
Boating, fishing and hiking will be allowed again at Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet starting Friday, July 27 — more than a month after it closed because of an algal bloom outbreak. Water quality tests confirmed the potential health effects of a large bloom of blue-green algae had diminished, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California said in a Wednesday, July 25, news release.
The Lake County Department of Public Health is urging boaters and recreational users to avoid contact with water in Lake County due to a recent bloom of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. The algae, which is seasonal, is currently active in all three sections of the Lake — Lower, Oaks, and Upper.
Enhancements to several Lake Oroville recreation areas are in the works this summer as the state Department of Water Resources makes good on its promise to improve lake access ahead of the Oroville Dam relicensing. Some means of getting more people out on the water include adding boat launch lanes and parking spots and providing free shuttle services.
The state Department of Water Resources announced plans on Friday to draw Lake Oroville down to 808 feet elevation by early next week. This is to provide a second point of access to the upper chute of the Oroville Dam spillway, through the radial gates, for construction.
All recreational activities have been suspended at Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet because of an algal bloom outbreak. Boating, fishing and hiking won’t be allowed until further notice as officials monitor the water for cyanobacteria — also known as blue-green algae, Metropolitan Water District spokeswoman Rebecca Kimitch said Thursday, June 21.
For thousands, the salmon opener means months of buildup with no clear idea of what awaits next weekend off the Bay Area coast. This year’s opener, delayed for months by new rules, has become a mystery challenge.
California voters have approved a ballot measure allowing the state borrow $4 billion for parks and conservation projects that proponents say will help ensure access to clean drinking water. Proposition 68 — one of five statewide measures on the ballot — passed Tuesday with 56 percent of the vote.
Deep, throaty cadenced calls — sounding like an off-key bassoon — echo over the grasslands, farmers’ fields and wetlands starting in late September of each year. They mark the annual return of sandhill cranes to the Cosumnes River Preserve, 46,000 acres located 20 miles south of Sacramento on the edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The opening of the Diversion Pool last weekend to kayakers and hikers appears to have been a big success according to all involved, and it may happen again. “We’ve already been discussing it with our partners and probably will,” State Parks District Superintendent Aaron Wright said Thursday, “but I can’t commit to that now.”
Deep, throaty cadenced calls — sounding like an off-key bassoon — echo over the grasslands, farmers’ fields and wetlands starting in late September of each year. They mark the annual return of sandhill cranes to the Cosumnes River Preserve, 46,000 acres located 20 miles south of Sacramento on the edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
What to make of the propositions on California’s June 5 ballot? As ever, the issues span the political spectrum. But two address the environment, one asking voters to shell out billions to improve it and another that could make it more difficult for the state to spend billions on helpful projects.
The Klamath River Renewal Corp., the nonprofit charged with coordinating the removal for four hydro-electric dams on the Klamath River, is seeking public comment on new recreation sites along the river — after the dams are out.
Last year, after more than 250 gallons of sewage spilled into the Pacific Ocean from the Tijuana River, water pollution in Imperial Beach became an international story. … Although the spills have come to the forefront in the last few years, water pollution has been part of Imperial Beach life for generations, particularly for the surf community.
For Shasta Marina, where about nine out of every 10 customers come from out of the area, 2018 business could be better than last summer, when high water levels were a welcome change from the drought that made it tough on lake businesses, owner John Harkrader said.
While the cause hasn’t been determined, a University of Oregon student’s death at Lake Shasta over the weekend should be a reminder for people who visit in the future to take their safety there seriously, Shasta Caverns General Manager Matt Doyle said. … Doyle said visitors to the lake need to remember to have “respect for the environment,” which includes bears, extreme heat, rattlesnakes and, of course, a huge body of water.
The boat ramps at Copco and Iron Gate reservoirs are temporarily closed through June, and possibly later, due to a draw-down of water requested for use by Bureau of Reclamation for Klamath Project irrigators. … Reclamation will use the water to keep elevations up to standard at Upper Klamath Lake and to support water deliveries to Klamath Project irrigators to cover a shortfall until water deliveries to the Klamath Project take place in June.
The last time California voters passed a statewide ballot measure to provide funding for parks, beaches, wildlife and forests, it was 2006. Arnold Schwarzenegger was in his first term as governor, Twitter was a fledgling app, and the iPhone hadn’t been invented yet. Since then, California’s population has grown from 36 million to 39.5 million — the equivalent of adding a new San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego.
Supporters argue that Prop. 68 is good for parks and good for improving water quality statewide. … Critics like state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, believe the debt payments on the bond will be anything but small.
In order to get boaters and swimmers back to Lake Oroville after the Oroville Dam spillway was damaged in 2017, state agencies have announced they will waive fees for the recreational area on select days over the summer.
The way people play along Lake Tahoe’s 72 miles of shoreline could change this year. The latest iteration of theTahoe Shoreline Plan comes out Tuesday. The proposal would add 138 piers, of which 10 are public.
Any great fishing hole depends on the health and well-being of its bugs. In a key stretch of the Colorado River below a dam on the Arizona-Utah border, anglers have been pulling out long, skinny trout that don’t give up much of a fight with a hook in their mouths. Turns out, they don’t have enough to eat, scientists say.
A world-class snowboarder, former Navy SEAL Josh Jespersen served for four years in Afghanistan and Iraq. … Now he’s undertaking a different kind of expedition — urging mountain-state politicians to take seriously the threat of climate change, and working to vote them out of office if they don’t.
When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was a state senator from this idyllic mountain town, he drove a Prius, sported a beard and pushed President Barack Obama to make clean energy a priority. Today, the beard and Prius are gone, and Mr. Zinke has emerged as a leading figure, along with Scott Pruitt of the Environmental Protection Agency, in the environmental rollbacks that have endeared President Trump to the fossil fuel industry and outraged conservationists.
We explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.
The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs was the focus of this tour.
Hampton Inn Tropicana
4975 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89118
Interior Department officials are backing away from a plan to dramatically increase entrance fees at the most popular national parks after receiving more than 100,000 public comments from Americans nearly unanimously opposed to the idea.
A conservation group is suing President Donald Trump’s administration to demand officials present plans to protect California rivers and streams that Congress designated years ago as “wild and scenic” rivers.
Rangers at Lake Mead National Recreation Area are cracking down on two popular — but prohibited — spring break ingredients: glass bottles and Styrofoam containers. … The National Park Service outlawed glass bottles and plastic foam containers from the recreation area in 2002 to reduce litter and prevent injuries to visitors and wildlife, but the prohibition has been largely ignored.
A pair of storms moving across the Bay Area this week and into the Sierra Nevada could dump eight feet of snow at higher elevations, said Mike Kochasic, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Sacramento. And although rain and snow are expected to remain far below average for the season after a bone-dry January and February, it’s still a relief to everyone from skiers to the state’s drought monitors.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke bristled Tuesday under questioning by Democrats about his travel spending as the Trump administration seeks deep cuts to conservation programs and fee increases at national parks. Zinke testified before a Senate committee about the agency’s proposed $11.7 billion budget for 2019.
The California Coastal Act for decades has scaled back mega-hotels, protected wetlands and, above all, declared that access to the beach was a fundamental right guaranteed to everyone. But that very principle could be dismantled in the latest chapter of an all-out legal battle that began as a local dispute over a locked gate.
Sand replenishment began last week at Cardiff State Beach, one of the first milestones in a $120 million, four-year effort to restore the San Elijo Lagoon. Improved water quality, greater wildlife diversity, more public recreational trails and a greater resilience to environmental change are among the long-term goals of the restoration, which has been planned for decades.
The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which co-manage the [Sand to Snow National] monument’s 101,000 acres as wilderness, said they plan in March to dispatch a team of federal land managers, biologists and representatives of the nearby Morongo Band of Mission Indians reservation to come up with a strategy and funds to eliminate the unbranded cattle and collarless dogs.
The Fish and Wildlife Service faces a $1.3 billion deferred maintenance backlog that can sometimes get overlooked despite its ominous size. … With some 5,000 buildings and 6,938 other structures to tend across 566 wildlife refuges, among other responsibilities, FWS has to struggle to keep up with problems that the public may not see.
It’s been a painfully slow start to the ski season in the Western U.S. Some places have seen record warm temperatures and record low snowfall, prompting resorts to open late. … And all this means an economic hit.
The California Water Commission, which is evaluating the Nevada Irrigation District’s application in pursuit of state funding for the proposed Centennial dam, was greeted by a surprise group of visitors Wednesday. Dressed in lifejackets and wielding kayak paddles, about 60 demonstrators stood outside the Commission’s monthly meeting in Sacramento Wednesday to show their opposition to the Centennial project on the Bear River.
A recent study has found that virtually all United States-based winter recreation locations could experience shorter ski seasons, exceeding 50 percent by 2050 and 80 percent in 2090 for some downhill skiing destinations.
From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Bureau of Land Management oversees some of the nation’s most prized natural resources: vast expanses of public lands rich in oil, gas, coal, grazing for livestock, habitat for wildlife, hunting ranges, fishing streams and hiking trails.
This winter marks the 60th anniversary of China Peak, the 1,300-acre ski area in the Sierra National Forest east of Fresno. But instead of celebrating, owner/operator Tim Cohee is contemplating the ultimate bummer while struggling through what he describes as the worst season he’s experienced during more than 40 years in the business.
Few groups have been closer and more involved in Interior Department policy and management than the National Park System Advisory Board, an appointed and nonpartisan group established 83 years ago to consult on department operations and practices.
California skiers and riders are facing the best conditions of the season after recent storms dumped snow from Lake Tahoe to Mammoth Lakes, frosting slopes ahead of the long Martin Luther King holiday weekend.
his week President Trump angered environmentalists and other groups by reducing the size of two large national monuments in Utah—Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante. Using Presidential Proclamations and invoking the 1906 Antiquities Act, he slashed these monuments by about 1 million square acres. While groups of Utahns and especially the state’s Republican politicians applauded these executive actions, lawsuits alleging the president exceeded his powers were filed quickly.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump ordered U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to conduct an unprecedented review of 27 monuments established by former presidents over more than two decades on lands and waters revered for their natural beauty and historical significance.
Two national monuments in Utah that President Donald Trump is going to significantly reduce include ancient cliff dwellings and scenic canyons as well as areas that could be used for energy development.
Politicians and river guides are calling upon the state Department of Water Resources to mitigate sediment build up in the Feather River following the Oroville Dam crisis. … The state Department of Water Resources is currently assessing the impacts of sediment on the river system, with the study expected to be complete in December, said Jon Ericson, acting division chief for the division of flood management.
This three-day, two-night tour explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.
The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs is the focus of this tour.
Best Western McCarran Inn
4970 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Six of America’s national monuments — from Utah’s red rock canyons to remote islands in the South Pacific — would be reduced in size, under recommendations that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has sent to President Trump.
Levels of E. coli bacteria found in the lower American River exceed the federal threshold for safe recreational use, in part due to human waste from homeless camps, state regulators say. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has proposed adding the bacteria to a list of pollutants that make the lower American River a federally designated impaired water body.
Tribes, ranchers and conservationists know that none of the national monuments ordered reviewed by President Donald Trump will be eliminated, but the changes in store for the sprawling land and sea areas remain a mystery after the administration kept a list of recommendations under wraps.
At a rally Tuesday, four local members of Congress blasted President Trump’s executive order that called for the review of dozens of national monuments, which they fear could mean scaling back or eliminating those protected natural areas entirely.
Under the bill, the National Park Service would be prevented from regulating the hunting of bears and wolves in Alaska wildlife preserves, including the practice of killing bear cubs in their dens. It also would be prevented from regulating commercial and recreational fishing within park boundaries and from commenting on development projects outside park boundaries that could affect the parks.
The Trump administration this week is expected to release plans for potentially shrinking or revoking the status of 21 national monuments, setting the stage for a years-long legal battle that could pit the White House against Indian tribes, environmentalists and some western states.
Two popular swim spots — Lake Temescal in Oakland and Quarry Lakes in Fremont — will reopen Saturday after blooms of toxic blue-green algae finally cleared up, the East Bay Regional Park District announced Friday.
Many lake users have complained to the state about fewer recreational opportunities on the lake in the aftermath of the Lake Oroville spillway disaster in February. Since then, the lake level has dropped significantly, meaning boaters have farther to walk after parking their vehicles at the high-water line.
Several years of drought had severely depleted the Kern, a popular whitewater rafting destination known for its dramatic rapids. But this year’s wet winter created a record Sierra Nevada snowpack, and the melt has engorged the river with swift, frigid water.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says he’ll ease the impact of potentially huge National Park Service budget cuts by shifting more resources to the “front line.” But it’s not clear yet what that actually means.
There may be no more potent reminder of California’s humongous snowfall than the plows still clearing roads that snake across the state’s highest mountains as summer approaches. … The snowpack presented an additional challenge this year because it was heavily saturated with water.
State Parks expects a busy Memorial Day weekend at Lake Oroville even with the spillway dominating the news. … A portion of Lake Oroville remains closed as construction continues at the Oroville Dam spillway.
To say backpackers and hikers will encounter more snow than they’re used to is to drastically understate the problem. The snowpack throughout the Sierra rivals, and in places exceeds, records set during the massive winter of 1982-83. “We are in rare territory here with the winter we’ve had,” said Chris Smallcomb, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno.
With the Memorial Day weekend almost here, it might be a little difficult for some boaters to get through all the floating debris at Lake Shasta. But with the lake full for the first time in years, it could be well worth the effort.
The deaths of five people in two Tulare County rivers in less than a month are prompting officials to warn the public about the dangers of rushing water fed by the heavy snowpack now melting in the Sierra. “Stay away from the river’s edge, and don’t enter the water,” said Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux.
A year after they made national headlines for leaving trash, human waste and almost 100 tents at Lake Shasta, University of Oregon fraternities are getting a second chance from the businesses and agencies that had to deal with the aftermath of their Memorial Day bacchanal.
There was going to be a steam train – and a monorail. Plus a major resort featuring a 250-seat restaurant and a 1,000-seat amphitheater. As many as 5 million visitors a year would show up. When it came to wooing Butte County about the construction of Oroville Dam, state officials weren’t shy about setting grand expectations.
Pursuing exiting the settlement agreement with the state Department of Water Resources was on the table Tuesday night at a special meeting of the Oroville City Council, but the decision was set aside for later. Most of the council expressed interest in gathering more public opinion on the issue before taking a vote, with a town hall date set for May 22 at 5:30 p.m. in the Municipal Auditorium.
The melting of this year’s record snowpack is continuing to create problems, with authorities warning of more flooding in Yosemite National Park and fast-moving, high water at a popular Central Valley river.
The muddy ski slopes of 2015 paired with the powder-covered ones of 2017 show the astonishing difference between a year when snow levels were drastically low and this season when unrelenting storms slamming the northern Sierra Nevada are burying the ski lifts on a weekly basis.
Since 1965, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped protect civil war battlefield sites, national parks and local recreation areas such the American River Parkway in Sacramento and Henry Lake in Idaho.
Lake Oroville will partially reopen on Thursday, nearly two weeks after more than 180,000 Northern California residents evacuated their homes and the lake area closed due to fears that the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam could fail.
Not far from the main drag through Oroville, a dozen local business owners and city officials faced each other in a hotel lunchroom Tuesday. They sought to begin developing an advertising campaign to transform a barrage of negative images and news reports about frantic efforts to prevent catastrophic flooding into a lucrative tourist attraction, albeit after the Feather River Basin’s rainy season ends in April.
A huge Northern California reservoir, held in place by a massive dam, has always been central to the life of the towns around it. Now the lake that has brought them holiday fireworks and salmon festivals could bring disaster.
An East Bay man trying to create a kite-surfing hangout in the delta for Silicon Valley’s elite stepped up his unusual battle with water regulators Thursday, suing them after he was hit with an unprecedented $2.8 million fine for raising dikes across wetlands near Pittsburg.
Each spring, a group of UC Davis student scientists and their professors take a whitewater rafting trip through the Grand Canyon to study a river that sustains 40 million people. Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton traveled with them.
California’s five-year drought created ideal conditions for brewing toxic levels of the naturally occurring bacteria, which multiplies rapidly in hot temperatures, low water flows and stagnant water choked with fertilizers and nutrients.
Swimming, boating and fishing are prohibited in Lake Elsinore after water quality officials Friday detected harmful levels of toxins related to blue-green algae. … Algae blooms have also recently forced the closure of Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County, Lake Temescal in Oakland and Discovery Bay in the Delta.
One hundred and eighty reservoirs statewide are contaminated with excessive levels of mercury, according to studies of fish samples from more than 300 reservoirs conducted by the State Water Resources Control Board.
State Water Resources Control Board officials issued a warning last week for the North Coast, noting that high temperatures and continuing drought conditions increase the likelihood of potentially lethal algal blooms in area streams, rivers and lakes.
During the past year of drought, while many Californians have heeded the call to conserve and managed to achieve water-savings of nearly 25 percent statewide, one group of water users hasn’t measured up: the golf courses that spread out across thousands of acres in the desert.
After watching her 13-year-old son throw up everything he ate when they got home from a day of jet skiing at Pyramid Lake, Sharyn Martinez was angered to learn last week that the state is now urging the public to avoid the water there because of a toxic algal bloom.
President Barack Obama mixed business with pleasure here Saturday, touting the importance of national parks and then seeing one up close for himself as he took in the sights at what is arguably the crown jewel of the national park system.
After an emotionally trying week, President Barack Obama is heading West to celebrate the raw beauty of America’s national parks as the system nears its 100th birthday, and highlight challenges threatening it over the next 100 years, including climate change and chronic underfunding by Congress.
Instead of working in her office at the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Forest Service spokeswoman Phyllis Swanson spent Tuesday cleaning up after more than 1,000 college students who trashed Slaughterhouse Island during a weekend boating trip.
The sounds of watercraft and families enjoying Lake Shasta on Sunday carried across the water against a vibrant backdrop of the tree line. The scene is a far cry from last year’s low water levels on the lake, which became a visual indicator of the state-wide drought and the impact to the local environment.
A longtime water regulator and a lifelong hunter have been appointed to a powerful state board that lists endangered species and sets hunting and fishing regulations enforced by California game wardens.
Water is once again flowing into Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet for the first time in three years, which will allow boat launches to resume on Southern California’s largest reservoir in mid-May, just in time for Memorial Day weekend fishing.
Building on last year’s declaration of the Berryessa Snow Mountain Region as a National Monument by President Obama, the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water voted 6-2 Tuesday to approve a bill that establishes a state conservancy to protect, preserve and restore the Northern Inner Coast Range.
We were gliding downhill along a river buried in snow, our skis skimming a thin layer of fresh powder toward the setting sun and a wall of darkening clouds. … In California, snow isn’t just for skiers.
Don’t give up on that season ski pass just yet, Tahoe locals. The Monday morning powder dump that disrupted commutes in Reno served as an exclamation point for the 2015-16 season which is likely to be the longest in more than a decade.
For the first time in years the Salton Sea Recreation Area has a public boat launch. The public-private partnership that built the launch hope it brings more fishing, water skiing and recreational boating to California’s largest lake, which has been sinking and which scientists say is need of environmental rescue.
The Sierra snowpack is actually below the historic average, but skier visits, hotel stays and the number of people spending money in the Lake Tahoe area are way up. It’s a welcome turn from last year, when the drought left resorts virtually empty.
Today, the total backlog of needed maintenance at U.S. national parks is $11.9 billion. … Grand Canyon National Park needs $330 million, due largely to outstanding wastewater and water system upgrades.
The early March deluge is arriving just in time across the Bay Area, the Sierra Nevada and throughout Northern California. … Reports from near and far indicate that outdoor recreation will benefit for months to come.
Synthetic turf manufacturers say more than 60 studies over the past two decades have shown no elevated health risks associated with their products, but not everyone is convinced. … With legislators asking for more information, the federal government recently announced a multi-agency study and plans to issue a draft report by year’s end.
After four years of drought and the arrival of great snow conditions, a high-end crowd is arriving at Tahoe for the ski season and driving up prices across the board, topped by peak events like the Super Bowl and the holidays.
Finally, snow. After four winters that yielded only a few lower-elevation storms, and not necessarily at times when families could get away to enjoy them, people couldn’t wait to play in the white stuff.
In a classic Capitol Hill tradeoff, conservatives would get the Clear Creek Management Area reopened to off-roaders while liberals would secure new wilderness and wild-and-scenic river designation for other federal lands.
Thanks in part to El Niño, a series of strong storms have blanketed the Sierras with snow. Another storm this week is expected to deliver another layer of the white stuff — and draw skiers back to resorts.
Should El Niño not live up to the hype and dump heavy snow on the Sierra, skiers and sledders at one resort could be gliding downhill this winter on snow that comes from an unusual source: purified water from the local sewage-treatment plant.
The atmosphere on the ski slopes around Lake Tahoe was giddy this week as beleaguered resort operators planned their earliest opening in years, a response to November storms and cold temperatures that allowed them to supplement nature by making snow.
As California enters a potential fifth year of drought, the swimming pool demolition industry — a niche, to be sure — is thriving, operators say, with new companies entering the business to profit from Californians’ concerns about water scarcity.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund has had wide bipartisan support for 50 years. Its name may be little known outside Washington D.C., but many people are likely to have enjoyed the fruits of the fund — it has provided about $17 billion for everything from the expansion of iconic national parks and forests to more than 40,000 local recreation projects across the country.
Forecasts of an approaching El Niño winter have ski resort operators dreaming of the kind of snowy peaks that were a common sight in California before a four-year drought dried up the state’s $3-billion ski industry.
The state of California plans to contribute $25 million toward efforts to buy a property on the Los Angeles River in Cypress Park, the majority of the purchase price for a parcel that has been called a “crown jewel” of the river’s restoration, state Senate leader Kevin de León announced Sunday.
The Lake Elsinore Grand Prix will bite the dust this year because of the drought. … The water shortage stems from the drought-induced state of emergency declared by Gov. Jerry Brown and mandated restrictions imposed on the area’s purveyor, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District.