Tag Archives: sierra

Despite help from late-winter storms, California snowpack only 32 percent of normal

Valley Tribune: A string of late-winter storms was not sufficient to knock out the state’s three-year drought, leaving critical snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada two-thirds below normal and predictions of a “gloomy” summer for farmers and many urban communities, state water managers said Tuesday. Though the Northern California snowpack rose from 27 percent of average on March 1 to 32 percent, hopes for a “March miracle” were dashed as surveyors carrying hand-held probes climbed down from the snow-covered slopes… Continue reading

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Drought-plagued California tries drink ocean (hold the salt)

Grist: Despite the pugnacious storms that had California on the ropes this past weekend, the state is still in the middle of a record-making drought. The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is well under half its usual level for this time of year, and there’s almost certainly no way to catch up this late in the season. Enter the ongoing construction of 17 desalination plants across the state Continue reading

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Even In A Desert, Drought Spells Trouble For Ranchers

National Public Radio: In northern Nevada, a place famous for its wide, open spaces and expansive cattle operations, ranchers are in a bind due to the historic drought. Continue reading

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Is Fracking About to Arrive on Your Doorstep?

Tom Dispatch: What kind of world is this? In China, an almost 1,350 square mile freshwater lake — that’s more than four times the size of New York City — recently dried up due to an ongoing drought. In the high Sierra of America’s West, bears have forgone hibernating as a result of (what were once, at least) unseasonably warm conditions. Continue reading

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Huge Rim Fire Gives Opportunity to Restore Forest Differently

National Geographic: After fiery devastation comes rebirth, but in the case of last summer’s massive Rim Fire in California, just how that regrowth is best accomplished remains a hot topic. Started by a hunter’s illegal fire that got out of control, the Rim Fire burned about 400 square miles (1,000 square kilometers) of forest in the Sierra Nevadas, from August 17 to October 24, 2013. Exacerbated by a heatwave and drought, the fire caused an estimated $54 million in damage and destroyed 11 homes, three commercial… Continue reading

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Mercury Contamination: The Lesser-known Legacy of the California Gold Rush

Nature World: New research shows that sediment-adsorbed mercury — a lesser known legacy of California’s historic gold rush — is being transported by major floods from the Sierra Nevada mountains to Central Valley lowlands where it is threatening to infiltrate a series of food webs. These are the findings of Michael Singer, an associate researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Earth Resource Institute, writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Continue reading

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In Rim fire’s aftermath, controversy over recovery effort

LA Times: Calls for massive salvage logging, restoration and reforestation projects in the 257,000 acres of public wilderness scarred by the Rim fire have ignited controversy over how to proceed with the largest recovery effort undertaken in the Sierra Nevada. “We’re hoping to negotiate our way through this, but we need the infrastructure and personnel,” said Jerry Snyder, a spokesman for the Stanislaus National Forest. Continue reading

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Joe Biden kinda sorta maybe opposes Keystone XL pipeline

Grist: Vice President Joe Biden told an activist on Friday that he doesn`t support the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, according to a post on the Sierra Club website. While the veep was working the crowd at an event in South Carolina, Elaine Cooper got a moment with him: I asked him about the administration’s commitment to making progress on climate and whether the president would reject the pipeline. He looked at the Sierra Club hat on my head, and he said “yes, I do – I share your views – but I am… Continue reading

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Airborne laboratory used to measure California’s snowpack

LA Times: Teams will fan out across the Sierra Nevada on Thursday to perform their final snow survey of the season, a closely watched rite of spring that helps determine how much water will flow to farms and cities in coming months. But 18,000 feet above the Sierra slopes, an airborne experiment is underway that could revolutionize that ritual Continue reading

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Environmentalists target controversial logging practices in California

Mongabay: The Sierra Club has launched a campaign against clear-cutting by a logging giant in California. Two weeks ago the environmental group sent a letter to Sierra Pacific Industries asking it to disclose the area of forests it has clearcut over the past five years and intends to raze this year. Sierra Pacific, which is led by Red Emmerson, is one of the largest landowners in America Continue reading

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