Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Monoculture, moving water and trucking salmon

81122 full
81122 full

Wednesday's news has far to go...especially if you're a Chinook salmon. More on that in a bit.

  • Is California's drought ready for a "Silicon Valley" moment?" Nicollette Hahn Niman leverages the state's water supply to reactivate agriculture's monoculture vs. permaculture dispute. She writes that this drought is "a long-awaited chance to assess root causes of our dwindling water supply and consider some radically new ideas for the future of food production." She continues:
We need to farm as nature does – with diverse crops, and plants and animals together – rather than the so-called “monocultural” school of farming that grows huge fields of annual crops. Natural ecosystems are complex, and dominated by perennials, a dense mat of fibrous roots that exists in the soil year-round, tightly holding soil and water. (The Guardian)
  • Cal-Am water is enacting voluntary 20 percent restrictions around the state for its users; that includes 258,000 customers in Los Angeles, San Diego and Ventura counties. (Wall Street Journal/by release)
  • Media reports often criticize the operators of the state and federal water systems in California for worsening a drought's effects, says former Contra Costa Water District official Greg Gartrell. He says that's wrong, and he offers examples of how these system operators are still facing tough choices this year:
What would you do with the 3 million acre-feet of usable storage? Hold some or all in storage in case next year is dry — creating huge shortages, fishery and water quality problems this year? Release it for water quality, the environment or senior water-right holders this year (where it will not satisfy all demands) — risking a real disaster next year if it is dry? (Those counting on El Niño to save us next year should note that a large fraction of El Niño years are dry.) (California Water Blog)
"Water conditions, because of the drought, are going to be horrible for the fish," said Harry Morse of the state Fish and Wildlife Department. "Depending on how far those fish have to go, the longer they must travel through the system, the higher the losses." (Bloomberg)

Got a more clever name for the truck that carries salmon smolts to the sea than "fish taxi?" Let us know in the comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy reading Pacific Swell? You might like KPCC’s other blogs.

What's popular now on KPCC