Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Sled dogs, falcons and bats, oh my

45645 full
45645 full

I'm tired of writing the word "drought" all the time. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a good synonym for it, so I'm going to have to make one up. If you have a suggestion, leave it in the comments. In the meantime, today's attempt: parchnemesis.

Tuesday's news roundup shows how the parchnemesis is hurting our animals. And cocktails.

But first...

  • Condominium and mobile home owners won't get fined by their homeowners associations for not maintaining their yards. No statistics on how many condos or mobile homes actually have yards, though. (L.A. Times)

Rice!

  • Recent rains have made some rice farmers a little more hopeful about their crops. When I think of rice fields, I picture paddies submerged under water. Apparently in the Sacramento Valley, it's usually just mud.
Bright yellow flowers top the giant mustard weed straddling the edges of the creeks and drains that surround McClellan’s farm, and the ground is muddy enough to coat the shoes of those who walk through. 

On a normal year, though, the mud would be ankle-deep. (Sacramento Bee)

Three critter impacts:

  • Birds: Less rain means less farmland is getting planted, which means more habitat around Navy bases, which means more birds disintegrating against screaming fighter jets. (WBUR)
  • Bats: An unusually high number of dead or injured bats are being found in Sacramento. Some think it's the handiwork of the parchnemesis. The video in this story may have turned around my revulsion for bats. The little guys are kind of cute. (CBS 13)
  • Sled dogs: The New York Times has a great photo series on a sled dog owner in Mammoth Lakes whose dogs have nothing to do because of the lack of snow.
But in the past three years, the worsening drought has meant less and less snow on the peaks of the Eastern Sierras, leaving Ouimet and his dogs and three other mushers out of work. The last sled-dog tour for Ouimet and his crew was in March 2013. In January 2014, the peak of the drought, the well at his kennel went dry, forcing him to drive into town twice a week to fill 33-gallon water containers so the dogs would have enough to drink. (New York Times)

And finally...

  • Bad news if you prefer flying with a cocktail in your hand. Lime shortages are forcing some airlines to cut back or eliminate putting them in drinks on their flights. It's only temporary, so it'll just take a couple of inferior vodka and tonics to get us on our feet again. (AP via Washington Post)
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