Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: F-words inspired by the drought

81829 full
81829 full

Today's dryku:
Lions, ki-yotes, bears
Coming down to hang with us
It's not the drought's fault

Today's drought news roundup categorizes stories by F-words. Not those F-words.

Farmers:

  • The drought is pushing water-saving techniques into all corners of the state. This article points out how a dairy farm has changed to conserve. I don't understand a good 40 percent of the vocabulary. What I do get is fascinating:
Wilbur also changed how he cools his cows waiting in the holding pen before milking. While he once doused them with a generous amount of water, he has shortened the time the sprinklers are on to a mere 30 seconds. Then the water stays off for four minutes. That allows time to dissipate about 80% of the moisture off the cows before the sprinkler system comes on again, he said. (Dairy Herd Management)
  • The drought has pushed a lot of focus onto groundwater reform. An editorial by the president of the California Farm Bureau Federation says legislation would be game over for farmers. (Sierra Sun Times)

Fauna:

  • We've noticed what seems to be an increase in bears and other wild animals invading human-populated areas. We, like many, have wondered if it's had anything to do with the drought. Haya El Nasser writes that it's more due to what we humans are doing.
“In many cases, resources along the edge of the suburbs are far more reliable than resources out in the wild, because every year people are going to irrigate their fruit trees. Every year they’re going to irrigate their lawns,” said Tom Scott, University of California Cooperative Extension specialist. “Animals are quick to use resources that are available.” So much so that the black phoebe bird, which once inhabited remote areas near streams, is now ubiquitous in suburbs, where it finds plenty of water in swimming pools, Scott said. (Al Jazeera America)
  • But the drought does seem to be bringing raptors closer to us. Hawks and owls have been hit hard by the drought. That's because the grasses that feed the insects that feed the birds aren't growing well. A lot of them are failing to breed. (Accuweather)

Frightening future forecast of furious flooding:

  • Admit it, your hopes have been pinned on a super-wet El Niño coming in and ending the drought. Don't be ashamed; I want that too. Unfortunately, all these wildfires this summer would make a wet winter into a flood and mudslide bonanza.
Lester Snow, head of the nonprofit California Water Foundation and former leader of the state Department of Water Resources under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), said the wildfire and El Niño combination this year could shorten the life span of some California reservoirs by building up sediment and decreasing the volume of water they can hold. At worst, he said, the debris and contaminant runoff from post-fire flooding could severely damage ecosystems and threaten properties. (E&E Publishing)

Feel free to use your own F-word now. (Just not in the comments)

How has your community been affected by the drought? Share your story with a photo on Twitter or Instagram. Tag it #mydrought. For more details on our photo project, click here.

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