Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: The Red Badge of Extinction

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86752 full

Our first celebrity dryku was written by an actual poet! Lewis MacAdams also happens to be the president and founder of Friends of the Los Angeles River.

Don't forget to submit your drykus to our Twitter account @kpccdryku.


  • At the federal level, today, we'll get the details of a $34.2 billion energy and water bill proposed in the Senate. Michael Doyle writes about the Senate and House bills and the secrecy that's surrounded them. (Sacramento Bee)
  • At the state level, Bloomberg explains that the water bond to be included in November's ballot still hasn't been decided, and Democrats are running out of time (kind of) to substitute in their own. Some are calling for the governor to throw in his hat. (Bloomberg)

Scrolling Intermission:

  • Take a look at this giant picture of the State Capitol's lawn. It's totally brown, because they're cutting back on water use. (Getty Images)

Red-streaked animals in the red:

  • First, the somewhat mixed news: some man-made ponds in San Jose are being allowed to dry out. That's bad news for the turtles that live there. But it may be good news for native turtles, since most of these are invasive ones dumped by former owners. (San Jose Mercury News)
  • Now, the bad news: the tricolored blackbird population has taken a big dive in the past few years. Drought has removed a lot of their necessary wetland habitat. Their population has seen an estimated drop of 44 percent:
At 801 sites surveyed in 41 counties, only a few sites in Sacramento, Amador, and El Dorado counties didn't show a decline in blackbird numbers. There were no blackbirds at all found in Kings, Santa Clara, or Sonoma counties, and Fresno County sites had a total of six birds. (KCET)

No fun in the sun:

  • Let's talk reservoirs. We like them, because they store the water we need to survive in this otherwise uninhabitable wasteland we call Southern California. We love them, because they're fun to play in. Unfortunately, the drought's limiting our outdoor recreation:
The drought is disrupting a variety of summer activities that help make up the state's $85-billion outdoor recreation industry, the nation's largest. Experts say it will deal a severe blow to rural communities that rely heavily on skiing, fishing and camping. (LA Times)
  • Finally, there's this fun piece that takes a wide ranging look at our future in light of climate change. Gotta love the apocalyptic doomsday scenario of a bisected state with our half as a barren nightmare. Yikes:
There are now two Californias, one called NorCal and the other SoCal. Secessionist movements, long a fixture of the Golden State, have succeeded at last. With political support from Washington state and Oregon, NorCal broke away from the south in 2060. Despite periodic border skirmishes between militias and vociferous opposition to the split from Washington, D.C., the 51st state has survived. Meanwhile, SoCal has seen a veritable exodus, with only true loyalists staying behind. The NorCal flag features a lush river flowing into the Pacific. The SoCal flag bears palm trees and a raised fist. (California Magazine)

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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