Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Snake bites, fireworks and what to do about water jerks

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Today's dryku:
Food budgets are tight
Droughts do raise vegetables' price
But don't make snakes bite

Food:

  • The USDA released its monthly food price outlook. Looks like prices are going to be up at least 3.5%. Fresh fruit could go up by 6%. Bloomberg has a chart showing how produce is projected to hit its highest price in 18 years. (LA Times)

Critters:

  • Southern California seems to be seeing a higher rate of rattlesnake bites this year. Despite the article's headline, experts in the story say it's not because of the drought. A shorter winter has brought snakes out of hibernation earlier, meaning a longer active season, meaning more need for anti-venin.
As of June 12, 128 people were admitted to a hospital for a snakebite and of those, 93 received doses of anti-venin, Heard said. In 2013, 269 Californians went to a hospital for a snakebite and of those, 166 received anti-venin, he said. Simply doubling the number of patients needing anti-venin treatment would equal 186, more than 2013. (Some patients get “dry bites” meaning no venom is injected and therefore do not need anti-venin, he said). (Contra Costa Times)
  • It's been a mixed bag for salmon this year. Some have needed to be trucked out to the ocean, because their streams are too dry. In the case of coho salmon, the drought has actually caused a record number to enter the ocean. It's not all good news though:
Biologists say that only 206 salmon egg clusters, known as "redds," were counted in the Lagunitas this year, well below the 20-year average of 250 "redds." And the fish that headed off to the ocean may not fare as well. They are smaller than normal and could face more difficult ocean conditions due to the warming pattern known as El Niño, scientists say. (Chico Enterprise-Record)

Fireworks:

  • Sacramento cops are out in force, looking for illegal fireworks. The sheriff's department will double its number of officers on the hunt. Starting this week, having the little fire starters can mean jail time. (CBS Sacramento)

Water jerks:

  • Everyone seems to be at a loss on how to get people to start saving water. Beatrice the Biologist may have stumbled onto the answer — it's a mixture of shame and badges. I'm going to print out the car one and post it in my window. Maybe then people will stop judging me for my filthy Camry. (Scientific American)

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