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A biologist, economist, engineer and geologist walk onto a bar...
Updated: 18 min 34 sec ago

The romance of rain barrels

February 8, 2015 - 9:46pm
By Jay Lund Imagine capturing some of the heavy rain that has been draining off Northern California roofs lately to water yards this summer, for what will likely be a fourth year of drought. The drought has generated interest in … Continue reading →

Rain or shine, California drought still kicking

February 4, 2015 - 2:46pm
Feb. 4, 2015 drought update on Capital Public Radio By Jay Lund Odds are exceedingly good that February will top January’s contribution to precipitation in California. It’s hard to be drier than essentially zero rain and snowfall. The state’s driest … Continue reading →

How dam operators can breathe more life into rivers

February 1, 2015 - 4:40pm
By Sarah Yarnell Dams are no friend to biodiversity. Once impounded, a river answers first and foremost to human needs, be it water supply, energy production or flood protection. Releases are measured and timed to satisfy these demands. As a result, … Continue reading →

Demystifying mist as a source of water supply

January 26, 2015 - 9:12pm
By Jay Lund In some of the world’s driest places, atmospheric moisture is a major source of water for native ecosystems. Some algae, plants and insects in the Israeli and Namibian deserts get much of their water from fog, dew and … Continue reading →

A salmon success story during the California drought

January 19, 2015 - 11:07pm
Looking back on 2014, it’s hard not to feel despair for California salmon. With drought-stricken rivers dangerously warm and slow for spring migration, the government was giving millions of young hatchery salmon a lift to the Pacific by truck and … Continue reading →

The 2015 drought – so far

January 5, 2015 - 10:30pm
By Jay Lund The California Department of Water Resources does a great job assembling data that can give insights on water conditions during the ongoing drought. They update the information daily (which can be addictive for some of us) on … Continue reading →

Drought a ghost of Christmas past — and present

December 20, 2014 - 6:49pm
By Peter Moyle I love this cartoon because it says so much about water and droughts in California. Alan Marciochi drew this during the 1976-77 drought. He knew what he was drawing. A farm boy from Los Banos with a degree … Continue reading →

New environmentalism needed for California water

December 9, 2014 - 7:05pm
By Jay Lund California needs a new environmentalism to set a more effective and sustainable green bar for the nation and even the world. For decades, we have taken a “just say no” approach to stop, prevent or blunt human … Continue reading →

Reconciling fish and fowl with floods and farming

December 2, 2014 - 10:14pm
By Robyn Suddeth Floodplains are extremely productive habitats for native fish and birds, yet floodplains in California are cut off from rivers by levees and development. The loss of this severed habitat threatens many native species that evolved to take … Continue reading →

How engineers see the water glass in California

November 24, 2014 - 7:54pm
How do engineers see the water glass in California? The same as they did two years ago when this blog was first posted, though with today’s drought the glass is perhaps down to a quarter full — or three-quarters empty.  … Continue reading →

Shaping water storage in California

November 20, 2014 - 9:00am
By Jay Lund, Maurice Hall and Anthony Saracino With the continuation of California’s historic drought and the recent passage of Proposition 1, the potential value of additional water storage in the state is an area of vigorous discussion. In a new study released … Continue reading →

Aquatic plants: unsung but prime salmon habitat

November 13, 2014 - 9:47pm
By Robert Lusardi and Ann Willis For decades, California’s management and restoration of salmon and trout populations have focused on principles rooted in coastal redwood streams. These concepts portray ideal salmonid habitat as deep pools, shallow riffles and “large woody … Continue reading →

Groundwater security, for the long term

November 4, 2014 - 9:41pm
By Lauren Adams Under recently enacted legislation, local agencies in California are required for the first time to manage groundwater pumping and recharge sustainably. The law empowers local groundwater agencies to manage and use groundwater “without causing undesirable results,” leaving … Continue reading →

Don’t open the door to these trick-or-treaters

October 29, 2014 - 9:42pm
By Chris Bowman Many of the alien species invading California’s lakes and streams would make for wickedly good Halloween costumes. Take the Shokihaze goby, Tridentiger barbatus (above and right), now common in Suisun Bay and the lower Sacramento River. Its spiky stubble … Continue reading →

Identifying problem dams for fish survival

October 22, 2014 - 9:00am
By Ted Grantham and Peter Moyle This drought year, as in those past, California water regulators have given away to cities and farms some river flows critical to fish and wildlife. It’s a dicey tradeoff considering most of our native … Continue reading →

Modernizing drought water allocations

October 16, 2014 - 9:29pm
The State Water Resources Control Board recently solicited public comments on how to improve its drought curtailment of water rights. Here is a summary of insights and recommendations from a group of seven California water experts. By Ellen Hanak, Jeffrey Mount, Jay … Continue reading →

A tribute to California’s ‘First Lady of Water’

October 7, 2014 - 8:11pm
By Tina Cannon Leahy As water policy consultant for the California Assembly, I occasionally research legislative history to iron out competing theories on a law’s meaning. So it was earlier this year when I visited the California State Archives to … Continue reading →

Drought Journal: Hope springs eternal

September 21, 2014 - 3:06pm
Is the drought hastening the decline of California’s native fish? Will they be able to recolonize once normal conditions return? To help find out, a team of researchers with the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences took the pulse of about 70 streams … Continue reading →

Hike Tuolumne Meadows — without breaking a sweat

September 14, 2014 - 3:00pm
  Opening scene of the Tuolumne Meadows Virtual Hike. Source: UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, Google Maps. Take the Tuolumne Meadows Virtual Hike By Sarah Yarnell To enjoy the full sweep of Yosemite’s lush and lovely Tuolumne Meadows, as shown … Continue reading →

Groundwater reform more important than water bond

August 27, 2014 - 1:46pm
By Jay Lund and Thomas Harter California lawmakers recently found extraordinary consensus in approving a $7.5 billion water bond for the November election ballot. If the measure wins, however, future generations will not necessarily reap many of the promised water … Continue reading →