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A biologist, economist, engineer and geologist walk onto a bar...
Updated: 2 hours 18 min ago

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 →

California water rights: You can’t manage what you don’t measure

August 20, 2014 - 8:52pm
By Ted Grantham and Joshua Viers California water experts have long known the amount of surface water granted by water rights far exceeds the state’s average supplies. Historically, the over-allocation has not raised much concern; in most years, there has … Continue reading →

Drought journal: Search for Sierra fish goes from bad to worse

August 18, 2014 - 6:50pm
  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 are taking the pulse of … Continue reading →

Getting through the dry times

August 3, 2014 - 5:18pm
California’s economy overall is weathering the worst drought in decades remarkably well, thanks in part to groundwater use and water market transfers. But as a recent UC Davis study noted, the resilience is tenuous because groundwater is treated like an … Continue reading →

Why utilities shy from mandatory water saving during a drought

July 30, 2014 - 8:26pm
By Jay Lund The State Water Board’s recent decision to outlaw some water-wasting activities under penalty of $500 fines helps alert urban residents and businesses to the seriousness of the drought. These water conservation actions, though, are fairly mild compared … Continue reading →

Reconciling ecosystem and economy

July 23, 2014 - 9:45pm
Ecologist Michael Rosenzweig kicked off a UC Davis series of public talks exploring a “reconciliation” approach to improving California’s aquatic habitat. Video: UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. A growing number of ecologists say we need to rethink how we go … Continue reading →

Weathering the drought by drawing down the bank

July 15, 2014 - 7:58am
By Richard Howitt, Josué Medellín-Azuara, Duncan MacEwan and Jay Lund Today, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences economists join the California Department of Food and Agriculture in releasing a second, more comprehensive and forward-looking report estimating the effects of the … Continue reading →

Challenging myth and mirage in California’s drought

July 10, 2014 - 4:56am
In a July 6, 2014 op-ed for The Sacramento Bee, three prominent California water experts challenge some claims that they say are hindering the search for solutions to California’s water shortages. We reprint the commentary here with a sidebar on some of the … Continue reading →

Could California weather a mega-drought?

June 29, 2014 - 8:38pm
By Jay Lund In the past 1,200 years, California had two droughts lasting 120-200 years. Could the state’s water resources continue to supply enough water to drink, grow crops and provide habitat for fish with such an extreme, prolonged drought? … Continue reading →

Modernizing California’s groundwater management

June 22, 2014 - 10:01pm
“A broad consensus appears to be building among California water users and policymakers that it is high time to establish an effective, statewide framework for groundwater management.” — Groundwater Resources Association of California, Contemporary Groundwater Issues Council As California strains … Continue reading →

Will California’s drought extend into 2015?

June 15, 2014 - 8:36pm
By Jay Lund and Jeffrey Mount Debates over how to manage California’s critically dry water supplies this year have displaced most discussion about water next year. This year’s drought is bad, but another dry year that begins with even lower … Continue reading →

Should California expand reservoir capacity by removing sediment?

June 9, 2014 - 5:50pm
By Jay Lund Removing sediment from reservoirs is often suggested as a potentially better way to expand storage capacity than raising dam heights or building new reservoirs. This is a natural notion to explore given the cost and likely environmental … Continue reading →

Beyond bonds: Funding the governor’s Water Action Plan

June 5, 2014 - 9:49pm
Ellen Hanak, Brian Gray, Jay Lund, David Mitchell, Caitrin Chappelle, Emma Freeman, Dean Misczynski, James Nachbaur In late January, Gov. Jerry Brown released the California Water Action Plan, which outlines 10 strategic priorities for putting the state on a more … Continue reading →

Is shorting fish of water during drought good for water users?

June 3, 2014 - 10:29pm
By Jay Lund and Peter Moyle In drought years, California usually reduces “environmental water flows” — the amount of river flows needed to maintain aquatic ecosystems — to make more water available for farms and cities. The current drought has been … Continue reading →