Ever since a monster El Nino was detected in the Pacific last year, Californians have been anxiously waiting for it to dump torrents of rain on the drought-scarred land. Now, after weeks of frustration, it appears that those expectations will be met.
Call it the tale of two turfs. In summer 2014, 27-year-old Benjamin Triffo wanted to do something about his dry, unattractive yard. He owns a four-bedroom, four-bath duplex in Elk Grove that he’d bought in 2011, and his sprinkler lines were broken. But with the state passing rules last July that would allow fines for overwatering, Triffo quickly figured out that replacing his system and re-sodding would be like attaching a drain line to his checkbook.
In 2014-15, hotel occupancy, tourism spending and travel-generated jobs all reached five-year highs. But in such a mercurial industry — underscored in recent years by drought and wildfires — regional leaders and business owners have had to get creative to keep dollars coming in.
California is having a pretty normal winter, give or take a degree here and a bit of snow there. Since the entire state is abnormally dry or in drought, it’s been a while since that happened. The trouble is, normal might not last.
On the Yolo Bypass, just northwest of Sacramento, scientists and state and federal agencies are collaborating on a plan they hope could save California’s wild salmon.
As Governor Jerry Brown is in Paris urging other political leaders to follow his lead in curbing global warming, the chief executive of California’s largest oil company said the state’s policies “unambiguously raise energy costs and do nothing about greenhouse-gas emissions.”
South Sacramento urban farmer, Chanowk Yisrael, wants to see local food systems improve. Eight years ago, he started growing organic food for his family and eventually launched the Yisrael Family Urban Farm in Sacramento’s historic Oak Park neighborhood. Now, he’s expanding that vision to motivate Sacramento youth to become more engaged in changing our local food system — announcing today that he’ll be partnering with Slow Food Sacramento to charter the city’s first Food Academy.
California’s cities are adapting to the state’s worst-in-a-century drought, hitting aggressive targets for water reduction set by Governor Jerry Brown in April. The bigger challenge is to change the behavior of farmers, who consume 80 percent of the state’s water and have so far been spared the same magnitude of restrictions.
There is growing momentum to build a strong, sustainable biomass energy infrastructure in California — great news for our environment and our forests. But in the meantime, many facilities are struggling to survive, and changes are needed to guarantee a stable future for this important green energy industry.