Startup of the Month: Brown Lawn Green

In dry times, the grass can be greener with paint

Short on water for your grass? Just add paint, says Bill Schaffer, owner of Brown Lawn Green in Dixon. The idea for his business started as a joke. With California in the midst of a historic drought, Schaffer commented to his girlfriend that people would have to start painting their lawns if they wanted them to be green again. When the state introduced strict new rules concerning water use, he realized he might be onto something.

Aug 13, 2015 Russell Nichols
(Photo: Eiko James Photography)

Survival of the Fishes

California depends on hatcheries to maintain the state’s salmon population, but the cost is genetically inferior fish

Every spring and summer, Chinook salmon gather in vast schools along the central coast of California, fattening up on krill and small fish before their autumn spawning migration into the Central Valley. Fishermen in commercial boats, private skiffs and kayaks take to the water, and most summers, the fleet catches several hundred thousand Chinook weighing somewhere between five and 30 pounds. California’s bounty of salmon, however, does not reflect a thriving fish population.

Aug 11, 2015 Alastair Bland
(Photo: Alastair Bland)

The Flip-Side of Fish Hatcheries

Originally intended to preserve salmon, are hatcheries harming the species?

In 2009, fewer fall-run Chinook salmon returned to spawn in the Central Valley than have ever been recorded before. Just 50,000 adult fish spawned that autumn in the entire Sacramento-San Joaquin river system — a tenth of how many Chinook migrate inland in a good year. The event was an ecological and economic disaster that prompted officials to shut down California’s ocean fishing season for two years.

Aug 6, 2015 Alastair Bland
(Shutterstock)

How Tiny is Too Tiny?

Could you live in a tiny house?

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