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Reedley Peace Center Climate Change Effects in the Central Valley Presentation, April 5, 2019
From the last slide of the presentation:
by John Austin
Click below to access:
Reedley Peace Center Climate Change Effects in the Central Valley Presentation, April 5, 2019
From the last slide of the presentation:
Sierra Nevada Conservancy is now accepting Pre-Applications for the Strategic Lands Conservation Grant Program
Strategic Land Conservation Grant ProgramThe Strategic Land Conservation Grant Program supports fee title or easement acquisition projects that permanently protect high-benefit lands that are threatened with conversion, represent unique natural characteristics, or are critical for resilience to climate change. These projects must deliver clear, long-term public benefit and result in conditions that contribute to the health and resiliency of the watershed. Acquisitions may protect, restore, or create:
Pre-application can be found HERE.
State Issues Nearly $2 Million in Grants to Build Local Capacity to Protect and Restore State Forests
From the California Department of Conservation:
SACRAMENTO March 21, 2019 – Eight organizations have received $1.85 million in grants to hire watershed coordinators who will build local capacity to improve forest health, the Department of Conservation (DOC) announced today.
“Healthy forests are essential to reduce catastrophic wildfires, supply clean water, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” DOC Director David Bunn said. “Watershed coordinators can play a major role in ensuring the health of our forests by promoting collaboration, integrating watershed management efforts, and supporting local activities that restore resilience to forest lands.”
Local projects will support the state’s Forest Carbon Plan and Executive Order B-52-18 and help achieve the California Global Warming Solutions Act’s goal of reducing California’s greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Just as the state is divided into counties, it is also divided into watersheds: the geographic areas that channel rain and snow into creeks, streams, lakes, and rivers. Watershed coordinator positions will be funded for two years in project areas that encompass about 31,000 square miles within 26 counties – from Modoc County in the northeast, to coastal areas from southern Humboldt County to San Luis Obispo County, and to Madera, Tulare, and Fresno counties in the inland central part of the state.
The Forest Health Watershed Coordinator Grant Program is funded by the California Environmental License Plate Fund and administered by DOC. Areas identified by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as being most at risk of catastrophic wildfires were given priority for the grants. The recipients, headquarters location, and amount of funding each received:
♦ Resource Conservation District of Butte County, Oroville, $217,564.
♦ Sierra Resource Conservation District, Auberry (Fresno County), $235,000
♦ South Yuba River Citizens League, Nevada City (Nevada County), $234, 995
♦ Humboldt County Resource Conservation District, Eureka, $231,900
♦ Tuolumne River Trust, San Francisco, $235,000
♦ Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, Capitola, $234,959
♦ Pit Resource Conservation District, Bieber (Lassen County), $235,000
♦ Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, Taylorsville (Plumas County), $228,2645
“Each grant application received highlighted good local projects and collaboration,” said Keali’i Bright, director of DOC’s Division of Land Resource Protection. “Our ability to protect forested lands depends on strong local leadership, and this fantastic response underscores the need for continued support.”
The strategy of funding watershed coordinators to organize efforts at the local level has an outstanding track record. DOC provided grants from 2000-2015. A study of that program by the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment indicated that every dollar spent to hire a coordinator leveraged more than seven times that investment in the development of watershed management plans and restoration projects. The study also found that that forest health and watershed health are inextricably linked.
“The return on investment in watershed and forest health has been impressive, and California’s commitment to these issues is strong,” DOC Director Bunn said, noting that the Natural Resources Agency and DOC recently announced $20 million in block grants for local and regional projects to improve forest health and increase fire resiliency.
DOC’s Division of Land Resource Protection also manages programs that map land-use changes in California, permanently conserve important farmland, help reduce development pressure on agricultural and open-space land, and provide assistance to California’s Resource Conservation Districts. It also works with the Strategic Growth Council on the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program and the Transformative Climate Communities Program, and with the High Speed Rail Authority on the Agricultural Land Mitigation Program.
From the desk of Carol Hart:
With guidance from Professor LeRoy Westerling, Director of the Center for Climate Communication and Professor Teenie Matlock, McClatchy Chair of Communications and Professor of Cognitive Science, both at the University of California Merced, I have completed a survey of California water resource managers. The finalized survey summary report attached here is now available to share and help educate the public about climate change and how it affects water resource management decisions in California.
Complete survey responses were received from forty-seven California water resource managers from February 1, 2018 through May 25, 2018. Our survey outreach was assisted by Armando Quintero, Executive Director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced; David Boland, Director of State Regulatory Relations at Association of California Water Agencies; Carole Combs of the Tulare Basin Watershed Connections Collaborative; Jennifer Morales, SR Environmental Scientist at California Department of Water Resources’ Climate Change Program; and Michelle Selmon, former Climate Change Specialist/Senior Environmental Scientist at the California Department of Water Resources and current Environmental Program Manager at California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
We are grateful for the assistance provided by all aforementioned individuals and agencies and hope to continue this research in the near future to track trends in water management as they pertain to climate change.
Carol Hart, Outreach Specialist
Center for Climate Communication
University of California Merced
Global Warming of 1.5 °C: an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C
From the IPCC Press Release:
Limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid, farreaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday.
The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.
“With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.
Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.
The report’s full name is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.
“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.
The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC.
“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5ºC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.
Please continue to read the IPCC Report Press Release HERE.
The Nature Conservancy has recently created a map overlaying GDEs and GSA boundaries. The map allows users to view where GDEs are located in their sub-basin, as well as the dominant species in each GDE. This map is a complement to the iGDE mapping mentioned below, which includes a document explaining the source of the data in the database.
If stakeholders, GSAs or consultants are interested in learning more about how to comply with requirements to consider GDEs, we are offering an interactive workshop at the Groundwater Resources Association Western Groundwater Conference. The workshop is on Sept. 26 from 2:30-5pm and registration is required.
If there are any questions related to any of this information, please feel free to contact me or Susan Tatayon, firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the workshop registration page:
"SGMA empowers local agencies to sustainably manage groundwater to benefit California’s communities, economy, and diverse natural resources. To do this, SGMA requires local agencies to develop groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) that consider the impacts of groundwater use on a variety of beneficial uses and users including people, business, and the environment. SGMA also includes specific requirements to identify and consider impacts to groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) in groundwater management. Recognizing data and resource limitations, The Nature Conservancy has developed a GDE indicators mapping database in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as a guidance document designed to help agencies identify where GDEs exist, determine whether potential effects on GDEs are occurring or may occur due to groundwater conditions, and consider GDEs when setting sustainable management criteria. These tools provide a systematic and defensible approach that takes advantage of local, statewide, and best available scientific information to inform local decision making. This hands-on workshop will walk attendees through the GDE indicators mapping database (hosted by DWR as the “Natural Communities Commonly Associated with Groundwater dataset”) and GDE guidance document. This is your opportunity to do a preliminary assessment of the GDEs in your basin with support from TNC and other practitioners. Whether you are a board member on a GSA, a consultant developing a GSP, or an interested stakeholder trying to understand how GDEs fit into GSPs – this is the workshop for you!
MUST BE A REGISTERED CONGRESS ATTENDEE TO ATTEND
There is no additional charge for this workshop but space is limited so please RSVP in order to save yourself a seat."
by A.T. O’Geen, Matthew B.B. Saal, Helen Dahlke, David Doll, Rachel Elkins, Allan Fulton, Graham Fogg, Thomas Harter, Jan W. Hopmans, Chuck Ingels, Franz Niederholzer, Samuel Sandoval Solis, Paul Verdegaal and Mike Walkinshaw
Groundwater pumping chronically exceeds natural recharge in many agricultural regions in California. A common method of recharging groundwater — when surface water is available — is to deliberately flood an open area, allowing water to percolate into an aquifer. However, open land suitable for this type of recharge is scarce. Flooding agricultural land during fallow or dormant periods has the potential to increase groundwater recharge substantially, but this approach has not been well studied. Using data on soils, topography and crop type, we developed a spatially explicit index of the suitability for groundwater recharge of land in all agricultural regions in California. We identified 3.6 million acres of agricultural land statewide as having Excellent or Good potential for groundwater recharge. The index provides preliminary guidance about the locations where groundwater recharge on agricultural land is likely to be feasible. A variety of institutional, infrastructure and other issues must also be addressed before this practice can be implemented widely.
Please continue to read the research article in full HERE.
As general manager of a water district that serves about 27,000 agricultural acres in the southern San Joaquin Valley, Eric Averett knows the solutions to the region’s water shortages are fairly straight-forward.
He speaks of two knobs that valley water users can turn. One controls supply, and the other demand.
In past years, Averett says he figuratively had his hand slapped by his Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District board whenever he tried to adjust the knob that affected the supply of water to growers. But as droughts, surface water cutbacks and groundwater overdrafts confront districts throughout the Central Valley, all solutions are now on the table.
“Throughout the valley, we’re going to end up turning both knobs in the future,” Averett said during a recent panel discussion on the valley’s water future.
In short, experts believe the only way to bring the valley’s overburdened water supplies into balance will be to increase supply, mainly by making the most of available water, and reduce demand. And part of reducing demand may well be the voluntary fallowing of agricultural land.
“For some of our hardest-hit areas, the idling of agricultural land is going to be a reality,” says Abbey Hart, the agriculture project director for The Nature Conservancy. She adds that growers may see an economic benefit for converting land into wildlife habitat, but the process will have to be well planned. A checkerboard approach to creating habitat won’t work, she says.
“A lot of these species won’t be able to use tiny patches of land,” Hart told about 200 growers and others at the water forum in early May, sponsored by the Almond Board of California.
Please continue to read in full HERE.
The CA Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Proposition 1 Watershed Restoration Grant Program Solicitation Notice has been released. The due date for the application is June 13, 2018.
The purpose of the Watershed Restoration Grant Program is to build resiliency and address immediate issues from the aftermath of recent wildfires, as well as address long-standing environmental challenges, by supporting water quality, river, and watershed protection and restoration projects of statewide importance outside the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Funds will support planning or implementation projects that address at least one of the following priorities:
Agriculture could pull carbon out of the air and into the soil — but it would mean a whole new way of thinking about how to tend the land.
By Moises Velasquez-Manoff for the New York Times | April 18, 2018
hen John Wick and his wife, Peggy Rathmann, bought their ranch in Marin County, Calif., in 1998, it was mostly because they needed more space. Rathmann is an acclaimed children’s book author — “Officer Buckle and Gloria” won a Caldecott Medal in 1996 — and their apartment in San Francisco had become cluttered with her illustrations. They picked out the 540-acre ranch in Nicasio mostly for its large barn, which they planned to remake into a spacious studio. Wick, a former construction foreman — they met when he oversaw a renovation of her bathroom — was eager to tackle the project. He knew the area well, having grown up one town away, in Woodacre, where he had what he describes as a “free-range” childhood: little supervision and lots of biking, rope-swinging and playing in the area’s fields and glens.
The couple quickly settled into their bucolic new surroundings. Wick began fixing leaks in the barn. Rathmann loved watching the many animals, including ravens, deer and the occasional gopher, from the large porch. She even trained the resident towhees, small brown birds, to eat seed from her hand. So smitten were they with the wildlife, in fact, that they decided to return their ranch to a wilder state. For nearly a century, this had been dairy country, and the rounded, coastal hills were terraced from decades of grazing. Wick and Rathmann would often come home and find, to their annoyance, cows standing on their porch. The first step they took toward what they imagined would be a more pristine state was to revoke the access enjoyed by the rancher whose cows wandered their property.
Within months of the herd’s departure, the landscape began to change. Brush encroached on meadow. Dried-out, uneaten grass hindered new growth. A mysterious disease struck their oak trees. The land seemed to be losing its vitality. “Our vision of wilderness was failing,” Wick told me recently. “Our naïve idea was not working out so well.”
Wick was especially bothered by the advance of a prickly, yellow-flowered invasive weed called the woolly distaff thistle. He pulled it, mowed it, doused it with herbicides. But the distaff kept moving into what had been pasture. He thought about renting goats to eat the weeds and brush, but they were too expensive. He even considered introducing wild elk, but the bureaucratic hurdles seemed too onerous.
Then Wick and Rathmann met a rangeland ecologist named Jeff Creque. Instead of fighting against what you dislike, Creque suggested, focus on cultivating what you want. Squeeze out weeds by fostering conditions that favor grasses. Creque, who spent 25 years as an organic-pear-and-apple farmer in Northern California before earning a Ph.D. in rangeland ecology, also recommended that they bring back the cows. Grasslands and grazing animals, he pointed out, had evolved together. Unlike trees, grasses don’t shed their leaves at the end of the growing season; they depend on animals for defoliation and the recycling of nutrients. The manure and urine from grazing animals fuels healthy growth. If done right, Creque said, grazing could be restorative.
Please continue to read in full at The New York Times.