As California struggles to respond to one of the worst droughts in generations, we need to do more than shorten our showers and turn off the faucet while brushing our teeth. California’s water system is broken: The San Francisco Bay-...continued→
Kate Poole, Senior Attorney, San Francisco
I’m yet another displaced Midwesterner lured West by notions of open space, unspoiled wildness, and boundless potential. All of my romantic notions were confirmed in my first job “out West” as a park ranger at Dinosaur National Monument. I had many incredible experiences as a park ranger – which I highly recommend to anyone – but one of the most educational was the chance to participate in recovering peregrine falcons. Peregrines are amazing creatures that dive for prey at speeds up to 200 miles/hour, making it the fastest animal on the planet. But peregrines were nearly wiped out by DDT poisoning in the middle of the last century, which weakened their egg shells so much that they would break during incubation, preventing the birds from reproducing. The rangers at Dinosaur helped sustain the struggling peregrine population by rappelling down to the falcons’ eyrie after the adults laid their eggs, removing the fragile eggs to a hatchery, and returning the teenage birds to the eyrie after they hatched for lessons in how to fly and survive from their parents. After being pushed to the brink of extinction, peregrines are now off the threatened species list, thanks to the concerted efforts of many people over many years.
In 2004, I was fortunate enough to join the dedicated staff of NRDC’s Water Program and to continue working to protect the special places and attributes that define the West. Dragging century-old western water policy into the 21st Century is a daunting challenge, but so was recovering from the celebration of DDT that caused Paul Muller to receive the Nobel Prize for its discovery in 1948. I can’t wait to show my children a San Joaquin River that runs red with salmon, a California where every backyard has a rain barrel and every bathroom has an ultra-low flow toilet, a Bay-Delta teeming with native fish and wildlife, and a Central Valley that rewards farmers for pursuing drought-tolerant farming practices and installing efficient irrigation technology.
The people of California and the State’s leaders have long prided themselves on innovation when it comes to protecting the environment. In many areas, this reputation is well-deserved. For example: California passed and is successfully implementing the first comprehensive law...continued→
California’s drought is affecting everyone – cities, farmers, and our environment are all suffering from lack of water. We all eat food, we all depend on our cities to sustain California’s vibrant culture and economy, and we all rely on...continued→
Every day, the media is filled with new stories about California’s historic drought – cities facing the imminent threat of no drinking water; ranchers scrambling to feed herds grazing on brown stubble; migrating birds searching in vain for wetlands along...continued→
If Speaker Boehner were in search of real solutions to California’s ever-worsening drought, he may have noticed something startlingly green during his visit to the state last week. He spent part of that trip, as the Sacramento Bee put it,...continued→
On Tuesday, the AP reports that the California Conference of Catholic Bishops asked people of all faiths to pray for rain in California, offering a suggested prayer for God to “open the heavens and let His mercy rain down upon our...continued→
The Los Angeles Daily News penned a noteworthy editorial last week titled “California is drowning in ancient and unfair water rules.” It’s noteworthy because the editorial correctly debunks some of the common myths about California’s water system and, in doing so,...continued→
Yesterday was World Rivers’ Day, billed as “a celebration of the world’s waterways.” I don’t know if Timothy Egan was anticipating World Rivers’ Day when he wrote this blog in last week’s New York Times, but it beautifully captures some...continued→
The Natural Resources Agency has posted an “update” to its September 11, 2013 letter rejecting calls to analyze the portfolio alternative offered by several water districts, environmental groups, business interests, and local governments in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan process. The “update” indicates that...continued→
Try as They Might, the Natural Resources Agency Can't Debunk the Portfolio Approach to Resolving Threats to the Delta
Last week our Natural Resources Agency, the umbrella agency responsible for protecting California’s coast, ocean, wildlife and forests and for managing our water, released a deeply flawed justification for rejecting a portfolio approach that dozens of water agencies, local governments and environmental...continued→
The world of California water has been reeling the last couple days at the news of Mike Taugher’s untimely death. Mike lost his life on Sunday while snorkeling in Hawaii, at the far-too-young age of 50. He leaves behind a...continued→
Friday is Endangered Species Day – a day to celebrate the incredible diversity of our planet and the bounty it provides. It also happens to fall during that time of year when we’re itching to get outside and revel in the...continued→
A couple weeks ago, the State of California released the first of three installments describing its new draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) for restoring the Bay-Delta estuary. The second installment is scheduled for release this week, with the final batch...continued→
NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife, the Planning and Conservation League, and The Bay Institute released the following statement today about the latest draft plan from the State of California for restoring the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas and...continued→
Skeptics of the portfolio approach recently put forward by NRDC and a coalition of business, municipal, water agency, and conservation interests have asked the question: ‘Why would water contractors pay for a tunnel that would deliver less water?’ This question...continued→
Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.