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Tag Archive: california

  1. Climate-Smart Land Trusts: Accelerating Nature-Based Solutions to Secure our Future

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    The California Council of Land Trusts hosted the 2017 California Land Conservation Conference from March 7-9, 2017 at UC Davis.

    Ellie Cohen, Point Blue President and CEO was a keynote speaker.  A pdf of Ellie’s presentation can be found here: Accelerating Nature-Based Solutions- Climate-Smart Land Trusts CCLT Keynote March 7 2017

    You can see a pdf of the full program here.

  2. Another storm for rain-weary California this week, then a break, then…yet more storms to come.

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    Remarkable California wet spell continues

    Daniel Swain, CA Weather Blog  Feb 7 2017  see full article here

    ….given the widespread and somewhat more significant than anticipated storm impacts across Northern California today, the next storm bearing down on the state bears close watching. An intense atmospheric river brought widespread heavy rain and strong winds to much […]

  3. What does the new federal water bill mean for California? For one, a big win for farmers

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    December 12, 2016 5:48 PM Sacramento Bee

    Read full article here

    …Upending a fragile, decades-long balance between human needs and the environment, Congress passed a wide-ranging water bill last weekend that is likely to result in greater pumping of Northern California water to farms and cities in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. The bill, co-authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., passed with bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, despite furious opposition from Feinstein’s longtime Senate ally, fellow Democrat Barbara Boxer….

    If Obama signs the bill, which is no sure thing, it could put the federal government on a collision course with California regulators. The state has strong laws in place to protect endangered species and Delta water quality. The State Water Resources Control Board, which has broad authority over the allocation of water coursing through the Delta, already has begun updating its standards for water quality and restricting the amount of river flows that can get pumped south….

    …A White House spokesman said last week that Obama has concerns about the language regarding Delta pumping and some other sections in the bill. But the bill also has popular provisions – such as $170 million to address the crippled drinking-water system in Flint, Mich. – that would be sacrificed if Obama issues a veto.

    Along with the pumping provisions, the bill would funnel money into an array of California water projects. Among them: $415 million for watershed restoration and other environmental aid for Lake Tahoe; up to $335 million for two proposed reservoirs in California, including the Sites reservoir north of Sacramento; $880 million for flood-control projects on the American and Sacramento rivers in Sacramento; and $780 million for flood-control projects in West Sacramento….

  4. Supermajority in California Legislature May Save State’s Climate Program

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    Article link here

    John Upton Dec 8 2016 Climate Central

    Golden State Democrats will be trying to use their supermajorities to extend an imperilled landmark climate program — called cap-and-trade — beyond 2020. Such an extension would almost certainly require two-thirds lawmaker approval in the state assembly and senate. That’s because lawmaking rules in California are different for taxes and fees than for other kinds of bills, which can be passed with simple majority votes.

    …Although it’s just a few years old, California operates the world’s second biggest cap-and-trade program (the European Union’s is bigger). Permits that are needed to pollute the atmosphere with greenhouse gases are called allowances. They’re purchased by Californian power plants, oil refineries and factories and traded by financial speculators, raising hundreds of millions of dollars yearly for green projects while capping pollution.

    Similar cap-and-trade programs are operated by China, South Korea, New Zealand, a coalition of East Coast states and elsewhere. Instead of operating cap-and-trade programs, British Columbia and some other governments impose taxes on greenhouse gas pollution.

    …“An effective cap-and-trade program in California is more important than ever,” said Harvard economics professor Robert Stavins, who directs the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. “It’s crucial that California increases its reliance on its cap-and-trade system, rather than relying on conventional regulatory approaches, which are much more costly.”

    The new rules will make it more difficult for utilities and other polluters to stay under the state’s carbon cap, which could cause demand for dwindling supplies of pollution allowances available each year to spike. That may push Californian cap-and-trade prices to levels never seen anywhere in the world. If that risks causing an economic shock, the governor has the power to suspend cap-and-trade….


  5. Rangeland acreage in California and globally

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    How many acres of rangeland are there in CA? (compiled by Point Blue staff)

    Spiegal, S., Huntsinger, L., Hopkinson, P. and Bartolome, J., 2016. Range Ecosystems.  Pages 835-864 in Mooney, H., & Zavaleta, E. (Eds.). Ecosystems of California, University of California Press.

    “Terms describing grazing and its land base can be confusing and are often inconsistently applied. Although range managers commonly use “rangeland” and “range” interchangeably, a useful distinction exists between the two terms. “Rangeland” is a type of land, generally delineated by vegetation. “Range,” in contrast, is land grazed by livestock. The term “pasture” is also used for lands grazed by livestock, and “range” is usually but not always synonymous with open or unfenced pasture (von Richthofen 1885).

    A typical definition for rangeland is: Land on which the vegetation is predominately grasses, grasslike plants, forbs (herbaceous dicots), or shrubs, and which is managed as a natural ecosystem, even if the dominant plants are non-native. The vegetation may include scattered trees (canopy cover ≤30%). Rangelands include natural grasslands, savannas, shrublands, many deserts, tundras, alpine communities, marshes, and meadows (modified from Society for Range Management 1998).

    One outcome from inconsistent definitions has been inaccurate numbers for both the extent of grazed lands and count of grazing livestock (Lund 2007), but range is estimated to cover between 50% to 70% of the earth’s land surface and 40% to 50% of the United States (Holechek et al. 2011). In California, rangelands cover approximately 60% of the land (23 million hectares [57 million acres]), while range covers about 33% (13.8 million ha [34 million acres]; Heady and Child 1994, FRAP 2010).”

    Brown et al. (2004; attached) cites 56% of CA’s 100 million acres as rangeland.  Estimates vary, around half of the state can be considered rangeland.

    Anywhere from 18 to 80% of terrestrial surface according to the published literature!  The author says this disagreement in accounting is due to different data sources, different considerations of the terrestrial surface (ice free, etc), and different definitions of rangeland.

    This classification results in a total rangeland acreage of 62.9 million acres for California. The figure of 40 million acres of rangeland is often used, however that is not correct. California has about 40 million acres of grazed land. In 1988 the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported that about 41 million acres of California land was grazed and 17.9 million of those acres were privately owned and provided more than 90 percent of the state’s grazed forage (CDFF 1988).

    California has more than 100 million acres of land, 38 million of which are range and pasture lands. Of these 38 million acres, approximately half are owned by the federal government, making many California ranchers heavily dependent on the availability of federal grazing permits.

    California’s 41 million acres of precious rangelands is an economic, ecological and cultural resource that all Californians cannot afford to lose. The California Rangeland Trust works closely with landowners and the public to conserve and enhance the millions of acres of rangeland in California now and for future generations.


  6. Pacific Ocean’s response to greenhouse gases could extend California drought for centuries

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    ScienceDaily UCLA September 15, 2016

    Clues from prehistoric droughts and arid periods in California show that today’s increasing greenhouse gas levels could lock the state into drought for centuries, according to a study led by UCLA professor Glen MacDonald.

    The study, published today in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, looked at how natural climatic forces contributed to centuries-long and even millennia-long periods of dryness in California during the past 10,000 years. These phenomena — sun spots, a slightly different earth orbit, a decrease in volcanic activity — intermittently warmed the region through a process called radiative forcing, and recently have been joined by a new force: greenhouse gases.

    As long as warming forces like greenhouse gases are present, the resulting radiative forcing can extend drought-like conditions more or less indefinitely, said MacDonald, a distinguished professor of geography and of ecology and evolutionary biology. “Radiative forcing in the past appears to have had catastrophic effects in extending droughts,” said MacDonald, an international authority on drought and climate change.

    “When you have arid periods that persist for 60 years, as we did in the 12th century, or for millennia, as we did from 6,000 to 1,000 B.C., that’s not really a ‘drought.’ That aridity is the new normal.”….

    Prolonged California aridity linked to climate warming and Pacific sea surface temperature

    Glen M. MacDonald et al Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 33325 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep33325 Published on line 15 September 2016