Ducks swimming on algae bloom at Spring Lake in Santa Rosa, CA

Questions swirl as carcasses rot at Lake Merritt and beyond. We talked to experts and explored 100 years of local fish-kills. by Natalie Orenstein and  Darwin BondGrahamSeptember 2, 2022 Scientists are hard at work trying to home in on the cause—or likely causes—of the algae bloom that’s led to mass death for marine life. Credit: Amir Aziz “Mystery epidemic kills […]

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Beavers sitting on rock

Exciting news! Rangers Josh Crosbie and Keith Gray recently observed a beaver dam at Maxwell Farms Regional Park. Beavers are important “ecosystem engineers” that help create habitat for other species. Beavers are also a “keystone species,” which means they have a disproportionately positive influence on the species and environment around them. Beavers help sequester carbon […]

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Beaver

WATER Institute Co-Directors Kate Lundquist and Brock Dolman are excited to announce the initiation of the California Process-Based Restoration (Cal PBR) Network. The goals of the Cal PBR Network are to promote process-based (aka, beaver-based, ecological, low-tech, nature-based) restoration approaches to increase the capacity of degraded river and stream ecosystems to retain water, support biodiversity, […]

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After logging

The day after an unseasonal June rain swelled the streams of the northern Sierra Nevada, Marily Woodhouse steered her 2003 Dodge Dakota through 65 miles of winding mountain roads near Mount Lassen. Woodhouse first traversed the area on horseback shortly after moving here 25 years ago. Back then, the land was lush with life, and its towering conifer forests furnished refreshingly cool air on days that were blistering hot beyond the canopy’s shade. Now, acre after acre of land of the Battle Creek Watershed is parched as far as the eye can see. Nonnative plants like […]

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Blooms of harmful algae, like this "red tide" off the coast of Texas, can cause illness and death in humans and animals.

NOAA is announcing $15.2M in funding for harmful algal bloom (HAB) research projects throughout U.S. coastal and Great Lakes waters.  HABs can produce toxins or cause other harmful effects that can damage ecosystems, disrupt our seafood supply, impact economies, and threaten human health.  Marine and fresh waters of the United States are increasingly impacted by […]

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stream through forested meadow

Posted on September 26, 2021 by andrewrypel by Jeanette Howard, Kirk Klausmeyer, Laura Read, and Julie Zimmerman Droughts are extreme, but not necessarily extreme events — at least not in the way we humans usually experience events as discrete, episodic occurrences. Droughts are continuous and exhausting; they can come out of nowhere and take us on a rollercoaster of waiting […]

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The bed of the South Fork Eel River with no connecting flow below Highway 101 at Dyverville. Eel River Recovery Project

Amy Graff, SFGATE Oct. 5, 2021 Fisheries biologist Pat Higgins said he was shocked when he discovered on Sept. 17 a section of the largest tributary in California’s third-largest watershed was dry. Higgins explained there was no water flowing above ground in the section of the South Fork Eel River where it meets the main stem in Dyerville […]

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Mission Bay wetlands. Photo_by Greg Hoxsie

September 19, 2021 California is famous for beaches and craggy shorelines that draw visitors from around the world and fuel local economies. The coastal wetlands, seagrass meadows and kelp forests that also dot our coastline are perhaps less famous but are equally vital to our state.  These aquatic gardens provide food and shelter for fish […]

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Chinook salmon swim in warming rivers

Warming temperatures threaten an entire run of Chinook salmon, which California officials blame on drought, climate change and a Trump-era water policy. SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — Facing another summer of catastrophic fish kills, California lawmakers and fisheries managers on Tuesday blamed a Trump-era water policy and climate change for the sizzling water temperatures threatening to erase an entire run of Chinook salmon. “We’re witnessing the collapse of this iconic species right in front of our eyes,” said state Senator Mike McGuire, a Democrat from Santa Rosa. […]

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Two of over 12,000 spring Chinook salmon that died in Butte Creek before spawning. Photo by Allen Harthorn, Friends of Butte Creek.

By: SN&R Staff August 5, 2021 By Dan Bacher In an extreme drought year where nearly all juvenile Sacramento River winter run Chinook salmon are expected to die before spawning due to alleged water mismanagement by the state and federal governments, the return of a record run of adult spring run Chinook salmon on Butte Creek this […]

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Delta Water Aerial View

08/04/21 By Brad Hooker The State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday approved a regulation granting it new authority to curtail senior water rights and ramp up enforcement for illegal diverters. The action is in response to one of the driest periods on record for California and the entire western U.S. The order targets more than 5,000 water right […]

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By The Times Editorial BoardJuly 26, 2021 The news reports about the California salmon wipeout got a good chunk of the story right: Record-breaking heat waves made Northern California rivers too warm to sustain migrating chinook salmon, and virtually all of the salmon in the Sacramento River this summer have died, or will die, before reproducing. Any eggs that were […]

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MavenBreaking NewsJuly 1, 2021 From the California Coastkeeper Alliance: Today, California Coastkeeper Alliance filed a lawsuit in Superior Court to compel the County of Sonoma to consider and mitigate impacts to public trust resources caused by groundwater extraction in the Russian River watershed. As the Russian River watershed faces a drought emergency, California Coastkeeper Alliance is […]

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Olivia RosaneMay. 03, 2021 01:04PM EST Oceans Plastic pollution is entering the ocean from more sources than previously thought. A new study published in Science Advances Friday found that 80 percent of the plastic that enters the world’s oceans via rivers comes from more than 1,000 waterways. That’s as much as 100 times the number of rivers previously estimated, study leader the Ocean Cleanup […]

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Las Vacas River, Guatemala

Scientists used to think 20 rivers at most carried most plastic into the oceans, but now they know it’s far more, complicating potential solutions.ByLaura ParkerPublished April 30, 2021 The problem with plastic waste just got more complicated—and so did the effort to stanch its flow into the world’s oceans. Rivers are the primary conduits for […]

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Dry stream in San Bernadino National Forest

Emily DennyApr. 28, 2021 California water officials have accused Nestlé of draining more water out of southern California’s Strawberry Creek in the San Bernardino National Forest than permitted. The drafted cease-and-desist order, which was sent to the company on Friday, asked Nestlé to stop draining millions of gallons of water out of the forest every […]

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By Harry Baker – Staff Writer Satellite images reveal color changes in rivers across America. A third of U.S. rivers have significantly changed color over the last 36 years, turning from blue to  yellow and green, striking new images reveal. Researchers analyzed 235,000 satellite images — taken over a 34-year period between 1984 and 2018 — from NASA […]

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Deer Creek Falls Lassen National Forest. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

June 23, 2020 | Written by Michelle E. Chester On June 18, 2020, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court’s determination that the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) lawfully adopted emergency regulations and curtailment orders during the State’s most recent drought emergency. The regulations and orders at the center […]

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Enforceable transparency and analysis to replace years of failure to comply with existing water quality and flow standards. SACRAMENTO, California — Three California environmental nonprofits secured a landmark settlement agreement with the California State Water Resources Control Board to uphold the common law Public Trust Doctrine and other legal protections for imperiled fish species in […]

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California Appellate Court Upholds Water Board’s Broad Drought Response Authority California’s Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District recently upheld the State Water Resources Control Board’s temporary emergency drought response regulations–enacted in 2014-15–as well as related curtailment orders the Board issued to specific water users to implement those regulations. In doing so, the Water […]

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Ryan Burns / Wednesday, May 13 @ 11:10 a.m. / News In a major development for both water rights and the environment on the North Coast, an unlikely coalition of five regional entities today filed a plan with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to take over the Potter Valley Project, a hydroelectric facility that […]

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Official release from the Two-Basin Partnership Santa Rosa, Calif. – Today, five diverse entities jointly proposed an ambitious plan to advance restoration of Eel River fisheries while maintaining water security for Russian River basin water users. The Feasibility Study Report (Report) Project Plan was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as the next […]

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By Coral DavenportJan. 22, 2020 WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Thursday finalized a rule to strip away environmental protections for streams, wetlands and groundwater, handing a victory to farmers, fossil fuel producers and real estate developers who said Obama-era rules had shackled them with onerous and unnecessary burdens. From Day 1 of his administration, President […]

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The State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Water Rights (Division) has released an interactive GIS web map for representing Fully Appropriated Stream Systems (FASS) in California.  The web map provides access to FASS and related information, including seasonal limitations, court references, and Board decisions all in one place and within a geospatial context.  The […]

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Gokce SencanSeptember 10, 2019 This is part of a series on issues facing California’s rivers. Water managers across the state face new and more extreme challenges as the climate warms—from balancing the sometimes conflicting needs of urban, agricultural, and environmental water users to reducing risks from fires, floods, and droughts. We talked to Grant Davis, general […]

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VERY IMPORTANT MEETING TO ADOPT PATHOGEN TMDL. PLEASE TRY TO ATTEND EVEN IF YOU DON’T PLAN TO SPEAK. AUGUST 14, 2019 BEGINNING SOON AFTER 8:30 AM. 5550 Skylane Blvd., Santa Rosa, near the Sonoma County Airport. This action will provide the basis for new septic management requirements. For instance: Septic inspections by a qualified expert […]

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Wide-scale cannabis cultivation is causing environmental damage. Federal regulations could change this. By Jodi Helmer Thanks to the legalization of recreational cannabis in 10 states and the District of Columbia, sparking up a joint in these areas is as easy as ordering a glass of wine. Spending on legal cannabis, which includes 33 states and the […]

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