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How the West was Lost

Just as the settling and development of the arid American West was fueled by harnessing its available fresh water, the growing lack of water availability may well be its undoing. California’s epic drought is just the latest example of what is shaping up to be the new normal out west.  Last year was the driest…

Drought Hastens Groundwater Depletion in the Texas Panhandle

Persistent drought in northwest Texas is leading farmers to pump more water from the Ogallala Aquifer, hastening the depletion of this crucial water supply. Over the last decade, from 2004-2014, average underground water levels across the 16-county High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) have dropped 8.83 feet (2.69 meters), with three counties seeing average…

Climate Change Joins Lions and Livestock in an Unlikely Partnership

In the coming years, climate change will transform the world in ways that we have not predicted. The king of the big cats has already survived two major periods of change, but with humans quickly taking over valuable grassland habitat, will they be able to survive another? On the Maasai Steppe of Tanzania, lions have…

The Pope and U. S. Military Voice Support for Action on Climate Change

As the Obama administration unveils its plan to slash carbon pollution from U. S. power plants, the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church and former top brass in the U. S. military have each issued proclamations in support of climate protection. In recent weeks, Pope Francis and a group of 16 retired U. S. military…

Wetlands Do Triple Duty in a Changing Climate

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Restoration of natural infrastructure like freshwater wetlands should become a key piece of our national climate change adaptation strategy.

Tamping Down on Water Use in Drought Stricken California

By Meg Wilcox, Senior Manger, Communications, Ceres The Dawn Creek subdivision in Lancaster, 60 miles north of Los Angeles, looks like any other neighborhood scattered across California’s Antelope Valley. Its neatly arrayed modern homes blend into the arid landscape, sporting hues the colors of the desert—burnt umber, sienna and ecru. But Dawn Creek contains a…

San Joaquin River Named #1 Most Endangered River in the U.S.

American Rivers today released its annual report of America’s Most Endangered Rivers, with California’s San Joaquin River at the top of the list.  Outdated water management, compounded by the current drought, have put the San Joaquin River at a critical crossroads. It is hard to overstate the importance of the San Joaquin River and its…

February 15, 2014: California’s Drought, Inside the Human Brain, a 1,000 Mile Desert Trek and More

Join radio host Boyd Matson every week for adventure, conservation and green science. This week they are trekking 1,000 miles through the Empty Quarter Desert, searching for the lost civilization of Shangri La, looking at the implications of California’s severe drought, walking through Chinatowns, researching the human brain, getting a visit from the Love Doctor, and learning what makes Russians smile.

Insatiable Thirst? The Fracking/Water Collision in South Texas

Fifty miles south of San Antonio on Route 181, signs of the hydraulic fracturing boom taking place in the Eagle Ford Basin are everywhere. New hotels are popping up. Trucks endlessly barrel down roads. Restaurants can’t find enough workers. And then there are the potted country roads lined with artificial ponds, water stations and miles…

Keystone XL Assessment Report Finds No Significant Environmental Objections

The State Department issued its final environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL pipeline, which echoed findings in previous analyses that the pipeline would lead to no substantial increase in greenhouse gas emissions. It found that approximately 147-168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide would be created by producing, refining and burning the pipeline’s oil. The report’s release kicks off a 30-day…

Epic California Drought and Groundwater: Where Do We Go From Here?

Yesterday our team at the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling released a report on the California drought.  The report describes the birds-eye view of statewide water resources that we see from the NASA GRACE satellite mission. We’ve been working since the mid-1990’s, well before the mission was launched in 2002, to develop and test methods…

Chill Out on Ice Cubes to Save Water

Saving water is cool. No ice necessary.                   California 2013-2014 drought. It’s epic. The worst in the state’s recorded history. Everything you can think of is at a record low for this time of year: rainfall, snowpack, streamflow, reservoir storage…It’s so bad that Governor Jerry Brown has…

What the New York Times Misses About the Colorado River

When the New York Times features an alarming story about water in the West, people pay attention. This week’s story, “Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States” by Michael Wines, trended as the Times’ most emailed piece for much of Monday. The article helped to elevate the reach and understanding of Western water…

Fighting Drought With a New Super Corn

Text and photos by Allie Goldstein and Kirsten Howard So how exactly do you win a tilling competition? We’re at the Prairie Homestead Antique Power and Country Craft Show in Belmond, Iowa, of all places, watching farmers on tractors practicing for the next day’s tillage contest. “You drive as straight as you can,” David Sieck, of…

Colorado Droughts, Wildfires, and Floods, Oh My!

September 16–The view from my window this morning in Boulder, Colorado, is gloomy.  Clouds hover over the mountains, reminding me of the storm we have weathered, and the dismal conditions here on the ground. Torrential rains swept through Colorado’s Front Range this past week, resulting in calamitous floods that continue to threaten lives, destroy property,…