California

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Is Marijuana making the California drought worse?

California continues its struggle against crippling drought-everyone is looking for someone or something to blame. The latest “villain” to come under attack is an easy target for headline-hungry media – cannabis farming, legal or otherwise, is ” sucking rivers dry”, according to Mike McGuire, Chairman of the California State Senate Joint Committee of Fisheries and Aquaculture.…

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In order to slow global climate change and achieve greater energy independence, Americans are showing an increasing interest in switching over to clean, renewable fuels made from home-grown crops. In fact, Congress has mandated that at least 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol be added to the U.S. fuel supply by 2022.
However, estimates suggest that growing crops to produce that much biofuel would require 40 to 50 million acres of land, an area roughly equivalent in size to the entire state of Nebraska.

“If we convert cropland that now produces food into fuel production, what will that do to our food supply?” asks Maggi Kelly, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and the director of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Statewide IGIS Program. “If we begin growing fuel crops on land that isn’t currently in agriculture, will that come at the expense of wildlife habitat and open space, clean water and scenic views?”

Kelly and UC Berkeley graduate student Sarah Lewis are conducting research to better understand land-use options for growing biofuel feed stock. They used a literature search, in which the results of multiple projects conducted around the world are reviewed, aggregated and compared.

“When food vs. fuel land questions are raised in the literature, authors often suggest fuel crops be planted on ‘marginal land,’” Kelly said. “But what does that actually mean? Delving into the literature, we found there was no standard definition of ‘marginal land.’”

Kelly and Lewis’ literature review focused on projects that used geospatial technology to explicitly map marginal, abandoned or degraded lands specifically for the purpose of planting bioenergy crops. They narrowed their search to 21 papers from 2008 to 2013, and among them they found no common working definition of marginal land.

Read the full article here.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For centuries, California’s groundwater has been freely available to anyone who could siphon the coveted natural resource from the earth. But that changed Tuesday with the stroke of a pen. Seeking to replenish a depleted water table and catch up with the rest of the West, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of…

Sweeping new California groundwater pumping rules signed into law

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NAPA, Calif. (AP) – The San Francisco Bay Area’s strongest earthquake in 25 years struck the heart of California’s wine country early Sunday, igniting gas-fed fires, damaging some of the region’s famed wineries and historic buildings, and sending dozens of people to hospitals. The magnitude-6.0 quake, centered near the city of Napa, an oasis of Victorian-era…

Strong California quake shakes famed wine country

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The drought-stricken U.S. West is guzzling so much groundwater that the Earth’s crust is starting to “rise up like an uncoiled spring,” California scientists said on Thursday. In some places, the Earth has lifted by more than half an inch. Using data points from hundreds of GPS stations, researchers found that nearly 62 trillion gallons of…

Groundwater Loss In US West Causing Earth’s Crust To Lift

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