March 30, 2012 § 14 Comments
Standing there, on the banks near a defunct stream gage, the dissonance between the earthtones of the desert, the hard greys and greens of asphalt and concrete and cars and lawn and monocultured lettuce fields, of industrial development’s footprint on the land and on this withered anemic river, whose water seemed almost still, made me a little dizzy.
But, unbeknownst to me, I was fighting a bacterial blood infection (and then some), so if my impressions seem fevered and lurid, well, it may have just been me – or Proteus OX-19.
But back to the river, and the Quartermaster’s Depot.
This, along with an old jail, are two of the oldest buildings in Yuma, on high ground, looking over the Colorado River. The Quartermaster’s is where mules were kept, hauling goods out of the steamers coming up from the Sea of Cortez (aka Gulf of California).
Is the visual of a steamship coming up this channel playing tricks with your mind? « Read the rest of this entry »
March 16, 2012 § 4 Comments
The Lower Colorado River’s been getting some good attention in the media lately(1, 2). And Creek Freak Josh Link and I have also recently been exploring the river and its issues, and look forward to presenting a series of posts on the topic.
It all started for me with the vaquita porpoise.
In 2005 I was a watershed coordinator tasked with addressing issues of water conservation in the Ballona Creek watershed. As odd as that may sound to people expecting a watershed coordinator to focus, on, say, the watershed itself, that’s how the grant worked. Chalk it up to Bay-Delta politics. That mandate, however, did me an eye-opening favor. For as much as I understood that most of our water was imported, I’d never bothered to consider how those far-away places were impacted by our big straws. A little self-education via Google’s search engine opened up a world of dessicated wildlands, endangered species, and amazement at how completely we lack perspective when we talk about water “demand”(1, 2). « Read the rest of this entry »
February 29, 2012 § 1 Comment
Cadiz, Inc today announced that it has optioned use of a derelict gas line to ship northern Californian water to the Mojave Desert for long-term storage by….
December 1, 2011 § 1 Comment
Speaking of the lower Colorado River, check out this wonderful video giving some historical context, issues and hope:
The rebound of bird species is particularly notable with this restoration project, where the prior, degraded, condition included filled channels, disconnected wetlands, and a lack of natural flooding resulting in the loss of habitat diversity and a thicket of non-native species. Reflecting on some local arguments, I see that a combo of hand labor and big machines were used, dredging for floodplains and re-establishment of channels. Restoring flooding with “industrial style” restoration with adaptive management techniques might not always be so bad after all…
November 24, 2011 § 11 Comments
You know how everyone always says there’s no way Angelenos could live on local water alone?
I had to test this assumption as my warm-up to a standard Thanksgiving exercise, naming something I’m grateful for: freshwater and all the lovelies it supports, in the myriad chain of life descending from the availability of freshwater.
There are obvious lovelies – cottonwood, willow and sycamore trees along riparian corridors.
And the well-known extirpated and endangered freshwater species – steelhead trout, salmon…
Or the less obvious – cuties like the turbid-delta-dwelling vaquita porpoise, who are squeezed to less than 250 individuals in the Gulf of California, thanks initally to habitat loss and now more hazardously, gillnet/trawler entrapment. Of course there’s skepticism regarding the loss-of-habitat angle, after all the Colorado River Delta only shrank when Mexico lost 90-95% of Colorado River flows, or as the Center for Biological Diversity says: “the (vaquita) also suffers by living in a habitat that is today a shadow of its former self. The Colorado River, once a raging torrent that fed a lush floodplain at the delta, has been reduced to a trickle by dams and water diversions to neighboring southwestern states.” « Read the rest of this entry »
September 29, 2011 § 7 Comments
Last Tuesday (9/20), the Council for Watershed Health (formerly the Los Angeles & San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council) hosted a creek-freaky event entitled Shifting Soil: Sediment Management Policies in Los Angeles. While I was fortunate enough to be in attendance, it has taken some time to digest all that was discussed and to place in context all of the remarks that were made. The following is my best attempt at a summary including a few thoughts on the topic. For further reading, have a gander at Mademoiselle Gramophone’s in depth coverage (including video and audio snippets) or visit the Council’s event archive for downloadable PDF files of each presentation. A friendly forewarning: this post is a lengthy one… « Read the rest of this entry »
September 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
In October 2011, Greywater Action are teaching workshops in Southern California. Greywater Action are the great folks formerly known as Greywater Guerillas, then they changed their names after the state of California went and made greywater legal. These are the folks who installed (and taught how to install) my home washing machine greywater system that I wrote about here.
If you’re in Los Angeles, there are greywater workshops on Friday October 14th and Saturday October 15th – both at Los Angeles Eco-Village. In Santa Monica, similar workshops on Saturday October 8th and Sunday October 9th. Bonus workshop on humanure (composting toilets) on Friday evening October 14th. Workshop details below and at Greywater Action website. « Read the rest of this entry »