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Water & the West

For Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta farmers, the only certainty is change

Squeezed between sinking farmland and rising seas, Delta residents and farm owners now face approval of the state’s plan to divert water south via tunnels.Continue readingFor Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta farmers, the only certainty is change

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Energy & the West

Transmission, transmission, transmission

What it takes to put renewable power on the West’s electrical grids.Continue readingTransmission, transmission, transmission

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Debate & the West Infrastructure & the West

Winter storms exposed the unfairness of California’s flood protections. Are marginalized areas closing the gap?  

Floods driven by winter storms are nothing new in Monterey County, but the early March catastrophe that swelled the Pajaro and Salinas rivers and drowned farmworker communities exposed the extreme inequality built into flood-control systems. Continue readingWinter storms exposed the unfairness of California’s flood protections. Are marginalized areas closing the gap?  

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Pollution & the West

When red tide smothered an urban lake, citizen scientists sounded the alarm

Private citizens were first on the scene to document a massive die-off in Oakland’s Lake Merritt. Their contributions were enabled by the crowd-source observation tool iNaturalist. Continue readingWhen red tide smothered an urban lake, citizen scientists sounded the alarm

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Water & the West

In times of scarcity, California’s best new source of water? Reuse.

While expensive solutions like new reservoirs and seawater desalination grab attention, California communities are quietly building up their capacity to clean stormwater and wastewater for reuse for irrigation, industry and, yes, drinking water too. Continue readingIn times of scarcity, California’s best new source of water? Reuse.

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Coastlines & the West

Plans for deep-sea wind farms face resistance from Northern California’s fishing industry

Floating wind turbines can produce energy from miles offshore. Some Pacific Coast sites the federal government has chosen for wind-energy projects intersect with important fishing grounds. Can they coexist?Continue readingPlans for deep-sea wind farms face resistance from Northern California’s fishing industry

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Agriculture & the West

Small farmers bear an extra burden as California agricultural policies respond to a changing climate

Four out of five agricultural operations in the state are small farms, but many rules, from labor law to water resource planning, were designed for industrial-size players. Can the state make room for small and diverse businesses to succeed?Continue readingSmall farmers bear an extra burden as California agricultural policies respond to a changing climate

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Water & the West

How Ingenuity and Desperate Measures Kept Urban Water Flowing During the ‘77 Drought

When a historic drought gripped California and the Bay Area, water managers came together to keep drinkable water in the homes of vulnerable areas in Marin and Contra Costa Counties. Two veterans of those efforts describe the dramatic process, and consider lessons it offers for today’s imminent drought.Continue readingHow Ingenuity and Desperate Measures Kept Urban Water Flowing During the ‘77 Drought

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Native Nations & the West

Can a New EPA Office Expedite Uranium Cleanup on Navajo Land? Not if Past Is Prologue.

Most local authorities, private experts and activists agree that since 1994, when the EPA started to address the issue, cleanup efforts for hundreds of uranium mining sites have been slow. Continue readingCan a New EPA Office Expedite Uranium Cleanup on Navajo Land? Not if Past Is Prologue.

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Infrastructure & the West

The Winners, the Losers, and the Landscape That Might Emerge If the Klamath River Dams Disappear

Taking down four dams in Oregon and California would be a coup for advocates of dam removal. It could also mark the moment when their movement rediscovers a more realistic goal: bringing restoration into balance with human needs.Continue readingThe Winners, the Losers, and the Landscape That Might Emerge If the Klamath River Dams Disappear

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