California Update for Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Feb 21, 2018

• The Highway Patrol and UC San Diego researchers are working on an effective test for those driving under the influence.

• Activities like watering lawns to the point of overflowing could come become punishable of up to $500 across California. The state Water Resources Control Board heard comments on drought saving measures today but delayed action.

Today's reporting by Randol White and David Ezra Romero.

California Update for Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Jan 23, 2018
David McNew / Getty Images

• The number of Valley Fever cases in California has reached its highest since the state began tracking the disease. Public health officials, patient groups and now lawmakers are looking for new ways to prevent and diagnose it.

Today's reporting by Sammy Caiola.

Rainwater Aids Bodega’s Fire Department

Sep 28, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  A low-tech addition to the new Bodega Fire station is expanding their fire-fighting capabilities, while protecting the town’s water supply.

Documenting California's Disappearing Glaciers

Sep 21, 2015
Tim Palmer

 Climate change is being felt even at the highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada, where the remaining glaciers in California are melting away. So Tim Palmer set out to capture them on film, while it was still possible. He talks about that project on this archive edition of the North Bay Report.

Gary Helfrich, CMRPD

The drought is taking a toll on local wildlife, as well as people. On today’s North Bay Report we hear of a surprising project to save local salmon.

Vineyard Water Conservation

May 20, 2015

  By using drip irrigation systems sparingly, vineyards can improve their crop while also saving water, a group of local growers were told yesterday. They were at a Vineyard Irrigation Efficiency workshop held at the Benzinger Winery in Glen Ellen Wednesday morning.

Space Satellites Can Detect California’s Groundwater

May 13, 2015
Flickr user Peter Thoeny/Creative Commons

California has turned to groundwater to survive through the current drought. A new collaboration between the state and researchers at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration aims to use satellite monitoring and advanced technology to help the state manage this resource.

Mandatory water cuts mean changes for California

Apr 13, 2015

Early this month, during the annual Sierra snow pack measurement, government officials were alarmed that snow pack is at just 5% of its normal levels. Snow usually accounts for about a third of California’s annual water supply, but this year things will be different.

Water Conservation Requirements Increased

Mar 18, 2015

  As reservoir levels have started declining again, after our meager winter rains, the state is ratcheting up its mandatory water conservation measures. New and more stringent restrictions were announced this week by the California Water Resources Control Board.

Drought Slows Sudden Oak Death’s Spread

Dec 28, 2014

  The pathogen that causes Sudden Oak Death needs water to spread. So the drought has become an unexpected ally in the fight against the arboreal disease.

Find more information about Sudden Oak Death, including maps of its spread, here. The infographic below summarizes the basics of the disease.

Bringing Back Beavers

Dec 1, 2014
image courtesy of Kate Lundquist/OAEC

Beavers once lived over almost all of California, before they were trapped to near extinction. They may be staging a comeback, though. On today's North Bay Report KRCB visits with local conservationists who are promoting these animal's unique ability to affect the landscape.

On the Watch for Water Waste

Oct 19, 2014
City of Huntington Beach

When it comes to saving water, every drop counts. On today's North Bay Report, KRCB rides along with staff from the City of Santa Rosa, on the watch for water violations.

The Santa Rosa City adopted mandatory water restrictions on August 5, 2014 to comply with California's drought emergency regulations. Their goal is to reduce water usage by 20 percent compared to 2013. The restrictions and prohibitions on water-use include: 

Water Emergency in Inverness, Despite Ample Supplies

Aug 22, 2014

  Water reservoirs are full in the small West Marin town of Inverness, yet the community has been ordered by state water officials to implement water emergency measures. That may be unnecessary, but the local water district is taking it all in stride.

The Point Reyes Light published a detailed report on how the Inverness District manages its water  in early 20123.

Local Groups Teach Homeowners to Re-use Greywater

Jul 28, 2014
Carl Schuller/Daily Acts

Does your grey water go down the drain? You could be using it to water your yard. Just doing laundry accounts for 20 to 40 percent of all the water used in a typical American home. Most of the time that water simply flows out to the sewer. Now, local groups are working to change that, giving old laundry water a new life.

  Homeowners and businesses up and down California are under increasing pressure to conserve water; however, they only account for one fifth of the state’s water consumption. Agriculture uses most of the rest, but many of the local water districts that serve farmers in the central valley are out of compliance with state laws that require them to monitor and report on their usage. Today we hear from a reporter who has been tracking that situation.

Marin Municipal Water District

Can the drought be good for fish? Maybe now, but not for long. This year's lack of winter rain has wreaked havoc on many corners of the state: from fruit orchards to feed lots. On today's North Bay Report we examine a rare instance where dry conditions seem to have helped endangered Coho salmon. But the good news is unlikely to last.

Expanding California’s Water Supply

Jun 10, 2014

  The best response to the drought, as well as future water shortages, is to make better use of the water that is already here. Four immediately available strategies to do just that are being proposed by a pair of Bay area environmental groups.

  Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute in Berkeley, says that implementation of the four strategies they are advocating can be done right away, using policies that are already in place.

Tired of your thirsty lawn? Get paid to rip it out

May 28, 2014


In dry times, many homeowners search for ways to save both money and water. On today’s North Bay Report we profile one local program that is paying residents to get rid of their water-hungry lawns. 

 Across the United States, there are 40 million acres of turf grass, according to some estimates. That’s more than the land dedicated to corn, wheat and fruit trees -- combined. That makes lawns and yards the nation’s largest irrigated crop.  

Fish Are Focus of Legislative Forum

Apr 23, 2014

  The health and well-being of the fish in California’s waterway and oceans is a perennial concern for the state legislature, something they will take up in their annual Fisheries Forum in Sacramento tomorrow.  North Coast Assemblyman Wes Chesbro chairs the joint Committee that is hosting the forum, and offers a preview today.

Drought Drive-ups, Town Hall Meetings Set

Apr 21, 2014
Sonoma County Water Agency

  The landscape around us is still green, but the drought is still on, too. It will be the focus of a series of four Town Hall meetings beginning Wednesday in Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park. Here’s a preview.

The schedule for the Town Hall Meetings is:

Santa Rosa

Wednesday, April 23, 6 – 8 pm

Santa Rosa Finley Center, 2060 W College Ave.

Rohnert Park

Wednesday, April 23,  6:00 – 8:00 pm

City Council Chambers, 130 Avram Ave.


Wednesday, April 29, 6 – 8 pm

Dry times hard on bees

Apr 13, 2014

It's a foggy morning in Petaluma at Ettamarie Peterson's Farm. Peterson, who now has about five hives in her yard, has kept bees for 21 years. She is the president of the Sonoma County Bee Keeper's Association and says times are tough right now. 


"Last year we didn't get much honey at all because of the drought," she says. "A flower that is dry isn't going to produce the nectar or the pollen."


Drought driving up feed, milk prices

Apr 4, 2014
courtesy Wallaby Yogurt

Despite recent rains, local dairy producer's water woes are far from over. On today's North Bay Report we take a look at what the drought is meaning for our local dairy farmers. While recent rains have brought some relief those in the dairy business are worried about what the coming months will bring.

Drought Threatens Wildlife, Too

Feb 24, 2014

Drought affects far more than human endeavors—it also poses some severe consequences for wildlife in our region, which in turn can have impacts on us.

  WildCare maintains a clinic for wildlife, and they are getting ready for an extra busy season between April and August. This is the time each year, notes the Marin County non-profit’s Allison Hermance, when animal young are born and maturing—and when getting enough water is critical to their survival.

Fire Danger Persists Despite Rain

Feb 10, 2014

After a welcome wet weekend, we have standing water lingering in many areas, and some green swaths reappearing in the local landscape. That’s good news, but hardly enough to warrant dialing back on water conservation efforts. Nor is it time yet to relax our vigilance over fire danger.

Call for Increased Water Conservation

Feb 4, 2014

Drought is becoming the dominant topic in California now, as reservoirs dwindle, and weather forecasts offer little likelihood of replenishing them. Locally, the Sonoma County Water Agency is calling on everyone to cut their water usage significantly.

Commercial Fishing Fears the Drought

Jan 28, 2014

While farmers and residential water users watch reservoirs drop lower and lower, commercial fishermen are already bracing for poor catches in the coming years, as low river flows and dry streambeds devastate spawning runs. 

   Agriculture is not the only competitor for the water that salmon need for spawning, notes Chuck Cappotto, President of the Bodega Bay Fishermen’s Marketing Association. He fears another, potentially more voracious water use.

Hungry Bears Aren't Hibernating

Jan 17, 2014
Nevada Department of Wildlife

 It's bad enough for the Lake Tahoe area economy that there's no snow on the ground. Now residents there are having to cope with another drought-related problem. Lori Abbott explains.