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Solar Energy and Groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley

By Andrew Ayres, Annabelle Rosser, Ellen Hanak, Alvar Escriva-Bou ...

Hundreds of thousands of acres of irrigated farmland may come out of production in the San Joaquin Valley in coming decades. At the same time, the state needs to ramp up renewable energy generation to meet climate goals. Could solar development on fallowed land help the valley’s residents? Our new report examines the challenges and opportunities.

blog post

Beavers: The Unlikely Climate Hero

By Sarah Bardeen

Beavers were once ubiquitous in North America, but trapping and habitat loss decimated their population: there are just 10-15 million beavers in North America today. We asked a beaver restoration expert to tell us more about this unlikely climate hero and its role in restoring streams and meadows.

blog post

Introducing the 2022–23 PPIC CalTrout Ecosystem Fellows

By Sarah Bardeen

Each year, our PPIC CalTrout Ecosystem fellows help turn science into action by improving water management in California. This year, we’re pleased to announce we’ve chosen three journalists to report on community involvement in restoration efforts on a trio of critical but under-reported rivers: the Eel, the San Joaquin, and Trabuco Creek. Join us in welcoming this year’s fellows!

blog post

The Environmental Benefits of the Water Storage Investment Program

By Gokce Sencan, Jeffrey Mount

The Water Storage Investment Program is the first attempt use public funds to incentivize new water storage for the environment. While the program has faced some challenges, it could prove to be a useful model for future efforts—with some improvements.

blog post

Commentary: Newsom’s Water Strategy Needs to Go a Step Further

By Sarah Null, Jeffrey Mount

Dams are essential to managing California’s water supply, but their construction and operation has harmed freshwater ecosystems. We propose a novel approach to water management that treats the environment as a priority rather than a constraint on reservoir operations—and that may help to manage growing threats to the health of our rivers and estuaries.

Report

Storing Water for the Environment

By Sarah Null, Jeffrey Mount, Brian Gray, Kristen Dybala ...

Large reservoirs are essential for managing water in California’s highly variable climate—but over the years, the construction and operation of these reservoirs have had significant environmental costs. Our new research outlines how reservoir operations could be changed to improve the health of the state’s fragile freshwater ecosystems.

Policy Brief

Policy Brief: Storing Water for the Environment

By Sarah Null, Jeffrey Mount, Brian Gray, Kristen Dybala ...

To protect and restore California’s freshwater ecosystems and respond to the changing climate, California’s water managers must change how they operate reservoirs. Our policy brief offers recommendations for how to do this in a way that makes the most efficient use of scarce water for the environment while minimizing impacts on other water uses.

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Farmland in Transition: The San Joaquin Valley

As the San Joaquin Valley works to bring its groundwater basins into balance, hundreds of thousands of acres of irrigated farmland may come out of production. How do we manage all this newly fallowed land? Our latest research examines whether water-limited agriculture might help ease the transition—and what other management practices could mitigate dust and air quality concerns in the valley.

Report

Land Transitions and Dust in the San Joaquin Valley

By Andrew Ayres, Jaymin Kwon, Joy Collins

Agricultural operations and wind erosion are two of the largest sources of dust in the San Joaquin Valley, and the valley’s air quality may decline with increased farmland fallowing and a warmer, drier climate. This will impact low-income, rural communities first and foremost, but proactive management can help identify high-risk areas and direct funding to cost-effective interventions.

Report

Exploring the Potential for Water-Limited Agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley

By Caitlin Peterson, Cameron Pittelkow, Mark Lundy

As irrigated farmland comes out of production in the San Joaquin Valley, valley residents will face increased pests, weeds, and dust—as well as a loss of employment and economic activity. Water-limited cropping is one alternative to fallowing that can improve soil health and air quality, create habitat, and keep land in production.

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