Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

We inspire and partner with our community to protect the natural resources and agricultural future of our District.

A London Street Artist Paints Swarms of Bees on Urban Walls to Raise Awareness of Colony Collapse Disorder


Street artist Louis Masai Michel is on a one-man mission to raise awareness of the plight of the humble honey bee through his Save the Bees mural project . The murals began shortly after Michel returned from a trip to South Africa where he was painting endagered animals, when he began to learn about about bees and the grave implications of colony collapse disorder. He immediately set out to paint a series of murals incorporating bees on walls around London in May of last year, but the endeavor proved wildly popular and has since spread to Bristol, Devon, Glastonbury, Croatia, New York, Miami, and New Orleans.

Michel is currently taking a break from bees to open a show of unrelated artwork at Lollipop Gallery later next month, but plans are in the making for a phase two sometime next year. You can see more of his bee work in this gallery.

We learned about this Michel’s #SavetheBees work through a collaboration between Sony’s #FutureofCities project and photographer Abbie Trayler-Smith who has been documenting urban beekeeping in London. You can read a short interview with her here.

Continue reading here.

Source:  Christopher Jobson, March 24, 2015, This Is Colossal

The Cost Of Bad Urban Design: $1 Trillion A Year

A new study from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute pinpoints the cost of the U.S.’s sprawling development.


In strictly economic terms, sprawl is inefficient. Spread people out, and it takes them longer to drive where they need to go, and it costs them more in gas money to get there. Disperse a few people over a lot of land, and that land is used inefficiently, too. Then give those people roads and sewers — you’d need a lot more of both to serve 20 households living over a square mile than 20 on the same block. And that’s to say nothing of the costs of fire and police service when people live far apart.

These costs add up, in both private budgets and public ones. It’s a messy thought exercise to contemplate tallying them, akin to trying to calculate the productivity America wastes by sitting in traffic every year. How do you measure, for instance, the saved health care costs in a community where many people walk for transportation every day? How do you quantify the pleasure gained from a big yard that offsets any of these costs?

So take this number as more of a starting point than a final answer: A new analysis authored by Todd Litman at the Victoria Transport Policy Institute concludes that sprawl costs the U.S. economy more than $1 trillion every year.

Continue reading here.

Source:  Emily Badger,  March 23, 2015, The Washington Post

The Price of Water: A Comparison of Water Rates, Usage in 30 U.S. Cities

Across the country there is wide variation in use and price for water consumption in major urban areas, with residential rates being lowest in the Great Lakes region, according to a Circle of Blue survey


A first of its kind survey of residential water use and prices in 30 metropolitan regions in the United States has found that some cities in rain-scarce regions have the lowest residential water rates and the highest level of water use. A family of four using 100 gallons per person each day will pay on average $34.29 a month in Phoenix compared to $65.47 for the same amount in Boston.

The survey, conducted by Circle of Blue over the last several months, also found that average daily residential water use ranged from a low of 41 gallons per person in Boston to a high of 211 gallons per person in Fresno, Calif.

The Circle of Blue survey includes data on water rates and water usage from the 20 largest U.S. cities, according to the 2000 Census, and ten regionally representative cities to gain a broad view of urban water pricing. The survey comes as municipal water departments and their customers across the country contend with the ironic and unintended consequence of the economic recession and water conservation. In most major cities water use is declining while rates charged to residential customers are rising.

Continue reading here.

Check out the data for 2012 here.

Source:  Brett Walton, April 26, 2010, Circle of Blue

How California drought became ammunition in climate policy debate

California’s drought is giving the usually-partisan debate about climate-change deniers a harder and more practical edge, as Gov. Jerry Brown demonstrated on ‘Meet the Press.’


California Gov. Jerry Brown took aim at two of the GOP’s brightest lights and their position on climate policy during his appearance on “Meet the Press” Sunday. His ammunition: the havoc that a four-year drought continues to wreak on the state of California.

California has long been a frontrunner in environmental legislation, leading the way for the rest of the United States. But in recent years, the Golden State also has become a sentinel for the effects that climatic shifts can have on an entire region. Less than a week after unveiling a $1 billion emergency drought relief package for the state, the governor lashed out at prominent Republicans for actively actively opposing efforts undertaken by the Obama administration to curb climate change.

Governor Brown didn’t directly attribute the state’s current weather conditions to climate change but said the extended drought is the kind of event that climate change is making “absolutely inevitable in the coming years and decades.”

Continue reading here.

Source:  Daniel Wood, March 23, 2015, The Christian Science Monitor

World Water Day 2015: Photos to make you think twice about wasting this precious resource


Many underground water reserves are already running low, while rainfall patterns are predicted to become more erratic with climate change. As the world’s population grows to an expected nine billion by 2050, more groundwater will be needed for farming, industry and personal consumption.

The report predicts global water demand will increase 55% by 2050, while reserves dwindle.

View the photos here.

Source:  International Business Times

Infographic: Live and Historical Water Reservoir Volumes in California (1990-Present)


Like a human pulse, reservoirs are the most obvious indicator of a water supply system’s health. Qlik and Circle of Blue’s interactive dashboard shows both current conditions and historical trends for major reservoirs in California.

This infographic was created by Chuck Bannon, demo architect for Qlikview, with contribution from Apeksha Pathak, user interface designer. Circle of Blue contributors to this project included Brett Walton, with assistance from Matthew Welch and J. Carl Ganter. Reach Circle of Blue’s data team at Data from the California Department of Water Resources.

Visit the site here.

Watch a video about how to use the infographic here.