Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

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

Julia Roberts is Mother Nature in This Inspiring and Powerful Video Series about Environmental Conservation


“Some call me nature, others call me mother nature. I’ve been here for over 4.5 billion years. 22,500 times longer than you. I don’t really need people, but people need me.”

These are the dramatic first lines spoken by Julia Roberts in Conservation International’s chilling series of short films about environmental protection. The series, entitled “Nature Is Speaking,” features eight celebrities who speak in the voices of parts of our planet that are disregarded, disrespected and threatened by humans.

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Source:  Mikaela Rakos, DashBurst, June 2, 2015


An Ancient Native American Drought Solution For A Parched California


In the Sierra Nevada, above Fresno, North Fork Mono Indians are working to thin the forest. The group’s goal is twofold. Save water and prevent large-scale forest fires. North Fork Mono Indians have been using this approach for centuries, but now California’s severe drought means these ancient techniques are being looked at as a possible long-term solution. From Valley Public Radio, Ezra David Romero reports.

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Source:  Ezra David Romero, Valley Public Radio, June 2, 2015

Atlanta nonprofit Trashwater has solution for clean drinking water


“If you want to talk about helping a community, the starting point is always water,” said Joshua Sanders, executive director and cofounder of Atlanta-based Trashwater.

Trashwater is a nonprofit dedicated to providing clean drinking water to impoverished urban communities. The organization is currently operating in the Los Brasiles and La Chureca neighborhoods of Managua, Nicaragua.

Worldwide, more than 840,000 people die each year from water-related diseases and over 750 million people lack access to clean water. It was during a humanitarian mission trip to Cairo, Egypt that Joshua and his travel companion, Colin Denlea, first encountered the problems that unclean water can cause when Joshua fell ill.

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Source:  Isadora Pennington, Atlanta INtown, June 2, 2015

California Cuts Farmers’ Share of Scant Water


Farmers with rights to California water dating back more than a century will face sharp cutbacks, the first reduction in their water use since 1977, state officials announced Friday. The officials said that rights dating to 1903 would be restricted, and that such restrictions would grow as the summer months go on, with the state facing a prolonged drought that shows few signs of easing.

“Demand in our key rivers systems are outstripping supply,” said Caren Trgovcich, the State Water Resources Control Board’s chief deputy director. “Other cuts may be imminent.”

It is too early to know the practical impact of the cuts, which prohibit farmers from taking surface water. State officials have warned of such curtailments for months, and many farmers and agricultural water districts prepared for them by increasing their reserves or digging new wells for groundwater.

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Source:  Jennifer Medina, The New York Times, June 12, 2015

California floats tighter water regulations to protect Russian River salmon


Thousands of landowners along Sonoma County’s four major coho salmon spawning streams would be required to report their use of water from both surface sources and wells under proposed new state regulations intended to protect the highly endangered fish species.

The sweeping proposal, announced this week, is aimed at about 13,000 landowners in 113 square miles of the watersheds around four Russian River tributaries: Dutch Bill and Green Valley creeks in the west county, Mark West Creek north of Santa Rosa and Mill Creek west of Healdsburg.

The mandatory water reporting would be done via an electronic form that landowners would fill out online, said Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, which called for the action to protect coho salmon.

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Source:  Guy Kovner, The Press Democrat, June 10, 2015

The Future of Desalination in California is Still in the Future: California, Israel, and Australia


It’s only natural that during a crisis we look to single, “silver bullet” technical solutions, after all, they are supposed to be effective against werewolves, witches, and other monsters. For monsters like the ongoing severe California drought, the current favorite silver bullet is seawater desalination.  And why not? California sits at the edge of the largest body of salt water in the world – the Pacific Ocean – and taking salt out of water is a successful, commercial, well-understood technology.

Look at how Israel has solved their water problems by building desalination plants, we’re told by The New York Times.

Look at how Australia responded to a massive multi-year drought by, in part, spending $10 billion to build six major desalination plants.

Look at recent statements from California Senator Barbara Boxer or from Senator Dianne Feinstein, saying they would push federal desalination efforts as a response to state’s drought.

Where does ocean desalination fit into the mix of water solutions for California? And what are the real lessons from Israeli and Australian experiences with desalination?

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Source:  Peter Gleick, Science Blogs. June 10, 2015.

The New U.S. EPA Clean Water Act Rules


On Wednesday, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued — after many years of debate, analysis, court rulings and new science — final rules on what constitutes “waters of the United States” that are eligible for protection under the national Clean Water Act. The new rules are designed to help

“restore and maintain the chemical, physical or biological integrity of traditional navigable waters, interstate waters and the territorial seas”

according to the EPA’s announcement. The Clean Water Act is the foundational national law protecting water quality.

The new rules are long overdue — reflecting the complicated nature of watersheds, hydrology and the politics of water. Earlier versions of these rules were long opposed and delayed (as no doubt, these will be) by political interests seeking to limit the authority of the EPA over industrial and agricultural activities that had downstream impacts on water quality. The new rules define three groups of waters: those waters covered by the Clean Water Act, those that are excluded and a middle category of waters that will still be evaluated over time on a case-by-case basis. And these rules are definitional only: the next step is for the EPA to develop and implement regulations on specific efforts to cut water pollution.

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Source:  Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute, Huffington Post ‘The Blog’, May 27, 2015