Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

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

Diversified Strategies for Reducing Methane Emissions from Dairy Operations


Methane comprises six percent of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated in California. It is a very potent GHG with a global warming potential about 25 times that of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. Agriculture is responsible for about 60 percent of California’s methane emissions, and the state’s dairies are the primary source of those emissions. Approximately equal levels of emissions come from dairy manure management systems and from the digestive process of enteric fermentation in dairy cattle rumens that generate methane exhaled by the animals.

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Source:  Adam Kotin, Martha Noble, and Jeanne Merrill; CalCAN, October 2015.

Four things to know about federal drought legislation

Recently proposed federal legislation could make changes to how much water is pumped out of the Delta to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.

Congress is about to try again to help ease California’s drought. A handful of bills – some new, some held over from last year – will come up for debate in the weeks ahead.

The subject is as partisan as the presidential race, and a lot more complicated.

That’s because, when you get politicians involved in water, the debate becomes fixated on righting perceived wrongs, and drifts irrevocably away from solving actual water supply problems.

Such is the case with the present selection of bills before Congress, which come from both ends of the political spectrum.

The main contenders are offered by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Republican Rep. David Valadao of Hanford. They have this in common: They have drifted significantly from the basic goal of helping supply more water to Californians into an arena of reversing decades of environmental policy.

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Source:  Matt Weiser, The Fresno Bee, March 28, 2016

No, California’s drought isn’t over. Here’s why easing the drought rules would be a big mistake

Folsom Lake, Calif.

On March 23, the San Juan Water District, which serves upper-crust residential estates in the Sacramento area, declared that the drought is over.

After months of El Niño rainfall, Folsom Lake, the district’s chief water source, had become so full that excess water was being released over Folsom Dam. “That was a very visible signal,” says Lisa Brown, customer service manager for the district. Customers, some of whom own spreads as large as 10 acres, “wanted to know why they were still being held to drought restrictions.” So the district board lifted them, replacing a 33% mandatory conservation cutback with a 10% voluntary cut and eliminating a 10% drought surcharge on water rates, effective April 1.

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Source:  Michael Hiltzik, LA Times, April 4, 2016

An ongoing need for conservation in California


California finally caught a break from the drought this winter, but then along came some Stanford University scientists to rain on the parade.

When Frank Gehrke, the state’s chief snow surveyor, recently trekked up the mountains, a gaggle of reporters followed. They — and all of California — anxiously waited to hear the report on the pivotal Sierra snowpack.

Gehrke reported good news: The snowpack is 95 percent of average. And after years of drought, that’s good enough. At this time last year, the snowpack in the Sierras was only 5 percent of normal. As a result, many in agriculture expect to receive full allotments of water this year.

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Source:  The Editorial Board, The Press Democrat, April 7, 2016

National Drought Summary for April 5, 2016

The Far West

Some changes were introduced across California and the Southwest despite the fact that little or no precipitation fell during the week. Improved reservoirs and surface moisture indicators led to the removal of exceptional drought (in favor of D3) in the Sacramento Valley. However, there was some increase in D1 and D2 coverage in southern Nevada. Drought improvement has been observed in significant parts of California this past wet season, but only a portion of northern California has been pulled completely out of drought, and large swaths of extreme to exceptional drought remain in Nevada and the southern half of California.

Richard Tinker, NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC

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