Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

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Changing California Land Uses will Shape Water Demands in 2062

maps showing land-use and land-cover change for the historical period and projected future.

If past patterns of California land-use change continue, projected water needs by the year 2062 will increase beyond current supply.

If past patterns of California land-use change continue, projected water needs by the year 2062 will increase beyond current supply. If historical trends of land use changes to or from urban, agricultural or other uses continue, the result will be increased water-use demand beyond what existing supplies can provide. Large uncertainties associated with weather and climate variability have the potential to exacerbate the problem.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Nature Conservancy calculated historical trends of land-use change, urbanization, agriculture expansion and contraction from 1992 to 2012, and then used those trends to project future land-use patterns and water demand from 2012 to 2062 in California’s Central Valley and foothills, Central Coast and South Coast. These new projections are detailed in the paper, “Future land-use related water demand in California” published this week in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Assuming no new storage, efficiency or technology is created to improve California’s water supply, the study results indicate that the current 25 percent urban water-use restrictions called for in Governor Edmund G. Brown’s Executive Orders B-29-15 and B-37-16 would need to be maintained through 2062 for future water demand to remain at or below 2012 demand, unless restrictions were put in place on other water uses. Water use in 2012 was already proven unsustainable given the ongoing multi-year drought, which led to mandated statewide urban-use restrictions in 2015.

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Source:  US Geological Survey, May 18, 2016

US Drought Monitor – California – June 7, 2016

The West

The changes on this week’s map included a deterioration in conditions in the Pacific Northwest and southeastern Arizona and improvement in southern New Mexico. Record heat (up to 12 degrees above normal) in the Northwest has resulted in early snowmelt, low stream flows, and increased evaporation leading to a push of D0 across the remainder of Oregon, Washington and the Idaho Panhandle. Long-term drought remains in California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico as we move into the heat of summer. Southern Arizona has missed out on the winter and spring rain, deteriorating rangeland and leading to the introduction of D2 in the area. Recent rainfall (1-4 inches) in eastern New Mexico has improved D0 in the area. Southern New Mexico has also seen improved conditions and a trimming of D1. Potential for continued increases may be in store in the coming weeks with the start of the monsoon season.

Estimated Population in Drought Areas: 33,778,643

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Source:  Deborah Bathke, National Drought Mitigation Center; Mark Svoboda, National Drought Mitigation Center; June 7, 2016


The Changing American Diet

The Changing American Diet

After seeing the Open Data Institute’s project on the changing British Diet, Nathan Yau couldn’t help but wonder how the American diet has changed over the years.

The United States Department of Agriculture keeps track of these sort of things through the Food Availability Data System. The program estimates both how much food is produced and how much food people eat, dating back to 1970 through 2013. The data covers the major food categories, such as meat, fruits, and vegetables, across many food items on a per capita and daily basis.

In the interactive below, we look at the major food items in each category. Each column is a category, and each chart is a time series for a major food item, represented as serving units per category. Items move up and down based on their ranking in each group during a given year.

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Source:  Nathan Yau, Flowing Data, May 17, 2016

Discarded Fishing Nets and Other Ocean Trash Repurposed Into Running Shoes


Stitched with thread produced from discarded fishing nets, Adidas‘ newest shoes are a collaboration with the ocean activist collective and company Parley for the Oceans. The idea for the shoe was hatched last year, but was more of a idealistic prototype than a ready-to-wear option for the masses. Today however, Adidas is releasing fifty pairs of the sneaker, a shoe composed of more than 16 old plastic bottles and 13 grams of gill nets.

This limited number of pairs is due to the difficult task of taking the collected trash and spinning it into fiber suitable for high performance shoes. Plastic bottles are relatively easy to transform into a useable material, but when it comes to the gill nets (which emit the smell of rotting fish) the task is a bit more difficult. Not only is the smell difficult to scrub from the nets, but the nylon is extra tough and requires being ground into a powder before it can be reformed into a material fit for the Adidas sneaker.

To collect these environmentally damaging materials, Parley partners with small countries that have large ties to marine pollution—locations like the Maldives, Grenada, and Jamaica. After partnering, Parley team members help clean up fisheries and other oceanside spots while teaching locals alternatives to using plastic in their businesses. The materials collected by Parley are then distributed not only to Adidas, but also institutions such as Parsons School of Design, which might help change the way new generations of designers think about incorporating these materials into future designs.

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Source:  Kate Sierzputowski, This Is Colossal, June 8, 2016