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More Near-Disasters Like Oroville Are Very Likely in the Future, Say Experts – February 21, 2017

Despite increasing evidence of climate impacts, state isn’t considering climate change for new dams and water storage projects that are in the works

As the skies continued to open up over the past few days and evacuations were being ordered in many parts of Northern California, like many others in this state, I couldn’t but wonder if other dams in California could run into the same kind of problems as Oroville dam in Butte County, where heavy rainfall during what’s turning out to be California’s wettest season on record, surpassed the dam’s capacity.

Oroville Dam spillPhoto by Photo by Cal OESThe 770-foot-tall dam Oroville Dam in northern California, the nation’s tallest, ran into problems with both it’s main and emergency spillways, prompting the evacuation of nearly… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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Gaps in Lead Screening Policies Across States Put Our Children at Risk – January 23, 2017

Elevated lead exposure in a significant number of US children is going undetected, says report

Until a few weeks ago, I’d not considered the problem of lead contamination as something I should worry about personally. This, despite the fact that I live in a house built in the 1930s with old doors and windows with lead paint. We replaced those a few years ago and the renovations were done in keeping with US Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. So that, I thought, was the end of it. Lead in the water supply, which I’d researched when the Flint, Michigan crisis began became public, wasn’t much of an issue in the California Bay Area.

child palying with toy truck in backyardPhoto… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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The Most Important Environmental Stories of 2016 – December 28, 2016

The past year brought a lot to agonize about, but also some news to cheer and draw inspiration from

It’s been quite a year. I wouldn’t put 2016 down as a particularly great trip around sol, but it has definitely been an eventful, historic year. As we began drawing our annual tally of the most important environmental stories of the year at the Journal, it was hard to look past the dark cloud cast on our movement by the recent election. But look past we did, and we found that it’s been a mixed bag — while the year offered us much grim news, there have also been and some positive, inspiring events and developments that remind us that all hope is never lost. Here’s our list of the most… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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Oilfield Wastewater Used to Grow Food in California May Contain Toxins – October 26, 2016

Chemicals present include 16 the state classifies as carcinogens or reproductive toxicants, says EWG report

Did you know that some of the fruits and veggies out on supermarket shelves are grown using wastewater from oil and gas operations? For the past several years, many drought-stricken farms in California’s Central Valley, which produces 40 percent of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, have been increasingly irrigating their crops with wastewater — a practice the US Department of Agriculture does not restrict.

 Field being watered by sprinklers Photo by David Kosling/USDA Crops being watered in southeastern Joaquin Valley, Kern County. While use of oilfield waste water is cause for concern, it doesn’t mean that we should stop eating produce… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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Two Years After the Colorado Pulse Flow — An Abundance of Life – October 21, 2016

Birds, plants, and groundwater continue to benefit from pilot effort to revive the Colorado River delta, says report

Back 2014, an unprecedented transnational experiment attempted to restore, temporarily, the flow of the Colorado River to the Gulf of California. As part of a landmark agreement between the United States and Mexico, the International Boundary Water Commission unleashed an eight-week “pulse flow” of some 105,000 acre feet of water from a small dam on the US-Mexico border to help restore the Colorado River delta.

a women stading amid willowsPhoto by Karl W. Flessa/University of ArizonaMartha Gómez Sapiens, a monitoring team member, stands on a riverbank next to willows and cottonwoods that germinated as result of the pulse flow.

Conservationists hoped the water… more

by: Maureen Nandini Mitra

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