ICYMI: HABs, Pistachio War, California’s Changing Climate

Harmful Algal Blooms

California: Beware the Green Goblin—aka Harmful Algal Blooms – Kate Poole, NRDC Expert Blog 8/17/20
Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, are not just smelly and gross-looking. HABs pose serious human health risks, kill pets and other animals that ingest them, harm aquatic ecosystems, contaminate drinking water, and prevent the use of rivers and lakes for swimming, boating, and other uses….
While San Joaquin County does its best to warn residents of HAB outbreaks, it is unconscionable that the state and federal government are not doing more to prevent these growing outbreaks, especially in underserved communities like Stockton. Of course children are playing in this water, especially when summer temperatures are routinely in the 90s and COVID-19 has confined all of us to our neighborhoods. Shared natural spaces like rivers and parks are all the more critical during these challenging times to provide needed relief from the heat and sheltering in place. It is the government’s job to keep these shared natural spaces safe and available for public use—a job that the state is currently failing in Stockton. It’s time for California to step up and tackle this growing HABs threat through updated water quality standards for the Delta.

The California Pistachio War of 2020

Tulare County caught in the middle of pistachio lawsuit – The Sun-Gazette 8/17/20
The nation’s biggest farmer and largest pistachio processor, Wonderful Pistachios, has sued Tulare County in hopes of shutting down construction of a nut plant owned by a rival company, ARO Pistachios.
Wonderful argues in a July 14 lawsuit in Tulare County Superior Court that permits approved by Tulare County were “illegally issued” and with a potential record harvest approaching in weeks, Wonderful owner Stewart Resnick wants construction halted at one southern Tulare County farm.
Wonderful says in their legal filing that Terra Bella grower ARO Pistachios, now owned by Touchstone Pistachios which is run by the Assemi family in Fresno are, “now hurriedly building that huge facility with those unlawful permits.”
Clearly the competitive juices are flowing in an industry where a handful of players dominate. Here, the top player looks to edge out an upstart with a likely a billion pound pistachio crop hanging heavy on the trees.

California’s Changing Climate

UCLA Study: Less Snow and More Rainfall Spell Trouble for California – KQED Radio 8/11/20
By the 2070s, climate change will reduce snowpack and increase extreme rainfall in the Sierra Nevada and California’s reservoirs will likely be overwhelmed. That’s according to a new study by UCLA climate scientists, who predict that run-off during so-called atmospheric rivers will increase by nearly 50 percent, leading to widespread flooding across the state. 

State Urges Officials Not To Postpone Planning For Sea-Level Rise – KPBS 8/18/20
A report from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office has sobering reminders of what sea-level rise will do to our coastline, our economy and to our public and private property. The report urges local and state governments not to get distracted by COVID-19 from planning ahead for the rising seas.
Rachel Ehlers, author of the report, “What Threat Does Sea Level Rise Pose to California,” said estimates are that the ocean off the California coast will rise about a foot by 2030, 3½ feet by 2050, and up to 7 feet by the end of the century.

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