California’s ‘dry farmers’ grow crops without irrigation

photo: Jim Leap, one of California’s ‘dry farmers’

The environmentally conscious practice relies on rainwater to grow seasonal crops

DECEMBER 18: Jim Leap is photographed on his property on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, in San Juan Bautista, Calif. Leap grows grains, fruits, and vegetables on about one acre of his land using dry farming techniques. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

SAN JUAN BAUTISTA — Jim Leap fondly recalls the first Early Girl tomatoes he grew at UC Santa … [more…]

Intel pledges decade of water leasing to protect Middle Deschutes

photo: Middle Deschutes River

Deschutes River Conservancy’s water leasing program aims to restore, improve flows in the Middle Deschutes River downstream from Bend (Photo: Deschutes River Conservancy)

Irrigation diversions can dry up river in summer

BEND, Ore. – (Update: Funding amount not disclosed)

The Deschutes River Conservancy announced Wednesday that its water leasing program has just secured funding from Intel Corp. that will be used to protect 81 million gallons a year in the … [more…]

Long term ag change impacts stream water quality

photo: sampling stream water quality

Photo: Graduate students Heather Luken and Tanner Williamson collect water samples from an automated sampler on Four Mile Creek. The autosampler collects a water sample from the stream every seven hours, and stores 24 samples in the carousel of bottles shown here. Credit: Carrie Ann Sharitt

In the early 1990s, Acton Lake in southwestern Ohio had a muddy problem. Large amounts of sediment from nearby farms were entering the lake’s … [more…]

Northwest dams agree to spill more water to help salmon, orcas survive

photo: chinook salmon, endangered, a key food source for orcas

The survival of Puget Sound’s orca population depends on the migration of endangered Chinook salmon. (USFWS) (Courthouse News)

Dam operators will send more water spilling over the eight dams along the Snake and Columbia rivers in an effort to help young salmon survive the notoriously deadly trip to the Pacific Ocean.

The spill management plan for 2019 and 2020 is a win for salmon advocates in a 17-year legal battle … [more…]

New Estimate Finds Less Fresh Groundwater in U.S. Than Previously Assumed

photo: drilling rig and drilling for water

Photo: Well drillers for Hydro Resources drill a well near Sublette, Kansas. Photo © Brian Lehmann / Circle of Blue By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue

Drilling deeper not a long-term strategy, authors say.

When a severe drought enveloped California a few years ago and rivers shriveled, farmers in the Central Valley punched wells deeper underground, seeking to tap water reserves that were untouched by aridity on the surface.

In … [more…]