Environment

The historic four-year drought in California has been grabbing the headlines lately, but there's a much bigger problem facing the West: the now 14-year drought gripping the Colorado River basin.

One of the most stunning places to see its impact is at the nation's largest reservoir, Lake Mead, near Las Vegas. At about 40 percent of capacity, it's the lowest it's been since it was built in the 1930s.

It has been almost thirteen years since an invasive beetle revealed its metallic-green-shelled self to scientists outside Detroit. Since then, emerald ash borer (or EAB) has killed tens of millions of ash trees in Michigan alone and has moved on to 23 other states and two Canadian provinces.

Wisconsin isn't new to the list. EAB was first reported here back in August 1, 2008.

Over the years, WUWM has been checking in with scientists and foresters in our neck of the woods to learn how they deal with the threat of EAB.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Life has suddenly gotten easier for the sardine. Federal regulators are not only closing the commercial sardine fishing season early in Oregon, Washington and California, but it will stay closed for more than a year.

The decision to shut down the sardine harvest is an effort to build up depleted stocks of the small, oily fish. The conservation group, Oceana, says that sardine populations have crashed more than 90 percent since 2007.

Gov. Jerry Brown ordered the state to cut back its water use by 25 percent overall and mandated specific targets for each city. But some are still figuring out how to enforce cutbacks, including in San Diego, where the target is 20 percent.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

Desalination Plants: Drought Cure Or Growth Enabler?

Apr 16, 2015
Copyright 2015 KQED Public Media. To see more, visit http://www.kqed.org.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In drought-stricken California, golf is often seen as a bad guy — it can be hard to defend watering acres of grass for fun when residents are being ordered to cut their usage and farmers are draining their wells.

But golf is a $6 billion industry in the state and employs nearly 130,000 workers, according to the California Golf Course Owners Association. So while the greens are staying green, some golf courses are saving every drop of water they can.

You may have heard by now that it takes one gallon of water to produce just one almond. And those are considered fighting words in drought-stricken California, which produces 80 percent of the world's supply of the tasty and nutritious nut.

So when almond grower Daniel Bays hears that, he just shakes his head.

People love South Shore Park in Bay View. But it’s harder to love its beach. It is chronically closed because of high E. coli levels.

Tonight, the chair of the Milwaukee County Board will outline a plan to tackle some of South Shore’s pollution problems. The key strategy is to replace a large adjacent parking lot with porous pavement.

Sharon Reinelt has lived a hop, skip and a jump from South Shore Park since 1974.

The state of California is asking a basic question right now that people often fight over: What's a fair way to divide up something that's scarce and valuable? That "something," in this case, is water.

There's a lot at stake, including your very own nuts, fruits and vegetables, because most of the water that's up for grabs in California goes to farmers. This year, some farmers will get water, and others will not, simply based on when their land was first irrigated.

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