Kurtis Alexander
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California, rest of the West sinking into a rare mega-drought, scientists say

California, rest of the West sinking into a rare mega-drought, scientists say

California’s crushing five-year drought came to a welcome end after record rain three winters ago. Or did it?Although forests are greener, reservoirs are fuller and widespread water restrictions are gone, many believe the past few years, in which there was pretty decent rainfall, were just a blip on a troubling long-term skid into drier times.A group of scientists now says that the American West, including California, has been in the midst of a prolonged drought since the beginning of the century — one on par with only four mega-droughts experienced over the past 1,200 years and one capable...

April 16, 2020
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Drought is real and California is now facing water restrictions

Drought is real and California is now facing water restrictions

State and federal water officials have delivered their most dire warning yet of California’s deepening drought, announcing that water supply shortages are imminent and calling for quick conservation.Among a handful of drastic actions this week, the powerful State Water Board on Monday began sending notices to California’s 40,000 water users, from small farms to big cities like San Francisco, telling them to brace for cuts. It’s a preliminary step before the possibility of ordering their water draws to stop entirely.The move is the first major flex of the state’s water rights system since...

Mar 24
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California sues San Diego County over giant housing projects in fire-prone area

California sues San Diego County over giant housing projects in fire-prone area

The California Attorney General’s Office joined two lawsuits against San Diego County on Wednesday, alleging leaders there are moving forward with a pair of giant housing projects that will pose extraordinary fire danger to residents.The suits, which target two separate expansions of the Otay Ranch Resort Village in the dry scrublands outside of Chula Vista, are the latest show of force in the state’s crackdown on development in fire-prone places.Attorney General Xavier Becerra has taken issue with a handful of proposed developments recently, saying he doesn’t want to see a repeat of what...

Mar 17
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Buildings like S.F.'s Millennium Tower are causing the Bay Area to sink under their weight

Buildings like S.F.'s Millennium Tower are causing the Bay Area to sink under their weight

It’s not just San Francisco’s Millennium Tower that’s sinking.The entire Bay Area is plunging downward under the weight of its own sprawl. And that’s a concern as sea levels rise and cities try to figure out how they’ll stay above water in the coming decades.Tom Parsons, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, documented the problem recently. He calculated the weight of every building in the Bay Area and found the total to be so great, about 3.5 trillion pounds or the equivalent of more than 7 million Boeing 747s, that it’s pushing the Earth’s surface down. His research shows the...

Feb 19
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Santa Cruz is seeing more great white sharks. Now researchers know why

Santa Cruz is seeing more great white sharks. Now researchers know why

Santa Cruz County didn’t used to be a place where you’d see a lot of sharks.The cool but inviting waters of the Monterey Bay have long been the cherished turf of carefree surfers and relaxing beachgoers and, of course, seals, seabirds and the occasional humpback.But a few years ago, surprising numbers of young great white sharks began showing up. The apex predators converged largely off the coast of the community of Aptos, swimming so close to shore that sometimes the long, dark frames of a half dozen great whites could be spotted. The summer spectacle, which caught even the best marine...

Feb 10
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Trump gains local support in possible shrinking of California’s Sequoia monument - SFGate

Trump gains local support in possible shrinking of California’s Sequoia monument - SFGate

ByImageCaptionClosePresident Clinton established the Giant Sequoia National Monument in 2000, adding to the protected groves of trees at nearby Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite national parks. The Trump administration is considering downsizing the monument.President Clinton established the Giant Sequoia National Monument in 2000, adding to the protected groves of trees at nearby Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite national parks. The Trump administration isTrump gains local support in possible shrinking of California’s Sequoia monumentBack to GalleryPresident’s Trump’s push to abolish or...

June 30, 2017
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