The western United States, where water once ebbed and flowed through arid sagebrush, ancient wetlands and wooded forests, has been carved, plugged and drained beyond recognition. Streams flow uphill, backwards and even across watersheds to support endless acres of cropland and cities tens of millions of people strong. The mighty rivers that carved the Grand Canyon and the Columbia Gorge over millions of years can now be controlled by someone sitting at a desk in an office, their seemingly limitless waters harnessed as fuel for the West’s skyrocketing economy.
But all the shaping and damming has turned a free-flowing landscape into a system of bottlenecks. Water managers can no longer leave hard decisions up to nature: They must now choose which users of a watershed (including the very species that evolved with it) are entitled to water when there’s not enough to go around and figure out how to get rid of excess water when there’s too much. But they cannot control how much water they have to work with, or when they’ll have it.
People embrace false conspiracy theories not because they believe them, but to express their distrust of government decisions affecting their lives, experts say
When the Bootleg fire tore through a nature reserve in Oregon this summer, the destruction varied in different areas. Researchers say forest management methods, including controlled burns, were a big factor.
Coming into effect January 1st, California’s new law will allow Indigenous populations to exercise their right to “good fire,” controlled burns designed to take care of the land. These low-intensit…
California’s more than half a million Native people are now backed by a law that allows them more protection to do what they’ve always done: fight fire with fire.
2021 was one difficult year for the Klamath Basin.
We knew it would be hard to get out of our water deficit from previous years, but by mid-summer it was clear 2021 would be the worst on record. And then a single strike of lightning slammed into that dry ground, sparking a wildfire the likes of which had never been seen in Klamath County. We all thought we had left COVID concerns behind in 2020, but the pesky pandemic continued to negatively impact daily life — and take lives — throughout all of 2021.