Big atmospheric rivers do a lot of damage — especially in Northern California [San Francisco Chronicle]
…A first-ever economic analysis of atmospheric rivers, released Wednesday as another series of these potent weather systems emerged over the Pacific, finds that such events have caused an average of $1.1 billion of flood damage annually over 40 years. The hardest-hit place, across 11 Western states with losses, was Sonoma County….In California, the systems can bring half of the state’s annual precipitation in a matter of days. While atmospheric rivers help nourish landscapes, replenish rivers and creeks and fill water supplies, they also can wreak havoc on homes and communities.
Central Coast farm growers welcome this week’s rain [KEYT-TV, Santa Maria]
Farm grower Tom Ikeda loves this week’s rainfall. “The rain in general is good for all crops because it helps the salts under the soil which inhibit the growth and could cause problems in the summertime,” said Ikeda….Ikeda said while too much water can damage the plants quickly, too little water is just as harmful, as dry soil stresses the plants resulting in reduced growth and less yield. But overall, Ikeda said the rain is helping his crops, and he hopes the rain won’t end just yet.
Federal health officials are continuing to warn consumers to not eat romaine lettuce from Salinas, California. More than 100 people in 23 states have been infected with a strain of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce harvested in the California growing region, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday….The outbreak has grown from when health officials put out a safety alert Nov. 22 warning consumers to not eat romaine lettuce from the California region from stores across the nation, and for restaurants to not serve the lettuce….According to the FDA, “romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of the Salinas region has not been implicated in this outbreak investigation.”
Democrats see USMCA deal near, urge Mexico to accept compromise [Bloomberg]
House Democrats said Wednesday that a deal on the stalled U.S.-Mexico-Canada free-trade agreement is within reach and urged Mexico to accept a compromise on labor-rights enforcement….Mexico’s top trade negotiator, Jesus Seade, met Wednesday in Washington with his Trump administration counterpart, Robert Lighthizer, in an attempt to resolve final details. Leaving the meeting, Seade said there were still outstanding issues and that he’d return on Thursday to continue negotiations….One of the concerns raised by Democrats includes enforcement of stricter labor standards, especially in Mexico.
Opinion: On water, California and feds need to work together for the benefit of fish, farmers and 27 million people [CalMatters]
…Let’s focus on the newly released biological opinions issued by federal water and fishery management agencies….Two things are clear:…The old way of doing things has not resulted in improvements as fisheries have continued their decline….A new approach is clearly needed, and we should welcome new operating rules that are based on science and lessons learned from the experiences over the last decade….It would benefit the entire state and the environment if the state and federal agencies would work collaboratively on this new approach to avoid more disruptive litigation.
Opinion: Making farms more climate resilient might protect California from wildfire damage [Sacramento Bee]
…Farms, ranches, dairies and rural communities can help protect our neighbors by creating wildfire buffers around urban areas….Farmers and ranchers need the support of the governor and legislature to unleash the many climate solutions they can contribute so that all Californians benefit. Let’s scale up California’s climate smart agriculture solutions by advancing policies and public investments so we can manage for the outcomes we want — healthy people, thriving landscapes and robust rural economies.