California Drought

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Environmental Impacts of the California Drought
Over the last several hundred years, many scientists have proven that Climate change, or the other name, “Global Warming” that people think is politically incorrect, is a major problem in our future if we do not act to reverse its effects. One place around the world that has experienced these effects of this world issue is California. California has been in a major drought for several years now, and looks to continue for several years to come if nothing is done to mitigate the effects of climate change. The drought in California caused the increase in wildfire activity and low water levels, which as a result has caused tree mortality across California.
Increase in wildfires One
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The winter months are important to how much water that California gets each year. During the winter, California gets snow in the higher elevations, and then in the spring, the snow melts and runs down through the forests and into the waterways. “The importance of the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is indicated by the fact that its melt run off fills reservoirs that provide a third of all the drinking water for the state, as well as water to fight fires and generate electricity” (Sheppard, 2016, p. 10). The amount of precipitation that falls in the winter is crucial to filling California’s waterways, which is then used for fighting wildfires, providing drinking water for the residents, and even generating hydroelectricity. One cause of low water levels in California is that the winter season is ending earlier than when it should. As a result, the snow is melting earlier and at faster rates, causing a greater risk for drought. “An earlier snowmelt can lead to an earlier longer dry season providing greater opportunities for large wildfires due both to the longer period in which conditions could potentially occur and to the greater drying of soils and vegetation” (Westerling et al., 2006). Because the dry season is starting earlier and lasting longer, the waterways are losing water. “The current drought in California and long term drought in…show more content…
Asner et al. (2015) describes different ways of approaching this solution. “...implementation of prescribed fire, firebreaks, and other fire-management approaches, hazardous tree removal, ecological corridor and habitat management, and watershed management.” (p. 6) If California cuts down trees that are dying or are already dead, along with cutting down other hazards like red biome grass that are highly flammable, then the risk of brush fires will decrease. Another solution mentioned in Asner’s article and Dallman (2017) is regulations on how much water California residents use. “Those who use less, up to a certain threshold, will pay slightly less than current Tier 1 rates. Above that, the cost per unit for Tier 2 and 3 thresholds rises significantly” (p. 87). The government that regulates water management can put this tiered system in place so that the people are more aware of how much water they use, and so they do not spend hundreds of dollars on tier 2 and 3 rates. A limitation to these solutions is that some people have enough money to pay those tier 2 and 3 rates, so they may not care about conserving water, seeing they can pay for the prices. This can limit the success of tiered program being put into place. Another limitation is that when you remove already dead trees and brush from the forest, this disrupts the decomposition and
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