Energy and Environment

Energy and Environment
4:27 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Sierra Snowpack: Worst In Century

The Sierra snowpack is now the worst it’s been in a century. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

Jeff Anderson, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, just measured 13.2 inches of water content in the snowpack up at the Mt. Rose summit. In a normal season, there would be about 90 inches of snow.

“When you look at the mountains right now," he says, "and you look at the snow that’s up there, you’re really seeing history.”

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Energy and Environment
5:02 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

"Unprecedented Decline" Prompts State To Cut Water For Yerington Farmers

Many farmers in and around Yerington are being ordered to cut their water usage in half this growing season.  

As far as State Engineer Jason King knows, this is the first time they've ever told farmers to stop pumping groundwater.

"What we are seeing in these two particular basins, Smith and Mason Valley, are just unprecedented water declines. They're the steepest on record."

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Energy and Environment
4:22 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Tahoe bugs are "canaries in the coal mine"

Tahoe Stonefly

You are probably familiar with the "Keep Tahoe Blue" stickers, which have brought public awareness to the decline in clarity of Lake Tahoe's signature blue waters. 

But here's a bumper sticker you haven't seen, yet: 'Save Tahoe's Smallest Critters.' Those invertebrates, some only native to Tahoe, are undergoing a massive extinction at the lake's bottom. A group of divers recently completed a first-of-its-kind tour of the entire lake in order to assess the ecological changes there. 

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Energy and Environment
2:51 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

The new year "critical" for region's water supply

The snowpack in the Sierra continues to reflect the drought conditions that have stressed Northern Nevada in recent years.

For the third year in a row, the Truckee Meadows and other nearby basins on the Eastern Sierra have only about two thirds of the normal snowpack. Or, put another way: we’ve lost a year’s worth of precipitation in this most recent drought cycle.

“The reservoir storage on the Truckee River is only about 25 percent of capacity.”

Jeff Anderson is a hydrologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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Energy and Environment
11:04 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Water fight takes shape in Northern Nevada

A drought stricken Humboldt River near Winnemucca, Nevada.
Credit Chuck Schlarb

 A battle over water is brewing on the parched earth of the Black Rock Desert. An effort to transport water from Humboldt County more than 100 miles south has residents and ranchers alarmed. 

Chuck Giordano grows alfalfa on the outskirts of the Black Rock Desert in a place appropriately known as Desert Valley. But don’t let the name fool you. When it comes to water, he’s lucky.

“We have a fairly good reserve of water underneath us because our water table, even with the drought, has hardly dropped any.”

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Energy and Environment
4:15 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Nevada will create protection plan for native bees

Photo from www.agriview.com.

State wildlife officials say they are concerned that climate change and urbanization might diminish the native bee population. Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss reports the Nevada Department of Agriculture is putting together guidelines to protect these important pollinators of natural plants.

Jeff Knight is the state’s entomologist. His job is primarily to keep the bad bugs out and to monitor the ones that are vital to the local environment.

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Energy and Environment
12:35 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Nevada regulators to decide on rules for fracking

Credit Photo from www.blogs.kqed.org.

Thursday, Nevada regulators will decide on proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking." The industry is just beginning to explore for oil in the east, near Elko, using this technique. Environmental groups and some locals worry about the impacts on Nevada's scarce water resources. Reno Public Radio's Will Stone has more on that debate.

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Energy and Environment
9:20 am
Thu August 28, 2014

New funding is needed for Tahoe boat inspection program

The Lake Tahoe boat inspection program prevents invasive species from contaminating the water. Federal funding for the program lasts just one more year and it’s unclear where the money will come from after that.

For the last five years, boats launched into Lake Tahoe have been inspected to prevent non-native species like quagga mussels from wreaking havoc on the lake’s eco-system.

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Energy and Environment
5:38 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

As Tahoe warms, oxygen and clarity could decrease

A warming lake could have dire consequences for animal life and clarity.
Credit Will Stone

In the lead up to next week’s Tahoe Summit, researchers are taking stock of how warmer temperatures are impacting the lake’s iconic clear waters. Earlier this week, we looked at concerns about water quality near the shore. But, as it turns out, climate change may also affect oxygen levels in the lake.

 

 

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Energy and Environment
10:50 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Researchers seek to better understand and plan for drought

Credit Bob Conrad/This Is Reno

UNR and DRI researchers in Northern Nevada are launching a broad effort to better predict and prepare for severe drought and climate change. 

 

While many places are feeling the impacts of climate change, Western Nevada and the Sierra make a good case study. For one, the trends in temperature change here track almost exactly with the global ones. Along with that, Maureen McCarthy, a UNR researcher, says our desert environment, fed by snowfall in the mountains, is one of the most vulnerable to climate change. 

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