Edward Hopper, Artist for Our Time

I love his work, and his best, Nighthawks, was painted during my first year, as this article from the New Statesman reports.

An excerpt.

“A woman and two men are seated at the bar in a diner. We can see from the lights outside and inside that it is night. Each one has a cup of coffee. The woman and one of the men sit close together, though, looking at them, it’s impossible to say whether they know each other or whether they just met. One man sits alone. The man behind the bar is fussing, as men working in bars and diners do, with something.

“This is 1942’s Nighthawks, one of the most famous paintings by Edward Hopper, one of the most famous American painters.

“Hopper lived from 1882 to 1967, but his paintings have an emotional resurgence today. As the world moved into 2021, the pandemic has come with it. Many Americans could not or chose not to see families and friends for the holidays, afraid that contact would spread the virus. We did not throw parties on New Year’s Eve, instead staying in our homes with our dinners and our countdown shows. We have spent the better part of a year like this: isolated.

“Isolation is what Hopper’s paintings capture so well. In 1927’s Automat, a woman sits by herself at a small table. She already has her coffee, and, though there is another chair at the table, we cannot know if she is waiting for someone, or if that someone will ever arrive. 1930’s Early Sunday Morning shows a series of storefronts in the daytime, all dark, all empty. In Room in New York, painted in 1932, a woman and man sit in a room, together but also somehow apart. He’s reading a paper. Her back is mostly to him while she half-heartedly tinkers with the piano. In my personal favourites, Morning Sun from 1952 and Office in a Small City from 1953, a woman on a sun-kissed bed and a man in a small office, respectively, sit alone and stare out of their windows at the world, or at least the little parts of the world that they can see.

“Hopper was far from an unknown artist when he was alive: the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art both purchased his works in the 1930s, and the Museum of Modern Art put on a retrospective of his work that same decade. In the years since his death, his celebrity status has lasted.

“In recent weeks, though, Hopper has received renewed attention. From October through this past weekend, ARTECHOUSE, which has exhibition spaces in New York and in Washington, DC, has put on a show reimagining Nighthawks. The artists, Noiland Collective, installed NHKS4220 Bar Illusion where the bars in the exhibition spaces had stood, and where people gathered before the pandemic. The painted figures were replaced by hologram-style projections. Viewers could stand at the installation’s central point and have their own forms projected into the piece. The artists said they saw a parallel between the painting’s world – the anxiety and apprehension of the Second World War – and our own.

“They aren’t the only ones. Next month, Del Ray Artisans, a gallery in Alexandria, Virginia, is exhibiting “After Edward Hopper: Themes of Solitude and Isolation”, in which contemporary artists reimagine Hopper. In Kelly MacConomy’s Covid Nighthawks reimagined the diner is still there – but the woman, men and coffee cups within it are gone. It’s been emptied out for our times. As the gallery put it, “Artists present their interpretations of what makes Hopper’s imagery quintessentially American: perseverance, fortitude, diversity, and an egalitarian spirit in spite of adversity, impoverishment, and social injustice.

“Part of why artists are returning to Hopper, then, is that his work reminds us that we have endured hard times before. His creations were set in an era that was frightening, fearsome and lonely, like ours. But here we are, decades later, looking back.

“Furthermore, his paintings also often suggest connectedness, even in the midst of isolation. The woman in Automat may have felt like she was the only woman ever to sit alone at a table in public, but she wasn’t, of course. The painting works for me because the experience is at once unique to the woman in the painting and a common occurrence. The reason I like Morning Sun and Office in a Small City so much is that, taken apart, they show individuals isolated from the rest of the world, but taken together, they show how alike we are. We are common in our loneliness.”

Retrieved January 13, 2021 from How Edward Hopper became an artist for the pandemic age (newstatesman.com)

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Delta National Heritage Area News

Things are moving along nicely according to this article from The Press.

An excerpt.

“Amid the seemingly endless stories of threats to the Delta and the people who depend upon it, there is an occasional bright spot.

“The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was designated as a national heritage area (NHA) in March 2019. On Tuesday, Jan. 5, the first meeting of the NHA Management Plan Advisory Committee was held to begin the process of shaping the Delta NHA.

“The NHA designation for the Delta is a national recognition of something people here have known for a long time — this is a nationally significant place with a nationally significant rich story, or more accurately, stories,” said Mike Moran, supervising naturalist at Big Break Regional Shoreline and ex officio member of the advisory committee. “Through the organization and coordination of the myriad stakeholders under the Delta Protection Commission and National Park Service, we can more readily share those known and yet-to-be-known stories.”

“The task of managing the development of the Delta NHA rests with the Delta Protection Commission (DPC). The NHA designation requires the commission to complete a management plan that will guide NHA activities for the next 10 to 15 years. Last fall, the commission chartered the advisory committee to ensure public engagement in the development of that plan, and a call was made for applicants interested in serving on that committee.

“One of the things that we specified in the charter was geographic diversity, generational diversity and cultural diversity,” explained Blake Roberts, Delta NHA coordinator for the DPC. “We were seeking a lot of different people to serve on the committee. With that, we were able to get a good array of people submitting applications. I think we’re really happy with the people we have on the committee.”

“In November, the DPC approved the appointment of 15 committee members representing the five Delta counties — Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano and Yolo — plus four ex officio members. Erik Vink, DPC executive director, serves as the committee chair. A vice chair is expected to be selected during the February committee meeting.

“The big deliverable for us is the management plan,” Roberts said. “It will set up what kind of national heritage area we’re going to be. There are a lot of different types of national heritage areas. Some are more focused on tourism. Some are more focused on downtown economic development. Some are more focused on historic preservation. The management plan is the document that defines what the course of the national heritage is going to be and what types of projects are we going to go after.”

“Within the advisory committee, four task groups will eventually be established focused on particular aspects of the management plan. Committee members will chair the task groups and address interpretation, resources stewardship, organization and heritage development and tourism.

“I think it’s important that people know about this,” said committee member Carol Jenson, a Brentwood-based historian and author. “People don’t know about there being a federal program regarding heritage areas, and if they did, they would probably think of Colonial Williamsburg. But the Delta is a heritage area. It’s a feather in our cap. But there’s more to it than that. The big deal is that people need to be aware that, all of the sudden, the California Delta has a brand-new political overlay. That is the federal government.”

“The Delta NHA is one of only 55 in the country and the only NHA in California. A 10-year effort to earn the designation culminated with the passage of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, but even those involved in the effort were caught off guard when the bill passed.”

Retrieved January 8, 2021 from National Heritage Area Management Plan Advisory Committee goes to work | News | thepress.net

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Suburbia Rules, Now & in the Future

Indeed, as this article from New Geography explains.

An excerpt.

“Mr. Covid has been the best city and regional planner Australia has ever had. The suburbs will shine, and regions will grow. Maybe we should forget about big city infrastructure projects for a while and spend it on our future resilient communities where people look out for each other.”

“That is a note from late 2020 from a good friend of mine – a highly regarded town planner in Australia, who has led city planning both for large metro cities and worked across the globe, most lately in the Middle East. He is no fool. The irony is – and he is right – that it has taken a global pandemic to shake ourselves out of from the focus on centralised, high density urban cores, surrounded by dormitory suburbs from which workers would commute daily, preferably in high volume public transport, to their city-based offices. Our subservience called for endless amounts of public money to be thrown at inner city altars, rewarding the increasingly privileged professional clergy who enjoyed commensurately rising real estate prices, while suburban areas languished.

“But the lure of the emerald city was always an illusion. In early 2013 in “The demography of employment part one: a suburban economy,” I made the observation that none of the actual evidence supported this vision:

“We have collectively developed a fixation on our CBDs and inner-city areas as economic drivers of employment. While they are very significant in size, they are not dominant relative to the spatial distribution of jobs throughout metropolitan areas. If the evidence is clearly pointing to cities with employment overwhelmingly located in suburban locations, and points to this trend continuing, it is possible that a variety of public policy settings could need resetting given the realities of our urban environment. It is equally possible that opportunities for growth and development to meet market demand for employment lands in suburban locations haven’t yet been fully captured.”

“By early 2015, in “Is it time for suburban renewal?” I wrote: “there seem now to be no shortage of publicly funded initiatives focused on delivering a better quality of urban existence within a five kilometre ring of the CBD, and too few focused on the hard and soft infrastructure deficits that our suburban areas are still living with.”

“However, no end of evidence or public debate was sufficient to wrest the planning orthodoxy from their centralised vision of the inner urban economy and its elites living, working, and playing within a mystical 5-kilometre ring of a CBD temple.

“Even obvious policy failures – rising congestion, chronic infrastructure lags and falling quality of life – did not test the faith of planners and pundits in the religion of centralisation. A 2018 ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) News investigation into overcrowding and infrastructure inadequacies in Sydney and Melbourne prompted the Planning Institute of Australia to respond with the suggestion that what was needed to fix the problems caused by centralisation and density by pushing more centralisation and density: “We want Tokyos, Parises, and New Yorks – and we can do that by planning well.” The fact that this policy prescription was electoral poison, and against the demonstrated market preference of consumers, was clearly irrelevant to PIA at the time.

“But as my friend has since wryly observed, a virus has changed all of that. Property industry leaders who once worshipped at the altar of centralisation have sniffed the winds and seen hope of new salvation in the suburbs. Fund managers are predicting a significant fall in demand for CBD offices as workers adopt more amenable work-life practices – working from home or from suburban hubs. The chief of publicly listed developer Stockland – Mark Steinert – is now publicly predicting a shift of the entire metropolitan economy away from CBDs to more suburban locations. Such comments would have been heresy only just 12 months ago and no doubt been savaged by Stockland’s investors. This now amounts to conventional wisdom.

“The evidence is flooding in globally: high density urban cores are finding economic demand surge towards suburban homes or suburban work hubs. There has been an exodus of workers and their employers from centralised, expensive cores. Once prized New York real estate is boarded up, tenants gone. Manhattan offices now are being touted as possible residential conversions.

“Elon Musk has declared he is moving to Texas, while tech giants Oracle and Hewlett Packard have similarly set up shop in the more affordable, more amenable, more liveable cities of the Lone Star State. Fast growing US city economies are no longer poster-children cities like NYC or San Francisco or LA, but mid-scale cities like Austin Texas, Nashville Tennessee, or Phoenix, Arizona. The move is on. Remarkably, for the first time in 170 years, California has actually lost population.

“Even the Emerald Isle – Ireland – has seen Covid-induced changes to work lead to public policy responses in support of remote working. “COVID-19 has brought a change in terms of the way we work and remote working – or connected working, as I call it – is now a reality,” said Irish Minister Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys. “It was an aspiration only a year ago, and now it’s a fact of a life – and it’s a good thing”.

“Here at home, the evidence is also piling up. Regional economic growth even before Covid, according to the Regional Australia Institute was shifting away of the CBDs. This trend appears to be getting an adrenaline boost from Covid. Exhausted by lockdowns, the lure of a less dense environment is proving hard to resist for growing numbers of workers and employers. Regional cities that lie within a couple of hours of a major capital or ar established lifestyle regions – Geelong or Bendigo in Victoria, or Newcastle, Gosford, or Byron in NSW – have been the first to feel the wave of demand from fleeing city dwellers.

“Only the most fervent centralist could not acknowledge that the age of centralisation has come to end. Indeed, as much was observed to be happening pre-Covid by the respected Brookings Institute in early 2019 – the process is accelerating and is unlikely to reverse.

“Where does this leave the anti-suburban elites – the likes of Australian urbanist Elizabeth Farrelly who infamously declared“The suburbs are about boredom, and obviously some people like being bored and plain and predictable, I’m happy for them … even if their suburbs are destroying the world”?

“Hopefully, it leaves them without a worshipping congregation anymore. After all, you can save energy and reduce emissions simply by working at home, or close to it. It is a lot more effective and convenient than taking the bus or crawling through big city traffic. Suburbanization could prove a surprising solution to reducing GHG. Hopefully, this will lead to a new emphasis on suburban infrastructure, from regional town centers to better wireless networks.”

Retrieved January 8, 2021 from The Age of Suburbia | Newgeography.com

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Salmon in the Rice Fields

Another story on this wonderful project, from Inside Climate News.

An excerpt.

“It’s easy to see how biologists studying the fate of California’s native fish might fall into despair. That’s how Jacob Katz felt when he and his colleagues reported in 2011 that more than three-quarters of the state’s native freshwater fish, including its iconic Chinook salmon, were in sharp decline. 

“But Katz, a fly-fishing ecologist who directs Central Valley operations for the conservation nonprofit California Trout, isn’t the despairing type. His eyes lit up as he recalled the moment he realized the same forces leading California’s fish to the brink of extinction could be harnessed to reel them back. 

“That epiphany now drives his work. Restoration isn’t about removing any one dam or returning to some mythical pristine condition but about helping salmon recognize the rivers they evolved with, said Katz, walking along a flood-protection levee that cuts off the Sacramento River, California’s longest, from the thousands of farms and towns that occupy its historic floodplains. When you realize “farms or fish” is a false choice, he said, “suddenly you see that you can have both.”

“California’s labyrinthine system of dams and levees cut off once roaring rivers from millions of acres of their floodplains, drastically reducing the habitat and food salmon need to thrive. Climate change may hasten extinctions by raising water temperatures and disrupting flows with bigger floods and more frequent and severe droughts, which also threaten to reignite conflicts over increasingly scarce water. 

“But such dire prospects have inspired a novel alliance in one of the most productive agricultural valleys in the country, which has turned adversaries into allies to offer salmon and other threatened wildlife a lifeline.

“Farmers in the Sacramento Valley have partnered with biologists, water regulators and conservation groups to imagine “a new way forward” to restore wild fish runs. They aim to create what Katz calls a “string of pearls” along the Sacramento River by reconnecting the highly leveed waterway with its floodplains at places most likely to benefit fish. 

“That might involve adding gates to weirs that open so young salmon can move in and out of fields or pumping fish food into rivers. If the plan succeeds, it will turn the same fields that grow rice for people in the summer into rearing habitat and food factories for young salmon during the winter, increasing their odds of reaching the ocean and, ultimately, returning to spawn. 

“Salmon need unimpeded migration corridors, both as juveniles and adults, and the ability to migrate thousands of miles in the ocean and come back,” said Robin Waples, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center whose pioneering work on the population genetics of salmon led to listing Pacific salmon species as endangered.

“But just about everything people do related to urbanization, agriculture, forestry and road building harm salmon, Waples said. All have conspired to make one of nature’s most improbable migrations nearly impossible. 

“Before settlers dammed the valley’s rivers and drained its marshes, a dynamic mosaic of seasonal wetlands and riparian forests supported millions of salmon that fed wolves, grizzlies and bald eagles that once inhabited much of the state. Every year rivers swelled with winter rains and spring snowmelt, overflowing their banks and spreading out slowly across the floodplains. 

“We drained the entire valley at a time when we didn’t realize the water’s importance for fish and birds,” said Roger Cornwell, who works with Katz as manager of River Garden Farms, which grows rice, wheat and other crops on 15,000 acres northwest of Sacramento in Knights Landing. “Once you disconnected the land and the water, that really changed things. Now we’re starting to understand that there’s a great opportunity to reverse that.”

Retrieved January 5, 2021 from Harnessing Rice Fields to Resurrect California’s Endangered Salmon – Inside Climate News

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Dark Waters

I just finished watching the movie Dark Waters, starring Mark Ruffalo (highly recommended), so this article from ENSIA was a must read.

An excerpt.

“A group of manmade substances that can cause serious health problems in humans and animals is increasingly threatening U.S. drinking water systems, experts say. Scientists are working hard to better understand per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances — or PFAS — and develop technologies to minimize harm from these extraordinarily durable pollutants.

“PFAS is the umbrella term for a variety of substances, including PFOA, PFOS and GenX. Exposure to high levels of PFAS may decrease vaccine response in children and cause some forms of cancer and birth defects. PFAS also affect the kidneys, liver and immune system, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Products such as firefighting foam, water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products, waxes, polishes and some food packaging contain the chemicals. Dubbed “forever chemicals” for their durability, these substances went unrecognized as pollutants for decades. But now that society is aware that they have contaminated drinking water, the race is on to develop technologies that can eliminate them.

“I think we’ll see more technologies evolving, but it’s going to be a tough one to crack,” says Ginny Yingling, senior hydrogeologist in the Environmental Health Division of the Minnesota Department of Health. “It took nearly a decade or more for people to figure out how to get after the chlorinated solvents. We thought they were impossible, [but they’re] nothing compared to these chemicals.”

“Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is involved in several research projects aimed at helping to clean up PFAS-contaminated sites. These include developing ways to measure PFAS in soil, sediments and groundwater; evaluating the effectiveness of methods for removing PFAS from drinking water; and evaluating approaches to destroying PFAS.

“The EPA also has formed partnerships with other agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), states and cities. In addition, the agency has partnered with public works facilities, such as wastewater treatment plants and waste processing facilities, across the country. It has also funded research in the private sector.

“For fiscal year 2020, the EPA set aside US$35 million for PFAS research. The DoD, which is dealing with contaminated sites at military installations across the country, budgeted US$40 million for PFAS research.”

Retrieved December 26, 2020 from PFAS chemicals are turning up in tap water across the country. How do we get them out? | Ensia

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Growing with Reclaimed Water

After getting past the yuk factor—though admittedly tough to do—there might be something good here, as reported by Civil Eats.

An excerpt.

“On a Saturday in late October, Carolyn Phinney stands hip-deep in a half acre of vegetables, at the nucleus of what will one day be 15 acres of productive farmland.

“You can’t even see the pathways,” she says, surrounded by the literal fruits of her labors. The patch is a wealth of herbs, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, kale, winter squash, and zucchini. So much zucchini—fruits the size of bowling pins hidden under leaves as big as umbrellas. “Zucchini plants are supposed to be 30 inches across. Ours are 8 feet,” she says. “Everything looks like it’s on steroids.”

“Phinney, pictured above, is the farmer behind CoCo San Sustainable Farm of Martinez, California, a farm built on reclaimed land, using reclaimed water, and started with a simple mission: to get kids to eat more vegetables.

“In 2010, Phinney learned local school districts served pizza more often than salad because produce cost four times more than cheese and bread. She set out to make vegetables in her county more affordable—or free, if possible. The effort has paid off. Since May of this year, Phinney has grown and donated more than 13,000 pounds of produce to local food banks and school districts. All of it from just this half acre. Phinney is the farm’s only full-time employee, and she has worked with a team of volunteers to get the food in the ground so far.

“We could produce several hundred thousand pounds of produce [if we were] in full production,” she says, referring to the 14.5 acres of bare earth and citing a time only a few years away, when the remaining land will be irrigated and planted in vegetables.

“Phinney’s achievement is all the more remarkable considering the location. Prior to Phinney, Contra Costa County had used the 15-acre property as a dumping ground for excavated subsoil trucked in from elsewhere. The ground was so poor that even weeds struggled to grow there. However, as prospective farmland, the place had two big things going for it. It was cheap—Phinney leases the land for a dollar a year—and it came with a free and near limitless supply of water.

“The farm is located on sanitary buffer land owned by the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District (CCCSD) and is adjacent to their water treatment plant. Phinney irrigates all her crops with reclaimed wastewater, which she says is nutrient rich, safe, free, and abundant. And for Phinney, the water is the real secret to growing such healthy, high-yielding plants.

“Around the same time Phinney was trying to fix school lunch, she met Mike McGill, board president of CCCSD, and learned that the county discharged around 50 to 200 million gallons of treated wastewater per day into nearby Suisun Bay. After treatment to remove solids and sterilize microbes, the water remains high in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and micronutrients. Liquid fertility, according to Phinney, who felt the county was just dumping it.”

Retrieved December 17, 2020 from Is Farming with Reclaimed Water the Solution to a Drier Future? | Civil Eats

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Christmas/New Year Blog Vacation Time

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year; back on January 11, 2021

Take care.

The Lukenbill Family

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Flyover Country

This is an interesting argument from, where else, the Fly Over Coalition.

An excerpt.

“Thousands of people on the coasts are pleading for help getting out of the urban enclaves from which they once looked down their noses at us, out in Flyover Country.

​“How should we respond? By taking advantage of an economic-development opportunity for the ages.

“The reports by now have become too numerous to dispute: People in droves are leaving, or want to leave, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and other once-formidable coastal outposts. Now they want to get the heck out of Dodge because of the inhospitable results of Covid-19 lockdowns, the dispersal of white-collar work away from offices in Manhattan and Mountain View and Redmond, violent protests and calls to defund the police that are actually getting traction, and the ruination of restaurants and theaters and sports stadiums and museums and other entertainment and cultural venues that traditionally have helped define life in these places.

​“In other words, many of the things that used to make life worth living in these hugely expensive and fundamentally inconvenient cities … have vanished, and many aren’t likely to return. So, many of their residents are acting rationally.

“Consider this stat: A survey of San Francisco Bay Area tech workers in mid-May found that 42 percent would move to a less-expensive city if their employer asked them to work remotely full time. Many of these people already seem to be putting their money where their mouths are. There were 96 percent more property listings in San Francisco in the first week of August compared with a year earlier, according to Zillow.

“So where are these people going? That’s a good question. They’re going all over, and wherever. And that’s why we in Flyover Country need to have a plan for snaring them.

“Here’s my plan: The states and cities of the heartland should pull together in a concerted effort to put our case before these individuals and the companies to which they’re attached, and improve their understanding and appreciation of what we do in the rest of the country – and how we’d welcome them to join us.

“In other words, CEOs, foundations, governments, state and local agencies and everyone else who’s got a stake in the economic improvement of Flyover Country should band together and recognize that we share a common stake. And that coalescing under a singular effort will be the best way to get the attention of those unfortunate people on the coasts for all the advantages of relocating to the heartland.

“These advantages (with the current notable exceptions of Chicago and Minneapolis) include calm, normalcy, affordable housing, reasonable costs of living, fantastic urban and suburban amenities, easy availability of the wonders of nature — and schools that mostly are trying to be in session this fall. Freed from the shackles of high costs of living and too-cool offices that now lie empty, many coastal denizens will be eager to sample not only the environs an hour or two out of their city but also what we have to offer in Flyover Country.

“Take a guy the Wall Street Journal interviewed last week. After spending 14 years in the Bay area with a variety of tech giants including Uber and Airbnb, Jaime Contreras decided during the pandemic to move closer to family, buying a two-family duplex in Racine, Wisconsin, for just $160,000, the newspaper said.

“If you have the luxury of maintaining your Bay Area salary and moving elsewhere, it goes a lot, lot longer,” Contreras said. “I’ll live like a king.”

​“Of course, many of these new lookers from the coasts have no idea how to differentiate anywhere in Flyover Country. They don’t know Omaha from Des Moines, Birmingham from Little Rock, or Columbus from Ann Arbor. They think of us as a blob that they’re used to — well, flying over.

​“If we can get some of these coastals to change their opinion about what our entire region is all about, then they’ll bother to check out the many wonderful individual locales that we offer.”

​Retrieved December 9, 2020 from Let’s Unite To Draw Distressed Coastal Residents (flyovercoalition.org)

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Salmon Hatchery News

Our local hatchery shares some good news, as reported by KCRA.

An excerpt.

“GOLD RIVER, Calif. —

“The fall salmon run is happening right now on the American River, and for many in the greater Sacramento area, that usually means a visit to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery to check out the fish ladders and nearby spawning grounds.

“Although the hatchery visitor center is closed because of the pandemic, observing the salmon run can still happen, in a safe way, from the hatchery’s nature trail.

“Several people stopped by the trail on Saturday to witness the fall phenomenon — expressing appreciation for something as fascinating as the salmon run happening so close to home.

“Salmon are just beautiful fish, and once a year, you gotta just check it out,” said visitor Mick Stone. “California’s a beautiful place, even in the winter, in December with this kind of weather, I mean, it’s just gorgeous!”

“Pierre Swift made his first trip to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery on Saturday after seeing a report about its nature trail on KCRA 3 News. “I just want to see the salmon in their natural habitat,” Swift said. “We have, in our own backyards here in Sacramento and surrounding areas, so much scenery. So much so much awesome! I mean, I equate this to a trip to Disneyland.”

“The Nimbus Fish Hatchery river trail gives visitors a digestible dose of education about the river’s complex ecosystem, and during the pandemic, with a new wave of stay-at-home orders looming, it’s outdoor recreation where families can get some physical activity while staying a safe distance from others.

“It’s cool how everyone can do it!” said elementary school-age visitor Katelyn Wyatt. “It’s fun because people can get out and don’t have to be inside.”

“For those living farther away or not comfortable visiting the hatchery in-person, there’s a way for them to learn about the hatchery and fall salmon run. Wildlife interpreters are educating the public via virtual tours and virtual field trips.

“The nice thing about that is they’re now accessible to anybody, so you don’t have to be in California to be able to visit Nimbus Hatchery … you can get those virtual experiences,” said Laura Drath, interpretive services supervisor for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s north central region.

“That’s actually one of the positives that’s coming out all of this. We can have a broader scope and broader experiences from wherever we happen to be.”

“CDFW’s wildlife interpreters have posted several free public webinars on the Nimbus Hatchery Facebook page. Its virtual field trips and virtual small group tours (open to groups of at least 10 that request tours) allow students and people interested in the fall salmon run to see the fish, see what’s happening out at the hatchery, and ask questions about the fish lifecycle and the importance that process plays in our ecosystem and the environment.”

Retrieved December 8, 2020 from Fall’s salmon run at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery observed in two ways (kcra.com)

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Atmospheric Rivers

A good article about them from the Washington Post.

An excerpt.

“At the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, researchers feel the urgency as they examine connections between West Coast precipitation and a devastating wildfire season, which has yet to conclude.

“The center, part of Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., has unlocked many secrets of atmospheric rivers — airborne jets of tropical moisture that can break droughts and quell fires but also unleash raging floodwaters.

“Under the leadership of Director Marty Ralph, the center measures the strength of atmospheric rivers on a one-to-five scale, and there is now a greater understanding of how their presence or absence determines so much, such as whether vegetative fuels will be primed to ignite when fire comes too close.

“It’s been an exciting time,” Ralph said. “I mean, there’s so much potential for better weather prediction on the West Coast … to impact decisions that matter.”

“But looming in the background of this important research are the reports from Ralph’s friends and colleagues across the West who have been severely affected by the siege of blazes. “It’s been tragic,” he said.

“Climate scientist Dan Cayan, who works with Ralph, added: “The [fires’] different impacts and symptoms certainly keep us in touch with reality, and underpin the need for the sort of work we do.”

“California has seen its worst wildfire season on record in 2020, with about 4.2 million acres burned, more than double the acreage in the previous record-breaking year.

“The work done by the center has revealed just how crucial atmospheric rivers are to California, which is both the most populous U.S. state and the country’s top agricultural producer. These phenomena deliver 25 to 50 percent of the water supply in key areas, with tens of billions of dollars in annual benefits. But atmospheric rivers also contribute to more than 90 percent of the region’s major flood events, at an average cost of $1 billion per year.

“It’s just remarkable how that one concept can explain a lot of the action in the Western United States,” Cayan said.

“With Sept. 30 marking the final day of the 2019-20 water year, a look at recent history turns up evidence of the ties between atmospheric rivers and ripe conditions for wildfire.

“During the 2018-19 water year, California saw the landfall of 36 atmospheric rivers, with seven of those considered strong or greater (Category 3 and above). But in the 2020 water year, the Golden State saw 20 percent fewer atmospheric rivers (29) — and there was just one strong atmospheric river event.

“For the entire West Coast, the 2019 water year experienced 41 atmospheric rivers, 11 of them strong, while the water year 2020 experienced 40, with seven strong.”

Retrieved December 6, 2020 from As fires rage, California center aims to better understand atmospheric rivers – The Washington Post

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