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Buck Abbey, ASLA
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Judges 6:23 …
But the Lord said to him, "Peace! Do not be afraid.
You are not going to die."
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Coming to you from Mammoth Mountain in the Sierra Nevada where the picture
above shows a three-story condo complex almost buried in snow. Over the past
several years California has been locked in another drought only to have it be almost
completely relieved in a matter of weeks.
Many of you have seen the news of Oroville Dam bursting its seams and flood
waters raging. They say even more rain and snow is set to fall later this week (today
is 2/23/17). But here's the rub . . . With almost every reservoir at or near capacity
there is more than 20 feet of snow resting on the 400 mile long mountain range. This
snow is going to melt, soon, and when it does the reservoirs will be forced to release
billions, if not trillions of gallons of water. Much of that water will be released in an
emergency setting, rushing out to the sea and taking who knows how much sediment
and property with it. So, California, one of the most politically messed up states in the
nation, with the Sierra Club advocating more for the baby smelt than the farmers, with
more focus on the need for a high speed rail system and withdrawing from the nation
than meeting the actual needs of the people, has once again ignored history and done
nothing in the drought years to work on enhancing the state's water storage systems.
Yep, for now the drought is over. It's time to water your lawn, wash your cars and
build as much housing as possible, but heaven forbid we build another dam or divert
water to the Colorado River system (where Lake Mead is still 100+ feet below capacity).
Is it global warming? Is it the end of drought forever? Of course not, it's as
predictable as the sun rising in the east. The rains come as the sea water cools. Then El
Niño heats up the southern waters again, and drought takes over, until that passes and
the water cools and then you can expect the rains to come again. This process takes
between 7-10 years. And right about the time the drought becomes evident again, the
politicians get involved and the landscape industry gets shut down with talk of doom
and gloom and drought forever . . .
It's the same in Texas and Georgia where we are always writing about the looming
drought only to see them flooded out and all thought of the need for water to be
captured disappears. The good news is that the landscape industry, the original 'Green'
industry, has learned many lessons from the periods of no water, lessons that should be
built upon and not thrown away in these times of water aplenty. The rains won't last
and we can plan for that. But the droughts won't last either and we should build our
landscapes with that in mind as well . . .
The Natural Nature of Nature . . .
10 Landscape Architect and Specifier News
PHOTO: GEORGE SCHMOK
George Schmok, Publisher
God Bless . . .