From The Confluence, the blog of the California Institute for Water Resources:

Documenting California drought as an undocumented researcher

    • Evelyn Valdez-Ward is a PhD student at UC Irvine focusing on the effects of climate change and drought on plants and soils. She's also a DACA student, which brings a lot of uncertainty for her career path.

The health effects of drought and extreme temperatures in California

    • I was thrilled to have a chance to interview Dr. Maithili Ramachandran of UC Riverside on her work on how drought and extreme weather is impacting physical and mental health in California. Another brilliant young researcher to watch. Covered at Cap Radio.

Conserving freshwater ecosystems as they change

    • Fun interview with Albert Ruhi at UC Berkeley on his work on how freshwater ecosystems are changing and how organisms are responding quickly (or not) to these changes.

Exploring the relationship between emotions and water issues

    • Water issues and emotional health are connected in ways that are both profound and underappreciated. Parisa Parsafor at UC Riverside is a psychology researcher working to bring psychological insights into the public policy sphere.

Son of farmworkers turned professor focuses on water issues in California’s Central Valley

    • Mario Sifuentez of UC Merced has some unique insights on water (and many other) issues in California as both the son of migrant farmworkers and a humanities professor. Reposted for the California Rural Report.

A social ecological perspective on water issues

    • Great to have a chance to finally talk with the esteemed Dan Stokols at UC Irvine. I so appreciate his lifelong committment to learning and working to make the world a better place.

Listening to communities: A bottom-up approach to water planning in California

    • This is a really exciting and interesting project from anthropologists Valerie Olson and Emily Brooks at UC Irvine focused on intentionally listening to the strengths and needs of underserved and underresourced communities, particularly the homeless, when it comes to water. Reposted for the California Rural Report.

Trauma and resilience in California disaster response and readiness

    • I find that scientists, especially in cooperative extension and in California, are more and more on the "front lines" of disaster response and not always equipped for the human trauma side. Maryam Kia-Keating is a clinical psychology professor at UC Santa Barbara who has worked with people post-disaster and offers some helpful insights on trauma-informed disaster response.

How are California water managers thinking about climate change? It depends

    • The work that Julia Ekstrom at UC Davis and her colleagues are doing offers a unique insight on many California water and climate change issues. This study was also personally interesting to me because it took on the narrative of the "supply-demand" science and policy relationship and fleshed out some of what I've found challenging about that theory, which is that not everybody that needs information is going to demand it.

California Indigenous perspectives on water and fire management

    • Great to have a chance to talk with Don Hankins of Chico State about his work on Indigenous approaches to wildfire and water management. Dr. Hankins is a Miwkoʔ (Plains Miwok) traditional cultural practitioner and geography professor who has written some fascinating (and painful) papers on the challenges of integrating Indigenous perspectives in environmental management.

Understanding California’s water culture

    • Rina Faletti and I have been trying to work together for a long time, and I'm so glad it finally happened as her perspective on California water issues, as an art historian and environmental humanist, is so incredibly valuable.

California’s idea of “natural” beauty may have shifted during the drought

    • Great study from sociologist Andrew McCumber at UC Santa Barbara on how we create our ideas of nature -- which makes it also possible to shift our ideas of nature. Covered at Curbed.

Fire and water issues are intimately linked in California

    • In addition to working on water and drought issues, I spent many years working on wildfire, particularly related to how homes burn in wildfires. This is a look at how fire and water relate, particularly in the disaster context of 2017.

Celebrating sixty years of water resources research and extension at the University of California

    • It can be pretty hard to understand where the water institute fits into the overall, very crowded, water "landscape" in California. I interviewed Doug Parker and he explained the past, present, and future.

Water at the center in a time of tension and possibility

    • Part 2 of my interview with Melanie Yazzie where we dug in a little more on the present and future of tribal sovereignty and its relationship to water in the western US.

Water is life, relationality, and tribal sovereignty: An interview with Melanie K. Yazzie

    • Melanie Yazzie from UC Riverside spoke at a UC Merced Humanities conference where she talked about the water is life movement as a radical politics of relationality. Was thrilled to have a chance to talk to her about that and related issues more deeply. One of the most galvanizing conversations I've had in at least a decade.

Challenges and bottlenecks for groundwater recharge in California

    • Synopsis of a really interesting session on some of the nitty-gritty challenges facing California groundwater management with Helen Dahlke (UC Davis), Michael Kiparsky (UC Berkeley), and Andy Fisher (UC Santa Cruz).

Water challenges for California’s small farm community

    • Really admire UC ANR colleagues Ruth Dahlquist-Willard and Michael Yang who are working with Hmong and other Southeast Asian farmers who grow a huge variety of crops while facing some big challenges. Reposted on the CDFA Planting Seeds site.

Access, power, and money in California groundwater governance

    • Another fantastic interview with Casey Walsh about some of the lesser explored aspects of groundwater management -- who participates, who wins, who loses. We don't talk enough about power in water management in California.

Drop for drop? The tension between sameness and difference in water sources

    • Great interview with Casey Walsh, an anthropologist at UC Santa Barbara. His perspective on water issues is invaluable. This post got so much great conversation started around what might make "unique" water attractive in the same way we think about wine.

Working with wild horses and water controversies in rural California

    • Am fascinated by the work that UC ANR colleague Laura Snell does on one of the thorniest issues ever. It's yet another example to me of how science can turn out to be a very small piece of what might seem at first to be a primarily scientific question.

Making the invisible visible: Connecting home water use & city infrastructure through participatory design

    • Claire Napawan and Brett Snyder at UC Davis did the kind of project that is absolutely vital -- they worked directly with communities over many years to design something that worked for them. Model academic work in my mind.

Determining how many fish a long dammed river could sustain

    • Alison O'Dowd (another former UC Berkeley Resh Lab-mate) and Emily Cooper at Humboldt State doing some really interesting work using habitat proxies to figure out how many fish might have once lived in an area that has been long-dammed.

Creating a student-driven water research community

    • Matt Cover (another former UC Berkeley Resh Lab-mate) at Stanislaus State does incredible work to help students, many first generation, to gain research experience, think of themselves as scientists, and foster community.

Taking the long view – the very long view – on California water and drought

    • Matt Kirby at CSU Fullterton has been researching lake sediments in California to look at drought history in the state since long before it was a state. I find this kind of historical perspective invaluable.

Identifying gaps in protecting California’s native fish

    • Ted Grantham at UC Berkeley is working with others to figure out how to strategically conserve California's native fish, knowing that at this point we won't be able to conserve them all.

Cutting edge tools to identify potential groundwater well problems

    • Clarissa Nobile at UC Merced has been trying to figure out whether biofouling, a big problem for wells in the Pacific Northwest, might pose problems here in California.

Working with salty soils and homemade research tools in the Delta

    • This post will always go down as one of my favorites because it raises the issue of the legitimacy and bounds of "local" knowledge with Michelle Leinfelder-Miles of UC ANR.

Incorporating social equity into California water management

    • Carolina Balazs did some great work looking at how we can incorporate social equity issues into the Integrated Regional Water Management process. An ongoing and very relevant issue.

From surviving to thriving: trees in street-side stormwater facilities

    • My UC ANR colleague (and former UC Berkeley Resh Lab-mate) Igor Lacan has been doing some really unique and interesting work looking at how trees survive in what has become a ubiquitous feature of urban landscapes: the rain garden.

All the water we can get – managed groundwater recharge in California

    • Groundwater recharge has been the sleeper hit issue of the past couple years. Andy Fisher at UC Santa Cruz was on it long before it was common in California, and the water institute supported one of his early projects.

Small but mighty: researchers find periodically flowing streams in California are surprisingly diverse

    • Loved working on this post with Stephanie Carlson at UC Berkeley and Michael Bogan, now at University of Arizona.

At The Science Unicorn, my personal blog, I write about everything from science communication and engagement to water and drought to grief and emotions around environmental issues. Some of the most popular posts there include: