Hungry deer, narrowing ponds, speeding golf balls – Drought around Berkeley

Brush and dead trees cover the Berkeley Hills on August 10. Soil humidity is extremely low, and Chapral is like a bite on the east side of the Bay. Credit Clara Try

The second-largest wildfire in California history is in its second month. Dozens of northern cities say they have run out of water. In the Sacramento area, heat-stress cockroaches are pouring into homes, so it looks like a backyard is moving at night.

What is this climate change-worst drought doing around Berkeley?

Go to the boneless hills for answers. “I have worked in the park district for 15 years and this is the worst year I have ever seen,” said Matt Graul, executive director of the East Bay Regional Park District.

We are seeing more and more deer and coyotes showing signs of anxiety. You see, they are the only ones who seem to be weak, and they are looking for food in places we normally do not see.

“I have never seen it so dry and broken, and I have spent most of my life in California,” said Doug Bell, wildlife program manager in the park.

Wells dried up earlier this year, leaving some species in trouble. “Many of our ponds are on highways,” says Bell. We’ve seen Fortunately Leahs sadly run by car, because there are so many oysters now looking for places to go.

According to the United States Drought Control, all of California is suffering from a severe drought, with Alameda County experiencing “even fields” and “widespread wildlife deaths.” The Berkeley Fire Department, citing the recent “catastrophic fires” caused by climate change, is now advising residents in the mountains to evacuate during severe fires. The city said: “The narrow, winding streets in the Berkeley hills – coupled with the rapid spread of these conditions – will not be an option for everyone in an emergency evacuation.”

Drought levels in California August 11, 2020 (left), August 10, 2021 (right). Alameda County is currently suffering from a severe drought. Credit U.S. Drought Supervisor

The East Bay Municipal Utility District declared a drought shortage by April and asked customers to voluntarily reduce water use by 10%. According to Andy Katz, director of Ward 4 Ward 4, Berkeley is a good host. In a July webinar, he said: “We have a modest use of grass, we have a proper use of local plants, and our community is mostly home water efficient.” We have low per capita water use in the state.

EBMUD draws water from the Mokolum River Basin in Sierra Nevada and stores it in approximately 60% of the reservoirs until early August. There is no water crisis in East Bay, but if the winter does not get enough rain, the district plans to buy water from foreign sources next year.

UC has stopped irrigating the central lawn. Richard Ward, who runs a dried-up garden on Shattuk Street, is already allowing even a small amount of drought-tolerant plants: “We’re doing our part.” Golf courses are also said to lead to new consequences in the game.

“I’ve met golfers who tell stories about their experiences,” says Michael Clark, who builds custom clubs at Berkeley for. Seasons Golf. “So a golf ball can land on a strong bag and the ball will roll forward – every golfer’s dream.

Drought is changing habitats. “I’ve been seeing big and big changes in setting up a library. We are no longer using thirsty hydrangeas and turf, which are being replaced by drought-tolerant successors, California natives and grasshoppers.

“Many people don’t even ask for lawns anymore,” she said. If they are, they are asking for grass in the small area for their child to play with or for their dogs to go to the toilet. (Hopefully not both.)

A group of volunteers, along with five cricket friends, showed off the effects of the drought on the shores of Serito Creek in August. Credit: Friends of Five Cracks

It is changing natural landscapes, especially seasonal ponds. West Berkeley Trade Balance Hydrology has been tasked with clearing invading frogs from local ponds this year. The ponds have dried up and are being rebuilt. “The greatest diver in the sky decides everything,” says company company Robert Rubin.

Grill noticed a number of ponds as they narrowed to what they were trying to fit into the Martini Glass. In the Brions Regional Park, there is a cracked, desert-like landscape. Last year we noticed that some amphibians had fallen into those cracks and were unable to get in and out of the water.

Large bodies of water are also suffering. Lake Anza in Tilden is a well-known combination of high-nutrient droughts in low water conditions due to toxic blue-green algae, causing diarrhea and vomiting and death in dogs. “In many of our lakes, that low water level is affecting many of our boats,” says Graul. “Pumps can no longer be used or are damaged by this low water level, so they need some repairs.

Wild animals are becoming more and more courageous in their search for water. On Facebook, reports from the East Bay Garden Team have been circulating reports of attacks on plants in the wet. “The deer ate all my roses and daisies this week. In the 24 years that I have been here, I have never been so anxious, ”wrote one writer. Another posted a photo of a completely damaged watermelon, perhaps figs or raisins, saying, “He is trying to grow anything he can eat.

For those who smoke in their backyard, wild boars should know that they will increase their hunting season during the dry season. “With wild boars, we have clear evidence that the fury of homeowners and golf players is entering the irrigated field,” says Bell District Park. The pigs are looking for moist soil – and grass provides moist soil – so they come in one night and basically rotate your grass.

Local streams are still operating, although they receive inputs from many sources such as irrigation, drainage and irrigation.

“My observations of the Strawberry Creek Basin do not paint a big picture when I remember the last drought cycle. My understanding (and I have not been able to verify the NWS data so far) is that the coastal areas are still recovering from the extreme heat that is affecting the interior of the state. ”Email Tim Pin by UC Berkeley Environmentalist.

“So despite the low rainfall over the past two years, our cold, winter days have kept some of our moisture this summer.

Susan Schwartz, president of the local group, said there was water in the streams of Sereto and Cordornes (although most of it came from humans). But she has another concern – with the onset of a severe fire season, agencies are clearing and brushing bats from butterflies, squirrels, snakes and other wildlife.

“If you go to Tilden, there will be a lot of roadside cleaning and fire hazards,” she said. I think we should do it, but that was all residence or. Many birds need a beautiful, dense and long brush to enter the nest safely.

Tilden was hit by a mass tree, but the Berkeley town trees seem to be doing well for the time being. The rainy season in 2017 was a good one, helping them fill up on depleted carbohydrates and sugar stores during the last drought. But they are looking at the maximum for three to five years until that storage capacity goes up. I think it would be nice to have a good winter, ”said Dan Gallagher, the city’s chief forest official.

Models suggest that Berkeley may soon have a Santa Barbara climate, and the city is planning to plant trees growing as far as Arizona and Texas. But until Joshua finds a tree that covers all the sidewalks (jokes, the city is watching species such as bush oak and catalina), maintaining the health of the local tree can only be done by extracting the plant.

“Even though people say, ‘Oh, it’s a drought! I can’t use water ‘- well, of course [watering] Grass is not good, ”says Gallagher. But it is good to water a tree, even a mature tree, once a month. Because the tree reverts to climate, biology, and other benefits, the tree certainly pays for any occasional watering.

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