Since 2012, California has been experiencing its worst drought in more than a century. Temperatures are breaking records and the region is down a year’s worth of rainfall1. Forests, fish and wildlife as well as the regional economy are struggling.
California is known as the United States’s salad bowl because of its prolific fruit, vegetable and nut production. But fields have had to be left fallow, contributing to statewide losses of US$2.2 billion in 2014 (ref. 2). More than 12 million trees have died, with cascading impacts on amphibians, birds and mammals3. Streams and wetlands are drying up, including the American River hatcheries of steelhead and Chinook salmon. More than 17,000 jobs have been lost, mainly in poor rural communities.