Earthwatch ecologist Dr. Josh Viers studies sustainable agriculture and conservation in the watersheds of California’s North Coast, Sierra Nevada, and Delta
Why Study Water in California?
Californians - and people everywhere - need to prepare for a different relationship with this crucial resource. “For at least 20 years now, water scientists have impressed upon us the unavoidable effects of climate change already underway in California,” he and coauthor Sarah Null wrote in a recent blog post. “The forecasts repeatedly call for reduced Sierra snowpack, earlier spring snowmelt, prolonged hot spells and droughts, warmer rivers stressing cold-water fish, wilder storms and sea level rise that threaten Delta water supplies for thousands of farms and millions of Californians.”
Adventures in the field:
Dr. Viers is also an Outdoor Adventures-trained whitewater rafting guide. He’s interested in how climate change might affect this pastime: “Whitewater boaters require a sweet spot of flows. If the water is too low, rocks make safe navigation difficult, and if the water is too high, the river’s power makes it too dangerous to run,” he wrote with coauthor and fellow boater Scott Ligare. “The specific conditions necessary for whitewater boating makes it a seasonable sport vulnerable to changes in hydrologic conditions.”