Volume 7 | Issue 1 | May 2020
Welcome to our spring newsletter. Like many things right now, it's been delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis. For so many of us, our lives have been upended as we respond to this unprecedented challenge. First of all, we’d like to say to those essential workers, and their families, who are out supporting our communities: thank you and stay safe. Your sacrifices in this time are appreciated.

Like many of you, we have been busy adjusting to our new work patterns. Fortunately, our traditional focus on online communications has allowed us to continue our work without much interruption. We have been busy watching the COVID-19 response and working to deliver relevant information. In addition, we continue to support our other programs. We look forward to ramping up these many other important projects and programs as California slowly emerges from the COVID-19 crisis this summer. Please take a look at some of our recent activities that support and communicate water science in California. Doug Parker, Director
Water and COVID-19
The novel coronavirus,  COVID-19 , is affecting people across the globe, in states and cities, in our backyards, and our own living spaces.

We've gathered together trusted resources on safety, access and hygiene, and infrastructure -- including many in multiple languages -- on our website. In addition, you can read the companion piece from our blog for more information on Water and COVID-19: An early overview .
Photo by Kathea Pinto
Listen in: New virtual connections
Silver Solutions Webinar Series

“When it comes to California water, there are no silver bullets, only silver solutions,” reads the tagline for the Silver Solutions webinar series from the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources water program team. Organized by Mallika Nocco and Sam Sandoval, cooperative extension specialists with UC Davis, the series highlights diverse areas of water expertise from the University of California and beyond.
Water Talk Discussion & Podcast

Our academic coordinator Faith Kearns has teamed up with Mallika Nocco and Sam Sandoval, cooperative extension specialists at UC Davis, to pilot a new conversation and podcast series called Water Talk about all things California water. Catch up on the first several episodes on the web or wherever you get your podcasts, and join us live at noon Pacific Time on Tuesdays -- call information at the link above.
Join us for Big Dig Day!

On June 5, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and the California Institute for Water Resources launches our statewide giving day. We call it  Big Dig Day , a day to “dig in the soil, dig in your heart, and dig in your wallet to support the programs you care about!”

The California Institute for Water Resources delivers solutions to statewide water resource challenges in such areas as groundwater management, water conservation, and drought resiliency. By donating to the UC ANR California Institute for Water Resources, you are supporting programs for a healthier California. 

Please join us on June 5 and be the first to donate. Make your gift then share your excitement on social media using #BigDigDay and #DigDeep or call a friend to let them know what's happening.
Update on our supported research projects

The California Institute for Water Resources leverages federal investment to address critical water issues in the state. This year, we are continuing the support for a range of projects on timely topics:

Isaya Kisekka of UC Davis gives a field talk above, and Margaret Zimmer's lab at UC Santa Cruz preparing ground penetrating radar in the field (photo: Noah Lyman).
Program Updates
Nitrogen Management Training

Last fall, the Institute received a new grant (p. 5) from the California Department of Food and Agriculture to create an on-line training course and test on nitrogen management for California’s Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs). Our current in-person program resulted in 11 workshops and multiple UC ANR publications . This next step will catalyze the next generation of CCAs to be proficient in nitrogen management by developing a study curriculum, online course, and transition to an internet-based testing protocol. We have been busy setting course performance objectives, creating on-line content, and writing test questions. We plan to launch this new training curriculum in the late fall of 2020.
Climate Smart Agriculture

This winter, our Climate Smart Agriculture program received a two-year extension from the California Strategic Growth Council and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The program is focused on implementing on farm solutions to improve soil health, nutrient and irrigation management, on-farm composing, and manure management. These are all practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, increase soil carbon sequestration, or increase resilience to drought and climate change. We are excited that our community education specialists will be able to continue to assist California growers in adopting these climate smart agricultural practices.
Institute updates
Representative Josh Harder of California’s 10th District speaking at the National Institutes for Water Resources annual meeting.
It has been a while since our last newsletter and, before the Covid-19 outbreak, we were busy addressing other California water challenges. Last fall, Director Doug Parker served as the cropping systems suitability subcommittee co-chair for the California Department of Water Resources’ Flood-MAR research and advisory committee. The committee of almost 200 experts produced a roadmap of work needed to implement managed aquifer recharge on agricultural lands. In December, Parker was the keynote speaker at the Northeast Specialty Crops Water Symposium in Burlington, VT. Specialty crops, particularly irrigated specialty crops, continue to expand in the northeast and participants were particularly eager to learn from California’s experiences. Finally, Parker is serving his second year as President-Elect of our parent organization, the National Institutes of Water Resources . As President-Elect he organized and hosted our annual meeting of Institute Directors in Washington DC this past February. It was an honor to welcome Representative Josh Harder from California’s 10 th District as our keynote speaker at the meeting.

Faith Kearns , Academic Coordinator, has continued to publish articles including a piece co-authored with Max Moritz on a new emphasis for wildfire risk in the state, and another led by Tapan Pathak on climate change and California agriculture (see page 26). She has written many blog articles, including on water and COVID-19 , and is co-hosting the new Water Talk podcast with Mallika Nocco and Sam Sandoval. Her work has been covered at National Geographic , CNN , and more. She appeared with writers Mark Arax and Diana Marcum on the Climate One program The Land of Dreams and Drought at the Commonwealth Club. She also recently gave several talks or trainings on science communication including at the American Geophysical Union and UC Davis.
Mallika Nocco, Phoebe Gordon, and Tashiana Osborne are featured on our blog.
New on our blog: The Confluence
We've covered lots of new issues and people on our blog, The Confluence . We've highlighted the work of several UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers including:

  • Phoebe Gordon: The orchard systems advisor weighs in on water management as a key farming practice.
  • Mehdi Nemati: The cooperative extension specialist at UC Riverside collaborated with Kurt Schwabe and others to analyze trends and opportunities in water markets.
  • Mallika Nocco: The new irrigation specialist at UC Davis talked to us about putting down roots in California and her work on soil, water, and plant relations.
  • Maggie Reiter: The turfgrass and environmental horticulture advisor is working on naturalizing golf courses while maintaining their playability.
  • Leslie Roche: The cooperative extension specialist at UC Davis is supporting first-generation ranchers in coping with drought and climate change.

In addition, you can hear from Tashiana Osborne, a doctoral candidate at the Scripps Institution for Oceanography about her research on atmospheric rivers , Emily Fairfax at CSU Channel Islands about her work on beavers in California , Brinda Sarathay at Pitzer College on how she " caught the water bug ," and our affiliate Maura Allaire of UC Irvine on how bottled water sales might be used to track water contamination. Other topics include groundwater policy design and implementation and managing debris flows to mitigate post fire storm hazards.

USGS Request for Applications on Aquatic Invasive Species in the Upper Mississippi River Basin

The U.S. Geological Survey has published the fiscal year 2020 request for Aquatic Invasive Species National Competitive Grants (104g) applications for the State Water Resources Research Institute Program. T he announcement will be open through 5 pm ET, June 11, 2020. As with any 104G program RFP, any investigator at an institution of higher learning in the United States is eligible to apply for an award through their state water institute. All proposed research must pertain to Aquatic Invasive Species research as related to hydrodynamics, water quality, and/or social science in the Upper Mississippi River basin to be considered.   Download the full FY2020 announcement  and the  budget forms . A  user guide for IPETT  is also available.
“A reliable supply of water for drinking, growing food and sustaining our natural resources remains one of California’s greatest challenges. UC’s California Institute for Water Resources is vital to integrating California’s research, extension, and education programs to help mitigate current water-related issues and develop practical long-term solutions.”

Secretary Karen Ross, California Dept. of Food & Agriculture