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Potential for Rim fire ash runoff raises water quality concerns for Stanislaus County

09 Nov 2013
News Source: Merced Sun-Star

Ash and sediment from last summer's Rim fire threaten water runoff in valley. M. Conklin says it's part of a larger problem for water supplies.

BY J.N. SBRANTI, in the Merced Sun-Star

“We have what we’d call an overgrown forest,” Conklin said. Although “it is counterintuitive,” she said, the abundance of trees is hurting the Sierras and reducing California’s water supply...
Conklin said the cost of [thinning] would be far less than the cost of fighting massive blazes like the Rim fire.

As worry about San Joaquin Valley’s groundwater supply grows, hydrologists contend there’s another water issue lurking: Sierra runoff contaminated with sediment from last summer’s Rim fire.

“We’re going to see massive amounts of sediment (flowing from the burn area), and much of it will end up in the Don Pedro Reservoir,” warned Jim Branham of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. “It’s going to have dramatic and significant long-term consequences.”

That’s a concern for Stanislaus County residents because Don Pedro is jointly owned by the Modesto Irrigation District and the Turlock Irrigation District. Water from Don Pedro flows to farms throughout the region, and it is the source of much of Modesto’s drinking water.

Read more at the Merced Sun-Star

Also ran in the Modesto Bee

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