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Identifying High-Priority Dams For Fish Survival

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Long Valley Dam on the Owens River is one of 181 California dams UC Davis researchers identified as candidates for increased water flows to protect native fish downstream. (Image: Stephen Volpin)
Long Valley Dam on the Owens River is one of 181 California dams UC Davis researchers identified as candidates for increased water flows to protect native fish downstream. (Image: Stephen Volpin)

Scientists have identified 181 California dams that may need to increase water flows to protect native fish downstream.

Oct. 22, 2014
By Kat Kerlin
University of California, Davis

Scientists have identified 181 California dams that may need to increase water flows to protect native fish downstream. The screening tool developed by the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis, to select “high-priority” dams may be particularly useful during drought years amid competing demands for water.

“It is unpopular in many circles to talk about providing more water for fish during this drought, but to the extent we care about not driving native fish to extinction, we need a strategy to keep our rivers flowing below dams,” said lead author Ted Grantham, a postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis during the study and currently a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “The drought will have a major impact on the aquatic environment.”

The study, published Oct. 15 in the journal BioScience, evaluated 753 large dams in California and screened them for evidence of altered water flows and damage to fish. About 25 percent, or 181, were identified as having flows that may be too low to sustain healthy fish populations.

The “high-priority” list includes:

  • Some of the state’s biggest dams: Trinity Dam on the Trinity River, New Melones Dam on the Stanislaus River, Pine Flat on Kings River, and Folsom Dam on the American River.
  • Dams on rivers with the greatest richness of native species: Woodbridge Diversion Dam on the Mokelumne River, Nash Dam in Shasta County, and three rubber dams on lower Alameda Creek.
  • Dams affecting the greatest number of native species with sensitive population status: Keswick and Anderson-Cottonwood dams on the Sacramento River, and Woodbridge and Nash dams.

A 2011 study found that 80 percent of California’s native fish are at risk of extinction if present trends Read the rest of this entry »

$18.75 M To Boost International Efforts

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Diana Barrett of UC Davis, left, watches as Noel Makete of Kenya and Pendo Bigambo of Tanzania slide amaranth leaves into a solar dryer for a demonstration of postharvest practices. Barrett led a year-long training of new postharvest experts from seven African countries that culminated in classes and demonstrations at the Postharvest Technology and Services Center in Arusha, Tanzania, as part of a project with the Horticulture Innovation Lab. (Photo: Amanda Crump | UC Davis)
Diana Barrett of UC Davis, left, watches as Noel Makete of Kenya and Pendo Bigambo of Tanzania slide amaranth leaves into a solar dryer for a demonstration of postharvest practices. Barrett led a year-long training of new postharvest experts from seven African countries that culminated in classes and demonstrations at the Postharvest Technology and Services Center in Arusha, Tanzania, as part of a project with the Horticulture Innovation Lab. (Photo: Amanda Crump | UC Davis)

New grant aims to build global food security and research international produce.

Oct. 17, 2014
By Pat Bailey
University of California, Davis

A new $18.75 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development will boost international fruit and vegetable research led by the University of California, Davis.

The award extends for five more years a research program established at UC Davis in 2009 as the Horticulture Collaborative Research Support Program. Recently, the program was renamed the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Horticulture.

“We believe this new, larger investment validates the work we’ve done with the Horticulture Innovation Lab and recognizes the pivotal role that fruits and vegetables play in people’s lives, both in improving health and increasing rural incomes,” said Elizabeth Mitcham, program director and a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences.

New tools for farmers around the world

In its first four years, the Horticulture Innovation Lab trained nearly 32,000 individuals in more than 30 countries, including more than 9,800 farmers who have improved their farming practices. The program also established regional centers in Thailand, Honduras and Kenya as hubs to circulate the program’s research findings.

Through collaborative research, the program has successfully adapted more than 500 new tools, management practices and seed varieties to aid farmers who grow fruits and vegetables in different countries.

One such tool is called the CoolBot, a temperature control system developed by an American farmer as an inexpensive way to cool his farm’s produce. The system was later marketed to other small-scale farmers in the United States to reduce losses of fruits and vegetables after harvest. Read the rest of this entry »

Mail-In-Ballot Rejections Analyzed In Study

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Nearly 69,000 mailed ballots were not counted in the 2012 California General Election. (Photo: Chris J. Nicolini | UC Davis)
Nearly 69,000 mailed ballots were not counted in the 2012 California General Election. (Photo: Chris J. Nicolini | UC Davis)

Top reasons why ballots were rejected: not arriving on time, not being signed or because signatures could not be verified.

Sept. 26, 2014
By Jeffrey Day
University of California, Davis

Voting by mail surpassed 50 percent of votes cast in a general election in California for the first time in 2012. A new study shows that nearly 69,000 mailed ballots, or about 1 percent, were not counted, and why they were rejected.

The top three reasons mail-in ballots were rejected: not arriving on time, not being signed or because signatures could not be verified, according to the study to be released Sept. 29 by the California Civic Engagement Project at the University of California, Davis, Center for Regional Change.

“California has one of the highest mail ballot rejection rates in the country,” said study author Mindy Romero, director of the California Civic Engagement Project. “Although 1 percent may not seem very high, that’s tens of thousands of people whose votes were not counted. And these votes could make the difference in close elections.”

A panel discussion on voting by mail with Romero, Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation and Jill La Vine, registrar of voters for Sacramento County, will be held at noon, Oct. 14 at the UC Center in Sacramento.

“This is the first statewide study of why some mail-in ballots are rejected,” Romero said. “People have taken the time to study the issues, fill out the ballot and mail or deliver it. They trust it is going to be counted.”

Read the rest of this entry »

University College Dublin, UC Davis To Continue Cooperation

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(Credit: Joseph Mischyshyn | http://bit.ly/1rqA13v)
(Credit: Joseph Mischyshyn | http://bit.ly/1rqA13v)

Agreement strengthens existing research, innovation and cultural links between the two institutions.

Sept. 26, 2014
By Andy Fell
University of California, Davis

University College Dublin and the University of California, Davis have signed an agreement of cooperation to further develop education, research, innovation and cultural links between the two institutions. The signing took place at an event Sept. 24 at the Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C.

“Researchers and academics at our institutions have been sharing ideas and working together for some time, but this agreement shows a real commitment on both sides to collaborate even further towards common goals. It heralds a new stage of cooperation between our two universities; a stage which promises to be exciting and exhilarating for all,” said Professor Andrew J. Deeks, President of University College Dublin.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi said, “This new agreement stands as a truly significant development, not just for our two institutions but also for education and research in food and health worldwide. By creating a more formal collaborative relationship, we are building on current collaborations and leveraging the expertise and effort of two of the finest universities in the world.” Read the rest of this entry »

Study: No Health Problems For GE-Fed Livestock

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Cows, along with other livestock and poultry, now consume 70-90 percent of all genetically engineered crops. (Debbie Aldridge | UC Davis)
Cows, along with other livestock and poultry, now consume 70-90 percent of all genetically engineered crops. (Debbie Aldridge | UC Davis)

Health of animals consuming genetically engineered feed comparable to non-GE fed livestock.

Sept. 25, 2014
By Pat Bailey
University of California, Davis

A new scientific review from the University of California, Davis, reports that the performance and health of food-producing animals consuming genetically engineered feed, first introduced 18 years ago, has been comparable to that of animals consuming non-GE feed.

The review study also found that scientific studies have detected no differences in the nutritional makeup of the meat, milk or other food products derived from animals that ate genetically engineered feed.

The review, led by UC Davis animal scientist Alison Van Eenennaam, examined nearly 30 years of livestock-feeding studies that represent more than 100 billion animals. Read the rest of this entry »

Wine Leaders Adapt to Drought

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As the baby boomers pass the glass to the millennial generation, there will be trade-offs in consumption, but California wine will hold its own in the global market despite shifts in consumer demographics. (Photo: UC Davis | John Stumbos)
As the baby boomers pass the glass to the millennial generation, there will be trade-offs in consumption, but California wine will hold its own in the global market despite shifts in consumer demographics. (Photo: UC Davis | John Stumbos)

California’s wine industry leaders are adapting to drought and consumer shifts.  

Sept. 22, 2014
By Pat Bailey
University of California, Davis

California wine will hold its own in the global market despite shifts in consumer demographics, scarce water, and competition from imported wines, craft beers and cocktails, according to wine industry leaders surveyed by the University of California, Davis.

Findings from the tandem surveys of wine executives and industry professionals will be presented at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23, during the Wine Industry Financial Symposium at the Napa Valley Marriott in Napa, California.

“Wine industry leaders are keenly aware that this is a time of great change for California wineries and related business,” said Robert Smiley, professor and dean emeritus of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.

“As the baby boomers ‘pass the glass’ to the millennial generation, there will be trade-offs in consumption, but the industry professionals surveyed indicate that they are prepared to meet these and other challenges by adjusting their brand composition, adapting new technologies and becoming more efficient in their use of water,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »