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UC to host drought summit April 25 in Sacramento

Oak tree stressed by drought. Photo by Larry Costello
As Californians struggle through a third consecutive dry year, nearly 300 people are expected to attend the UC Drought Science, Policy and Management Summit on Friday, April 25, at the State Capitol.

In January, when California was facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought State of Emergency  and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages.

“While the water picture has improved since January, we are still experiencing severe drought conditions,” said Doug Parker, director of the UC California Institute for Water Resources. “The drought summit will provide information about UC's contribution to drought solutions in both the near term and long term.”

The free public summit will bring together a wide range of experts in water sciences, water management and policymaking from UC campuses and other California institutions to discuss immediate and long-term water management strategies. They will cover topics ranging from agricultural production and employment to the California economy, energy production and use, fish and wildlife, water conservation, public health and wildfires. There will be water-saving advice for residents, farmers and business owners.

Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Matthew St. Clair, UC sustainability manager, will open the event with a review of what UC is doing to conserve water.

“Given the UC's unique role and public service responsibility, we called for a summit of faculty from across our campuses and others to explore the best ways to mitigate effects of the current drought and prepare for future water shortages," UC President Janet Napolitano and UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said in a jointly signed statement.

“We expect the summit will spur collaborative problem-solving engagements that outlast the current drought,” said Jay Lund, director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis, which is organizing the summit.

The discussion panels and presentations will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Room 4202 of the Capitol, followed by a reception at the UC Center Sacramento. To see the agenda and to register, visit

California Drought Resources

California Drought Watch

Drought Resources in Spanish

Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 2:49 PM
Tags: Drought (14)

The joy of eating green: Ten things you should know about saving money and eating healthier

Amy Block Joy (Photo by Fred Speiser)
You skipped breakfast and you're walking into the supermarket without a shopping list. Distracted by several two-legged and four-legged members of your household trying to compete for your attention, you left the list clipped to your refrigerator door.

You're famished. The potato chips look good. The glazed doughnuts look even better. And that chocolate candy bar? To die for.

Bring ‘em on!

No, wait a minute. Let's get real, let's get green and let's get healthy. And let's save some money.

Nutritionist Amy Block Joy,  Cooperative Extension specialist emeritus, teaches a University of California, Davis, freshman class on “Eating Green” and we asked her for the 10 best ways to save money and eat healthier.

Joy, who holds a doctorate in nutritional sciences from UC Berkeley, specializes in nutrition and health disparities of diverse populations and nutritional ecology, as well as workplace ethics.

 Her advice needs to be posted on every refrigerator in the country. (Along with that shopping list!)

  1. Shop with a list: Using a list will keep you focused on meal planning and reduce the temptation to buy unneeded items.

  2. Don't shop when you're hungry: Temptation is high when you're hungry. Eat first and you'll be less inclined to spend extra dollars on those food items placed near the check-out stand that are high in calories and fat and low in nutrition. That would be snacks! Try shopping after a meal and you will find yourself less tempted by those chocolate-covered pretzels!

  3. Please don't pass by the peas. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
    Read the nutrition facts label:
    When shopping for the healthiest foods, you should read the nutrition fact labels to check out fat, calories, fiber, carbohydrates and sodium. Aim for low-fat, high-fiber foods that have essential vitamins and minerals. For example, if you want the best source of fiber - buy fresh oranges and eat them raw rather than selecting orange juice. However, if you want juice, be sure that you are getting real juice. And, some juices are now fortified with calcium - a big plus for increasing your calcium intake if you are not drinking milk. 

  4. Read the ingredient lists: The ingredient list will provide important clues on products that you'll want to include in your diet. One of them is to look for whole grains. The information on the product may make you think the product is "natural" but what does that really mean? Not much because the phrase you want to look for is the "USDA organic" label. With so many choices of breads these days, you'll want to find ones that have whole grains and fiber. Find the information by reading the label (compare fiber amounts) and ingredients (look for "whole" grains).

  5. Asparagus is part of going green. There's also a white variety now. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
    Compare prices:
    Supermarkets provide price-comparison information located by their products. You can compare the "unit" costs so that you'll be able to determine the lowest cost of the product. Two words of caution: products "on sale" may not be the best bargains.

  6. Shop the perimeter of the store: Marketing experts have placed the healthiest foods at the farthest corners of the store so that the shopper has to stroll through the other items before finding fruits and vegetables, protein sources (poultry, meats), dairy products and cereal products. 

  7. Think protein: Buy meat and poultry on sale and use these foods to make stews, soups and chili. This way you can stretch these more expensive food sources. Beans are a great source of protein and are low fat and high in fiber. 

  8. Plan meals ahead: The best way to save money is to plan your meals in advance. Buying unprocessed foods will improve your health and also save money. It costs to add preservatives, food additives and packaging of products that you, the consumer, are paying for. It's much cheaper to buy rice in bulk rather than already prepared rice products. Brown rice contains more fiber than white rice.

  9. Cook! Your grandmother was right. Food prepared from scratch will taste better, be healthier and save money. Research has shown that cooking not only saves money but improves nutrition.  

  10. Enjoy! Food is meant to be a pleasant happy experience. Don't forget to enjoy it!

So, the next time you're racing out the door on your way to the supermarket, be sure to eat first so you're not tempted by foods that you know aren't good for you.

And that shopping list? You can also key that in on your cell phone so neither the list, nor your phone, will get left behind.

Meanwhile, we all ought to follow Amy Block Joy's great advice on saving money, eating green, and being healthier.  

As I wrote on one of my college essays, "We have a choice in the matter and it matters that we have a choice."

The produce aisle is a good place to
The produce aisle is a good place to "go green and eat healthier." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The produce aisle is a good place to "go green and eat healthier." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Grocery stores usually place fruits and vegetables around the perimeter. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Grocery stores usually place fruits and vegetables around the perimeter. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Grocery stores usually place fruits and vegetables around the perimeter. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Broccoli--a food everyone should love. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Broccoli--a food everyone should love. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Broccoli--a food everyone should love. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 12:54 PM

How are you conserving?

Overhead irrigation can help save water on farms.
People, animals and plants all need water to survive, yet we have less than 1 percent of the earth's water available for our use. And our water supply is diminishing. This year's record California drought conditions mean that now, more than ever, every drop counts.

Californians currently use an average of 196 gallons of water per person per day, including all business operations other than agriculture. The average household uses 30 percent of its water outdoors for landscaping and gardening. Inside the home, the majority is used in the bathroom. Just shortening your daily shower by a minute or two can save as much as 700 gallons of water every month!

Did you know that if everyone in the state reduced her or his water consumption by 10 gallons a month, California would save a total of 4.56 billion gallons every year?

The University of California is pledging to reduce its water consumption by 20 percent by 2020. Now we want to know, how are you conserving?

On May 8, 2014, we're asking you to tell us what you are doing to conserve water.

Have you started to take shorter showers? Invested in low-flow faucets and toilets? Let your grass go brown or swapped it for drought-tolerant landscaping? If you're a farmer, do you use new, higher-efficiency irrigation technology?

Maybe you already are conserving water; maybe you aren't. Either way, we want to know about it — and remember, in a survey like this there's no wrong answer. Your answers will help create a clearer picture of what all of us are doing — and can do — to protect our water resources.

Build a more secure future for you and your community in five simple steps:


On May 8, 2014, go online and visit the map at


Enter your ZIP Code or zoom to your current location on the map.


Click on your location.


Use the online checklist to select all of the ways you are conserving water.


Attach a photo showing how you're conserving water!

Visit to learn more about this project and record your observations.

For an overview, see the video below:

Content of this post by the education team: Steven Worker, Melissa Womack, Marisa Neelon, Karey Winfield-Royas, Pam Kan-Rice and Jennifer Rindahl. Video production by Alberto Hauffen.

Posted on Monday, April 21, 2014 at 1:42 PM
Tags: beascientist (1), centennial (1), water (8)

Be on the lookout for spotted wing drosophila

Small hole or "sting" created by by SWD on a ripe cherry. (Photo by Larry L. Strand.)
It's cherry growing season and a good time to begin looking for spotted wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii. SWD is a small fruit fly that attacks soft-flesh fruit such as cherry, blueberry, raspberry and blackberry. It first appeared in 2010, and its damage to fruit and increased management costs led to significant economic losses to cherry growers throughout California and the Pacific Northwest.

Unlike other fruit flies that infest rotted fruit, SWD attacks undamaged fruit. As cherry fruit begins to develop and starts to change color from light green to straw, SWD lays its eggs just under the skin of fruit, creating a small scar or a“sting.” One to three larvae may develop inside each cherry, feeding on the fruit and causing it to become brown and soft. Many times SWD flies are not noticed until fruit is mature, and by that time management is not very effective.

Adult male spotted wing drosophila. Note the dark spot on the tip of its wings. (Photo by Larry L. Strand.)
Prevention is the key, and one way to prevent damage is to monitor for the pest when it first becomes active. SWD can be monitored with several types of traps partly filled with apple cider vinegar to lure the pest. Monitor traps weekly through the end of harvest, and be sure to confirm the presence of SWD, as other Drosophila spp. may be present in trap catches. SWD males have a single dark spot on the tip of its wing and females have a large ovipositor. See the UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines for identification help and a dichotomous key.

Spotted wing drosophila is still a relatively new pest, and management information continues to change. David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Kern County, and other researchers have been working to provide what help they can. Haviland has designed a bucket trap called the “Haviland trap” and is working with others to field-test experimental lures for SWD. He's also studying a possible biological control agent. Research has led to new grower guidelines so that early season cherries can be produced and sold internationally. Check out the 2014 Recommendations for Sweet Cherry (PDF).

For management in backyard cherries or other urban areas, see the SWD Pest Note.

For more information about UC IPM's recent work, see the 2013 Annual Report.

The Haviland trap, named after UCCE advisor David Haviland. (Photo by D. Haviland.)
Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Alfalfa, Grains, & Field Crop, Irrigation, Pest Management Field Day Coming up at Davis

Please join us for a field day coming up soon.  We will heavily feature irrigation management issues, which are key to alfalfa producers in this drought year, but also a range of pest management and crop management issues. PCA and CCA Credits are...

Posted on Monday, April 14, 2014 at 11:24 PM

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