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Mar 04 2013

A Few Good Reads (3/4/13): Hybrid Levees, Removal of Whittenton Dam

This week: A video about Brown’s Canyon in the Upper Arkansas River Valley, hybrid levees for protecting the coast, removal of the Whittenton Dam and restoration of the Mill River, reasons the FAA should integrate UAS, and how all online maps are flawed.

Snowpack two-thirds of normal while reservoirs are about average(Sacramento Bee)

DWR estimates it will be able to deliver 40 percent of the 4 million acre-feet of water requested by the 29 public agencies it serves. They supply more than 25 million people and nearly a million acres of farmland from San Jose to San Diego. San Joaquin Valley farmers served by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation have been told to expect 25 percent of requested water deliveries.

Bay Area environmental group proposes hybrid levees for bay (Mercury News)

“Marshes act as the lungs of the bay,” said John Bourgeois, manager of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. “They can clean and filter the water that comes down our tributaries before it hits the bay.”

The tall, dense vegetation of tidal marshes can also absorb a significant amount of the energy of surging ocean waves during storms. “The concept is a good one. The physics of it are accurate,” said Lisamarie Windham-Myers, a wetland ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey. “It’s been proven over and over that wetlands help reduce storm surges.” Therefore, she said, levees don’t have to be as tall.

River Impossible: The Hazard of Whittenton Dam and the Mill River Restoration (American Rivers)

This Spring, American Rivers and its partners are removing this hazardous and environmentally damaging dam for good, once we pull together the final funding needed to complete our years of work. Along with eliminating a public safety hazard, removing the dam is part of a larger project that will allow hundreds of thousands of river herring to once again migrate each year to spawn in Lake Sabbatia and elsewhere upstream.

5 Reasons the FAA Should Move Faster on UAS Integration (geodatapoint)

As an innovative new tool for geospatial data collection, UAS have the potential to create a booming new market. Currently, federal, state and local agencies and educational institutions can request a certificate of authorization or waiver (COA) to fly UAS in a particular area for a particular purpose, while private commercial use of UAS is prohibited. Opening national airspace to commercial use of UAS will create new revenue streams through the manufacture and sale of UAS and related components, as well as the increased value of surveying and mapping deliverables for engineering and design projects.

All Online Maps Suck (Jonathan Crowe)

Every map, no matter how good overall, has weaknesses.

This is not new. Paper maps were never free from errors, after all, and with satnavs, even the best onboard maps would become less reliable if you didn’t purchase the updates.

But online maps are different: we’re using them much more often than we ever did paper maps or even satnavs. We haven’t just delegated our navigation skills to them: we’ve integrated them into our maps and websites, we rely on them for transit schedules and business listings. They give us a false sense of security and a false sense of reality: we forget that the map isn’t the territory.

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