The Stream, July 8, 2021: Dams in California Hurt Ability of Streamside Trees to Adapt to Climate Change


  • Intensively managed dams and canals in California are weakening streamside trees’ ability to adapt to a changing climate.
  • Saudi Arabia supports Egypt and Sudan amid negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
  • A federal appeals court refuses to intervene in the Flint drinking water crisis case after groups accused the presiding judge of bias.
  • The leading candidate for president in Peru campaigns on promises to bring clean water to rural communities.

Residents along the Murray River in Australia hope a new study will focus on blue-green algae that plague many parts of the river.

“I hope this study will endeavor to get to the crux of the problem, not to gloss over it or waste time.” – Greg Milner, a Irymple farmer living along the Murray River. Residents in the watershed say a forthcoming water pollution study needs to include an analysis of blue-green algae, which is worsening in parts of the river. According to ABC News, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority announced it would begin studying water quality in the Murray River over the past 10 years. Residents like Milner said they welcome the study, but hope it focuses on what’s causing the decline and doesn’t simply restate that the problem exists.


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Constant, Compounding Disasters Are Exhausting Emergency Response – Fires, droughts, floods, power outages. The interval between disasters is shortening, or in some cases, disappearing all together.

Dealing With The Soup of Chemicals That Can Get Into Your Drinking Water – All the things that go down the drain and end up at the wastewater treatment plant are not removed there. It’s a soup of chemicals.

Saudi Arabia Supports Egypt and Sudan In Dam Negotiations With Ethiopia 

Al Jazeera reports that Saudi Arabia is supporting Egypt and Sudan amid their dispute with Ethiopia over the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Negotiations over the controversial dam have been simmering for over a decade. While Egypt and Sudan have long worried that the dam could restrict their access to Nile River water, Ethiopia insists the project will bring electricity to millions of its own residents.



New research shows that massive dams and canals in California have stripped streamside trees of the resources needed for them to regenerate. Inside Climate News reports that 95 percent of streamside, or riparian, woodlands in California’s Central Valley have been destroyed to make room for agricultural land. Now, researchers are warning that intensively managed water flows, coupled with a changing climate and increased water demands, are weakening the remaining riparian forests’ capacity to adapt.

$641.25 MILLION

A federal appeals court declined to intervene in the Flint water crisis civil litigation after three groups of objectors asked the court for a “writ of mandamus” and accused U.S. District Judge Judith Levy of showing bias. The Detroit Free Press reports that a writ of mandamus would order Levy to refrain from off-the-record conferences previously held with some parties to the case. The conferences centered on the use of controversial portable bone scanning equipment. The federal appeals court ultimately ruled the objectors did not have grounds to request a writ of mandamus, which are only used in extraordinary circumstances, and that the parties could not prove they should have been included in the aforementioned conferences. The civil litigation is part of a proposed $641 million settlement connected to the city’s lead crisis.


With Pedro Castillo, the son of peasant farmers, holding a slim lead in Peru’s presidential race, Reuters reports that rural Andean highland residents hope that his election will lead to environmental justice in their communities. Rural residents have long clashed with mining companies over allegations that the companies polluted water and soil. Castillo ran on a platform that spoke to the needs of residents like Maxima Ccalla, an indigenous Quechua woman who has spent her life laboring in the Andean highlands.

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