Wednesday June 29, 2022

Eureka Times-Standard

Humboldt County, like counties across the state, is working on how to prepare for drought as the climate changes, though this year isn’t expected to be as bad as last year in some important ways.

Hank Seemann, the county’s deputy director of Environmental Services, told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that each watershed is different, but flows in rivers like the Eel River are around the levels they were in 2020, which was a dry year but not a critically dry year. Streamflow in the Eel was 432 cubic feet per second on Tuesday compared to 144 cubic feet per second a year prior, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

“What we can expect over the next few months is that our flows will be relatively low,” Seemann said. “They’ll be below average, but they won’t be as bad as they were last year and they won’t be as low as they were during our historic dry periods of 2014 and 1977.”

The western U.S. has been experiencing a yearslong historic drought and Humboldt County is experiencing its third driest year on record. Despite that, the county’s streams are flowing at normal or above normal rates and much of the northern and western parts of the county aren’t experiencing high evaporative demand, according to Drought.gov.

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