Report looks at Central Valley's environmental health

July 18, 2012

MODESTO -- An in-depth look at the state of the valley's environment finds much has improved but far more needs to be done to forge a healthy, prosperous future.

The Great Valley Center and Sierra Nevada Research Institute at the University of California Merced today released its latest "State of the Great Central Valley of California" report, focusing on quality of air, water, land, endangered species, waste disposal and energy.

The report notes the valley's population is expected nearly to double by 2050, straining all these areas and making strategic planning critical.

Report recommendations:

Raise air quality standards across the region. Use more fuel-efficient diesel trucks to lower ozone and pave rural roads to reduce dust in the air.

Invest in water management and infrastructure to protect and restore the valley's diminishing supply, including better irrigation technologies and infrastructure.

Increase water recycling, use of aquifers and urban efficiency.
Take a more careful approach to urbanization of prime soils as the economy improves, increasing the density of urban areas and transportation choices. These need to be brought into city and county general plans.

Embrace renewable energy technologies, taking advantage of a climate and landscape ideal for solar panel, wind and biomass energy farms.

Raise standards for energy-efficient building construction.

Put a higher priority on planning and data-gathering to assess environmental health and restore biological diversity.