– “People think of gold as being key for California’s history, which of course it was,” said aquatic biologist John Melack, a distinguished professor at UC Santa Barbara, “but really, the gold is the Sierra Nevada snowpack. That’s what makes California what it is.” Melack and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Jeff Dozier, of UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management have released “Lakes and Watersheds in the Sierra Nevada of California”, which synthesizes over 40 years of research on the mountains. Along with coauthors James Sickman and Steven Sadro, at UC Riverside and UC Davis, respectively, Melack and Dozier set out a comprehensive account of the hydrology, ecology and biogeochemistry of California’s snow-capped range. The text covers an important topic at a crucial time. The Sierra snowpack accounts for about two-thirds of California’s water needs, a resource it provides slowly over the course of spring and summer. However, the amount of water that falls as snow in the mountains is decreasing as the world warms. As the Sierra snowpack declines and a greater fraction of the precipitation falls as rain instead, Californians will have to respond. This book can serve as a guide to the intrinsically variable nature of the high Sierra, where precipitation can fluctuate by a factor of four from one year to the next. From Noozhawk. (more)