Gold Rush To Dry Rash

Submitted by ub on Tue, 02/14/2023 - 15:22

The California Gold Rush was sparked by the discovery of large gold nuggets throughout the Sacramento Valley in early 1848. 

It was one of the most significant events ever to shape American history during the first half of the 19th century.

The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. The sudden influx of gold into the money supply reinvigorated the American economy; the sudden population increase allowed California to go rapidly to statehood in the Compromise of 1850. The Gold Rush had severe effects on Native Californians and accelerated the Native American population's decline from disease, starvation, and the California genocide.

Fast forward to present days... Wildfire and drought are shrinking California’s snowpack. For decades, Californians have depended on the reliable appearance of spring and summer snowmelt to provide nearly a third of the state’s supply of water. But as the state gets drier, and as wildfires climb to ever-higher elevations, that precious snow is melting faster and earlier than in years past — even in the middle of winter.

That’s posing a threat to the timing and availability of water in California, according to a recent study, which found that the effects of climate change are compounding to accelerate snowpack decline.

Planada tries to recover from the January storms and flooding

The January storms inundated most of Planada. About half the homes were damaged and so was the elementary school. Many homes in the California town were destroyed. Most residents do not have savings to fall back upon, let alone flood insurance. Many residents are undocumented farmworkers, making it more difficult to qualify for federal disaster funds.

The challenges are daunting: How will people rebuild? Will a significant slice of the population wind up permanently displaced? How should the county, state, and federal governments help?

Government official say a sequence of nine atmospheric rivers made landfall along the California coast from December 26 through January 17. One of the atmospheric rivers was exceptional, four were strong, and four were moderate.