View from the summit of Brokeoff Mountain on January 19, 2014
View from Brokeoff Mountain on January 19, 2014

NPS Photo

Snow-coverd Sulphur Works
Snow-covered Sulphur Works

NPS Photo

California Water Comes from Snow

Snowmelt contributes 75% of all water in streams throughout the west. Snowmelt in Lassen feeds flows into four different watersheds: Upper Feather River, Mill Creek, Pit River, and Battle Creek. These watersheds are part of the CA State Water Project which delivers water to two-thirds of California's population plus supplemental water to approximately 25 million Californians and about 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland. Reduced snowpack, warmer wintertime temperatures, and earlier spring melt will deplete these crucial snow-based reservoirs. On March 12, 2014, the California Cooperative Snow Surveys reported 19-20% of normal snowpack in the northern Sierras. What will California look like with less water?

A black bear crosses a snow field in search of food
A black bear crosses a snow field in search of food

NPS Photo

How Does Drought Affect Wildlife?
Lassen receives 30 feet of snow in an average winter. Marmots, ground squirrels, and bears may emerge from hibernation earlier in the spring due to warming temperatures and lack of snowfall, or not hibernate at all. Without adequate food sources, these animals face the risk of starvation. Amphibians require water to reproduce, and low snowpack and earlier spring melt can decrease the number of ponds or ponds may evaporate before eggs can hatch. Drought can cause animals to congregate at water sources, making them more vulnerable to predation. Additionally limited water and food can cause animals to expand their foraging area, increasing the possibility of wildlife-human interactions.
Pines killed by mountain pine beetle in Colorado
Pines killed by mountain pine beetle in Colorado

Jeffrey A. Hicke, University of Idaho

How Does Drought Affect Trees?

Drought leaves trees thirsty and stressed. With warmer, drier conditions, trees are more likely to become infected with insects. At Lassen, the native Jeffrey pine beetle bore into the trees and lay their eggs, eventually killing the tree. Park staff is currently implementing efforts to lessen the impact of pine beetles on susceptible old growth Jeffrey pines in the Manzanita Lake area. What will you do to protect Lassen's oldest trees?
Area severely affected by fire
Area severely affected by fire

NPS Photo

How Does Drought Effect Fire?

Hot temperatures and dry conditions are a major contributor to an increase in the likelihood and severity of wildfires. Lassen’s winter snowpack normally provides moisture that helps mitigate fire danger well into August. With precipitation far below normal, current fire conditions in the park are similar to what we would typically see in the fall. Without a sufficient snowpack, Lassen can expect to see increased fire danger earlier in the year and for a longer period of time. Have you seen changes in wildfire where you live?
Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center opening
Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center opening

NPS Photo

What is Lassen Doing to Conserve Water?
Lassen is committed to sustainably managing your national park land and taking action to respond to climate change.

  • Use a water-recycling car wash
  • Install low flow or dual flow toilets in new buildings and to replace older fixtures
  • Developed plans to upgrade water systems in the Mineral headquarters area
  • Winterize outdoor spigots to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting
  • Use water saving aerators
  • Sustainably maintain one historic lawn that is dormant in the winter
  • Purchase energy star appliances in new buildings and to replace older fixtures
  • Wash vehicles only as needed
  • Provide composting for employees (provides water-holding organic matter for gardens/landscaping)
  • Share water saving tips in our employee newsletter
  • Use nozzles on hoses to turn water off when not in use
  • Maintain the water-efficient Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center (LEED Platinum rated)
Every drop counts graphic

What Can You Do to Conserve Water?
It takes millions of little raindrops and snowflakes to fill our water reservoirs. Millions of little actions can help keep them full. What will be your contribution?

  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or washing your hands
  • Collect water used while waiting for your shower to heat up to water your plants or pour into your washing machine
  • Try to keep your shower under five minutes to save up to 1,000 gallons per month
  • Wait until your dishwasher is full to run it
  • Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks. One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day!
  • Learn about 100+ ways to conserve at wateruseitwisely.com

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 100
Mineral, CA 96063


(530) 595-4480

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