California’s Wildflower Bloom Boom

People view fields of flowers at Carrizo Plain National Monument, California’s largest remaining grassland.
Claire Harbage/NPR

When lemons are plentiful, make the best of it:

California’s destructively wet winter has a bright side. You’ll want to see it

A benefit of California’s wet winter is what is known as a superbloom. Flowers including purple phacelia, yellow goldfields, hillside daisies and tidy tips grow at Carrizo Plain National Monument. Claire Harbage/NPR

CARRIZO PLAIN NATIONAL MONUMENT, Calif. — The roads are still rutted where rainwater carved them and farms are still flooded down the valley, but here in California’s largest remaining grassland, the benefits of the state’s destructively wet winter are on full display.

And they’re spectacular.

Wildflowers — yellow, purple, blue and orange — are splattered across the landscape in sweeps and pools like a clumsy airbrush painting.

Flowers are splattered across the landscape at Carrizo Plain. Claire Harbage/NPR

A superbloom. Seas of wildflowers so vast they can be seen from space.

“This is definitely one of the benefits to a wet year like we just had,” said Gabe Garcia, the head of the Bakersfield field office of the Bureau of Land Management, while standing amid a field of purple phacelia, yellow goldfields, hillside daisies and tidy tips. “For perspective, last year this area [looked like] it was mowed. No vegetation coverage. Almost like dirt.”

Now the flowers reach his knees…

The flourish of color and buzz of new life do little to alleviate the suffering that thousands of Californians have experienced in recent months. Estimates for economic damages from one series of storms in early January are in the billions of dollars alone. California has proclaimed states of emergencies for 47 counties since the start of February. And in some parts of the state’s Central Valley, a national agricultural hub, people are preparing to be flooded, possibly, for years.

“I try to look at it as: these floods are devastation for some but they’re also opportunities,” said Matt Kaminski, a regional biologist for Ducks Unlimited…

Read the whole story here.

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