The September 2014 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine (LAM) takes a trip down a very dry stretch of California to report on the increasing alarm over shrinking reserves as the state's drought turns "exceptional" as it enters a third year.
This month's issue also has excellent reporting on the saga of a famous Hamptons beach house moved inland from the threat of crashing waves, and an update on scientists' attempts in California to control the ravaging plant disease known as sudden oak death.
Click on the links for a sneak preview of the articles. The articles are embargoed until August 31, but requests for interviews with the editor and writers may be submitted immediately.
"Run Dry" by Bill Marken takes stock of the effects of California's exceptional drought, which is now in its third year. Marken travels through California, from the San Francisco Bay area through the San Joaquin Valley and down to Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley after the driest year and the warmest winter in the state's recorded history. He reports on the devastating effects of the drought-fried landscapes and reservoirs at startlingly low levels-and yet finds places such as almond orchards and golf resorts where heavy water use goes unabated while other places squirm under water restrictions. In addition to the report printed in LAM, the magazine will offer web-only interviews with four California landscape architects about how the drought is affecting their design practice.
"Bill Marken, a veteran editor who has lived and worked in California his whole life, explores dimensions of the drought as only he can, with intimate knowledge of the land, its uses, and its widely varying ecology," says Bradford McKee, editor-in-chief of Landscape Architecture Magazine.
"Salvation in a Grain of Sand" by Mac Griswold, tells the extraordinary story of one couple, Sandy and Steve Perlbinder, as they moved their iconic 1970s modernist house by the architect Norman Jaffe 400 feet farther back from the shoreline of Sagaponack, in the Hamptons of eastern Long Island. The dune on which the house rested was destroyed in a 1998 storm-a harbinger of rising tides yet to come. The landscape architect Christopher Laguardia designed an entirely new landscape, including new dunes, for the property. Given more recent storms, the Perlbinders' efforts to protect their dunes from heavy waves and storm surges continues, while many of their Hamptons neighbors, as Griswold details, are only beginning to cope with the ocean's threat to their luxury waterfront houses.
"Mac Griswold, who lives on Long Island's east end, brings her deep familiarity with the region to this story of the increasingly uneasy relationship between the unpredictable ocean and a playground for the rich," says McKee. "She calls it a 'chess match with nature.' It's that serious."
"An Oak Stalker, Still At Large" by Lisa Owens Viani, details the state of current research on an elusive and maddening plant disease caused by a mold, Phytophthora ramorum. The disease strikes and kills most kinds of oaks and tanoaks along the cloud belt of the California and Oregon coasts. But unlike many highly specific plant diseases such as citrus canker or potato blight, P. ramorum can infect more than 100 host plants. Not all hosts die of the disease, but some, like the highly susceptible California bay laurel (the common bay tree) contribute to its virulent spread by water droplets. Curiously, the only upper hand in slowing the disease recently has been California's persistent drought. The disease has "tormented" researchers, who as yet have found no way to eradicate the pathogen. Containment measures, such as quarantines of nursery stock, have been in effect, though some quarantines were recently relaxed, to the dismay of scientists.
"Sudden oak death is a disease that strikes fear in the hearts of anyone who makes a living from horticulture in California," says McKee. "Lisa Owens Viani also bracingly brings home the alarm the disease's devastation is causing among natural resource managers-particularly fire officials, given the widespread mortality it causes in forests."
Editor-in-chief Bradford McKee and freelance writer Bill Marken are available for interviews.
About Landscape Architecture Magazine
Founded in 1910, Landscape Architecture Magazine (LAM) is the monthly magazine of the American Society of Landscape Architects. It is the magazine of record for the landscape architecture profession in North America, reaching more than 60,000 readers who plan and design projects valued at more than $140 billion each year. LAM is available in both print and digital formats by subscription and may also be found each month in more than 500 bookstores across the United States and Canada.