California’s water resources currently support 35 million people and irrigate more than 5.68 million acres of farmland. Due to the state’s natural resources development, especially water, California has become a premier agricultural producer, a major location for manufacturing, the most populated state in the nation and the eighth largest economy in the world. However, this rigorous development has had consequences for natural resources in California.
Fish populations have decreased, wetlands have been drained to create landfills, and dams and levees have changed the course of natural water flows. Invasive species and plants are altering ecosystems and affecting native habitat. Many species of native plants and wildlife have been depleted or become extinct altogether, and water quality has been lowered by ranching, agriculture, mining and urban sources of pollution.