El Nino will hopefully bring rain to Catalina Island

Catalina Island

Residents of Catalina Island and the rest of the Southern California mainland are hoping for a gift from a child this winter. El Nino, Spanish for The Child, is a phenomenon that brings warmer water to the eastern Pacific. Among other global impacts, El Nino tends to bring heavier than normal rainfall to Southern California – just what is needed to end a severe drought that has continued to plague the region.

On Catalina Island, the drought has stressed the island’s normally limited water supplies almost to the breaking point. Residents and visitors alike have worked together to conserve, taking shorter showers, consolidating laundry loads and forgoing tap water in restaurants, among many efforts. Those efforts have paid off, resulting in a dramatic reduction in water usage, but ending the drought is up to Mother Nature.

While El Nino brings the promise of rain, its warmer waters also have an impact on marine life. One of the most visible impacts has been on Catalina Island’s kelp forests, which thrive in colder waters. Much of the kelp has succumbed and been further impacted by sargassum, an invasive seagrass that colonizes the areas where the kelp used to thrive.