The signs are up all around Stanislaus County. “Worth your Fight,” they say, and the “o” in “worth” is in the shape of a water drop. Local media and political leaders are shouting, “water grab,” and have plenty of support in their opposition to the state’s proposal to increase flows along Valley rivers. Water, of course, is worth everyone’s fight, and that’s just where the state’s problems begin. King Solomon […]
Almond orchards Stanislaus County
Parting the Waters: No Ag Miracles
They’re still planting trees. Look anywhere around the northern San Joaquin Valley and you’ll see saplings—mostly almonds—being hurled into the ground like spears. This during the worst drought in memory. Most of the new orchards will have few or no surface water rights. They will be strictly groundwater-dependent. And that’s just one reason opposition to the state’s proposals for increased flows along Valley rivers rings so false. “If you increase […]
Regulate Land, Water, and Crops
When the Lost Angeles Times’ George Skelton proposed government regulation of crops last month, his column sparked a puzzling response from Modesto Bee editors. In, “Our View: Farmers don’t need help deciding what to plant,” the Bee slammed Skelton, saying, “It [Skelton’s column] could only have been written by someone with virtually no knowledge of actual farming.” Skelton may not be an expert on farming, but that’s irrelevant to his […]
Will the Kite Survive?
In his classic Birds of the Pacific States, Ralph Hoffmann laments the decline of the White-tailed Kite: “The softness of its coloring and the confiding and gentle nature of the White-tailed Kite, so different from the wildness of most birds of prey, make a strong appeal to lovers of nature, but not alas! to the usual run of gunners.” First published in 1927, Hoffmann’s book was reprinted for at […]
Are the People Ready to Take Their Water Back?
On March 6, in what was called “a victory for environmentalists, sport fishers, Delta farmers and State Water Project taxpayers,” a judge ruled that the state Department of Water Resources provided an insufficient environmental review of impacts of the Kern Water Bank. Though it’s gotten little local attention, the short history of the Kern Water Bank (KWB) recounts one of the biggest water scandals in recent times. In essence, the KWB […]