Thursday, February 27, 2014

News articles and links from February 27, 2014


From: Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle

The celebrated king salmon of the West Coast won't be as abundant as last year, but ocean fishermen can still expect to reel them in by the score despite a third year of drought and potentially dire conditions in California rivers, fisheries biologists said Wednesday.

The National Marine Fisheries Service predicted Wednesday that 634,650 fall-run chinook salmon from the Sacramento river system would be out in the ocean this year, a good sign for local commercial and recreational fishermen and women whose livelihoods aren't likely to be threatened by major restrictions.

Water Supply

From: Matt Weiser, Sacramento Bee

The strain on water supplies in this serious drought year was evident this week, as major landowners in the Sacramento Valley protested the federal government's forecast that it will deliver only 40 percent of usual water supplies.

That 40 percent allotment for the so-called Sacramento River settlement contractors is only a forecast by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, based on drought conditions that are expected to deplete snowmelt. Such a low allocation has never been made before, and it is well below the 75 percent that the settlement contractors say is the minimum they should receive under any conditions.

From: Ramona Giwargis, Merced Sun-Star

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture will come to Merced next week to meet with the governor's Drought Task Force and local leaders to discuss the drought's impact on agriculture, the agency announced Wednesday.

Members of the task force are traveling around the state to meet with local officials to learn how communities are coping with drought effects.

From: Daniel Wood, Christian Science Monitor

Conventional water wisdom in California boils down to this: Eighty percent of the water is allocated to farmers, 20 percent to cities. But 36 months into the state's worst-ever drought - 12 months of the driest on record, following 24 below normal - cattle are going without food on mud-cracked rangelands yet fountains flow freely in Los Angeles water parks.


From: Staff, Modesto Bee

There were several positives in the first meeting of the Stanislaus County Water Advisory Committee, which is tasked with developing recommendations on the equitable management and regulation of groundwater in Stanislaus County.

First, the county gave the 19-member committee a June 11 deadline to report back to the Board of Supervisors. That creates a sense of urgency, which is desperately needed during a drought that has reached crisis dimension. Some farmers have drilled huge wells, which threaten to lower water tables in several parts of the county.

From: B.K. Brooks, Chico Enterprise-Record

Droughts come and go. It's history folks, whether you call it normal weather cycles that do include dramatic extremes, or global warming, err, cooling, err, change or whatever. But what really gets me is when the greens claim that even more reservoirs are not the answer.

Put simply most statistics suggest we are nearing twice the population that our reservoirs were meant to handle. Smug greenies say even if you build you would still have only 38 percent of normal reservoirs. Personally I would rather have 10 more reservoirs at 38 percent full than just a few we have due to the moratorium we have had inflicted on us for almost 50 years now.

Water Bond

From: Staff, Modesto Bee

Drought worries are prompting state lawmakers from this area to pitch bills competing with the California water bond up for a statewide vote in November.

Sen. Cathleen Galgiani on Tuesday joined a parade of legislators, including Sen. Anthony Cannella and Assemblyman Adam Gray, who are advocating differing responses to a third dry winter and dwindling water sources.

Food News

From: Jeanne Fratello, Jolly Tomato

If your city is covered in snow and ice, where are you going to get your fresh fruits and vegetables? In many cases, they'll be grown in the low desert of California's Imperial and Coachella Valleys. On the first leg of our farm tour with the California Farm Water Coalition we learned about growing spinach and lettuce in Imperial Valley; today's portion included a lesson on citrus, date, and pepper farming in Coachella Valley.

From: Christine Souza, AgAlert

Faced with severe water shortages, growers of nut crops such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios are making tough decisions that include removing orchards, using just enough irrigation to keep their trees alive, or taking their chances with growing a crop.

An almond farmer in the Westlands Water District who expects no surface water, Barry Baker, said he is destroying 1,000 acres of almond trees and has earmarked another 1,000 acres for removal.

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