Ag Today December 3, 2019

Conservation groups sue feds over California water project opinions [Courthouse News Service]

Several fishing and conservation organizations brought a federal complaint Monday over the harm they expect to befall an already threatened species of fish from the Trump administration’s efforts to set new rules for the operation of major California water projects. Led by the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the groups claim that the government’s biological assessments of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project were politically motivated and failed to consider proper environmental protection standards….The suit claims that implementation of the opinions on these projects, which were released in October, puts several endangered fish species at an increased risk for extinction and threatens their natural habitats.


Trading water: Can water shares help save California’s aquifers? [Reuters]

…But Edgar Terry, a fourth-generation farmer in Ventura County, just outside Los Angeles, thinks he has a key to reversing worsening water stress: establishing tradeable rights to shares of fast-depleting groundwater aquifers. Doing so would turn aquifer water into a more valuable asset that could be traded on a market, similar to “cap-and-trade” systems that have been set up to regulate air pollution, conserve fisheries and manage other such common resources….An incipient local initiative spurred by Terry’s idea — the Fox Canyon groundwater market – is set to become the first such system created under landmark state water legislation passed in 2014. It is set to start formally trading next month.


The water wars that defined the American West are heading east [Wall Street Journal]

Water stress, a hallmark of the American West, is spreading east….Increasing competition for water is playing out across the Eastern U.S., a region more commonly associated with floods and hurricanes and one that was mostly a stranger, until recently, to the type of bitter interstate water dispute long seen in the West. Eastern farmers’ rising thirst for water, together with urban growth and climate change, now is taxing water supplies and fueling legal fights that pit states against each other. The shift has exposed the region to changes in water supply occurring globally as swelling populations, surging industrial demand and warmer temperatures turn a resource seen as a natural right into a contested one.


Trump warns trade talks with China may last past 2020 election [New York Times]

President Trump signaled on Tuesday that he was in no rush to end a long trade war with China, suggesting that he could wait until after the 2020 presidential election to strike a deal and sending stock prices tumbling….While Mr. Trump said Tuesday that he had no deadline, he has threatened to impose another round of tariffs on more than $100 billion worth of Chinese goods on Dec. 15….The remarks followed several moves on Monday that renewed the president’s threats of a global trade war….Those moves have reignited uncertainty in a global trade war that had appeared to be calming as the presidential election approaches.


Moorpark City Council to consider interim hemp ban amid complaints [Ventura County Star]

Moorpark officials say dozens of residents have complained to the city about strong odors from industrial hemp farms in the neighboring Tierra Rejada Valley in unincorporated Ventura County. In response, the Moorpark City Council on Wednesday night will consider an interim, 45-day moratorium banning the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, storing and certain sales of industrial hemp in the city….The valley is in unincorporated Ventura County, where hemp crops are allowed. Congress legalized the crop last year.


Raiders of the lost crops: Scientists race against time to save genetic diversity [NPR]

…An international team of researchers has spent six years fanning across the globe, gathering thousands of samples of wild relatives of crops. Their goal: to preserve genetic diversity that could help key crops survive in the face of climate change….More than 100 scientists in 25 countries have been venturing out to collect wild relatives of domesticated crops — like lentils, potatoes, chickpeas and rice — that people rely on around the world. The Crop Trust has just released a report detailing the results of this massive effort, which secured more than 4,600 seed samples of 371 wild relatives of key domesticated crops that the world relies on.