Ag Today September 20, 2018

The Salton Sea is shrinking even faster, and California still hasn’t done much to fix it [Palm Springs Desert Sun]

In November 2015, there was a rare celebration at the Salton Sea….Three years later, the dirt at Red Hill Bay is still dry, and it could be dry for another year or more. The shoreline is receding faster than ever. The lake’s few remaining fish have been dying off rapidly. And state officials have fallen even further behind on their promise to prevent an ecological and public health disaster at this oasis in the desert.


Victory for Monterey Coastkeeper as court rules regulations for ag runoff fall short. [Monterey County Weekly]

…A Sept. 18 decision affirms a ruling that the state’s effort to regulate agricultural water pollution on the Central Coast was too weak….In 2013, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board approved regulations aimed at minimizing agricultural water pollution. Agricultural groups saw those rules as too tough; environmental groups, like Coastkeeper, viewed them as not tough enough….The regional water board is at work on the next set of five-year regulations, and is set to hear two days of public comment on it at a board meeting in Watsonville on Sept. 20-21.


Project water relief funding advances [Klamath Falls Herald and News]

The U.S. House of Representatives passed major legislation last week, with key provisions promising $10 million annually over the next four years for Klamath Reclamation Project irrigators. The funds were authorized for use by Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the Project, via the America’s Water and Infrastructure Act (AWIA)….“This legislation includes important language to assist irrigators in the Klamath Basin who are enduring another challenging water year and it helps ensure we are prepared if our farmers are hit again with severe drought conditions in the years ahead,” said U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, a Hood River Republican, in a news release.


Public to weigh in on proposal to declare chlorpyrifos a ‘toxic air contaminant’ [Lompoc Record]

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation on Friday will open a 45-day public comment period regarding a proposal to designate chlorpyrifos — a pesticide commonly used by California growers to eliminate pests from a variety of crops — as a toxic air contaminant….According to an agency spokesperson, the new regulation would open the door for increased restriction on the use of the pesticide in the state….Dow Chemical Company maintains the chemical does not meet the criteria to be listed as a toxic air contaminant, arguing that the state’s assessment was based on “flawed assumptions and not sound science.”


Killing predators might not be best way for farmers to protect livestock, study finds [San Luis Obispo Tribune]

ranchers, the best way to deal with a predator is the lethal way — but a new study suggests there’s little credible evidence to support that position….“Twenty-one authors from 10 nations reviewed 114 peer-reviewed scientific studies measuring the effectiveness of lethal and non-lethal methods for reducing carnivore predation on livestock, one of the main causes of conflict between predators and people,” according to a release from the nonprofit Defenders of Wildlife, a member of which — Jennie Miller — was a senior author of the study….The study published in PLOS Biology found that “livestock guardian dogs, livestock enclosures and fladry (a set-up involving a rope and several flags or strips of cloth) all were scientifically shown to be effective conflict deterrents.”


Opinion: California Farmers Are Trade-War Casualties [Wall Street Journal]

California’s farm production equals that of Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin combined. All the almonds, artichokes, garlic—avoid the town of Gilroy if you’re not a fan—figs, olives, plums, pistachios and walnuts produced in the U.S. come from the Golden State. But these crops need a lot of water, which has been in short supply due to drought and regulatory restrictions intended to protect fish. Farmers hoped for regulatory relief from the Trump administration. Instead they’re in the crosshairs of the president’s trade barrage.