Ag Today August 25, 2017
Thirsty world must wake up to looming water crisis, expert says
By Megan Rowling, Reuters
STOCKHOLM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The world needs to use water more efficiently rather than exhausting invisible underground supplies and blindly exporting “virtual water” to avert a global crisis that would undermine food and energy systems, a leading expert warned.
More than one-third of humanity is water-stressed every year or season, while drought crises are on the rise from California to Ethiopia as the planet warms, said Fred Boltz, who leads The Rockefeller Foundation’s work on science and environment.
“We are really facing a global crisis,” he said, noting that...
Ag Today, August 24, 2017
State officials travel by boat to tour Temperance Flat dam project site
By Lewis Griswold, The Fresno Bee
FRIANT - The proposed Temperance Flat dam on the upper San Joaquin River east of Fresno likely will be at the head of the line when the state awards big money for water storage projects.
The San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority last week submitted an application seeking $1.3 billion in bond funds from the California Water Commission, which is doling out $2.7 billion of Proposition 1 money for water storage projects around the state.
The Temperance Flat dam is estimated to cost $3 billion.
Plans call for...
Ag Today August 23, 2017
This is why when you talk about climate change, you can’t ignore agriculture
By Chelsea Harvey, Washington Post
Agriculture has historically released almost as much carbon into the atmosphere as deforestation, a new study suggests — and that’s saying something.
In a paper published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that land use changes associated with planting crops and grazing livestock have caused a loss of 133 billion tons of carbon from soil worldwide over the last 12,000 years, amounting to about 13 years of global emissions at their current levels. And at least half of those losses...
Ag Today August 22, 2017
Dozens are suing to block Delta tunnels. Will it matter?
By Dale Kasler Sacramento Bee
They have one of the most powerful legal weapons found in any courtroom – the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.
But environmental groups, local governments and others face an uphill climb in their fight against the controversial Delta tunnels project. History suggests that suing under the California environmental law likely won’t be enough to kill the tunnels.
At least 58 groups opposing the tunnels had sued the state as the legal deadline approached Monday afternoon. The plaintiffs include an alliance of crab boat owners, an American Indian tribe dependent...
Ag Today August 21, 2017
Sinking Friant-Kern Canal has $500M problem
By John Lindt,Visalia Times-Delta
The canal that helps bring food to tables across the world has a big problem — it's sinking.
Land subsidence along the Friant-Kern Canal in Tulare and Kern counties has increased in the past five years, according to Dan Vink, South Valley Water Authority executive director.
The sinking terrain, reported to be two to three feet — mostly along a 25-mile stretch, has already reduced the capacity of the key irrigation artery by 50 to 60 percent in some locations.
“It’s like a big dip, a bowl or depression in the land that has the...
Ag Today August 18, 2017
Grapevine scourge has returned to Temecula Valley’s Wine Country
By Aaron Claverie, Riverside Press-Enterprise
The glassy-winged sharpshooter, a flying menace that devastated the Temecula Valley Wine Country in the late 1990s, has made an ominous comeback.
The insect — which carries the deadly-to-grapevines Pierce’s Disease — has been detected in area orange groves.
UC Riverside scientist Matt Daugherty, who leads the monitoring efforts in the region, said this week that his team captured more than 1,500 of the half-inch shooters last month in the groves, the largest haul since a trapping program was instituted in 2003.
“It’s certainly very scary,” he said, adding that the...
Ag Today August 17, 2017
Billions in new spending for housing, water, parks and more could be on the 2018 ballot
By Liam Dillon, Los Angeles Times
Californians could vote on billions of dollars in new spending for low-income housing developments and water and parks improvements next year.
Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers are considering five proposals that would finance new homes for low-income residents, build parks in neighborhoods without them and restore rivers, streams and creeks among dozens of other projects. The Legislature is likely to decide how much money would be borrowed and where it would be spent before it adjourns for the year in mid-September...
Ag Today August 16, 2017
Settlement reached in federal case of Modesto-area farmer fined $2.8 million for plowing his field
BY DALE KASLER AND RYAN SABALOW
AUGUST 15, 2017 10:03 AM
Northern California farmer John Duarte spent years fighting the federal government after being fined for plowing over protected wetlands on his property. He attracted a nationwide army of conservative supporters who saw it as government overreach and hoped the Trump administration would order federal officials to back off.
But just before his trial was set to start Tuesday, Duarte settled.
Duarte agreed to pay $330,000 in fines and another $770,000 on “compensatory mitigation,” according to a settlement agreement reached...
Ag Today August 14, 2017
Farm bureau takes stand for farmer facing $2.8 million fine
Cristina Davies, [KRCR-TV, Redding]
Posted: Aug 11, 2017 05:43 PM PDT
Updated: Aug 11, 2017 08:44 PM PDT
TEHAMA COUNTY, Calif. - A farmer with a plot of land in Tehama County faces a $2.8 million fine for plowing his land.
John Duarte, president of Duarte Nursery, said the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is claiming he damaged wetlands when he plowed. However, Duarte said the wetlands have not been damaged.
"The vernal pools are normal, functioning vernal pools today. They came out here in 2015, during a drought and they were normal, functioning vernal pools for a...
Ag Today August 11, 2017
Southern Californians, here’s how much your water bills could rise to pay for Delta tunnels
BY RYAN SABALOW email@example.com
AUGUST 10, 2017 6:03 PM
More than 6 million Southern Californian households could pay $3 more a month to help cover the costs of Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to bore two huge tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
But that’s cheaper than the $5 a month that households in the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s service area were expected to pay under projections released four years ago, Jeffrey Kightlinger, the water district’s general manager, said Thursday.
“Given the importance of this project to maintain...