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Browsing the archives for the Agriculture – California category.

SLO County sued over permitting wells in Paso Robles basin

Agriculture - California

PNP comment:  Looks like some folks think there is just too much wine being made! Wine drinkers better be aware! — Editor Liz Bowen

News from California Farm Water Coalition

Aug. 4, 2016

SLO County sued over permitting ag wells in Paso Robles basin

San Luis Obispo Tribune

A Santa Barbara-based water group has sued San Luis Obispo County, saying the county issued permits for three agricultural wells — including one to Justin Vineyards west of Paso Robles — without the proper environmental review.

The California Water Impact Network filed the lawsuit Thursday, saying the permits violated a 2014 state groundwater law aimed at curbing overpumping in groundwater basins in overdraft. In addition to Justin Vineyards, the lawsuit cites well permits issued to Lapis Land Co. and Paso Robles Vineyards.

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Sites Reservoir likely years down the road

Agriculture - California, CA Farm Water Coalition, California water

California Farm Water Coalition

July 20, 2016

Sites Reservoir likely years down the road

Redding Record Searchlight

Don’t expect to see a reservoir built in the hills west of Maxwell anytime soon. Plans to build the Sites Reservoir have been in the works since 1957, and if it is eventually approved, work on the project probably would not be complete for another 10 to 12 years, according to Jim Watson, the Sites Reservoir Project general manager.

“Sites is not for us. Sites is for our grandchildren,” said Nadine Bailey, chief operating officer for the Family Water Alliance in Maxwell.

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Court says lawsuit targeting Point Reyes cattle operations can move forward

Agriculture - California, CORRUPTION, Courts, Federal gov & land grabs

PNP comment: The liberals want agriculture removed from the land and this court judge is allowing it. Sad state of affairs! — Editor Liz Bowen

Court says lawsuit targeting Point Reyes cattle operations can move forward

Posted:

Cattle graze along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard at Point Reyes National Seashore in Point Reyes Station. Environmentalists have sued the National Park Service, seeking to block the agency from granting 20-year leases to ranchers at the park until environmental studies are completed of the impact of the cattle on the park’s water, wildlife and public recreation.
Cattle graze along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard at Point Reyes National Seashore in Point Reyes Station. Environmentalists have sued the National Park Service, seeking to block the agency from granting 20-year leases to ranchers at the park until environmental studies are completed of the impact of the cattle on the park’s water, wildlife and public recreation. Gary Reyes — Bay Area News Group

A lawsuit targeting dairy and beef cattle operations in the Point Reyes National Seashore can move forward, a federal court has ruled.

Senior U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong rejected a legal motion by the National Park Service to dismiss a lawsuit brought by conservation groups seeking an updated general management plan and assessment of the environmental impacts of commercial dairy and cattle grazing at the Point Reyes National Seashore.

“We appreciate the court allowing this important case to proceed,” said Michael Connor of Western Watersheds Project, one of the groups that filed the suit, in a statement. “The lands and habitats of Point Reyes National Seashore are too special to be managed by decree. We’re eager for a full and fair scientific review of the impacts of ranching on the many protected species in the park, as compared to other, public uses of the seashore.”

Seashore superintendent Cicely Muldoon said she could not comment on pending litigation. The ruling was filed Friday.

Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, said he was disappointed by the ruling, adding he “unequivocally and completely” supports ranching in the seashore.

“This ruling will continue to needlessly drain taxpayers’ dollars and take attention away from a good process, which is the ranch management plan,” he said.

Looking to provide West Marin ranches with more security and opportunity, the park service was in the middle of a planning process for working beef cattle and dairy ranches within the Point Reyes National Seashore when the suit was filed. Longer leases for ranchers is the cornerstone of the plan, dubbed the “Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan/Environmental Assessment.”

“That is the process these groups should have used to air their concerns,” Huffman said.

Instead, the groups who filed suit allege park service officials are violating federal law because they are moving forward with a ranch plan without conducting adequate environmental studies on how the thousands of cows are affecting the seashore’s scenic resources. Nor have officials updated their 36-year-old park management plan to consider other options, like reducing the number of ranches in the park or the size of the cattle herds, the lawsuit contends.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco in February, also claims that the cattle are causing erosion, polluting waterways with manure, harming endangered salmon and other species, while blocking public access.

Many of the cattle ranches in the iconic park have been operated by the same families since the 1860s. Park service officials have said they have no plans to remove them.

Ranchers at the seashore say their operations are a beloved part of Marin’s coastal history. They note that when developers were threatening to build subdivisions on the Point Reyes Peninsula in the 1950s, ranchers formed an alliance with the Sierra Club and other environmental groups to convince Congress and President John F. Kennedy to establish the park in 1962.

There are 15 families grazing on about 18,000 acres in the 71,000-acre national seashore, an area famous for its towering cliffs, windswept coastal prairies and rich history dating back to Sir Francis Drake’s visit in 1579.

The park service spent $50 million from 1962 to 1972 buying out all of the ranchers’ property. It allowed them to stay until the death of the original owner and their spouse. But now nearly all those agreements have lapsed, and park officials have continued to renew leases with family heirs for 5- and 10-year periods.

It was the park service that didn’t renew a lease for the Drakes Bay Oyster Co., another business within the seashore. Ranchers in the park worried they might be next to get the boot. But when the order came down in November 2012 to not renew the oyster company’s lease, then-interior secretary Ken Salazar said existing ranching operations within the national park would continue.

He directed the park service to pursue extending the terms of agriculture permits for up to 20 years to provide greater certainty and clarity for the ranches operating within the national park’s pastoral zone and to support the continued presence of sustainable ranching and dairy operations.

http://www.marinij.com/environment-and-nature/20160719/court-says-lawsuit-targeting-point-reyes-cattle-operations-can-move-forward

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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So Cal water district completes $175-million purchase of delta islands

Agriculture - California, CA Farm Water Coalition, California water

California Farm Water Coalition

July 19, 2016

Southern California water district completes $175-million purchase of delta islands 

Los Angeles Times

Southern California’s powerful water supplier has completed the $175-million purchase of five islands in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the ecologically sensitive region that’s a key source of water for the Southland.

The top attorney for the Metropolitan Water District said in a memo Monday that the agency had finalized the purchase of the islands from Delta Wetlands Properties.

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Delta: State Supreme Court sides with So Cal in epic water war over delta islands

Agriculture - California, CA Farm Water Coalition, California water

Daily report from California Farm Water Coalition

State Supreme Court sides with Southern California in epic water war over delta islands

Los Angeles Times

The state Supreme Court has cleared the way for Southern California’s powerful Metropolitan Water District to buy five islands at the epicenter of the delta’s water system, officials said Friday.

Some officials and environmentalists in Northern California had fought to halt the sale, worried about what the MWD planned to do with the land. The agency has said it might use some of the land to provide access for the construction of a proposed delta tunnel system, a controversial project some oppose amid California’s five-year drought.

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Guest View: What you should know about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Agriculture - California, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

PNP comment: This is basic information regarding the state’s Ground Water Management Plan. Scott Valley began working on its ground water study 10 years ago and has an active Scott Valley Groundwater Committee that is working closely with the County of Siskiyou — all to keep the studies, plan and decisions in local hands! Our ground water is very different from many basins in the rest of the state and must be managed through real and practical knowledge that has been gathered here. Good job Scott Valley farmers and landowners! — Editor Liz Bowen

Sun-Herald.com

Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2016 8:22 pm

An overview

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, known as SGMA, is comprehensive statewide groundwater legislation that went into effect Jan. 1, 2015. SGMA requires for the first time sustainable groundwater management throughout California. The legislation allows local agencies to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans specific to local conditions, however, if local agencies cannot or will not manage groundwater sustainably, the state will step in.

SGMA mandates that all high and medium priority groundwater basins in California must be managed sustainably over a 20-year implementation period. In Colusa County we have two groundwater basins subject to SGMA: the Colusa subbasin and the West Butte subbasin. Both basins span multiple counties and SGMA implementation efforts must be coordinated basin-wide. Cooperation and coordination among agencies and landowners is crucial to successful SGMA implementation, and to maintaining local control over our groundwater resources.

What is sustainability?

Sustainable groundwater management is defined as the management and use of groundwater without causing undesirable results. The California Department of Water Resources has developed Groundwater Sustainability Plan Regulations which define six “Sustainability Indicators” for undesirable results. These conditions must be avoided for a basin to be considered sustainable:

1. Significant and Unreasonable reductions in Groundwater Levels

2. Significant and Unreasonable reductions in Groundwater Storage

3. Significant and Unreasonable Land Subsidence

4. Significant and Unreasonable reductions in Groundwater Quality

5. Significant and Unreasonable reductions in Groundwater-Surface Water Interaction

6. Significant and Unreasonable Seawater Intrusion (we do not have to address this criteria in Colusa County)

Since groundwater conditions vary greatly throughout the state, “significant and unreasonable” is defined at the basin level by local agencies.

Who will be in charge?

SGMA requires formation of Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, which will be responsible for developing and implementing Groundwater Sustainability Plans. Only local public agencies with water supply, water management or land use responsibilities are eligible to be a GSA. These agencies include counties, cities, irrigation and reclamation districts, and public utility districts, or similar. GSAs will have many authorities and responsibilities related to SGMA.

Private landowners are not eligible to be a GSA. Counties are presumed to be the GSA over the “white areas,” or “private pumper” areas, which are areas of the county that are not covered by another GSA-eligible agency (city, irrigation district, etc.). This can be seen as problematic because the legislation does not give landowners in the private pumper areas a voice, yet these landowners rely on groundwater as their sole source of irrigation, which makes them key players in successful groundwater management.

Colusa County has given our private pumpers a greater voice in SGMA planning and implementation by forming a Private Pumper Advisory Committee (PPAC). The PPAC is made up of 7 members and 3 alternates. Members of the PPAC are private pumper individuals from throughout the County, chosen by the Colusa County Groundwater Commission. The PPAC acts as advisory to the County regarding concerns and issues of the private pumpers, and they are also responsible for providing SGMA outreach to their neighbors. PPAC members have been actively involved in Colusa County’s SGMA planning efforts.

In order to determine local governance, GSA-eligible agencies in Colusa County have been meeting over the last several months to determine how/if they want to participate in governance. “Efforts are underway now in Colusa County to determine a local GSA structure, including which agencies will participate in SGMA implementation,” said Mary Fahey, Colusa County Water Resources Coordinator. Fahey went on to say, “Things are starting to move quickly and now is the time for landowners to become engaged in local SGMA planning efforts. All of our meetings are open to the public, and our website is a great resource where you can find meeting agendas, presentations and summaries, as well as general information on SGMA.”

The county would like to remind its citizens that SGMA affects every well owner in California, which is why it is so important for the general public to be informed. Colusa County Supervisor, Denise Carter said, “SGMA planning efforts have been taking place in Colusa County over the past year and a half, and important governance decisions will be made over the next few months. I highly encourage landowners to participate in this process by attending our public meetings and staying informed.”

SGMA deadlines

• June 30, 2017: GSAs must be formed in all high and medium priority groundwater basins

• Jan. 31, 2022: Groundwater Sustainability Plans must be completed for all high and medium priority basins that are not in overdraft (Jan. 31, 2020 for basins in overdraft).

http://www.appeal-democrat.com/colusa_sun_herald/guest-view-what-you-should-know-about-the-sustainable-groundwater/article_09964424-48a9-11e6-afa3-abd33e534c3a.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Shasta water release plan has no cutbacks to farmers – for now

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, California Rivers, California water, Dams other than Klamath

SacBee.com

June 29, 2016 3:51 PM

Highlights

Decision a victory for Central Valley growers

Federal fisheries officials reverse their stance

Compromise still expected to save Chinook salmon

 After weeks of uncertainty and pressure from members of Congress, federal officials on Wednesday announced a plan for managing water releases from California’s largest reservoir this summer in a manner that will not involve cutbacks in farm water deliveries – at least if all goes as hoped.

For more than a month, federal agencies have battled behind the scenes over how to balance the needs of California farms and two endangered fish species whose populations have been decimated by years of drought and environmental decline.

Federal fisheries officials – who hold considerable sway over how the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation operates Shasta Dam and other federal reservoirs – had been weighing whether to hold back substantial volumes of water at Shasta Lake into the summer to protect juvenile winter-run Chinook salmon. A companion proposal called for letting more water flow to the Pacific Ocean through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta during summer, in hopes of bolstering survival rates for another species teetering on the brink of extinction, the Delta smelt.

Both plans met with forceful opposition from Central Valley farmers, who rely heavily on Shasta water deliveries for irrigation. The proposals would have meant another year of curtailed deliveries during key portions of the growing season.

Instead, the Shasta plan released Wednesday marked a victory for farm interests and a significant about-face for fisheries officials. Rather than the more drastic proposal under discussion, the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reverted to a model for operating Shasta Dam that stays the course for giving farmers more water deliveries than in recent years.

Agency officials said their compromise plan should still result in ample cool water to keep endangered winter-run Chinook from dying in the Sacramento River. The bureau will be required to closely monitor temperatures in Shasta Lake to ensure that cold-water releases are possible through summer and fall. If they determine that Shasta is too warm, they will cut back releases to ensure there is enough cool water for later in the year.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article86742377.html#emlnl=Morning_Newsletter#storylink=cpy

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Judge invalidates long-fought Delta management plan

Agriculture - California, CA Farm Water Coalition, California water

From California Farm Water Coalition

June 27, 2016

Judge invalidates long-fought Delta management plan

Sacramento Bee

In a decision that could delay or complicate Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two huge tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a Superior Court judge ruled Friday that a comprehensive management plan for the estuary is no longer valid.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny ruled that the entire Delta Plan must be “set aside” until deficiencies he noted in an earlier ruling are fixed. State officials say they plan to appeal.

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News from California Farm Water Coalition 6-15-16

Agriculture - California, CA Farm Water Coalition, California water

Fishery decisions could help, harm water supplies

California Farm Bureau Federation

Two developments in recent days outlined alternative strategies for protecting fish whose populations drive water-allocation decisions for much of California: A coalition of business and water groups petitioned the state to address a key predator of native fish, while members of Congress asked federal agencies not to force additional water-supply cutbacks on the species’ behalf.

The petition from the business/water coalition asks the California Fish and Game Commission to allow more fishing for the striped bass and black bass, non-native species that feed on endangered chinook salmon and delta smelt in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Groups petition state to address predatory fish in Delta

Capital Press

Two farm groups have joined a broad coalition that wants the state Fish and Game Commission to address the issue of non-native, predatory fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

The California Farm Bureau Federation and Western Growers have teamed with water districts and conservation groups to petition the state body, asking that fishing controls for several types of bass be loosened or lifted.

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State’s “Delta Plan” may have a restart

Agriculture - California, Water, Resources & Quality

State’s “Delta Plan’ may have a restart

By Stephen Frank on Jun 03, 2016 08:14 pm

The courts have now made clear, Jerry Brown needs to find another way to scam the people of California of $68 billion and determine how to get water from the north to the south, without creating NEW water—while really using this effort to protect the fish, like the fish bait delta smelt. ““What is means […]

Read More and Comment: State’s “Delta Plan’ may have a restart

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