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Browsing the archives for the Agriculture – California category.

No listing for Sierra sage grouse sends signal across West

Agriculture - California, Bureau of Land Management, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs

PNP comment:Best way to endanger or threaten a species is to list it with the ESA for the bureaucrats to manage — destroy! Editor Liz Bowen

No Listing for Sierra Sage Grouse Sends Signal Across West

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell reversed the government’s proposed federal protection for a type of sage grouse specific to California and Nevada on Tuesday, and said it shows it’s still possible to head off a bigger, looming listing decision for the greater sage grouse across 11 western states.

Jewell joined Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and others in announcing she’s withdrawing the government’s 2013 proposal to declare the bistate, Mono Basin sage grouse a threatened species along the California-Nevada line.

The bird found only along the Sierra’s eastern front no longer faces the threat of extinction thanks to voluntary conservation efforts and range improvements initiated by ranchers, local governments, private land owners and public land managers, she said.

“What this has shown is that despite the stresses we feel on the landscape here — particularly around drought and wildfire and other stresses that impact this part of the world — we can still create and find habitat that supports sage grouse,” Jewell said in a speech outside Nevada Department of Wildlife headquarters in Reno.

“There’s no reason you can’t have a healthy state with a healthy economy and a healthy ecosystem. By working together, you can have it all,” she said.

The bistate bird is a genetically distinct population of the greater sage grouse species, which is under consideration for protection in Nevada, California and nine other states stretching from Oregon to the Dakotas.

“This is welcome news for all Nevadans,” said Sandoval, a Republican. “Working together, I’m hopeful we can preclude the need to list the greater sage grouse just as we have done with the bistate.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is under a court order to make a listing decision on the greater sage grouse by Sept. 30 in a legal battle with conservationists that spans more than 15 years.

“I think it is very possible not to list that species,” Jewell told reporters after her bistate announcement.

Conservationists who petitioned to protect both populations accused Jewell of caving to pressure from Western conservatives who fear federal protection would mean dramatic restrictions on livestock grazing, energy exploration and other development of public lands.

Michael Connor, California director of the nonprofit Western Watersheds Project, said that as recently as last December federal officials had assigned the bistate grouse the “maximum priority for listing” based on the magnitude of threats facing the isolated population across more than 7,000 square miles Carson City to near Yosemite National Park.

“The service’s backpedalling in claiming that unfinished management plans and voluntary, cooperative agreements will protect the species is untrue and smacks of political expediency,” Connor said Tuesday.

Randi Spivak, public lands director for the Center for Biological Diversity, agreed. “Half measures may delay extinction but it won’t prevent it,” Spivak said.

Jewell said the decision not to list the bistate grouse should be “real encouraging” for other western states pursuing similar voluntary measures to ward off listing of the greater sage grouse.

“I think if it had been listed after all the hard work and effort after 15 years, it would make people discouraged — ‘Gosh, we’ve worked together so hard and maybe there isn’t a way to protect these ecosystems,’ ” Jewell told reporters.


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Most Sacramento communities get even bigger water cuts under revised mandates

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, CA & OR, Water, Resources & Quality


04/18/2015 9:07 AM

04/18/2015 9:12 PM

The revised conservation mandates unveiled by state water regulators Saturday would require most Sacramento-area communities to make even bigger cuts in water use than originally proposed, disappointing area leaders who argue the state should take into account the region’s hot weather and large lot sizes.

Thirteen of the 23 water agencies in the Sacramento region would be required to cut residential water use by 36 percent compared with 2013 under a revised proposal issued by the State Water Resources Control Board on Saturday. That is the most severe cut proposed in the framework, reserved for agencies with the highest per capita usage in the state.

The water board’s revised regulations divvy the state’s water agencies among nine tiers, based on their per capita water use in the summer of 2014. Under this new distribution, all but two Sacramento-area communities will have to cut usage by at least 28 percent over 2013.

Earlier this month, citing unprecedented drought conditions, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered urban water agencies across California to cut water use 25 percent on average by next February. The water board, which regulates water rights in California, issued its framework in response to that order, requiring deeper cuts in communities that have the highest per capita water use.

California’s drought, now in its fourth year, has depleted reservoirs and groundwater supplies in many parts of the state. Following an unusually dry winter, mountain snowpack in the state measured just 5 percent of normal April 1, meaning the snowmelt California relies on to replenish its reservoirs will be in short supply this summer.

Water board officials said proposed cuts would save 1.3 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months, or about as much as currently sits in Lake Oroville.

“We are in a drought like we have not seen before,” water board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said during a conference call with reporters Saturday. “All Californians have to step up and prepare as if it won’t rain or snow again next year.”

The state action represents the first time in history that California cities have been ordered to meet targets for reduced water use. Last year, the governor called on urban water agencies to voluntarily cut use by 20 percent, but the state as a whole met that goal only once in the last eight months, and most months fell far short.

The draft framework issued Saturday marks the water board’s second proposal in its effort to carry out the governor’s order. Its first version, released April 7, prompted a war of words among urban water agencies that in many ways broke down between north and south, coastal and inland, over who should be required to make the biggest cuts.

Many Sacramento-area districts argued they should not be held to the same standards as coastal communities that benefit from higher densities and moderate climates. Many south-state agencies argued they should get credit for costly conservation efforts that in some cases stretch back more than a decade.

In issuing the revised regulations, water board officials said the new nine-tiered system – mandating cutbacks ranging from 4 percent to 36 percent – does a better job of taking into account previous conservation efforts than the original draft, which used only four tiers. But they held fast in not granting concessions based on lot size and temperature.

During the conference call, Marcus said hotter areas with larger lots are exactly where the state can achieve the biggest conservation bang for the buck this summer, simply by getting residents and businesses to reduce exterior watering. Officials made a point, however, of saying residents should continue to water trees, which provide cooling and air-quality benefits.



Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article18854379.html#emlnl=Morning_Newsletter#storylink=cpy
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Groups Criticize Ag Secretary for Allowing Checkoff-funded NCBA to Attack COOL

Agriculture - California, cattle


Washington, D.C. – In a graphic issued today, R-CALF USA and the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) criticize Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for not doing his job to end the abuses to the national Beef Checkoff Program (Beef Checkoff) perpetrated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

The NCBA receives over 80 percent of its funding from the Beef Checkoff and was forced to reimburse the producer-paid program after a 2010 independent compliance review found that over $216,000 in producer contributions had been misappropriated.

In their report, the compliance reviewers stated that their findings indicate that NCBA breached the firewall that was supposedly protecting producer-contributions from being used for unlawful purposes.

The use of Beef Checkoff funds in any manner to influence governmental action or policy is unlawful under the program. Yet, according to R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard and OCM President Mike Callicrate, Vilsack refused to take any enforcement action against the NCBA for its misuse of producer funds.

Instead, the NCBA was authorized by Vilsack to continue receiving nearly $40 million in Beef Checkoff funds each year and in 2013 the government-funded NCBA joined with meatpackers to attack the United States’ country of origin labeling (COOL) law in a federal lawsuit and is now actively lobbying Congress to drastically weaken if not repeal COOL.

“This epitomizes domestic corruption,” Bullard said adding, “The peoples’ Congress passed COOL and now a federal agency is funding an organization that has a singular mission to destroy what the people have achieved.”

“The Secretary made overtures suggesting he wanted to reform the Beef Checkoff but he hastily retreated at the first sign of resistance – which came in the form of obscure, non-binding report language in a recent appropriations bill,” said Callicrate.

“The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and its multinational meat packers want to keep you in the dark about where your food comes from,” the graphic states.

The graphic warns that if the NCBA is not stopped the U.S. will lose more ranchers and the amount of food imported into the U.S. will increase.

“And Secretary Vilsack, it’s your job to end NCBA’s abuse of the cattlemen’s Beef Checkoff,” the graphic concludes.

# # #

R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only cattle trade association in the United States. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.

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Agriculture - California

Presentation by Dr. Stott,

Professor of the School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis

Billy Gatlin of the California Cattleman’s Association

Thursday April 30th at

12 — Noon

Fort Jones Community Center

Dotty’s BBQ will be available for purchase

Dessert provided by Scott River Watershed Council

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The Inconvenient Truth About The California Drought

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, State gov


The California Drought is Bad, but it’s a much bigger problem that it seems on its surface!

Here is the latest from Western Journalism:


Cheers! Bill

Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.
Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus

Preparedness Articles: http://williamesimpson.com/capt-bills-articles-at-other-media-outlets
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6505899/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NauticalPrepper
Member: Authors Guild

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Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, CA & OR, State gov, Water, Resources & Quality

Geoffrey Grider |NTEB

News from America Conservative 2 Conservative

“Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned.” Job 24:19 (KJV)
Brown was on hand Wednesday as state officials took stock of historically abysmal levels of snowpack in the Sierra Nevada amid the state’s grinding drought. It was the first time that a governor attended the measuring event, which has taken place at Lake Tahoe since 1942.

“It’s a different world,” he said. “We have to act differently.”
Brown ordered the California Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory restrictions to reduce water usage by 25%. The water savings are expected to amount to 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months.
Other elements of Brown’s order would:
–Require golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscaped spaces to reduce water consumption.
–Replace 50 million square feet of lawn statewide with drought-tolerant landscaping as part of a partnership with local governments.
–Create a statewide rebate program to replace old appliances with more water- and energy-efficient ones.
–Require new homes to have water-efficient drip irrigation if developers want to use potable water for landscaping.
–Ban the watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.
–Call on water agencies to implement new pricing models that discourage excessive water use.
–Require agricultural to report more water usage information to the state so that regulators can better find waste and improper activities.
Brown said drastic changes were necessary because it’s unclear how long the drought will last, and the nearly nonexistent snowpack foreshadows another dry year. Cease-and-desist orders and fines could be issued to those who fail to comply with new restrictions, he said. source.

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Browner lawns, bigger water bills: Q&A on California drought

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, State gov, Water, Resources & Quality

SAN FRANCISCO – Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order for mandatory water conservation in cities and towns statewide means people inside and outside California will start feeling more of the pain of the state’s four-year severe drought.

Here are key things to know about the drought and Brown’s Wednesday order:


Question: Why now?

Answer: Californians had hoped rain and snow this winter would rescue the state after its driest three-year period on record. Instead, the winter brought by far the least snow on record in the Sierra Nevada.

The snowpack that normally provides water for the state throughout the year now stands at just 6 percent of normal.

That means the nearly 40 million people in California must rely on water already stored in reservoirs and on groundwater that farmers and communities are pumping at dangerously fast rates.


Q: How have Californians done at voluntary conservation?

A: Not so well. In January 2014, Brown asked Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 20 percent. Instead, they averaged about half of that decrease.

San Francisco Bay Area water users — some with no lawns —were among the thriftiest, using around 70 gallons of water per person per day. That figure topped 300 gallons for some affluent desert communities in Southern California with big lawns, pools and golf courses.


Q: How will ordinary people notice a difference under Brown’s order?

A: California will start looking a lot browner, for one thing. Brown’s order bans communities from using drinking water to irrigate street medians, for instance.

Communities also will be encouraged to reward homeowners for getting rid of water-gulping lawns. And the order directs a statewide look at water rates to encourage conservation, meaning water-rate hikes are likely for many.


Q: Say I live outside California — why should I care about the state’s drought?

A: Farmers aren’t covered in Brown’s mandatory conservation order, but bigger farmers will be required to come up with water-management plans.

Shrinking water reserves forced growers to fallow 400,000 acres last year and likely hundreds of thousands more acres this year, state agriculture secretary Karen Ross said.

Farmers say that could eventually mean more expensive fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products.

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Tighter restrictions hit Bella Vista Water District starting Wednesday

Agriculture - California, Water, Resources & Quality

REDDING, California – Faced with historic water cutbacks, the Bella Vista Water District on Wednesday is implementing water use restrictions and overuse penalties.

The restrictions include limiting outdoor watering by sprinkler to three nights a week and reducing residential use by 25 percent.

The restrictions are due to the district receiving only 25 percent of its average annual use over the past three years, said District Manager David Coxey. He said the water supply conditions throughout the state are the worst he has seen in his 23-year career.

“That’s pretty severe,” Coxey said of the cutbacks. “This year we’re going to have to pump a lot of groundwater.”

While Bella Vista has a contract to receive up to 24,578 acre-feet of water annually from the Bureau of Reclamation, this year it is getting only 1,829 acre-feet, he said. The district is not getting any water for its agricultural customers.

Most other water agencies in Shasta County that have “junior” water rights are seeing the same cuts from the bureau as Bella Vista, said Eric Wedemeyer, who manages eight small water districts for the county Department of Public Works.

Most of those districts have also gone shopping to buy water from agencies with “senior” water rights, such as the city of Redding, the Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District and the McConnell Foundation.

Because they have senior water rights, those agencies are receiving 75 percent of their water allocations from the bureau.

Bella Vista, which serves about 17,000 people in area encompassing northeast Redding to Bella Vista and Palo Cedro, bought 1,152 acre-feet of water from the irrigation district. An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons of water. Put into perspective, the average Redding household uses about 240,000 gallons of water a year.

The county bought 250 acre-feet of water from the McConnell Foundation. On Tuesday, the Shasta Lake City Council will be asked to approve a purchase of 900 acre-feet of water from the foundation.

Coxey said he won’t be able to purchase additional water from Redding or McConnell, so the district has to pump water from underground to make up for what the bureau can’t provide.

Coxey said many of the water-use restrictions are required by the state Department of Water Resources for all water agencies statewide. The outdoor watering restrictions in the Bella Vista district don’t apply to drip irrigation, bubblers, soakers and hand-watering using a water can.

In addition to use restrictions, Bella Vista is also implementing excessive use penalties. Customers pay an additional $1.50 per 748 gallons if they use more than their average use during the past three years.

The penalty goes up to $2.50 per 748 gallons (100 cubic feet) if they use more than 120 percent of their three-year average per billing period, Coxey said. The city of Redding has not enacted overuse penalties.

Shasta Lake has not changed the water overuse penalties it enacted last year. Shasta Lake residences pay an additional 30 cents per 748 gallons if they exceed using 1,000 cubic-feet of water per billing period. The penalty goes up to $2.50 per 748 gallons when customers use more than 5,000 cubic feet of water.

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amala Harris clears her path to U.S. Senate

Agriculture - California, Elections, State gov

CASTAIC – When Kamala Harris, a Democrat, was the newly elected district attorney of San Francisco in 2004, she walked into a firestorm after deciding not to pursue the death penalty for a man accused in the killing of a police officer – drawing attacks from law enforcement leaders and even Sen. Dianne Feinstein, one of the most respected Democrats in the state.

Six years later, when Harris ran for state attorney general, national Republicans poured more than $1 million into the race, trying to defeat her with charged advertisements invoking the death penalty case. Harris barely defeated her Republican opponent, the district attorney of Los Angeles.

But now, at age 50 and after winning a second term, Harris has suddenly established herself as the dominant candidate in the race to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat who announced in January that she would retire next year. With a speed and efficiency that startled many in her party, Harris has appeared, at least for now, to dispatch what most people had expected would be a sprawling generational battle with powerful ethnic overtones, given that Latinos now make up nearly 40 percent of California’s population.

She herself would be a pioneering figure, if elected – simultaneously the first black and the first South Asian senator from California.

Within days of Boxer’s announcement, Harris declared she was in, and followed that up with a day-by-day machine-gun patter of high-profile endorsements. Among them were Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; leading members of California’s congressional delegation and state Legislature; and Emily’s List, a political fundraising organization that backs female Democrats who support abortion rights.

That had the intended effect of helping to clear the field of some of her biggest potential challengers, including Antonio R. Villaraigosa, the former Los Angeles mayor, and Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmental activist. Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor, decided to run for governor instead, in 2018.

In getting to this point, Harris – her first name is pronounced KOM-ala – displayed what many associates described as a relentless political style that has marked her career, starting with her first election as the San Francisco district attorney. With an eye to what happened in 2004, she went out of her way to line up and highlight the support of some of this state’s top law enforcement associations as part of her endorsement rollout after she announced her Senate candidacy.

“I always start my campaigns early, and I run hard,” Harris said in an hourlong interview. “Maybe it comes from the rough-and-tumble world of San Francisco politics, where it’s not even a contact sport – it’s a blood sport. This is how I am as a candidate. This is how I run campaigns.”

“And she always wins,” Sean Clegg, an aide seated at her side, added in a stage whisper.

“Oh God, don’t say that,” Harris said, knocking the wooden table before her with three sharp, superstitious raps. “Don’t, don’t, don’t! So far, so good.”

For all that, there is no assurance of easy sailing in an election still a year and a half away. Running a district attorney’s office, or being a state attorney general, means having responsibility for many law enforcement decisions and cases that could become political fodder.

This week, for example, Harris had to weigh in on a proposed ballot measure that would mandate the killing of sexually active gay people by “bullets to the head” – or by “any other convenient method.” Such voter initiatives go to the attorney general for processing, and the law appears to give Harris little discretion but to do so. But she took the highly unusual step of asking a court to step in and block the measure.

Harris will probably face a Democratic challenger before the June 2016 open primary, albeit not necessarily one with the political resources of the figures who stepped aside. Three members of Congress – Adam B. Schiff, Loretta Sanchez and Xavier Becerra – are said to be considering races. Sanchez and Becerra could appeal to a constituency hoping that this might be a time for California to elect its first Latino senator.

“Politics abhors a vacuum,” said Bill Carrick, a Democratic consultant who advises Feinstein. “Somebody is going to fall into this.”

On the Republican side, Rocky Chavez, a former Marine colonel and two-term member of the state Assembly, who is also Latino, said he would run. “A lot of things can happen on the way to a coronation,” he said in an interview.

Harris’ mother was from India and her father of Jamaican descent. In one politically awkward moment at a fundraiser in 2013, President Barack Obama called her “by far the best-looking attorney general in the country.”



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State seeks water rules for pot growers

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

 Press Democrat

January 29, 2015, 9:49PM

The program is aimed primarily at regulating the activities of those legally growing marijuana for medical use, though water quality regulators plan to focus on what’s happening environmentally and not whether a grower has Proposition 215 medical marijuana documentation.

The goal is instead to encourage the growing community toward proactive steps that protect the environment, said Cris Carrigan, director of the Office of Enforcement for the state Water Resources Control Board.

Education and outreach are key pillars of the program, and Carrigan and others already have met with scores of stakeholders, including trade groups and growers. The enforcement piece is also weighted heavily toward what he called “assisted compliance” to help growers meet established standards, he said. Carrigan said that many officials believe it is likely state voters will legalize recreational use in 2016, and that part of the focus on regulation now is aimed at being ready for that.

Program architects are asking that growers contact regulating agencies in advance of starting a garden, getting permits for activities such as grading, chemical use and storage, water diversions and any operations in or around waterways.

It’s a tall order, but should make sense to medical marijuana collectives and private growers who want to create sustainable business models that acknowledge the potential for wear and tear on the land, Carrigan said.



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