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Browsing the archives for the Agriculture – California category.

Many Central Valley farms to get full federal water supplies

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, California water

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced full federal water allocations for at least some parts of the Central Valley, including the Friant Division, where many citrus growers went without water in 2014 and 2015.

Tim Hearden

Capital Press

Published on March 1, 2017 10:00AM

Last changed on March 1, 2017 12:00PM

Shasta Lake was 85 percent full and at 117 percent of its historical average as of Feb. 27. Full reservoirs and abundant snowpack have enabled the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to give full water allocations to many farmers in the Central Valley.

Tim Hearden/Capital Press

Shasta Lake was 85 percent full and at 117 percent of its historical average as of Feb. 27. Full reservoirs and abundant snowpack have enabled the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to give full water allocations to many farmers in the Central Valley.

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SACRAMENTO — Full reservoirs and an abundant snowpack have enabled the Central Valley Project to promise full allocations of water to many valley farms, federal officials announced Feb. 28.

Citrus growers in the eastern San Joaquin Valley’s Friant division will get 100 percent of their contracted supplies after most went without federal surface water in 2014 and 2015 and received 75 percent last year.

“We are extremely pleased with that announcement,” said Laura Brown, director of government affairs for the Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual. “We were expecting it with all the rain we’ve had.”

Among others promised their full supplies are customers of the Central San Joaquin Valley Conservation District and Stockton East Water District and urban customers in the Sacramento area and eastern San Francisco Bay area served by water from the American River.

Settlement contractors on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers were told in mid-February they would get their full supplies based on the volume of inflow to Shasta Lake, officials said.

The agency will wait until mid-March to determine other allocations, including those for the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, which only received 5 percent last summer despite late-season storms that provided more water elsewhere.

Several factors will determine the remaining allocations, said Ron Milligan, a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation operations manager in Sacramento. They include the state Department of Water Resources’ third manual snowpack survey, which was set for March 1, as well as reservoir levels and hydrologic conditions, he said.

But Milligan and other federal officials acknowledged in a conference call with reporters that the delay is also partly caused by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s failure to complete its fisheries’ temperature management plan for Shasta Lake. The plan could require more water to be kept in the lake this summer to provide cold water for federally protected winter-run chinook salmon.

“Growers are making their planting decisions now,” said Ryan Jacobsen, the Fresno County Farm Bureau’s chief executive officer. “Farmers cannot make choices on what might be an allocation … They need real numbers.”

Jacobsen said Westside growers aren’t expecting a full allocation, which he said is “unacceptable” considering that snowpack levels in most areas are more than 150 percent of normal and outflow from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta has totaled more than 24 million acre-feet since October. Hundreds of thousands of acres on the Westside have been fallowed in recent years because of a lack of water.

But Pablo Arroyave, Reclamation’s acting Mid-Pacific regional director, said the lack of an allocation for the Westside now doesn’t mean the area won’t get water. He said the agency will take advantage of the current hydrology to try to get as much water as possible to districts.

A substantial amount of CVP water is already in storage south of the Delta, and federal share of the San Luis Reservoir west of Los Banos, Calif., is expected to be full within the first week of March, officials said.

Given the large snowpack and high river flows this year, much of the water already in storage will be available for delivery to CVP contractors this spring and summer, they said.

For the CVP overall, this was the first year of widespread 100 percent allocations for agriculture since 2006, officials said. The Friant Division’s supply comes as Millerton Lake near Fresno was at 82 percent of capacity and 126 percent of normal as of Feb. 27, prompting dam operators to boost releases to make room for a big anticipated snowmelt.

The full allocation applies to the division’s Class 1 customers, or the most senior landowners, while customers may take Class 2 supplies as long as the ramped-up releases from Millerton Lake continue, the bureau noted in a news release.

The bureau typically announces its initial allocations in mid-February, although it waited until April 1 last year to take into account anticipated storms in March while giving informal reports to water districts, spokesman Shane Hunt said at the time.

The 2016-17 water year has been “extreme” so far, prompting Reclamation to take “an approach to the announcement of CVP water allocations this year that differs from our historic practice,” Arroyave said. In future years, the agency will strive to release initial allocations for all water users in February, he said.

The State Water Project initially allocated 20 percent of contracted supplies in late November and has so far upped its anticipated deliveries to at least 60 percent of requested supplies. The last time the project’s 29 contracting agencies got their full allocations was in 2006.


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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Sac Bee Editorial: After Oroville, a flood policy for both deluge and drought

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, California Rivers, California water

EDITORIAL: After Oroville, a flood policy for both deluge and drought

Sacramento Bee

One hundred fifty-six years ago, on the night before Christmas, a wave of epic storms rushed in from the Pacific Ocean, pummeling Gold Rush California with great sheets of violent rain. For more than 40 days and 40 nights, the rivers of the Sierra Nevada raged, swollen with melted snow. Mining camps, bridges and saloons were swept away like toys.

Levees crumbled. Thousands died. An entire Chinese mining community perished in the Yuba River. The Central Valley became an inland sea, submerging farms, villages and whole herds of livestock. In the Sacramento Valley, telegraph poles stood under water 30 feet deep.

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Looks like the 2014 controversial CA. Water Bond may go to good use after all

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather

PNP comment: This should relieve our concerns about the CA. Water Bond money going to destroy the Klamath dams. There is much more pressing concerns — like protecting and upgrading present dams — than taking 4 hydro-electric dams out that are 200 miles up the Klamath River. — Editor Liz Bowen

Water bond money to go to fixing deteriorating infrastructure across the state


In 2014, California voters approved a $7.5 billion bond that would go to several water projects. So far, only 2 percent of the money has been used and the rest has been sitting in a fund untapped.

In light, of the Oroville Dam scare in early February, lawmakers are looking to focus their attention on flood management projects, like fixing old dams and maybe building new ones.

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Jerry Brown wants to spend nearly $450 million on flood control following dam emergency

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather

PNP comment: If you go to the link, there are several short videos to watch. — Editor Liz Bowen

February 24, 2017

After successfully appealing to the Trump administration to repair the crumbling Oroville Dam, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that he wants to accelerate spending on dam safety, flood protection and aging transportation infrastructure.

The Democratic governor’s plan would spend $50 million from the general fund and re-purpose $387 million from the $7.5-billion water bond overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2014 to pay for flood control.

Brown, who made a surprise visit to the dam’s incident command post Wednesday, said the state faces tens of billions in infrastructure needs. Brown also is asking the federal government to streamline regulatory

“There is real work to be done,” Brown told reporters at the Capitol, calling the proposed allotments “basic government needs.”

“We got to belly up to the bar and start spending money,” he added.

Federal emergency officials earlier this month approved Brown’s requests to pay for winter storm damages and to support the unfolding response to the emergency at the distressed dam.

California legislators also have taken an interest. A bipartisan group has been taking aerial tours of site amid preparations for next week’s oversight hearing to review what happened in Oroville, including issues with the emergency spillway that forced the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people along the Feather River Basin.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, has said he wants to provide $500 million in competitive grants to local and regional agencies for flood protection.

Oroville Dam spillways weather latest storm as inflow of water slows

State water resources officials and the Butte County sheriff were feeling optimistic Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, as inflows into Lake Oroville were dropping. They said an emergency spillway on Oroville Dam was unlikely to be redeployed and an evacuation warni

Peter Hecht The Sacramento Bee

On Friday, Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, said he was pleased with Brown’s proposed action to repair the spillways and protect flooding.

“It shows that we will do everything necessary to make the dam and communities below it safe. Providing the funding and environmental streamlining is essential to getting that job done now,” Gallagher said.

“We also need to have an immediate, robust, and real discussion about ensuring investment in our water infrastructure,” he added.

California had more than $11.8 billion in unsold natural resources bonds as of Dec. 31, including $7.4 billion from Proposition 1, the water borrowing measure. Last month’s spending plan proposes almost $1.3 billion in natural resources bond sales through December 2017.

Brown said the state also is spending $634 million on Proposition 1E and Proposition 84 bond money for flood control over the next two years.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article134767129.html#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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Editorial: State, feds must answer for Oroville Dam fiasco

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

Editorial: State, feds must answer for Oroville Dam fiasco

SJ Mercury News

Federal and state officials have a lot to answer for in the wake of the Oroville Dam fiasco. They decided in 2005 to ignore warnings that the massive earthen spillway adjacent to the dam itself could erode during heavy winter rains — which it has done — and cause a calamity, which it very nearly did this week and could yet do by the end of this winter.

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PLF, farmers, and ranchers challenge state’s ‘endangered’ listing of gray wolf

Agriculture - California, Lawsuits, Liberty, Wolves

Press Release from Pacific Legal Foundation

Jan. 31, 2017

SACRAMENTO, CA;  January 31, 2017:  The California Fish and Game Commission has neglected sound scientific analysis, undermined sensible wildlife protections — and violated state law — by unjustifiably adding the gray wolf to the state’s list of “endangered” species.

Damien M. Schiff
Principal Attorney

So argues a lawsuit filed today by Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of the California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and the California Farm Bureau Federation.  Filed in California Superior Court, the lawsuit challenges the commission’s listing of the gray wolf under the California Endangered Species Act.  The listing took effect on January 1, 2017, a little over a year after a divided commission approved it on a controversial 3-1 vote.


A listing based on flimsy evidence and deliberate undercounting

The lawsuit challenges the gray wolf listing as illegal on three grounds:

1) The listing is based on flimsy evidence.  The listing process was triggered by a single wolf crossing the Oregon border in 2011 — and that wolf has since wandered out of California.  Never before has a listing been initiated by a single animal’s occasional wanderings into the state.  This is why the state Department of Fish and Wildlife recommended against listing.

2)  Regulators undercounted the gray wolf’s numbers.  In violation of the California ESA, the commission looked only at the wolf’s numbers in California, ignoring healthy wolf populations elsewhere.  Indeed, the wolf’s overall status has improved to the point that the federal government is moving toward removing the species from its own “endangered” list.

3)  The gray wolf is not covered by the law.  The California ESA is limited to native species and subspecies.  Yet the gray wolves addressed by this listing are originally from Canada; they represent a subspecies that was never historically present in California.

PLF statement:  The listing is bad science, bad policy, and bad law

“The Fish and Game Commission took a big bite out of its own credibility with this unjustified listing,” said PLF Principal Attorney Damien Schiff.  “The agency managed to label the gray wolf as ‘endangered’ only by myopically and illegally ignoring its populations outside California.

“Moreover, the listing is destructive as a matter of public policy,” Schiff continued.  “To begin with, it creates dangers for Northern California ranchers, farmers, and their local economies.  If gray wolves begin to establish themselves after a long absence from California, regulators should be working with landowners on balanced policies that can protect sheep, cattle, and people with minimal harm to wolves.  Instead, the rigid regulations under an ‘endangered’ listing hamstring property owners and make cooperative solutions impossible.

“Gray wolves were already protected as a ‘non-game mammal,’ an arrangement that allowed flexible control,” he added.  “In contrast, the ‘endangered’ listing makes it next to impossible for landowners to get permits even to physically remove a wolf that is threatening their animals. Even state officials would run into red tape if they were to try to capture or kill a wolf.

“Finally, this listing means California wildlife could end up as wolf prey,” Schiff said.  “It is ironic, and outrageous, that by wrongly moving to safeguard a non-native wolf species, the state is endangering animals that are native to the state and that regulators should be protecting.”

The listing harms members of both Farm Bureau and CCA

The California Cattlemen’s Association is a nonprofit trade organization representing California’s ranchers and beef producers in policy matters.  CCA has 34 county affiliates and over 2,400 members, including more than 1,700 cattle producers.  California Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest farm organization, composed of 53 county farm bureaus representing more than 48,000 agricultural, associate, and collegiate members in 56 counties.



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California storms add 350 billion gallons of water to CA reservoirs

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather

Storms Add 350 Billion Gallons of Water to CA Reservoirs


California’s crippling five-year drought has come to a temporary halt in the northern part of the state, as roughly 350 billion gallons of water came pouring into the region’s biggest reservoirs over the past few days, boosting storage to levels not seen in years.

However, the drought still remains in effect in Southern California. According to the East Bay Times, there is so much water in the reservoirs that dam operators were forced to release water to reduce flood risks.

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Butte County Rancher David Daley is new California Cattlemen Assoc. President

Agriculture - California, cattle

President Dave Daley, Ph.D.

In addition to being a well-known animal scientist, educator and agriculture advocate, Butte County’s Dave Daley is primarily a rancher. Dave Daley was elected to serve a two year term as CCA President in Sparks, Nev. at the 100th CCA & CCW Annual Convention.

Daley runs the family ranch near Oroville alongside his children, Kyle, Kate and Rob, who are all passionate about the family business. Daley is also a professor of animal science and interim dean of the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico, where he has been influential in the lives of other current and up-and-coming young cattlemen throughout the state.

Daley’s experience as a cow-calf producer and an educator make him invaluable to CCA and California’s beef producers. In addition to being heavily involved with CCA, Daley is also a past-president of Butte County Cattlemen’s Association, has been active in land use issues for the Farm Bureau and cattlemen; was a member of the University of California’s Animal Welfare Task Force, and co-chair of CCA’s Animal Welfare Task Force. He also serves as advisor to the Young Cattlemen’s Association at Chico State.


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Obama signs California’s massive water bill

Agriculture - California, California Rivers, California water, Federal gov & land grabs

Obama signs California’s massive water bill, but Trump will determine its future

McClatchy DC

President Barack Obama on Friday quietly signed and bequeathed to President-elect Donald Trump a massive infrastructure bill designed to control floods, fund dams and deliver more water to farmers in California’s Central Valley.

While attempting to mollify critics’ concerns over potential harm to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Obama signed the $12 billion bill in a distinctly low-key act. The still-controversial California provisions were wrapped inside a package stuffed with politically popular projects, ranging from Sacramento-area levees to clean-water aid for beleaguered Flint, Michigan.

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Opinion: State’s water grab will devastate jobs, economy in Merced

Agriculture - California, California Rivers, California water, State gov

OPINION: State’s water grab will devastate jobs, economy in Merced

Merced Sun-Star

Our community’s way of life is under direct attack by Sacramento’s plan to take our water and send it to the Bay-Delta for the benefit of others.

The State Water Resources Control Board’s own document describes the resulting damage to our community as an “unavoidable impact.” This is narrow and unacceptable thinking. The Merced Irrigation District is fully prepared to protect and defend our community and water rights on the Merced River. But we believe there is a better way.

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