“On her way to visit the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier on Monday, University of California President Janet Napolitano got a bird’s eye view of California cropland and rivers dry from the drought — a sight she hopes the universities can help fix through continued research and outreach.”
“By crunching data from the Central Valley, eBird can generate maps showing where virtually every species congregates in the remaining wetlands. … The BirdReturns program, financed by the Nature Conservancy, then pays rice farmers in the birds’ flight path to keep their fields flooded with irrigation water from the Sacramento River as migrating flocks arrive.
“These are magic weeks in the groves of the Central Valley citrus belt, a time when orchards are buzzing with honeybees and redolent with the heady, sweet smell of orange blossoms. But around the Tulare County town of Terra Bella, farmers like Matt Fisher smell doom.”
From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Jerry Meral:
“While more visible water conflicts rage in California, such as calls for new dams throughout the Central Valley and disputes over the need for water to save endangered fish, a lesser-known water crisis threatens the viability of much of California’s agriculture, and even the water supply of some Central Valley cities.
“Asparagus is coming up in the Delta, but cheaper imports make it too expensive to harvest. Prices at the supermarket have seldom been lower, even dropping to 99-cents a pound, this makes it harder and harder for Delta farmers to compete.”
From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Al Medvitz:
“For those who are concerned about providing relief and assistance to California farmers, there must be a realization that the west side farmers in the southern Central Valley are not the only farmers in the state threatened by drought. Those of us who farm in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are suffering, just as are our colleagues to the south.”
“After weeks of speculation on how much water from Millerton Lake might be released this year to South Valley farmers and communities that depend on it, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation made its announcement on Friday.”
From The Modesto Bee, in a commentary by Leonard Van Elderen:
“The financing of a farm is tied squarely to the land. The land has value that allows the lender to provide the loans. That value comes from the land’s ability to grow the crops. And that requires water.
“Water is an emerging concern for Central Valley agriculture on several fronts. There is the current short-term crisis for many farmers due to the lack of rain and snow.
“Landowners will soon be tasked with new rules for groundwater monitoring being finalized by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. The program will include new reports and monitoring managed by water quality coalitions.
“Since 2003, growers have been under a program for monitoring surface water runoff, including water testing to determine if land use is impacting waterways.”
“No California Central Valley lawmaker wants the federal government shut down. Just ask them. …
“Day One of the shutdown confronted lawmakers with an immediate management decision of how many people to furlough as non-essential. Given considerable leeway by House administrators, the Californians took markedly different approaches.”
From The Sacramento Bee in a commentary by David Mas Masumoto:
“As the smoke clears, the Rim fire has exposed a fundamental question for me: What’s my connection with Yosemite? …
“The Valley watershed begins in the Sierra – the water from the dramatic waterfalls and rivers winds down into our lands. Typically, we simply wait for the liquid gold to come spilling down for our thirsty fields and cities.”
“Fresno is just one player in a water war that’s quietly being fought underground. Throughout the Central Valley — one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions — farmers, residents and cities have seen their wells go dry. …
“Experts say water supplies have been strained by growing city populations and massive tracts of newly planted orchards and vineyards.”