“For 200 years, the earthen water canal has nourished the land where Peggy Boney’s farm now sits. … Much of her life has revolved around these acequias, primitive but ingenious irrigation channels invented by the Moors and built in New Mexico by the Spanish. …
“Across the state, a historic drought has reduced the water to a shallow stream in some acequias, a trickle in others. Some channels are parched.
“In the age of Google Earth and GPS, century-old hand-drawn maps of the Delta would seem irrelevant.
“In fact, recent state actions in the Delta had so many lawyers and engineers rifling through documents at the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum that now officials there have put some of that material online.”
“When Ronald Reagan signed the California Environmental Quality Act four decades ago, it was portrayed as a process that would encourage managers of public and private projects to pay attention to and mitigate potentially adverse effects. Over time, however, complying with CEQA became not only a torturous slog through very expensive red tape …
“With just days remaining in the 2013 legislative session, it’s generally agreed that major CEQA reforms are very unlikely this year.”
“Black soot from 19th century homes and factories in Europe hastened the end of the Little Ice Age and caused glaciers in the Alps to retreat decades sooner than they would have otherwise, according to a new study.”
From The Sacramento Bee, a commentary by David Mas Masumoto, organic farmer and author:
“In our old wooden red barn, a set of ‘trees’ hang on the wall. They’re wooden bars with metal rings and fasteners at the ends. Farmers once used these when hooking up a team of horses to pull a farm implement or wagon or trailer. And I have no clue how to use these, I have never farmed using a horse or mule.”
“That was when the Wild and Scenic Rogue River Wilderness was established as part of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, a congressional act to protect rivers in their intrinsic state and prohibit development, leaving them unchanged for future generations.”
Sierra Club Books announced the reissue of David Carle’s “Water and the California Dream: Choices for the New Millennium” (ISBN 978-1-57805-095-6, $16.95 paperback).
Carle, a retired California state park ranger, is the author or coauthor of other books, including “Introduction to Water in California,” “Traveling the 38th Parallel: A Water Line Around the World” and “Mono Lake Basin.”
“A day trip to any of the five [Channel] islands – the two most popular and easily accessible are Santa Cruz and Anacapa, ferry service to Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara islands being spotty – not only gives visitors a greater appreciation of the delicate biogeography at work and how nonnative flora and fauna have been systematically removed and endemic plants and animals reintroduced, but also serves as an escape for weary souls whose blood pressure hits 201 when driving on the 101.”
“Unlike hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, lightning, ice storms, wind storms, wildfires and volcanic eruptions, drought is a slow killer. But efficient. Give drought a decade and it can permanently drive humans from a region they may have inhabited for centuries. Ask the Hohokam.”
“[Ralph] Brissette was the only survivor of an explosion inside a Metropolitan Water District tunnel in Sylmar that killed 17 men on June 24, 1971. … Now 42 years after the tragedy, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is planning to install a plaque with a commemorative ceremony this summer at its headquarters by Union Station.”
“Assemblyman Brian Dahle, who represents Nevada County in the lower house of the California legislature, brought a delegation of lawmakers to tour the county with an emphasis on understanding how the region plays a pivotal role in the entire state’s past, present and future.
“Forestry, water and fire in the Sierras are things I’m educating them on,” Dahle said of his fellow delegates.”
“Cartographers and historians have long mapped the vast body of water inside the Golden Gate that enabled San Francisco to become a major port connecting California to the world. However, few authors have looked as closely as Matthew Morse Booker looks, in ‘Down by the Bay,’ at the fascinating frontier where land meets sea.”