Author Archives: Alex Breitler

Alex Breitler

A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in Stockton. He has given up on ever finding a giant garter snake, San Joaquin County’s gnarliest-sounding endangered species.

(Ground)water on the brain

Responding to Sunday’s story about groundwater levels dropping in east San Joaquin County, reader Robert Lee offers this suggestion: “Groundwater is subject to the ‘tragedy of the commons,’ whereby an aquifer theoretically owned by all those who own land above it may be drained by the farmer with the biggest well. But there is a [...]

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‘Better pay attention to your mail’

That’s some free legal advice from Delta water attorney Dante Nomellini. Nomellini pointed out at a meeting last week that farmers or other water users who fail to respond to curtailment notices could face fines. It’s true that the State Water Resources Control Board ultimately decided that senior water rights holders — those whose rights predate [...]

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What’s on tap — week of July 21 and beyond

Tuesday, July 22: Stockton East Water District weekly board meeting. Noon, 6767 E. Main St., Stockton. Agenda available here. Wednesday, July 23: San Joaquin Bike Coalition’s weekly ride. 7 p.m. behind the Empire Theater in Stockton. Anyone with basic bike riding skills welcome. More details here. Thursday, July 24: Community workshop on Stockton’s general plan. Share your views how the city [...]

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Not quite Sally Savewater, but…

San Joaquin County has launched a new drought website, sjcsavewater.org, which is intended to give residents practical advice and conservation tips. That info might be especially important now that state officials have approved penalties of up to $500 a day for those who waste water. The county has also produced a $9,000 commercial that you [...]

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The drought, in context

My initial, layperson’s take on today’s drought report: 1) This is a billion-dollar drought — the report predicts $1 billion in crop revenue loss across California, to be exact — but consider the fact that the state enjoys $45 billion in crop revenue in a typical year. So, put in context, the revenue loss this [...]

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‘It is a lost heritage’

Reader Bob Shellenberger laments Stockton’s somewhat severed connection to Yosemite National Park. He writes: “California’s two major tourist attractions in the late 1800s were the Calaveras Grove of Big Trees and Yosemite (originally Yo Semite) Valley. The route to both went through Stockton. To visit Yosemite, you either took ‘the train of cars’ to Stockton [...]

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When pigs swim

Shonda Taliaferro spotted this charming pig on the Delta the other day. And where else could it possibly happen, of course, but Hog/Spud Island? “Between Windmill Cove and Lost Isle on the north side of the bank,” Shonda told me on Twitter. “Piglets too!” “I think she lives there,” Shonda added. “There is another adult [...]

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Apologies to the smelt

A reader called me out yesterday for using the term “infamous” to describe the Delta smelt. “Infamous,” of course, is not synonymous with “famous.” From Webster’s New World College Dictionary: “Infamous: (adj) Having a very bad reputation; notorious; in disgrace or dishonor.” Some might find that word appropriate in describing a fish that has crimped, [...]

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Targeting the tunnels

San Joaquin County’s official comments on the twin tunnels project can be found here. Supervisors voted 4-0 today to submit these comments and to reaffirm their opposition to the project (the supes first voted to oppose the tunnels in 2012, before the tunnels had even been formally proposed).  

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Ambitious man, unassuming grave

We were cruising around the Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Colma last week — (it’s a long story) — when we stumbled on this tombstone: That’s “Brown” as in Edmund “Pat” Brown, architect of the State Water Project that fuels California’s trillion-dollar economy. The governor’s resting place is relatively modest, compared with a nearby cavernous [...]

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    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in ... Read Full
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