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.

The ‘blob’ is back

Federal officials report a 60 percent chance that El Nino conditions will persist in the Pacific Ocean through next fall, which of course is generating the usual speculation about what this means for drought-stricken California. This past winter it meant nothing. After months of toying with us, an El Nino did finally materialize in March, [...]

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A purple lining amid the drought

Calaveras River enthusiast Jim Marsh had an unusually upbeat take on the drought at least week’s State of Our Rivers symposium in downtown Stockton. He pointed out that Stockton is better than 3 inches ahead of last year when it comes to rainfall. And as a result, a 3-acre native grass restoration site along the [...]

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One Delta smelt. One.

That’s what researchers found during the state’s most recent smelt survey last week. Not for a lack of effort, mind you. The state typically spends four days on this particular survey, sampling 40 smelt-friendly sites throughout the Delta. A 25-foot net is spread between two boats, which then trawl the waters and collect all sorts [...]

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What’s on tap — Earth Day edition

It’s been ages since I posted a calendar of events, but if I’m ever going to do it, this is the time — there are all sorts of outdoorsy events coming up. Earth Day events are highlighted in green. (This list will be updated as more comes in, so if you’re aware of any events [...]

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A calm voice, amid the controversy

Trevor Atkinson never told me much about his past, before the astronomer/civic activist brought his telescopes and smart-growth vision to Stockton. Atkinson, who died last week, wasn’t the type to focus on himself. But his wife, Rosemary, was kind enough to call on Tuesday and share a few details about Trevor. Did you know: –Trevor [...]

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April access to Sierra backcountry

In late June 1982, or maybe 1983, my dad backpacked up the little-used Horse Canyon trail just east of Silver Lake. His group spent its first night at tiny Scout Carson Lake, elevation 8,900  feet. A storm rolled in. Six inches of snow covered the ground when Dad poked his head out of the tent [...]

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Green menace

This blog will be silent for a few days. I leave you with this image provided by the Port of Stockton, showing what the hyacinth-clogged Deep Water Ship Channel looks like on the radar of an oceangoing ship. Here’s hoping your week is free of entanglements.

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Last word on #TracyBear

After 10 years as an environment reporter at two newspapers, I’ve done my share of urban wildlife stories. Mountain lions hiding in trees. Huge salmon lurking in the smallest city streams. That dolphin in Stockton’s Deep Water Ship Channel. Never have I seen the kind of community interest generated by Tracy Bear. (Lodi’s Tom Kettleman [...]

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Where our hyacinth headache started

Someone asked me on Twitter what the most viable plan is to attack water hyacinth. Here is my expert opinion: First, invent a time machine. Second, travel back in time to one day prior to the 1884 Cotton States Exposition in New Orleans. Third, hogtie whichever knucklehead dreamed up the idea of handing out hyacinth [...]

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‘Everything seems to be accelerating’

Daffodil Hill is closing for the season before it normally even opens. The flowers are already past their prime. Such is the weirdness of this “winter” (it is still winter, no?). Everything’s early this year. Stockton has already hit the mid-80s (84 degrees on March 14). December was 7 degrees above normal, January was 3 [...]

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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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