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.

Judge: Delta Plan is ‘invalid’

A judge clarified today that the Delta Plan — a broad management plan for the estuary through the end of this century — is invalid and must be set aside until it can be partially rewritten. If that sounds familiar, it’s pretty close to what we reported one month ago when Sacramento County Superior Court Judge [...]

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Why surface water matters

In an email, Stockton East Water District board member Mel Panizza makes a good point about last week’s story on declining groundwater levels. The story talks about how most local wells sank again this spring, even though precipitation was at least somewhat improved over the previous year. Here’s what I failed to mention: While rainfall [...]

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More bad news for Delta smelt

No surprise here, but an annual spring survey that is an important indicator of the Delta smelt’s ability to spawn shows the species has hit another record low. Read the ugly details here. “I am not optimistic that the smelt can make it through the next year or two. Love to be proved wrong,” California [...]

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‘Drought’ not so easily defined

The fact-checkers had a field day with Donald Trump’s pronouncement last week that, in effect, there is no drought in California. “Lies Trump reality,” blared the headline in Slate. I realize that because he’s running for president, and because of his track record, everything Trump says will be — and should be — closely scrutinized. But [...]

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In defense of stripers

Striped bass “are not the problem” in the Delta, writes California native fish expert Peter Moyle and other experts with the U.C. Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. South-of-Delta water users have long said that it makes no sense for the state to maintain fishing limits on stripers, because the fish are not native to the Delta [...]

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The reward for saving water…

No, not a rate hike this time. The California Water Service Co. threw a huge party for its central Stockton customers on Saturday at the Stockton Civic Memorial Auditorium. About 750 people attended, according to the San Jose-based company. Cal Water Stockton customers saved 22 percent from June through February, exceeding their state mandate of [...]

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Delta land buy still a ‘go’

Southern California’s huge water wholesaler declined to reverse course Tuesday on the purchase of roughly 20,000 acres of land in the Delta, a $175 million deal that has Delta advocates worried. A vote to pull out of the deal failed 54 percent to 29 percent, with another 10 percent abstaining. The decision came despite Stockton-based [...]

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Hyacinth hassle

In case you missed it, the state Department of Water Resources has purchased nearly 23 acres of waterfront property in Stockton but is declining to allow its sister agency, the Division of Boating and Waterways, to use the land to dispose of water hyacinth. Here’s an interactive version of the map pictured above. The blue [...]

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‘We cannot afford further delay’

Add state Sen. Lois Wolk and 10 of her colleagues to the list of those who want state officials to complete a long-overdue update Delta water quality standards. Wolk, D-Davis, sent a letter last week to the State Water Resources Control Board asking it to take action within one or two years. “We cannot afford [...]

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Tragic picture

It’s strange to think that this little spindly tree — the one bent toward the ground — started the devastating Butte Fire last summer. 70,868 acres burned. 549 homes destroyed. Two lives lost. Such a weak little tree. That weakness was precisely the problem, Cal Fire found in its investigation report released last week. The [...]

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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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