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.

Putting a human face on climate change crisis

For those who consider climate change to be a far-distant threat, or no threat at all, meet lifelong Stockton resident Christopher Barron. He died 10 years ago today in the horrible 2006 heat wave that was exacerbated, at least, by global warming. At just 46 years old, he was one of the youngest victims in [...]

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Tunnels and standards: Enough water for both?

The length of Sunday’s story on the state’s track record complying with Delta water quality standards forced me to leave a lot of material on the cutting room floor. Including comments from Craig Wilson, the former Delta “Watermaster” who, until his retirement in 2014, worked for the same state water agency that is now holding [...]

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MWD boss on being a ‘good neighbor’

Now that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California officially owns 20,000 acres of Delta farmland, a question asked of General Manager Jeff Kightlinger at a public forum last week becomes even more relevant. The question: As an absentee landowner in the Delta, what does it mean to Metropolitan to be a “good neighbor?” Here is [...]

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Farewell to a ‘river pioneer’

George Wendt, a legend in central Sierra Nevada river rafting, has died. But it’s not too late to get to know him: Wendt took a chance leaving his job as a math teacher to start Angels Camp-based OARS, which eventually became a worldwide outdoors adventure company. Heartbroken by the flooding of the Stanislaus River after [...]

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Smelt ‘resiliency plan’ or ‘last-ditch effort?’

State officials this morning released an “aggressive” plan to immediately help the Delta smelt, which may soon become the first species to go extinct in the Delta in nearly 60 years. Most notably, the plan calls for additional summer flows through the Delta, this year ranging from 85,000 acre-feet to 200,000 acre-feet followed by up [...]

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McNerney on VA clinic/flood issue

Here’s a comment from U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, on the situation with the long-awaited VA clinic and the possible complications due to flood concerns: “The construction of a new VA medical facility in French Camp to serve the many veterans in the San Joaquin region is one of my top priorities. Since being elected [...]

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Read the latest Delta lawsuit

South-of-Delta water users say the federal government has failed to take a hard look at the human impact of reductions in water exports from the estuary. Here’s a copy of the lawsuit that the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and the Westlands Water District filed on Friday. This all goes back to the biological [...]

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Survey says… it’s DWR

If you spot a couple of government-types cruising around San Joaquin County this summer, they might be surveyors with the state Department of Water Resources. No, they’re not plotting to build the tunnels. For more than half a century DWR has conducted routine land use surveys all over Northern California in an effort to better [...]

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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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    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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