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.

Stagg journalist tackles hyacinth problem

Stagg High student journalist Devin Wickstrom has produced a multimedia report on this year’s hyacinth infestation. You can watch the video here. Devin did a similar report earlier this year on the governor’s proposed twin tunnels. At the risk of sounding like an old geezer, it sure is great to see young ‘uns taking an [...]

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McNerney: Water bill would have ‘terrible consequences’

U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, comments on the Drought Relief Act of 2014, which cleared the House last week but is likely to advance no more: “I voted against Rep. Valadao’s bill for quite a few reasons. First off, it would have terrible consequences for the people I represent and for our environment. The bill [...]

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Half full, half empty

You can look at this week’s big storm in two ways. The positive: Thursday was the wettest day in Stockton in 18 years. Our seasonal rainfall total jumped from 108 percent of normal to 171 percent of normal. We’re one more big storm away from surpassing our precip total for all of last year. On [...]

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Triumphant and terrifying

There’s no better place than the Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada for a wildlife photography contest. Little wonder, then, that the Twain Harte-based Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center hosts such a contest every year. The staff uses the images that it collects from the public in presentations to thousands of elementary school children, including many [...]

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Hyacinth smoothies, anyone?

The state’s latest plan appears to be to pulverize water hyacinth, as you can see in this video shot Friday by Calaveras River landowner Roger Kelly. “The plan is to shred the hyacinth and then pick up remaining floating pieces with a harvester,” Kelly says. This is not the first time, actually, that the state [...]

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Salmon in north Stockton

It’s both terrific and tragic when salmon appear in our local creeks and streams. Terrific, because the folks who see them realize that even some of the degraded waterways around Stockton have the potential to harbor life and should be respected as such. Tragic, because in many cases the salmon that veer off into these [...]

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More than one culprit

A dairyman contacted me yesterday about this week’s emergency listing of the tricolored blackbird, whose numbers have dwindled in part because of the harvesting of dairy silage fields while the birds breed. “I know that 30 or 40 years ago we saw a lot more of them than now, but what is the reason for [...]

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We’re still saving water, but…

Regular as rain, the State Water Resources Control Board today released another month’s worth of urban water conservation statistics. The gist: Californians used less water in October 2014 than they did in October 2013, but conservation efforts appear to be tapering off. Residents were at their best with 11.6 percent water savings in August. That [...]

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Bring on the crowds

Thanks to former Stocktonian Suzanne Finney for allowing me to tell the story of her 2008 almost-through-hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. I touched only briefly on the upcoming movie “Wild” and the concerns some PCT hikers have that the trail will suddenly become overrun with wannabe Suzanne Finneys. Suzanne’s not worried about that. The [...]

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Let bygones be bygones on the Moke

After decades of fighting over the Mokelumne River, East Bay MUD, San Joaquin County and several local water districts signed a landmark agreement this week. More coming on this soon. But for now, you can read the formal agreement here.

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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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