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.

Logging off, for now

OK guys, forgive me this brief moment of narcissism… When I was a nervous intern at the Medford Mail Tribune in the late 1990s, a veteran reporter pulled me aside in the hallway one day. “Get out,” he hissed. “Get out while you still can.” I ignored him. And I’m so glad I did. Daily […]

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The incredible shrinking Delta conveyance: a timeline

Delta “isolated conveyance” proposals — be it a canal, tunnels, whatever — have generally gotten less ambitious over the years, at least in terms of capacity. But they don’t seem to be any less controversial, if the reaction to the state’s latest announcement is any indication. Just for perspective: • 1970s/80s Peripheral Canal: 22,000 cubic […]

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Smith Canal: State is still a partner

For those following the Smith Canal flood gate saga, here’s some additional insight from Mike Mierzwa, with the state Department of Water Resources: “The State still supports the project as a cost-share partner.  In fact, it was included in our short list of US Army Corps of Engineers projects referenced by name as part of […]

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More than just birdies at Swenson golf course

As I wrote in Saturday’s Record, the debate over the future of Swenson Park Golf Course — and the potential construction of homes there — may be the most passionate open space discussion I’ve seen since I moved to Stockton in 2005. While a manicured golf course isn’t purely “natural” habitat, it is clear that […]

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He’d always return your phone call

It’s harder than ever for journalists to access many public officials. Some government agencies forbid reporters from speaking directly with experts, or at least they may put up major roadblocks. Some  insist on carefully orchestrated email exchanges, as opposed to actual conversations. Some won’t talk at all, simply posting their spin on social media and […]

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Something fishy happened here

Last week’s write-up about the discovery of a green sturgeon in the Stanislaus River got a lot of clicks. I suspect that’s because it’s so unusual these days to hear “good news” about Central Valley fisheries. One thing you might have missed in the guts of that story was how biologists were able to definitively […]

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Santa Clara voted on — something

The Santa Clara Valley Water District says it voted to support the California WaterFix today. But did it? The Mercury News describes the vote as a rejection of the Fix, because Santa Clara’s board conditioned its approval on “considering an approach” that incorporates one tunnel instead of two tunnels. The Sacramento Bee also describes the […]

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Westlands has said ‘no’ before

One under-reported detail in the wake of the Westlands Water District’s vote against the Delta tunnels is the fact that this isn’t the first time the water district has supposedly rejected the project — or at least, the process. “We’re not going to spend another dime on this,” Westlands board President Jean Sagouspe told the Fresno […]

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Big recognition for tiny S.J. rabbits

The riparian brush rabbit, probably San Joaquin County’s cuddliest endangered species, is getting some much-deserved love from National Geographic. The magazine includes the rabbit as one of 7,000 species featured on its Photo Ark project, highlighting animals on the brink of extinction. Check out the Photo Ark here. An Instagram post featuring the brush rabbit […]

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Trusting the tunnels: For many, it just got harder

“Beneficiary pays.” It is one of the bedrock promises of the Delta tunnels plan, one which I have seen repeated time and again at public meetings, in interviews and in boatloads of documents over the past 11 years. “Those who would benefit from the tunnels would pay for them.” How many times has that sentence, […]

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