Author Archives: Alex Breitler

Breathing room — but not enough

After coming within a few inches of capacity on Feb. 22, Don Pedro Reservoir has dropped about 11 feet. You can thank this extended dry spell for that. Officials have managed to dump about 138,000 acre-feet of water during that time. But is it enough? The Tuolumne River system will likely see anywhere from 2 [...]

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Some well-deserved recognition

One of the Delta’s most cherished critters is being memorialized on a postage stamp. The photo comes from Nebraska, but it’s a scene close to the heart of any outdoors-loving person in Stockton or Lodi, too. Michael Forsberg took the shot of sandhill cranes flying over the Platte River, officials said. The new stamp is [...]

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A full New Melones Lake in our future?

I asked the Bureau of Reclamation’s Ron Milligan on Tuesday if it’s conceivable that New Melones could fill up later this year — a question that would have been laughed off just two months ago. With a little more snow in the central Sierra, Milligan said, it is possible. New Melones was the last of [...]

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Flood, seen from the air

Check out this drone footage of the San Joaquin River flood south of Manteca:

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I’ve been writing about water for 10 years in one of the state’s most flood-prone cities. And I’ve never had to write about a substantial flood. I’ve written countless stories about planning for future floods, about the quality of our levees and the need for new flood control infrastructure. But an actual, honest-to-goodness flood? Never [...]

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Strange times as Delta rivers flow downstream

You know it’s a flood in the Delta when all of its rivers are actually flowing toward the ocean. Earlier this week, the Old and Middle rivers, which normally run backward as they feel the influence of the powerful state and federal export pumps, began flowing downstream instead. Evidently there is so much water coming [...]

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Weird times in California water

Not sure I’ve ever seen a more perfect juxtaposition of California water issues than on Wednesday. While Department of Water Resources engineers were inspecting a giant gash in the Oroville spillway, with the reservoir rising rapidly and a critical need to dump water downstream, the same state agency simultaneously announced a new report showing that [...]

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A full tank of water tower nostalgia

It’s been fun monitoring reaction on social media to my news over the weekend that a half dozen of Stockton’s largest and oldest water towers will give up the ghost over the next few years. A sampling from the Facebook groups Stockton History and Memories of Stockton: –”I’m 58 and that tower has been there [...]

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Water warrior steps down

Bill Loyko, one of Stockton’s original water watchdogs, is stepping out of the water. Kind of. Loyko was a leading force in the Concerned Citizens Coalition lawsuit that successfully challenged privatization of Stockton’s waterworks in the 2000s. The lawsuit also brought a new level of transparency to the city’s Municipal Utilities Department, with the formation [...]

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A shot I could never get

This photo is why reporters with smart phones can never replace photojournalists. At least, not if you want spectacular photos. Record photog Calixtro Romias was cruising around last week when he happened to spot Phil Lee practicing his Kung Fu in front of an uprooted tree in Stockton’s Oak Park. I’m not awful taking photos [...]

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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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