Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Melones an ‘absolute mess’

That’s how Jeff Shields, general manager of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District, described it to me the other day. The key reservoir east of Stockton is 23 percent full and 40 percent of normal. Last year at this time, with the drought already well underway, New Melones held more than a million acre-feet of [...]

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‘Good news… for people who love California’s wild creatures’

I asked Sierra Nevada red fox expert John Perrine if the recent sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox at Yosemite National Park portends well for the species’ recovery. There are only about 50 of these foxes in the world (they are not the same as common red foxes). Perrine’s response: It certainly seems like [...]

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Not as much water on the brain

A new PPIC poll released tonight shows that 59 percent of California adults consider water to be a “big problem” — a high number, but coming down from a record-high 68 percent in October. It appears all of that December rain washed this issue away, as far as some folks are concerned. Not surprisingly, though, [...]

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I must get this off my chest

It’s Sunday, so here comes my holy heartfelt confession: My grandfather worked for the L.A. Department of Water and Power. There. I said it. Yes, it’s true, fellow Stocktonians. Howard Earl Hillis — “Grandpa Hillis” to me, newspaper reader, crossword puzzler, coffee-guzzler and bequeather of Christmas presents — lived a double life as a cunning [...]

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Stockton’s New Melones water in jeopardy?

No surprise here, but the federal government is warning that the Stockton area might not receive all of its contracted water from New Melones Lake this year. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said as much in a late December letter to the Stockton East Water District. And as we all know, things have only gotten [...]

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Sunday trumpets

I finally attended one of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s sandhill crane tours at the Isenberg Crane Reserve west of Lodi. Wave after wave of birds flew in at dusk. It was a spectacular sight, of course, but it’s the noise I’ll remember most. Just a reminder, the free tours are offered on [...]

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‘Substantial’ ad campaign for twin tunnels

A group calling itself Californians for Water Security launched a public relations campaign today in support of Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels project. A press release says the “comprehensive, multi-year campaign” aims to “fix California’s broken water distribution system through implementation of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP),” as the tunnels plan is formally known. [...]

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Grab those reading glasses

Maybe you saw Sunday’s story about the University of the Pacific recruiting volunteers to transcribe John Muir’s journals. Wanna help? Here’s what you’re in for: As the story points out, it’s not that Muir necessarily had bad handwriting. His letters, written in ink and presumably while sitting at a desk, are perfectly legible. His journals, [...]

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What’s on tap — weekend of Jan. 10-11 and beyond

Thus returns what was once a monthly listing of outdoors events and environment meetings. I guess you could say the calendar took a holiday break stretching from Halloween through New Year’s Day. Hey, don’t blame me — I was here working the whole time. Saturday, Jan. 10-Sunday, Jan. 11: Sandhill crane tour at the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve [...]

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Go tell it on the river

This news got lost amid the holiday eggnog, but environmental advocates last month unveiled a new website intended to raise the profile of the largely invisible San Joaquin River. From the river’s headwaters in the High Sierra, to its mouth in the west Delta, the site maps out parks, historic sites and access points where [...]

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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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