Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tragic picture

It’s strange to think that this little spindly tree — the one bent toward the ground — started the devastating Butte Fire last summer. 70,868 acres burned. 549 homes destroyed. Two lives lost. Such a weak little tree. That weakness was precisely the problem, Cal Fire found in its investigation report released last week. The [...]

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No debate about water

It seems surprising that there were no questions about water at Monday night’s U.S. Senate debate, considering what is happening in Washington, D.C. right now. There were but two passing mentions of water in the span of 90 minutes: • Asked about income inequality, Democratic candidate Loretta Sanchez, of Orange County, talked jobs and, ever [...]

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The rarest of documents

Updated to fix link You don’t see this every day — an application for a permit to export groundwater from San Joaquin County. That’s a big deal. A county ordinance forbids exporting precious groundwater unless a permit with specific conditions can be issued. And no such permit has ever been approved. For the nitty gritty [...]

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Delta islands lawsuit: Read for yourself

Here’s the lawsuit filed by San Joaquin and Contra Costa counties, Delta farmers and enviros to block the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California from buying 20,000-plus acres in the Delta. And here’s a letter that accompanied the lawsuit.

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Diverse voices on Delta flows

In case you missed it, Delta advocates recently sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking for a long delayed update of Delta water flow and water quality standards. (A similar letter was also sent to the State Water Resources Control Board.) Somewhere around 150 organizations signed on, including a number in the Stockton area. [...]

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Spreading the wealth

Mother Nature must have finally realized that she didn’t equitably distribute El Niño’s wealth this winter. Check out the rainfall from over the weekend: It was the other way around most of this year, with far Northern California reservoirs receiving most of the wet stuff, and places farther south — like New Melones — recovering [...]

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An exotic souvenir

My always thoughtful boss, deputy metro editor Barbara Zumwalt, brought me the loveliest gift from her recent trip to Senegal. I mean, really, Barbara, you shouldn’t have. Yes, Barbara brought me a toilet paper tube. No coffee mug, no keychain. Don’t they have overpriced airport gift shops in Senegal? OK, here’s why she brought me [...]

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Smelt population ‘alarmingly small’; pumping cut

The federal government is increasing protections for vulnerable Delta smelt, which will require Delta export pumping to be ratcheted back even more. Friday’s decision came one day after U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to President Obama, asking him to crank up the pumps at a time when rivers are flowing high with runoff. “If we [...]

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Delay in water rights hearings

State water officials have indefinitely postponed ongoing hearings about alleged illegal diversions from the Delta during the drought last summer. Who knows what this means, if anything. The hearings started on Monday and were expected to last 11 days. But the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, which faces a possible $1.4 million fine, moved for dismissal on [...]

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New polling on Delta tunnels

Who knows if the twin tunnels will be put to a public vote. But it’s worth noting that, according to the latest poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, 80 percent of Californians believe the tunnels proposal is either “very important” or “somewhat important” for the future of the state. Not surprisingly, the highest [...]

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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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