January 2010

Is Schwarzenegger’s Big Drought Over?

Governor Directs State Agencies to Prepare for Winter Storms

by Dan Bacher

For the past two years, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has constantly promoted the agribusiness claim that California is in a “catastrophic drought.” In reality, 2007, 2008 and 2009 were below-normal water years, but nothing like the drought years of 1975-77 or 1989-92.

“California’s ‘drought’ is overblown. The alarmists calling it a historic disaster are trying to pull a fast one,” columnist MIchael Fitzgerald wrote in an article in the Stockton Record (http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090311/A_NEWS0803/903110320).

Schwarzenegger has relentlessly pushed a “gloom and doom” drought scenario at press conferences and photo opportunities to campaign for the construction of the peripheral canal and more dams, even though the canal and the proposed Temperance Flat and Sites reservoirs won’t create any “new water” in a state where water has already been dramatically over-committed…

Click here to read the full article at Indybay.org

Presented by Dr. Nick Pinhey

Dr. Nick Pinhey will discuss evidence of climate change and explain why water supply managers are so concerned about it. He will then discuss what California and San Joaquin Valley water agencies are doing to address the problem.

Nick is the director of the Department of Utility Planning and Projects for the City of Modesto, which develops utility infrastructure and water supplies to serve the city.

Doors open 5:00 p.m.

Great Valley Center, 201 Needham Street, Modesto

$10.00 fee payable at door



For more info. visit the Great Valley Center’s new website: www.valleyfuturesforum.org

by Dan Bacher, Indybay.org

Sunday Jan 10th

The article, “USDA Data Dispels Myth that West Side Growers Feed the Nation,” elicited both cheers and jeers, including these two completely different responses from Mike Fitzgerald of the Stockton Record and and Mike Wade of the Farm Water Coalition.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to kick off the New Year, submitted his proposed budget for 2010-11 on January 8. Schwarzenegger claimed that the eviscerated budget “closes a $19.9 billion gap over the next 18 months between revenues and projected state expenditures by streamlining government, reducing costs and reforming our relationship with the federal government.” Schwarzenegger also declared a fiscal emergency and immediately called the legislature into a focused special session to prevent the shortfall from growing and to avoid further cuts.

However, while the Governor is proposing to reduce already slashed state government services, he campaigned for the peripheral canal and dams boondoggle during his State of the State Address. The water bond is $11.1 billion – and it will cost an estimated $23 billion to $53.8 billion to construct a peripheral canal/tunnel to send subsidized water to corporate agribusiness and southern California. How can he possibly campaign for a project that most Californians don’t want and will indebt the state’s residents for generations to come while he slashes the budgets for teachers, state parks and health care for children and the salaries of state workers?

Just as insanely, the Governor continues to fast track a corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative that costs the state $35 million per year while the State Game Wardens Associations says the state doesn’t have enough game wardens to patrol and monitor the marine reserves that have been railroaded over Central Coast cities and communities…

Click here to read the full article at Indybay.org

The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors is in the process of developing a plan that will set the tone for public policy decisions in our community for decades to come — but they don’t seem to be taking our County’s natural treasures into account.  

As someone who cares about protecting the unique and irreplaceable wildlife and wild places in my community, this greatly concerns me.

San Joaquin County is home to several imperiled animals, including the San Joaquin kit fox, steelhead trout, riparian brush rabbits and winter run Chinook salmon — and our rivers are the lifeblood of our community.

Protecting our wildlife, habitat and waterways that make our community so unique should be a vital part of San Joaquin County’s vision for the future. But if the draft plan is approved “as is,” our wildlife and wild places could pay the price.

Given the weight and scope of this document, San Joaquin County should include the following changes their plan:

1. The overarching Vision of the General Plan should emphasize thriving and abundant wildlife and increased environmental awareness in our communities.

2. The Calaveras, Stanislaus, Mokelumne and San Joaquin Rivers are the lifeblood of our County and should be specifically mentioned in the Natural and Cultural Resources Vision Statement.       

3. Water quality and quantity at levels that sustain wildlife and fisheries should be included as a part of the Water Resources and Quality section of the Guiding Principles.

4. Transportation corridors should be complete street corridors in accordance with CA Complete Streets Act of 2009, AB 1358, and we must begin utilizing waterways open space corridors to increase mobility and conductivity between communities. This should be included in the Transportation and Circulation Vision statement.                                                       

San Joaquin County’s “Draft General Plan Vision and Guiding Principles” will have a direct impact on our community and the people and wildlife that live here. The protection of our natural resources should be a vital component of the overriding vision that will guide policy decisions that will shape our community for decades to come!

by Dan Bacher
Wednesday Jan 6th, 2010 5:43 PM


In bad news for fishermen and all those that care about salmon, the Central Valley fall-run salmon counts are down and appear to be headed to another all time low. “State water mismanagement continues to spiral the populations downward,” said Dick Pool, administrator of Water for Fish.

In 2008, a record low of only 66,000 fall-run fish returned to the Sacramento, American, Feather and Yuba rivers and other Sacramento Valley rivers. The minimum escapement for long term sustainability of these fish is 122,000 and the fall 2009 run could be as low as 60,000 fish, according to Pool.

In the coming weeks, state and federal fishery biologists will be compiling the statistics on the 2009 fall run, the result of carcass counts on the rivers and hatchery returns. While salmon numbers were up from 2008 at the Nimbus, Feather River and Mokelumne River fish hatcheries, they were down 60 percent from last year’s dismal run at Coleman National Fish Hatchery on the Sacramento River…

Click here to read the full article at Indybay.org

Thought this might be a relevant story, especially considering the immense problem arundo poses to the Calaveras River waterways…

– Jeremy

Man vs. cane fight in Santa Ana River

By DAVID KECK Special to The Press-Enterprise

Riverside County has added a private agency in its fight against an old invader. The Board of Supervisors approved a $168,000 annual contract to hire Natures Image Inc. to remove arundo, a cane plant, from the Santa Ana River bottom, according to county documents.

The Lake Forest-based company will replace removal efforts now performed by the Riverside County Regional Park & Open-Space District.

The idea is to see how Natures Image works out over the next year, and then renew the contract for four more years at a cost of just more than $96,000 a year, Scott Bangle, general manager of the park and open-space district said Wednesday…

Click here to read the full article at Press Enterprise.com

Alex Breitler wrote a great piece about our FLCR Riverwalk event that ran in Stockton Record on January 1, 2010. What a great way to ring in the new year!

– Jeremy

Calaveras River excursions provide up-close education

By Alex Breitler
Record Staff Writer
January 01, 2010 12:00 AM


STOCKTON – People walk, run or bicycle along the Calaveras River every day.

But how many can identify the punk-rock hairstyle of the belted kingfisher, which burrows into the banks of the stream to lay its eggs?

An advocacy group in December began a yearlong series of first Saturday strolls along the stream – not just for exercise or recreation, but to teach folks about the north Stockton river, its history and environment.

Nearly 40 people turned out for the first walk on a downcast December morning. The day’s topic: birds.

Click here to read the full article at Recordnet.com