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The unregulated growth of California’s wine industry in the state’s coastal regions is depleting groundwater supplies and devastating rivers and fisheries. By Will Parrish Along the border of Sonoma and Napa counties, roughly seven miles northeast of Santa Rosa, hydrologist and forester Jim Doerksen took me to the southeastern end of his house, where he […]

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To All, When I moved to Sonoma County 30 years ago, I loved the vineyards…but they were all dry farmed back then. Over the years I have watched in dismay, then horror, at the forest-to-vineyard conversions, as the non-food ag spread like a cancer across the land. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is also […]

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Will Parrish May 15, 2015 Ukiah, TheAVA On April 21st, officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the State Water Resources Control Board sent joint letters to property owners in four of the Russian River’s largest tributaries imploring them to conserve water on behalf of a federally-listed endangered species: Coho salmon. Its […]

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April 17, 2015 – WILL PARRISH Ukiah – TheAVA In the San Joaquin Valley heartland town of Livingston, located along Highway 99 between Turlock and Merced, the United States’ most lucrative wine corporation, E&J Gallo, operates the world’s largest winery: a place where serried ranks of massive, 200,000-gallon tanks tower over the surrounding countryside, in […]

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George Skelton, Los Angeles Times This is what the Brown administration isn’t talking about as it tightens the spigot on landscaping: Urban use accounts for only 20% of California’s developed water. Agriculture sucks up 80%. Some calculate it a little differently: 10% urban, 40% agriculture and 50% environment — meaning every drop in the rivers […]

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There are many facets that must be considered if  were are to find solution(s) to our water supply and drought issues. Of course, bottom line, we all must conserve.  That means every person, business, or industry. Agriculture is not living up to their responsibility in the area of conservation.  Agriculture, via the California Farm Bureau […]

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Consuming 80 percent of California’s developed water but accounting for only 2 percent of the state’s GDP, agriculture thrives while everyone else is parched. “I’ve been smiling all the way to the bank,” said pistachio farmer John Dean at a conference hosted this month by Paramount Farms, the mega-operation owned by Stewart Resnick, a Beverly […]

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By JUSTIN GILLIS and MATT RICHTEL APRIL 5, 2015 Even as the worst drought in decades ravages California, and its cities face mandatory cuts in water use, millions of pounds of thirsty crops like oranges, tomatoes and almonds continue to stream out of the state and onto the nation’s grocery shelves. But the way that […]

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To All, California’s drought is a crisis. According to NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti, California has only one year of water left in its reservoirs.1 Incredibly, the state has no plan that even begins to adequately address a crisis of this magnitude. “California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone […]

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January 27, 2015 By Mathew Swain Existing compliance may not be sufficient After 13 years of deliberation and drafting, the new Industrial General Stormwater Permit takes effect July 1. The new permit requires major changes in the way that businesses engaged in industrial activities plan for, monitor and control pollution in rainwater runoff. Companies should […]

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FYI, to all Activists, Dear member of California’s agricultural community, The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is distributing this notice to share information about a Statewide Mercury Program being developed.  The goal of the Statewide Mercury Program is to establish statewide water quality objectives and a control program to address elevated levels […]

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By Adrian Baumann, abaumann@willitsnews.com 2/19/15 Plans for the multi-agency task force, including the California Water Board and Department of Fish and Wildlife, aiming to regulate marijuana growing in the state continue to evolve. The task force conducted January inspections of marijuana grows on Sproul Creek in southern Humboldt County. The group is still refining its […]

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By Trent Orr, January 21, 2015 The delta smelt is a fish that grows to no more than three inches in length, but over the years this threatened species has made big headlines in California’s dusty, water-rights battleground. One congressional representative, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), is even on record as calling the smelt a “stupid […]

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April 29, 2013 by Renata Brillinger A study entitled Climate Change, Wine, and Conservation published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences predicts that by 2050 the climate change impacts on the viability of wine grape production will be substantial and varied by  geographic region. While many such projections focus primarily on the impacts on […]

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Hi folks: These letters are important insofar as they are from the National Marine Fisheries Service and speak to the rules the County relies upon to govern development and the impacts of those rules in their land use decisions with respect to riparian vegetation and waterways.   The letters reinforce what is needed in the County […]

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UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, October 16, 2014 The State Water Resources Control Board recently solicited public comments on how to improve its drought curtailment of water rights. Here is a summary of insights and recommendations from a group of seven California water experts. By Ellen Hanak, Jeffrey Mount, Jay Lund, Greg Gartrell, Brian Gray, Richard […]

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To All, These attached letters are important insofar as they are from the National Marine Fisheries Service and speak to the rules Sonoma County relies upon to govern development and the impacts of those rules in their land use decisions with respect to riparian vegetation and waterways.   The letters reinforce what is needed in the […]

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Come see and support this beautiful movie. Ok, I’m a bit biased, but this is indeed beautifully produced and filmed – and it is very important and timely. And, yes, there are a number of fabulous interviews with a wide range of water and river people. Thanks! David Keller

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Hi  Folks — This information comes from the Legal Planet website.  They put up an interactive timeline, which I have translated into a table. CA Groundwater Law Timeline Jane legal-planet.org California’s New Groundwater Law: An Interactive Timeline What are the major deadlines for local groundwater management agencies, and when can-or must-state agencies act? Posted on […]

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To All, Don McEnhill, Executive Director of Russian Riverkeeper is a featured interview in: THE RUSSIAN RIVER: ALL RIVERS – THE VALUE OF AN AMERICAN WATERSHED “The time of using greed to justify degrading our environment is over.” “We need to get very honest with the amount of water we have in the worst year. […]

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By Robert Green For Southern Californians, the current record-breaking drought means letting the lawn fade to a trendy golden brown and making sure the hose doesn’t water the asphalt while you’re washing your car. It does not mean wondering whether anything will come out of the faucet and, unlike in the drought of 1977, it […]

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Sonoma County planners approve ordinance on agriculture, development on waterways By ANGELA HART THE PRESS DEMOCRAT Sonoma County planning commissioners Thursday night signed off on a new ordinance spelling out a wide set of regulations that limit agriculture and development along 3,200 miles of streams and rivers. The controversial changes, decades in the making, would […]

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Mark your calendar & spread the word: Planning Commission hearing August 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm PRMD hearing room Board of Supervisors hearing Oct. 21, 2014 (tentative) Nov. 18, 2014 (tentative) Supervisors’ Chambers Sonoma County Administration Building 575 Administration Drive, Room 102A Be sure to let others know about these important hearings.  Our voices will […]

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BY GLENDA ANDERSON THE PRESS DEMOCRAT July 3, 2014 State officials on Wednesday issued new water curtailment orders to thousands of users and adopted emergency regulations that allow them to more quickly crack down on people who ignore orders to stop diverting water from drought-stricken rivers and streams, including the upper Russian River. “Water rights […]

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By Susan Sward Special to The Bee Published: Sunday, Jul. 6, 2014 – 12:00 am Last Modified: Sunday, Jul. 6, 2014 – 12:12 am In the third-largest watershed in California, the Eel River rambles through some of the state’s most stunning landscape. Nothing about the river, with its clusters of redwoods along its sandy banks, hints at […]

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by Will Parrish, June 4, 2014 California is the most hydrologically altered landmass on the planet, a distinction it first attained in the early-mid-20th century. The Hoover Dam (on the Colorado River), which began operation in 1936, was the largest dam in the world at the time of its completion. With regard to the world’s biggest […]

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May 28, 2014 The last time California endured a drought, legislators set their sights on the state’s heaviest water users: farmers. The state designed laws to push agricultural water districts to closely track their water flow and make the largest districts charge farmers based on how much they use. The economic theory is simple: If […]

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By GUY KOVNER THE PRESS DEMOCRAT June 13, 2014 Three environmental groups are challenging Sonoma County’s approval of a 54-acre Annapolis vineyard in a case that reflects long-standing conflict over expansion of the county’s $600 million a year grape industry. If the lawsuit were to succeed, it would wipe out the county’s vineyard development law, […]

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Annie Snider, E&E reporter Greenwire: April 17, 2014 Today, farmers and ranchers can freely do any number of things on their property affecting rivers, creeks and wetlands that no other sector could undertake without going to the federal government for permission. Agriculture is different, Congress decided when passing the 1972 Clean Water Act. For the […]

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Posted by Jay Famiglietti of University of California, Irvine in Water Currents on February 4, 2014 We’ve been working since the mid-1990’s, well before the mission was launched in 2002, to develop and test methods to help monitor groundwater depletion from space.  We’ve applied them around the world — in California, across the U.S., in the Middle East, East […]

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