environment

Drought
10:41 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Do Man-Made Residential Lakes Make Sense In A Drought?

These man-made lakes south of Bakersfield, near the communities of Arvin and Lamont have some Kern County residents and water managers asking questions about the use of water during a drought.
Credit Google Maps

California’s drought has communities up and down the valley looking conserve water. The City of Orange Cove has already banned outdoor watering this year, and later tonight the Lemoore City Council will hold a meeting to discuss ways the city can get residents to reduce their water use by as much as 25 percent.

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Government & Politics
12:06 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

City Council Approves Plan To Bring Cars To Fresno's Fulton Mall

A photo illustration of what the future Fulton Street may look like, between Inyo and Kern
Caltrans

Nearly fifty years after the Fulton Mall opened to national acclaim,  Fresno City Council voted late Thursday night to approve a plan to replace the historic pedestrian zone with a two-way street. The 5-2 vote was the latest step in an effort that backers hope will revitalize downtown Fresno and the city's historic main street. 

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Drought
9:58 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Voices Of The Drought: Nurseryman Jon Reelhorn

Jon Reelhorn says business is up for his nursery when it comes to drought resistant plant.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This is the second piece in Valley Public Radio's occasional series, called Voices of the Drought. This week FM89 reporter Ezra David Romero visits with Fresno nurseryman Jon Reelhorn.

Jon Reelhorn wasn’t always a nurseryman. Back when he was a student at Fresno State he spent more time in the dugout than in the greenhouse.

“I’m a city boy from Stockton that came to Fresno State on a baseball scholarship and it’s an ag school so you had to figure out what you were going to do,” Reelhorn says.

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Drought
7:52 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Obama Visits Drought-Stricken Fresno, Calls For Congressional Action

President Obama walks toward Marine One with Rep. Jim Costa
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

President Obama visited the valley today in a whirlwind tour, delivering a speech this afternoon at the Los Banos farm of Joe Del Bosque to announce his proposal for emergency drought relief. He says that while the lack of rain and snow is a concern to the Central Valley, it’s also a national issue:

Obama: “California is our biggest economy, California is our biggest agricultural producer, so what happens here matters to every working American, right down to the cost of food that you put on your table.”

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Drought
6:27 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Firebaugh's Message For President Obama: We Need Water

LaVonne Allen is the owner of Farmer’s Daughter restaurant in Firebaugh.
Credit Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

During his visit Friday to the Central Valley, President Obama discussed the   drought with community leaders in Firebaugh. FM 89’s Rebecca Plevin asked residents there what they would tell the President about the region, if they had the opportunity.

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If President Obama had time to stop by the Farmer’s Daughter restaurant in Firebaugh today, he would hear a strong message from owner LaVonne Allen.

“We need more water storage, there’s no ands, ifs, or buts about it,” she says.

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Developing
3:00 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Obama To Announce Federal Drought Relief With Fresno Trip

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

President Obama will visit the Central Valley this afternoon to announce an aid package to help farmers, ranchers and communities hit hard by California's record drought. After landing in Fresno, the President is expected to attend a roundtable discussion about the drought in Firebaugh and tour a farm in Los Banos.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the President's message will be clear:

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Business & Economy
5:12 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Brown Visits Tulare Farm Show, Says Compromise Needed On Water

California Governor Jerry Brown visited the world ag expo in Tulare.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown toured the World Ag Expo in Tulare Wednesday and weighed into the debate between competing House and Senate plans for response to the state’s drought. Brown says Republicans and Democrats need to find common ground on a bill that will benefit all Californians.

Brown: “This is not a time for rhetoric or the cheesy partisanship we often see in Washington. I’m trying to be the governor of the whole state, bringing people together, get the water in the short term, long term, but when God doesn’t provide the water, it’s not here.”

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Drought
12:31 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

For Orange Cove, Drought Puts Strain On City's Water Supply

The Friant Kern Canal not only carries Millerton Lake water to valley farms, but also to communities like Orange Cove
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Despite the rains of the past weekend, California’s drought is still a huge problem for communities up and down the state. While many towns in the Valley are bracing for the economic impact of the drought, and the resulting loss of farm jobs, the community of Orange Cove also has to contend with concerns about its water supply.

Mayor Gabriel Jimenez says that while the city has five municipal wells to draw water from the aquifer, they can't be used due to nitrate pollution.

"Now our wells are shutdown, we're 100 percent dependent of surface water," says Jimenez. 

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Environment
10:53 am
Tue February 11, 2014

In The Central Valley, Farmworkers Worry That No Water Means No Work

When there's no work in the Central Valley's fields, farmworkers gather at the Westside Pool Hall in Mendota.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

When farmworker Jose Gonzalez Cardenas can’t find work, he heads to the Westside Pool Hall in Mendota. Planting has hardly begun in the Central Valley, but everyone here is talking about the state’s drought, and what it could mean for the growing season.

“If there’s no water, we’re not going to have work,” Gonzalez says in Spanish.

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Drought
7:52 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Total California Water Storage Near Decade Low

Friant Dam (file photo)
Credit State Department of Water Resources

The Sacramento and San Joaquin River Basins are experiencing the steepest drop in water storage in nearly a decade. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, a new study looked at all water storage in the basins, including snow, surface water, soil moisture and groundwater.

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High Speed Rail
7:34 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

GOP Calls To Move High Speed Rail Funds To Other Projects

The Assembly Republican caucus says billions of dollars in high-speed rail bonds and gas tax revenues would be better spent on infrastructure projects - from roads and highways to bridges and ports.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The Assembly Republican caucus says billions of dollars in California high-speed rail bonds and gas tax revenues would be better spent on infrastructure projects.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

GOP lawmakers want to take money from several different sources and spend it on road, highway, bridge and port projects.  What they don’t want to spend it on is high-speed rail.

Conway: “We’re done with that.  We’re over that.”

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Environment
12:46 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Sierra's National Forest Trails Need Help From Volunteers

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

One of the best parts of living in Central California is our proximity to the Central Sierra. Right in our backyard, we have treasures like Mt Whitney, the Kern River, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, plus thousands of acres of wilderness lands. But when it comes to the Sequoia National Forest and others in the National Forest system, budget cuts over recent years have taken a toll.

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Drought
11:25 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Valley Farmers Fallow Fields, Drill Wells, Auction Water To Cope With Drought

The Delta Mendota Canal is used to bring water to thousands of acres of valley farmland in a normal year (file photo)
Credit www.usbr.gov

Last Friday, the State Water Project took the unprecedented step of cutting projected water allocations for its contractors to zero. And other water users, including those who get supplies from the federal Central Valley Project are expecting severe cuts of their own. 

The drought has prompted many farmers to fallow their fields, and growers of permanent crops like almonds, grapes and pistachios are scrambling to find backup supplies to keep their trees and vines alive this year. 

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Environment
9:08 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Voices Of The Drought: Small Farmer Chia Lee

Chia Lee and his brother, Teng Lee, are concerned about the drought's impact on their Parlier farm.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

Starting this week, Valley Public Radio will share an occasional series, called Voices of the Drought. First up, is the story of small farmer Chia Lee.

Back in Laos, Chia Lee grew rice and corn on a mountainside. He never worried about rain there.

“We’re waiting for the monsoon rain in Laos, once a year, so we don’t worry about anything,” Lee says.

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Drought
6:43 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Westside Growers Will Get To Keep Last Year's Banked Water

Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) speaks to the media today about California's drought
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Westside farmers who banked excess water last year in San Luis Reservoir anticipating a drought won't have to give it up, according to an announcement today from the US Bureau of Reclamation. 

The farmers had faced the threat of losing that water to other farmers who hold senior water rights, such as the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors. 

The Bureau was facing political bipartisan political pressure against reallocating the water. But the move could leave the door open to lawsuits. 

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Transportation
5:30 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Fresno's Bus Rapid Transit Plan Faces Opposition

A rendering of the a proposed BRT bus for Fresno.
Credit Anil Verma Associates / Fresno FAX

The Fresno City Council is set to debate a proposal tonight to bring a hi-tech express bus line to city. But as FM89’s Joe Moore reports, the $50 million federal grant that would fund the project is generating some controversy.
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The proposal calls for new high capacity express bus service, known as Bus Rapid Transit, to be built along Blackstone and Kings Canyon Avenues in Fresno. The new bus line would replace existing FAX service on those routes and would decrease travel time for riders by as much as an hour and a half in some cases.

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Drought
11:26 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Drought Forces California Ranchers To Make Tough Decisions

One of about 400 head of cattle owned by Jim Gates of Nevada County Free Range Beef
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

California’s ranchers depend on fall and winter rains to keep grasses growing for their livestock. But the state’s drought is forcing them to make tough decisions. With rangelands dry statewide, moving herds isn’t an option. Many are resorting to buying feed, but its rising cost is making that choice difficult. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, some ranchers must decide whether to sell their livestock or go out of business. 

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Commentary
3:25 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Commentary: Time To Save The Sierra's Vanishing Trails

file photo
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

One of the great things about living in California’s Central Valley is the easy access to one of the great mountain ranges of the world, the Sierra Nevada, and its beautiful forests. Unfortunately, through no fault of anyone in the valley, that access is being threatened.

As a lifelong Californian, I’ve grown to love the mountains so much that I’ve done volunteer work in the forests of the Sierra for the past 15 years. And over that time, I’ve seen a dramatic shift in the condition of the forests. The problems are twofold: a lack of funding, and a lack of personnel.

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Drought
5:08 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Boehner, Valley GOP Representatives Call For Drought Relief

House Speaker John Boehner is calling for emergency legislation in response to California's drought
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

Valley congressional leaders and House Speaker John Boehner met in a dusty cotton field outside Bakersfield today to announce a plan for emergency legislation in response to California’s drought.

Boehner, who was joined by valley Republicans Devin Nunes, David Valadao and Kevin McCarthy told the crowd that the water shortage requires action, and blamed environmental laws for part of the problem.

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The Moral Is
7:26 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Commentary: Apply Mandela's Vision Of Reconciliation To The Environment

Madhusudan Katti, Associate Professor of Biology, CSU Fresno
Credit Madhusudan Katti

Despite enduring a lifetime of oppression, Nelson Mandela transformed his nation by seeking reconciliation with his oppressors rather than retribution. In this week’s edition of The Moral Is, Fresno State Biology Professor Madhusudan Katti wonders whether the power of reconciliation as a moral principle might save us all from the damage humanity is inflicting on our planet and ourselves.

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With the passing of Nelson Mandela last month, we lost one of the strongest needles in humanity’s moral compass.

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