environment

Brown Revises Bay Delta Water Plan, Faces Criticism

May 1, 2015

California Governor Jerry Brown has revised his plan to restore habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, much to the dismay of environmental groups. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the plan also includes design changes for the proposed twin tunnels that would carry water south. Governor Brown sold his plan to build two tunnels in the Delta with the promise that habitat would be restored. The number most commonly mentioned was 100,000 acres. Brown says that was just an “idea” with...

New Brown Drought Proposals: Larger Penalties, Faster Environmental Reviews

Apr 28, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

If you’re caught wasting water in California, the most you can be fined right now is $500. Governor Jerry Brown wants to raise the maximum penalty to 20 times that amount. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on the governor’s latest drought response proposal. Brown wants to raise the maximum fine to $10,000 per water violation. He also wants to give cities, counties and water agencies the authority to issue fines without going through the courts. Brown: “I don...

Not Ready To Give Up Your Lawn? Landscapers Offer Drought Tips

Apr 23, 2015
Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio

If you're watering your lawn at all, there's a good chance you're watering it too much. That's the take-away at a drought workshop near Sacramento for landscaping professionals. Lesley McClurg attended the class sponsored by the Department of Water Resources. Tom Noonan is water management specialist. He says calibrating sprinklers can be a complicated science. But, the bottom line is... Noonan: "Get rid of run-off and get rid of over spray." To do that -- water often and for short...

Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

The latest survey of California's endangered Delta Smelt has turned up just one fish. While the population has been in decline for years, UC Davis biologist Peter Moyle says the drought has stressed the species to the brink of extinction. Moyle: "I've been tracking these fish for years including in my own surveys, and we've been seeing this long term decline, but still I was quite startled." He blames a number of factors for the almost complete collapse, but says the drought is a...

Slow Progress In Congressional Water Talks

Apr 16, 2015
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

When it comes to California drought relief legislation, it’s been a dry year so far on Capitol Hill. As Kitty Felde reports from Washington, Central Valley politicians and farm interests have been in Congress this week to remind lawmakers about the dire situation back home. Drought relief legislation this year has gotten off to a slow start on Capitol Hill - unlike last year, when bills were floated in both the House and the Senate. Mendota Mayor Robert Silva, who spent the week meeting with...

You may have heard by now that it takes one gallon of water to produce just one almond. And those are considered fighting words in drought-stricken California, which produces 80 percent of the world's supply of the tasty and nutritious nut. So when almond grower Daniel Bays hears that, he just shakes his head. "Almonds really aren't more thirsty than any of our other crops, " says Bays, a third-generation farmer in Westley, Calif. It's a small farming community about 90 minutes southeast of...

Tensions Appear Amidst Dwindling Water Supply

Apr 9, 2015
Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown says it’s time for California to pull together to get through the drought. It’s a message aimed at people with competing water needs. And, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, that’s created some tension. There are more than 400 local water agencies In California. There are also agriculture, business and environmental interests. And as the drought continues they are all competing for a dwindling resource. Felicia Marcus is chair of the State Water Resources Control Board...

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council has rejected a proposal to move forward with an effort to preserve area farmland from development. The council voted down the proposed grant application today to start a farmland preservation program, which is key part of the city’s newly adopted general plan. The program would require developers to offset the loss of farmland from urbanization by agreeing to preserve farmland elsewhere. Council member Lee Brand says he wants more public input before committing to such...

Almond Rush Raises Tough Questions During Dry Times

Apr 7, 2015
Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio

Conveyer belts carry millions of kernels through sorting machines in a giant processing plant in the western San Joaquin Valley near Newman, California. Jim Jasper: “So the almonds go in there.” Jim Jasper is the president of Stewart and Jasper Orchards. Jim Jasper: “We can speed this up… we can slow it down…” Last year the facility hulled and shelled more than 40 million pounds of almonds -- most of which were headed overseas. Harley Brinkman is a food...

Brown Issues Mandatory Water Conservation Order For California

Apr 1, 2015
Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

For the first time in the state's history, a governor of California is imposing mandatory water restrictions. Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order Wednesday that mandates a 25 percent cut in urban, potable water use in cities and towns from now through next February. He announced the action near Lake Tahoe, after watching the state Department of Water Resources conduct a survey that showed the Sierra snowpack at a record-low five percent of normal for April 1st. Brown's order also sets...

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