Environment

Environment
7:29 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Voices Of The Drought: Hatcheries, Where Will The Fish Go?

Greg Paape and his team raise trout from egg to adulthood.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

  

There are over 1.5 million fish at the San Joaquin Fish Hatchery at the base of Friant Dam, which holds back Millerton Lake on the border of Fresno and Madera Counties.

Greg Paape runs the hatchery for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Today he’s inspecting the health of rainbow trout that he and his team have watched grow from eggs to four to six pounders.

“There’s a nice one there – you can see the rainbow color on him,” Paape says. “If he was in here by himself he’d be a lot silverier. Their he goes.”

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Environment
4:13 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Voices Of The Drought | Blog #droughtvoices

“When House Speaker John Boehner visited Bakersfield to call for drought relief with Valley GOP leaders we met in what felt like the most arid field on earth. Well-dressed reporters littered a recently plowed cotton field adjacent to a giant canal."
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

In this occasional series the Valley Public Radio news team explores the impacts of the drought through the voices and sounds of Central California. 

We invite listeners and viewers to engage in the series by leaving comments on stories and by sharing Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts using the hashtag #droughtvoices.

Posts and photos using the hashtag may appear on the Voices of the Drought Tumblr page alongside stories the news team produces.

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Water
11:02 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Report: California's Water System Needs Better Funding

San Luis Reservoir (file photo)
Credit CA Dept of Water Resources

A new report says California would need an additional two to three billion dollars every year to fill gaps where funding is needed for managing the state’s water. From Sacramento, Amy Quinton has more on the latest Public Policy Institute of California report.

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Drought
4:47 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

New Report: California Groundwater Crisis Looming

file photo
Credit California Department of Water Resources

Groundwater supplies are at an all-time low in both the Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, management of that dwindling supply was the focus of debate at the state Capitol.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office told lawmakers that without comprehensive statewide regulation of groundwater, management of the state’s water supply will be increasingly difficult. The LAO suggests the state require local water districts to phase in groundwater permitting and keep track of how much water is extracted from all groundwater wells.

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Drought
7:40 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Bees Feel The Effects of California Drought

Orin Johnson and business partner Jey Rolon work on hives in an orchard
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

The California drought has left honey bees without their normal supply of wildflowers to feed on. Beekeepers have supplemented the bees’ diet, but supplementation lacks the nutrition needed to keep hives healthy. Millions of colonies of bees are now pollinating almond orchards, giving the bees some relief. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, it’s likely to be only temporary.

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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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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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Environment
4:45 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Feds Say "No Water This Summer" For Central Valley Farmers

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

Central Valley Farmers received the news today that they had been fearing for months. Due to the drought Central Valley Project contractors will receive an unprecedented “zero allocation.”

Ryan Jacobsen with the Fresno County Farm Bureau says the allocation will force farmers to fallow huge portions of land across Central California.

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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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Environment
7:20 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

"Praying For Rain" At The 2014 World Ag Expo

Devon Burnias, left, is a second generation farmer south of Tulare, Calif.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

It’s a rather dry year here at the 47th annual World Ag Expo in Tulare. Water or the lack of it is on everyone’s mind.

Even though the official slogan of the expo is “Agriculture: Feeding Tomorrow’s World,” Charles Sarabian, an engineer with Preferred Pump and Equipment in Fresno, says the real theme of the show is how to conserve what little water is left.

“I think it’s what’s on everybody’s minds and it’s what makes agriculture grow without water there is no agriculture," Sarabian says. 

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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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Environment
9:07 am
Tue February 11, 2014

In Lemoore, Drought Poses A Threat To Navy Jets

Drought in California has the Lemoore Naval Station on alarm. Nate Lang, the base biologist, traps, tags and releases the hawks up to 100 miles away.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

We all know that California’s drought is posing huge problems for valley farmers. But as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports, it’s also a concern for pilots at one of the largest Navy installations in the west.

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It’s a busy day at the Lemoore Naval Air Station in Kings County. Pilots flying F/A18 Super Hornets are practicing touch and go exercises on a runway that’s painted to look like an aircraft carrier.

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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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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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