Over the past three months, a shockingly abundant rainy season has provided Northern California with much needed relief after an epic drought, but for small farms, the accompanying flooding and other headaches have proven there can be too much of a good thing.
Last May, Donald Trump stood in an arena full of farmers from California’s desiccated Central Valley and said words many yearned to hear: “If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water.”
The federal government can redirect water from a Northern California dam to prevent mass die-offs of salmon in drought years, water that otherwise would be shipped to Central Valley farmers, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The early settlers snatched up the rich, loamy land along the Feather River to grow grapes and orchards. Edward Mathews, an Irishman who fled the potato famine, was peddling vegetables and didn’t have the cash for that kind of soil.
In the small community of Circle Oaks, California, a few miles east of the wine-soaked Napa Valley, residents are fuming over a wealthy Texas couple’s plans to cut down 14,000 adult oak trees and replant the cleared woodland with 209 acres (85 hectares) of irrigated grapevines. The project, opponents warn, will destroy fish and wildlife habitat, reduce the environment’s resilience to climate change, and drain groundwater reserves.
Last week I [Kirsten James] was a guest on an “inspection” trip of the Colorado River Aqueduct, the engineering marvel that delivers up to 1 billion gallons (3.8 billion liters) of water daily to Southern California from the Colorado River hundreds of miles to the east. Organized by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California, these inspections are a relic of an old piece of administrative code.
A reported federal investigation that’s stalled part of a California irrigation-drainage deal does not extend to the small San Luis Water District in western Fresno and Merced counties, a top district official said Wednesday.
The San Joaquin Valley, known as the nation’s breadbasket, is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the United States. During our three-day Central Valley water tour, you will meet farmers who will explain how they prepare the fields, irrigate their crops and harvest the produce that helps feed the world. We will also drive through hundreds of miles of farmland and visit the sources of the water – rivers, dams and wells.
A year ago, politicians and experts were predicting a near-permanent statewide drought, a “new normal” desert climate. The most vivid example of how wrong they were is that California’s majestic Oroville Dam is currently in danger of spillway failure in a season of record snow and rainfall.
U.S. exports of wine — the bulk of it from California — set a record in 2016 despite having to fight a strong dollar, subsidies and barriers in other countries and a tight water and labor supply at home, according to the Wine Institute.
The birthplace of the Fetzer family’s wine dynasty is poised for a new life as a commercial cannabis operation, a deal that shows just how far California’s new marijuana businesses have emerged as a rival to the North Coast’s famed wine industry.
The political terrain appears favorable for a mega-million-dollar irrigation drainage deal, with Congress still fully in Republican hands and California’s sprawling Westlands Water District with influential allies. But there are complications.
In Salinas Valley, one of the country’s richest and most productive agricultural regions, President Donald Trump’s repeated threats to act against “sanctuary” policies and to deport undocumented immigrants has already created chilling uncertainty in a region dubbed the “Salad Bowl of the World.” The valley produces two-thirds of the nation’s lettuce and more than half of its broccoli.