Aquafornia news Associated Press

GAO: Climate change already costing US billions in losses

A non-partisan federal watchdog says climate change is already costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year, with those costs expected to rise as devastating storms, floods, wildfires and droughts become more frequent in the coming decades.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Napa Valley winemakers return to their vineyards after fires

Scientists continue to study how smoke affects maturing wine grapes, but at its worst it mars finished wines with a smell and flavor akin to smoldering cigar butts in an ashtray.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Good-bye golf course, hello olive groves! New Palm Springs enclave to become an ‘agri-hood.’

The 300-acre sustainable community, named Miralon, is planned as one of the nation’s largest agricultural neighborhoods, or “agri-hoods,” where new homes crop up around community farms.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Jose wins ruling in Willow Glen Trestle case

The Willow Glen Trestle’s chances of hitting the century mark were significantly reduced earlier this month when a Santa Clara County judge ruled it isn’t historical enough to preserve.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Cannabis businesses face struggles in rebuilding after fires

As wildfires have raged across Northern California, claiming lives and scorching more than 200,000 acres, they are also taking a toll on cannabis farmers who have lost both homes and valuable crops — and have little hope of getting help from insurance or banks in an industry that remains legally hazy.

Aquafornia news Center for American Progress

Commentary: Restoring our investment in America’s forests

The farm bill, which is up for congressional reauthorization in 2018, provides a ready-made opportunity for lawmakers to strengthen rural economies. Indeed, that goal was the impetus for the very first farm bill in 1933, which was passed to support struggling farmers who had lost their farms, crops, and earnings in the wake of the Dust Bowl—a period of severe dust storms brought on by drought, poor land management, and soil erosion that devastated the agriculture and ecology of the Great Plains.

Aquafornia news California State Water Resources Control Board

News Release: State Water Board adopts environmental standards for cannabis cultivation

Today [Oct. 17], the State Water Board adopted a new statewide policy establishing strict environmental standards for cannabis cultivation in order to protect water flows and water quality in California’s rivers and streams. … “We are establishing the environmental protection rules of the road needed to deal with the expected expansion of cannabis cultivation statewide,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus.

Aquafornia news CBS Los Angeles

State Water Board sets environmental rules for cannabis cultivation

With the marijuana legalization date of Jan. 1, 2018 rapidly approaching in California, the state is getting serious about regulations. On Tuesday, the State Water Board adopted new environmental rules for cannabis cultivation to protect water flows and water quality in rivers and streams.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Closer look at 22 wineries damaged by Wine Country fires

Across Napa and Sonoma, vintners finally were able to return this past weekend to fire-scarred Wine Country to see firsthand the fate of their wineries and vineyards.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Construction has begun on Willows rice straw plant

Work has begun on CalPlant 1 LLC, which will eventually be turning post-harvest rice straw into fiberboard for furniture construction. For weeks, truck after truck has been delivering baled rice straw to the plant site on Highway 162 west of Willows.

Aquafornia news NPR

With OK From EPA, use of weedkiller expected to double

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it will let farmers keep spraying the weedkilling chemical dicamba on Monsanto’s new dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. The decision is a victory for the biotech giant and the farmers who want to use the company’s newest weedkilling technology.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

At Napa vineyards untouched by wildfires, the grapes must still be picked

[Mario] Maldonado, a Guatemalan immigrant with U.S. residency, focused on the task at hand: harvesting some of the last Cabernet Sauvignon grapes of the wine harvest at Slinson Vineyard, owned by C. Mondavi and Family. This particular fruit would go to make prized reserve wine — which is picked by hand only, said Judd Wallenbrock, the winery’s president and chief executive.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Californians should cherish farms, not go to war against them

You wouldn’t think I’d [Paul Wenger] need to say this in a state that has proudly led the nation in agricultural production for 70-plus years, but I guess I need to: California agriculture represents a crucial asset to this state, economically and environmentally.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Marijuana crop is burning in the California wildfires

Fatal fires that have consumed nearly 200,000 acres in Northern California, devastating the region’s vineyards particularly in Napa and Sonoma Counties, are also taking a toll on a fledgling industry just months before its debut: recreational marijuana.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Group of San Joaquin farmers says they’re willing to pay for Delta tunnels project

A bloc of San Joaquin farmers tentatively endorsed the Delta tunnels project Thursday, becoming the first significant agricultural group to support the struggling plan. But the level of support from members of the Kern County Water Agency, which serves much of the $7 billion-a-year farm economy at the southern end of the valley, was less than wholehearted.

Aquafornia news NPR

Historical veggies take root in Washington, D.C., War Garden

Rob Gimpel is usually thinking about getting tulip bulbs in the ground this time of year, but right now he’s ready to harvest pumpkins. It’s an unusual activity for Gimpel, the lead gardener of the areas around the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., but one that he’s been thoroughly enjoying as part of this year’s War Garden project.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette-Journal

‘Potcast’ to dive into how marijuana legalization is changing America

In a new podcast called the “Potcast,” a group of journalists will look at how Americans’ lives and their communities are being affected by cannabis legalization.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Why southern Nevada is fighting to build a 250-mile water pipeline

In 2015, Albuquerque delivered as much water as it had in 1983, despite its population growing by 70 percent. In 2016, Tucson delivered as much water as it had in 1984, despite a 67 percent increase in customer hook-ups. The trend is the same for Phoenix, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, said longtime water policy researcher Gary Woodard, who rattled off these statistics in a recent phone interview. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah grapes most threatened by wine country fires

Fire is tearing through a region that produces some of the world’s priciest wines. The Atlas, Tubbs and other devastating wildfires roaring through parts of Northern California have taken aim at the world-renowned vineyards and wineries of Napa and Sonoma counties, thrusting a multibillion-dollar industry into chaos.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: California rice famers prevent floods and help wildlife

Last winter’s heavy rains were a welcome relief for Central Valley farmers after years of drought. But the high water that came with them also made it clear that we must upgrade the flood control system designed to protect people, farms and cities from catastrophic flooding.