Ongoing drought and wildfires have cattle ranchers in at least five Southwestern U.S. states scrambling for hay or pastureland, while others are selling off some of their herds. Extreme and exceptional drought conditions have contributed to wildfires in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, delaying the growth of or destroying grass and wheat used to feed cattle in spring.
Is your kid eating canned peaches from China at school? If so, California peach farmers aren’t happy about it. The state’s canned peach industry is behind an effort in Congress to tighten the rules for buying imported food for the federal school lunch program.
Crop evapotranspiration (ET) is the biggest managed loss of water in California, accounting for roughly 80% of human net water use, and includes crop water applications transpired from plants and evaporated from soil. Methods to estimate ET have been developed based on a robust scientific understanding of its physics and data collected in the field or remotely by aircraft or satellites.
Following late season storms, the Bureau of Reclamation today [April 20] issued updated allocations for Central Valley Project contractors for the 2018 contract year. “Thanks to late March and April precipitation and the positive results of the California Department of Water Resources April snow survey, Reclamation is pleased to announce this increased allocation for CVP water contractors,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo.
Few people choose to live in Cuyama Valley. With a population of less than 1,000 residents, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, the 300-square mile area is home to large, empty expanses of ranch and agricultural land. Less than a foot of water graces the parched earth of Cuyama each year, making the region one of the driest regions of Central California.
Most farms grow food with soil and water. But at Ouroboros Farm in Half Moon Bay, Ken Armstrong grows food with water and fish. Inside a building about the size of a professional basketball court, water pours from a pipe into huge tubs where goldfish, catfish and tilapia are swimming.
I [John Fleck] had a nice talk Friday with Norman and Paul Kehmeier, father and son farmers in Delta County, Colorado, who get their water from Surface Creek, a tributary to the Gunnison. … While those of us down here in the lowlands log in to the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center and check out the latest maps and streamflow forecasts, Norman and Paul can look out the window to see what’s coming.
A week into her appointment last fall as a Mohave County supervisor in western Arizona, Lois Wakimoto heard the words that would consume her since: We have a water problem. The entity that sends Colorado River water throughout Arizona wants to buy farmland in her district that includes Mohave Valley, pay farmers to fallow it and redirect the water to the state’s most populous areas where housing developments are booming.
As we continue forging ahead in 2018 with our online version of Western Water after 40 years as a print magazine, we turned our attention to a topic that also got its start this year: recreational marijuana as a legal use.
For decades, cannabis has been grown in California – hidden away in forested groves or surreptitiously harvested under the glare of high-intensity indoor lamps in suburban tract homes. In the past 20 years, however, cannabis — known more widely as marijuana – has been moving from being a criminal activity to gaining legitimacy as one of the hundreds of cash crops in the state’s $46 billion-dollar agriculture industry, first legalized for medicinal purposes and this year for recreational use.
The North Yuba Water District announced its approximately 119 irrigation customers will not receive deliveries this year due to a lack of available water – in the form of snowpack – and a faulty conveyance system. General Manager Jeffrey Maupin said the district must first ensure its approximately 800 domestic customers receive potable water before irrigation needs can be met.
Sometime after Tim Pelican arrived at work Monday, a farmer stopped by to deliver a package to San Joaquin County’s agricultural commissioner. The farmer’s package contained a dead nutria, a 2½–foot-long, 20-pound beast that looks like a beaver but is smaller and has a round, ratlike tail and white whiskers.
According to a new report in the journal PLOS One, we Americans wasted just over 25% of our food between 2007 and 2014. … Each year, just short of 4.2 trillion gallons of water were used to produce all this uneaten food. That includes nearly 1.3 trillion gallons of water to grow uneaten fruits and 1 trillion gallons of water to grow uneaten vegetables.
I [Steve Lopez] went to Coachella and had a swell time, although I overindulged a bit. But it’s not what you think. I went to explore the valley beyond the world-famous music festival, and I ate too many dates.
The waterfowl at Ellis Lake are about to get a diet that’s a little less foul. Four gumball-style machines, to be filled with free rice, are slated to be installed at Ellis Lake near 9th and D streets as early as June as a way of encouraging people to feed the birds a healthier diet and keep the lake in good shape.
The Tehama County Department of Agriculture requested a declaration of disaster Monday from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services after the almond crop damage report showed a 40 percent loss. … While the request focuses on almonds, the prune harvest may also be a concern, though data is still needed.
In 2007, at Jeff Creque’s behest, John Wick got in touch with Whendee Silver, an ecologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Letting cows graze on his property had certainly made the land look healthier, he told Silver. But he and Creque wanted to know: Had it put carbon in the ground? And if so, was it possible to measure how much?
Every five years, a bipartisan farm bill is passed by Congress that impacts people nationwide and right here at home. On Thursday, a draft of the legislation was released by the House Agriculture Committee. While the bill is welcomed by many, some called it a betrayal to rural families.
In water management, it’s normal to zero in on one’s local geography and not think about the larger system – especially when state lines carve up a watershed. Thus, faced with a terrible snowpack year on the Rio Grande, we’re having three largely separate conversations about agricultural water management on the U.S. part of the Rio Grande: The San Luis Valley (the headwaters valley in Colorado) The “Middle Rio Grande” (that stretch through Albuquerque where I live) The “Lower Rio Grande” – New Mexico south of Elephant Butte Reservoir, plus El Paso County in Texas
Congress and the Trump administration are pushing ahead with a plan to raise a towering symbol of dam-building’s 20th century heyday to meet the water demands of 21st century California — a project backed by San Joaquin Valley growers but opposed by state officials, defenders of a protected river and an American Indian tribe whose sacred sites would be swamped.