“A study of Salinas Valley spinach crops has led to important information for farmers to reduce over-application of fertilizer, which becomes a health risk when it seeps into groundwater.
“The study, conducted by the University of California Cooperative Extension, included researchers from Monterey County who looked at the critical balance of how much nitrogen fertilizer is absorbed, or ‘taken up’ by spinach, versus how much is applied by growers.”
“A coalition of environmental groups and an elderly Monterey County woman filed a lawsuit against state water regulators for failing to protect the public from toxic agricultural discharge.
“The suit, filed on behalf of Antonia Manzo, a Monterey County resident, by Monterey-based The Otter Project and Monterey Coastkeeper and five other organizations, alleges that the state Water Board passed a regulation governing agricultural discharge that is so weak it is in violation of state law.”
“A state Public Utilities Commission judge has indefinitely postponed review of a highly secretive settlement agreement proposal between California American Water and Monterey County over the failed regional desalination project.”
“Marina Coast Water District officials have agreed, in secret, to pay the attorney of former general manager Jim Heitzman for representing him during depositions in a civil case aimed at determining the validity of the failed regional desalination project agreements.
“The decision, approved in closed session, was never announced in open session and district officials still have no intention to do so.”
From The Salinas Californian, in a commentary by Norm Groot:
“As we close out the year here in the Salinas Valley, you have probably noticed that many of the fields that were once green with vegetables and lettuce are now bare dirt, carefully tilled and furrowed. … So, you wonder, what do farmers do when their fields are not producing products for our hungry nation? …
“There is a lot of regulatory compliance that continues for farming operations.
“As the city weighs its next move in a stalled effort to expand water service to UC Santa Cruz, environmental watchdogs say university growth must be part of a new outreach plan involving water supply.
“The City Council on Tuesday rescinded two of three resolutions made in August 2010 supporting an environmental analysis underpinning requests to expand the city’s sphere of influence to include 240 acres of the undeveloped North Campus area and provide water and sewer service to new residential and academic facilities.”
“If you’d like to know more about what the Monterey County government staff did to help get a desalination plant, or what they might have done to make the project fail, well you can forget about it. You may be paying for their work, but what they did is none of your business.
“That’s how the Public Utilities Commission sees it.”
From the Salinas Californian, in a commentary by Jim Bogart:
“I have briefed readers of this column about the many complex issues confronting agriculture — farm labor availability and immigration reform, food safety, water quality, crop protection, worker safety, and labor and employment law compliance are just a few that come immediately to mind.
“The county’s water resources director said Tuesday costly expansions of a Santa Cruz water treatment plant and a San Lorenzo River diversion site have the potential to provide significant winter supply to a district facing critical overdraft in its groundwater basin.”
“Maintaining the state’s water resources, restoring water habitats and concerns about recycled water were topics the California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird touched on Saturday at the Louden Nelson Community Center.
“Organized by the Santa Cruz Water Department, officials invited Laird to the event to discuss California’s water problems with locals, address their questions and spread information.”
“An advisory committee brainstormed over potential projects aimed at using a decades-old Salinas River water permit Thursday, but not before a heated debate over the latitude of the permit.
“Monterey County Water Resources Agency officials and Salinas Valley agricultural interests squared off over whether the permit should be changed in the aftermath of a battle with the state water board to retain it.”