Tag Archives: California’s Central Valley

With a Lot of Help, Chinook Salmon Return to the San Joaquin River

In California’s Central Valley, dusty dry riverbeds fill with water that for decades has been diverted for farmers and cities. Hatchery-reared salmon – bred with taxpayer funds – are being reintroduced in hopes of rebooting ancient populations that disappeared in the 1940s, casualties of California’s ceaseless search for new water sources. The San Joaquin River, the state’s second largest, is primed for its comeback. After the Sacramento River, the San Joaquin is California’s most important river. It provides some of the state’s largest agricultural operations with water as it stretches north from Fresno before finally emptying into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta – the source of drinking water for an estimated 25 million Californians. The process of damming, diverting and plumbing the 366-mile river for irrigation and urban water use leaves main portions of the river dry during parts of the year. Following the opening of Friant Dam in 1942, entrepreneurs gobbled up the river’s fertile wetlands and replaced them with crops and gravel mining operations. The dam was a boon to the already prospering agricultural region. But as water-intensive crops like almonds and pistachios went in, the native Chinook salmon disappeared. click here to read the article 17:25

Central Valley irrigators ask judge to stop releases for salmon

Agricultural water providers in California’s Central Valley have asked a federal judge to stop the newly approved releases of extra water intended to help salmon in the Klamath Basin survive the drought. Read more here  08:07

The Toxic Legacy Of California’s Gold Rush

The Gold Rush of the 1800s may seem a distant historical phenomenon at this point, but its effects are still being felt in California. According to a new study, the mercury used to extract gold from the foothills is now slowly trickling towards California’s Central Valley where fisheries, rice fields and wineries abound. [email protected] 15:02