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Ag Today August 29, 2017

STATE: MORE THAN 99 PERCENT OF SUSTAINABLE GROUNDWATER AGENCIES HAVE BEEN FORMED Fresno Business Journal In what the state is billing as “a major step toward sustainable groundwater management in California,” more than 99 percent of the state’s groundwater basins have met a key deadline in reporting groundwater pumping. According to the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014, key stakeholders of the state’s 127 high- and medium-priority groundwater basins were required to form a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) to manage groundwater pumping. The deadline for formation of the GSAs was June 30, and as of this week, more than 99 percent...

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Ag Today August 28, 2017

Mexico says it won't renegotiate NAFTA with President Trump via Twitter By Patrick J. McDonnell, San Diego Union-Tribune Mexico will not renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement or any other aspect of its relationship with the United States via social media or the press, the Mexican government declared Sunday. Mexico City released the statement in an apparent response to a series of provocative tweets by President Trump on Sunday in which he called NAFTA the “worst trade deal ever made,” argued that Mexico and Canada were being “very difficult” and concluded that he “may have to terminate” the tri-nation trade pact. During the presidential...

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Ag Today August 25, 2017

Thirsty world must wake up to looming water crisis, expert says By Megan Rowling, Reuters STOCKHOLM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The world needs to use water more efficiently rather than exhausting invisible underground supplies and blindly exporting “virtual water” to avert a global crisis that would undermine food and energy systems, a leading expert warned. More than one-third of humanity is water-stressed every year or season, while drought crises are on the rise from California to Ethiopia as the planet warms, said Fred Boltz, who leads The Rockefeller Foundation’s work on science and environment. “We are really facing a global crisis,” he said, noting that...

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Ag Today, August 24, 2017

State officials travel by boat to tour Temperance Flat dam project site  By Lewis Griswold, The Fresno Bee FRIANT - The proposed Temperance Flat dam on the upper San Joaquin River east of Fresno likely will be at the head of the line when the state awards big money for water storage projects. The San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority last week submitted an application seeking $1.3 billion in bond funds from the California Water Commission, which is doling out $2.7 billion of Proposition 1 money for water storage projects around the state. The Temperance Flat dam is estimated to cost $3 billion. Plans call for...

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Ag Today August 23, 2017

This is why when you talk about climate change, you can’t ignore agriculture By Chelsea Harvey, Washington Post Agriculture has historically released almost as much carbon into the atmosphere as deforestation, a new study suggests — and that’s saying something. In a paper published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that land use changes associated with planting crops and grazing livestock have caused a loss of 133 billion tons of carbon from soil worldwide over the last 12,000 years, amounting to about 13 years of global emissions at their current levels. And at least half of those losses...

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Ag Today August 22, 2017

Dozens are suing to block Delta tunnels. Will it matter? By Dale Kasler Sacramento Bee They have one of the most powerful legal weapons found in any courtroom – the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. But environmental groups, local governments and others face an uphill climb in their fight against the controversial Delta tunnels project. History suggests that suing under the California environmental law likely won’t be enough to kill the tunnels. At least 58 groups opposing the tunnels had sued the state as the legal deadline approached Monday afternoon. The plaintiffs include an alliance of crab boat owners, an American Indian tribe dependent...

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Ag Today August 21, 2017

Sinking Friant-Kern Canal has $500M problem By John Lindt,Visalia Times-Delta The canal that helps bring food to tables across the world has a big problem — it's sinking. Land subsidence along the Friant-Kern Canal in Tulare and Kern counties has increased in the past five years, according to Dan Vink, South Valley Water Authority executive director. The sinking terrain, reported to be two to three feet — mostly along a 25-mile stretch, has already reduced the capacity of the key irrigation artery by 50 to 60 percent in some locations. “It’s like a big dip, a bowl or depression in the land that has the...

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Ag Today August 18, 2017

Grapevine scourge has returned to Temecula Valley’s Wine Country By Aaron Claverie, Riverside Press-Enterprise The glassy-winged sharpshooter, a flying menace that devastated the Temecula Valley Wine Country in the late 1990s, has made an ominous comeback. The insect — which carries the deadly-to-grapevines Pierce’s Disease — has been detected in area orange groves. UC Riverside scientist Matt Daugherty, who leads the monitoring efforts in the region, said this week that his team captured more than 1,500 of the half-inch shooters last month in the groves, the largest haul since a trapping program was instituted in 2003. “It’s certainly very scary,” he said, adding that the...

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Ag Today August 17, 2017

Billions in new spending for housing, water, parks and more could be on the 2018 ballot By Liam Dillon, Los Angeles Times Californians could vote on billions of dollars in new spending for low-income housing developments and water and parks improvements next year. Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers are considering five proposals that would finance new homes for low-income residents, build parks in neighborhoods without them and restore rivers, streams and creeks among dozens of other projects. The Legislature is likely to decide how much money would be borrowed and where it would be spent before it adjourns for the year in mid-September...

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Ag Today August 16, 2017

Settlement reached in federal case of Modesto-area farmer fined $2.8 million for plowing his field BY DALE KASLER AND RYAN SABALOW AUGUST 15, 2017 10:03 AM Northern California farmer John Duarte spent years fighting the federal government after being fined for plowing over protected wetlands on his property. He attracted a nationwide army of conservative supporters who saw it as government overreach and hoped the Trump administration would order federal officials to back off. But just before his trial was set to start Tuesday, Duarte settled. Duarte agreed to pay $330,000 in fines and another $770,000 on “compensatory mitigation,” according to a settlement agreement reached...

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