Temperance Flat Dam is Needed

Temperance Flat is a Sure Way to Improve California’s Water Infrastructure

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Mario Santoyo is the Executive Director for the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority. He spoke to California Ag Today about Temperance Flat, a proposal supported by the Joint Powers of Authority composed of five counties: Merced, Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kings County. In addition to those counties, there are representatives from the eastern side cities, (Orange Cove) and western side cities, (Avenal)

“We also have water agencies, such as the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors,” Santoyo said. “The JPA is also in the process of dealing with membership requests by Friant Water Authority and the San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority.”

Mario Santoyo

“You can see we’ve got a pretty elaborate team as far as the authority,” Santoyo said. “It was put together in order to pursue funding opportunities both by the state of California and the federal government to build revenue leading towards the construction of the Temperance Flat Dam and Reservoir project, which will be located just north of Friant Dam on Millerton Lake, and actually would be built in Millerton Lake … expanding that reservoir.”

The five counties got together on this because they understand fully the importance of creating a more reliable water supply for the area. Santoyo said, “It was proven to be a problem when we had the five-year drought and the Valley had to exercise its groundwater pumping, which plummeted the groundwater levels so much that … it actually resulted in what is now the Groundwater Sustainability Law.”

“So there’s no question this project is greatly needed, and the irony is that this year, coming out of a five-year drought, we’ve got high runoff, and the Bureau of Reclamation had to make flood releases in order to not exceed the capacity at Friant Dam/Millerton Lake,” Santoyo explained. “We fully expect that they will have made up to 2.5 million acre feet of releases down the river to the ocean. Then if you stop and think about what that means, it basically you could roughly say it’s about two years’ worth of water supply for the eastern side of the Valley.”

“There are those who would argue that we would never fill up the Temperance Flat Reservoir,” Santoyo said. “Well, not only have we done it twice this year, we also have a history—a long history—of this … [being] the common scenario.”

When there is high runoff water, it doesn’t come in little bits, it comes in huge amounts. “I think we looked at the record, and 50% of the time that we have high runoff, we usually have to make flood releases in excess of one million acre feet, so that’s why the size that was determined for Temperance Flat was just a little bit over a million acre feet,” Santoyo said.

“Now having that, it’s actually 1.2 million acre feet that it adds to the system. When you add it to … the balance of what’s left with the original, we’re close to 1.8 million acre feet,” Santoyo said.

“It will triple the capacity of Millerton, ensuring that for the future, that [there is] a chance to maximize the available water supply for the cities, for the farms, and most importantly, to recharge the groundwater and put us back into a level that we’re stable and that residents, farmers and others can use that groundwater and not be restricted by the new groundwater sustainability laws,” said Santoyo, adding, “If we don’t solve that problem, the world is going to change dramatically for our farmers, number one, and it will have an immediate effect also on our cities.”

Santoyo describes the recharge opportunities. “What we’ll be doing is with Temperance Flat, we will be making timed releases to various water districts and entities that will have groundwater recharging basins, and they will be syncing it, but you need time,” he said.

“You need storage, and you need time to be able to move water from above ground to below ground. That’s just a physical necessity, and that’s part of the argument against those that argue, ‘Don’t build above, you only need below.’ Well, if you don’t have water above, you aren’t putting it below. It’s just as simple as that,” Santoyo explained.

Temperance Flat would be ideal for the state of California. “The Friant-Kern Canal is the longest of the two primary canals. The other one is the Madera Canal. The Madera moves it north to Chowchilla. The Friant moves it south to Bakersfield, so yeah, those are the primary conveyance systems for farmers and cities,” he said.

Recently a video that educates the public on the value of Temperance Flat, released on YouTube called Build Temperance Flat. We ask all who are active on social media to grab a link of the video and post it on Facebook and Twitter as well as other social media platforms.

Here is the video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f30o_dQNmn8

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Pecan Growers Excited about Federal Marketing Order

Calif. Pecan Growers Gather to Discuss Federal Marketing Order

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

On Wednesday, August 3, nearly 100 people attended the California Pecan Growers Association meeting at Linwood Nursery, the oldest supplier of pecan trees in the world, located in Le Grand in eastern Merced County.

Not all attendees were current pecan growers; many were contemplating planting pecan trees. New interest and excitement in pecan farming surrounds the newly approved (May 2016) and forthcoming Federal Marketing Order For Pecans (FMO) that will assess growers a few cents per pound to increase pecan marketing and awareness in California and other areas of the country.

Pecan growers and others interested in the crop gathered in Le Grand to discuss Federal Marketing Order for Pecans

“We want to model it after the Almond Board of California,” said Mark Hendrixson, president of the California Pecan Growers Association, whose members farm approximately 4,000 acres of the crop throughout the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys.

“We had a very a good turnout. Pecans are a growing industry in California; we have great weather for them,” said Hendrixson. “We do things a little bit differently because of our great weather, but we’re able to produce extremely good quality.”

CPGA-Logo“Pecans are extremely healthy,” said Hendrixson. “The research has been out there for quite some time, but the pecan industry has never had a unified marketing voice. Once we develop the Federal Marketing Order, we will be able to spread the message about health and other great benefits that will help drive interest in pecans and pecan consumption, and to deliver quality product to consumers around the world.

Hendrixson expects the Federal Marketing Order For Pecans to be in place very soon. The USDA will officially seat the Board of the American Pecan Council (APC), the new governing board of the FMO, by October 1, 2016 by calling for board member nominations, qualifying the candidates and issuing a ballot for qualified voters to vote on those nominations.

“Once those ballots are approved by the Secretary of Agriculture,” Hendrixson said, “we’ll have an elected Board that can begin to function and actually set the assessment, which in turn will be approved by the USDA going forward.”

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BREAKING NEWS: ACP QUARANTINES IN MERCED AND MONTEREY COUNTIES

ASIAN CITRUS PSYLLID (ACP) QUARANTINES IN MERCED AND MONTEREY COUNTIES

Quarantines are now in place in both Merced and Monterey Counties due to recent Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) detections.  One ACP was detected near the City of Merced in Merced County and two ACP in one trap within the City of Salinas in Monterey County.

The quarantine zone in Merced County measures 123 square miles, bordered on the north by Kenney Avenue; on the south by W Dickenson Ferry Road; on the west by Shaffer Road; and on the east by

SaveOurCitrus
SAVE OUR CITRUS app is a free USDA iPhone to report and identify the four leading citrus diseases: citrus greening, citrus canker, citrus black spot and sweet orange scab. Report your symptoms, upload a photo and citrus experts will respond. ACP

E Yosemite Avenue. Monterey County’s quarantine measures 111 square miles and is bordered on the north by Pesante Road; on the south by the Salinas River; on the west by Castroville Road; and on the east by Gabilan Creek. The quarantine maps for both Merced and Monterey Counties are available online at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/acp-maps. Please check this link for future quarantine expansions in these counties, should they occur. Quarantines in new counties will be announced separately.

The quarantine prohibits the movement of citrus and curry leaf tree nursery stock, including all plant parts except fruit, out of the quarantine area and requires that all citrus fruit be cleaned of leaves and stems prior to moving out of the quarantine area.  An exception may be made for nursery stock and budwood grown in USDA-approved structures which are designed to keep ACP and other insects out.  Residents with backyard citrus trees in the quarantine area are asked not to transport or send citrus fruit or leaves, potted citrus trees, or curry leaves from the quarantine area.

ACP county-wide quarantines are now in place in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura Counties, with portions of Alameda, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Stanislaus counties also under quarantine.

The ACP is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening.  All citrus and closely related species, such as curry leaf trees, are susceptible hosts for both the insect and disease.  There is no cure for HLB and once a tree becomes infected, the diseased tree will decline in health and produce bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies.  In California, HLB has only been detected on residential properties in Los Angeles County.  This plant disease does not affect human health.
Residents in the area who think they may have seen ACP or symptoms of HLB on their trees are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or your local agricultural commissioner’s office (Merced County (209) 385-7431; Monterey County (831) 759-7325).  For more information on the ACP and HLB, please visit: www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/acp.

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Temperance Flat Dam Brings Five Valley Counties Together

Key July 1 Signing Ceremony to Launch Temperance Flat Dam Process

by Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Mario Santoyo, executive director of the San Joaquin Water Infrastructure Authority (SJWIA), which represents the five-county joint powers of authority in the Central San Joaquin Valley, has announced an important event will launch the process needed for Temperance Flat Dam: the Temperance Flat Project Partnership Agreement Signing Ceremony outside Old Fresno County Courthouse overlooking Millerton Lake at 10 a.m. sharp on Friday, July 1, 2016.

USBR Water“This is a major event, a significant milestone in terms of the process to get Temperance Flat Dam built.” Santoyo said. “In essence, it is a partnership between the new joint powers of authority and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and, more specifically, their study team who worked on the technical studies and the feasibility reports for Temperance Flat.”

Merced, Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare Counties are joining forces with leaders of cities, Tribes, and other agencies to begin this significant move towards building the Temperance Flat Dam. “Working together, we are going to put the application together and submit it to the California Water Commission for their consideration for funding through Proposition 1, Chapter 8,” Santoyo said.  “It’s a solid statement that needs a signature.”

“It’s a memorandum of understanding between the Bureau of Reclamation and the joint powers of authority,” he said, “that defines the scope of work. In essence, it’s full cooperation between their technical people and our joint powers of authority. Our people are tailoring the application to the state to optimize funding. Keep in mind, we’re talking big dollars here; we are not talking a million or a hundred million; we are talking a billion.”

Temperance Flat Dam would create nearly 1.3M acre-feet of new water storage, according to the SJWIA, 2.5 times the current capacity of Millerton Lake, and would be a part of the Federal Central Valley Project.

“Chapter 8, which is the storage chapter in Prop 1, has $2.7 billion in it,” Santoyo explained. “Projects that are submitted for funding are limited to up to 50% of the capital costs of their project. If we were to take Temperance Flat, for instance, that’s going to cost somewhere around $2.8 billion. The maximum you could ask from the state is $1.4 billion, but we don’t expect that because there is a lot of competition. There’s not enough dollars to go around. We’re hoping to shoot for somewhere around $1 billion.”

“I see [the July 1 event] as being historic,” Santoyo reflected, “because it is one of the most critical things to happen—to be able to build Temperance Flat, as well as a good opportunity to be at a place where history’s being made.”

__________________________

For more information, contact Mario Santoyo at 559-779-7595.

Featured image: Mario Santoyo, executive director of the San Joaquin Water Infrastructure Authority (SJWIA)

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ILRP Changes Target All Calif. Farmers

Proposed Changes to Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) Could Impact Farmers Statewide

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

 

Kings River Water Quality Coalition LogoThe recently proposed changes to the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP), open for public comment until Wednesday, May 18, could significantly impact farmers, according to Casey Creamer, coordinator for the Kings River Water Quality Coalition“The proposed modifications concern the east San Joaquin Region, within Madera, Merced and Stanislaus Counties,” Creamer said. “That’s the scope of it.”

According to the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) website, ILRP “regulates discharges from irrigated agricultural lands. This is done by issuing waste discharge requirements (WDRs) or conditional waivers of WDRs (Orders) to growers.” Discharges include irrigation runoff, flows from tile drains and storm water runoff, which can transport “pollutants including pesticides, sediment, nutrients, salts (including selenium and boron), pathogens, and heavy metals, from cultivated fields into surface waters. Orders contain conditions requiring water quality monitoring of receiving waters and corrective actions when impairments are found.”

While ILRP currently targets only the east San Joaquin region, Creamer said, “It’s a precedent-setting deal, so everything in there is going to affect not only the entire Central Valley, but the Central Coast and the Imperial Valley—that may not have near the issues or the current regulatory programs that we have here in the Central Valley. So, its very important statewide.”

Creamer emphasized, “Farmers need to know that this is not a minor issue; this is a big issue that affects their livelihoods and their ability to operate. They need to get involved. They need to communicate with their other growers, communicate with their associations, get involved and have their voices heard.”

__________________

The State Water Board is hosting a public workshop on the proposed order on Tuesday, May 17, in Fresno—one day prior to the closing of the ILRP public comment period. The workshop will be held at 9:00 a.m. in the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Central Region, 1990 E. Gettysburg Avenue, Fresno.

The SWRCB is also soliciting written comments on the proposed order. Written comments must be received by 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 18, 2016. Please indicate in the subject line, “Comments to A-2239(a)-(c).” Electronic submission of written comments is encouraged. Written comments must be addressed to:

Ms. Jeanine Townsend

Clerk to the BoardSWRCB-logo-water-boards

State Water Resources Control Board

1001 I Street, 24th Floor [95814]

P.O. Box 100

Sacramento, CA 95812-0100

(tel) 916-341-5600

(fax) 916-341-5620

(email) commentletters@waterboards.ca.gov

  __________________

The Kings River Water Quality Coalition is a non-profit joint powers agency established by the irrigation districts in the Kings River service area. It is governed by a board of directors of landowners from each of the districts. Staffing of the Coalition is administered through an agreement with the Kings River Conservation District located in Fresno. The Coalition was formed in 2009 in order to allow growers within the region a cost-effective avenue to comply with the regulations developed by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. The Coalition conducts regional monitoring and reporting and assists members in compliance with regulations. The Coalition is not a regulatory agency. Enforcement of the ILRP is handled by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

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Costa: Westside Water Cut Unconscionable

Jim Costa: Water Allocation is Immoral

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

Jim Costa, Congressman for the 16th Congressional District of California that covers all of Merced County and parts of Fresno and Madera Counties and includes vast areas of agricultural land, is not happy with the water situation in California. Costa stated, “To be sure, we are still in a water crisis even though we have had some good [wet] months.”

“Sadly those good months have seen too much of that water going out to sea—as opposed to getting into the San Luis Reservoir and providing water for our Valley—whether for the East side or the Westside. It is a fight that I have been engaged in for years, but most recently, I have been trying to ensure that we are pumping at the maximum levels even under the flawed biological opinions that we are having to contend with.”

Costa explained that while the pumps have been turned up over the past month, sometimes to the maximum level, “the San Luis Reservoir is only 51% full, and now we are are still looking at a 5 percent water allocation for Federal water users.  This has been avoidable, and it is unconscionable and immoral. Let me repeat that, it has been avoidable, and it is immoral and unconscionable that we, in fact, are in this predicament. It is largely because we have failed to take advantage of the El Niño months of December and January.”

Assessing our winter water losses,Costa remarked, “Since January 1st, we estimate that we have lost over 440,000 acre-feet of water. This freshwater440,000 acre-feetwould make a big difference to our Valley, which has been water-starved from a combination of 4 years of drought, plus the flawed biological operations of the Federal and State Water Projects. So, we have to fix this broken water system, bottom line.”

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UPDATE! Expanded ACP Quarantine

UPDATE! Expanded ACP Quarantine in Stanislaus and Merced Counties

Two ACPs Found in City of Turlock

Stanislaus County has been placed under quarantine for the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) following the detection of two ACPs within the City of Turlock.  The expanded ACP quarantine also includes a portion of northern Merced County along its border with Stanislaus County.  The quarantine zone measures 101 square miles, bordered on the north by East Service Road; on the south by August Avenue; on the west by Blaker Road; and on the east by North Hickman Road.  The quarantine map for Stanislaus and Merced is available online at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/acp-maps.

The quarantine prohibits the movement of citrus and curry leaf tree nursery stock, including all plant parts except fruit, out of the quarantine area and requires that all citrus fruit be cleaned of leaves and stems prior to moving out of the quarantine area.  An exception may be made for nursery stock and budwood grown in USDA-approved structures which are designed to keep ACP and other insects out.  Residents with backyard citrus trees in the quarantine area are asked not to transport or send citrus fruit or leaves, potted citrus trees, or curry leaves from the quarantine area.

ACP county-wide quarantines are now in place in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura Counties, with portions of Alameda, Fresno, Kern, Madera, Merced, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Stanislaus counties also under quarantine.

The ACP is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening.  All citrus and closely related species, such as curry leaf trees, are susceptible hosts for both the insect and disease.  There is no cure once the tree becomes infected; the diseased tree will decline in health and produce bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies.  In California, HLB has only been detected in 2012 and 2015 on residential properties in Los Angeles County.  This plant disease does not affect human health.

Residents in the area who think they may have seen ACP or symptoms of HLB on their trees are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or your local agricultural commissioner’s office (Stanislaus County (209) 525-4730; Merced County (209) 385-7431).  For more information on the ACP and HLB, please visit: www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/acp.

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Thanks to California Ag!

Thanks to California Ag for Thanksgiving!

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

 

As Americans enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, let us recognize that farmers, especially California farmers, have made our bounty possible.

pumpkin free imageCalifornia is a big turkey producing state, always ranking in the top six nationally.

pumpkin free imageIn 1948, Sophie Cubbison, who was born in San Carlos, California and who graduated from California Polytechnical University in 1912, invented the Mrs. Cubbinson’s melba toast or cornbread stuffing most of us serve. (She even paid her way through college with the money she earned feeding farmworkers. Sourcewww.mrscubbisons.com)

pumpkin free imageWhat would Thanksgiving be without wonderful California wines and Martinelli’s (another great California company) great sparkling apple and grape beverages to celebrate our good fortune?

pumpkin free imageAnd all those amazing side dishes . . . the russet and red potatoes from Kern County; the sweet potatoes from Merced County; the many wonderful squash varieties including zucchini, yellow, acorn squash . . . are all produced by farmers and farmworkers in California.

pumpkin free imageGreen beans, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, radishes, and carrots will grace the tables across America, thanks to California producers in ped and other areas of the state.

Don’t forget gapumpkin free imagerlic, onions and mushrooms are all produced primarily in California!

California farmers produce it all, with the exception of cranberries!

Thanks Wisconsin!

(And New Jersey, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, and parts of Canada)

pumpkin free imageYou can thank California egg producers for those tasty hardboiled deviled eggs on Grandma’s favorite serving dish.

pumpkin free imagePlus raisins, a great addition to dressings and other dishes, thanks to the raisin producers in Fresno, Madera and Merced Counties.

pumpkin free imageAnd of course walnuts, almonds and pistachios are big part of our savory stuffing recipes and our snacks.

pumpkin free imageApple cider and apple pie? California, among the top five states, produces a wide variety of apples.

pumpkin free imageWait! What about pumpkin pie? California farmers.

pumpkin free imageAnd the wonderful whipped cream? Thanks to the California dairy industry.

pumpkin free imageDid you know the turkey pop-up timer was invented in California? Yes, indeed. Back in the 1950s, the California Turkey Producers Advisory Board brainstormed to figure out how to prevent over-cooked turkeys, according to Leo Pearlstein, a Los Angeles pubic relations pro in the food industry, who was among the five original board members. One board member—a California turkey producer, as Pearlstein tells it—looked up at the ceiling, noticed the sprinklers and had a Eureka moment! He suddenly realized the ceiling sprinklers were triggered when heat melted a material inside the gizmo. For a complete explanation, see How Pop-Up Turkey Timers Work at home.howstuffworks.com/pop-up-timer1.htm.

From all of us here at California Ag Today,

Thanks to California Ag for serving us a delectable nutritious Thanksgiving!

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More Evidence of Damage From Drought/ Water Restrictions

The continual trend of water restrictions in regards to the drought on the Central Valley is affecting multiple facets of the Industry, and even exterior businesses as well.

Doug Thiel is the owner and operator of Thiel Air Care, Inc. located in Chowchilla. He provides aerial application service throughout the central Valley.  This season, his business is off  due to the drought and environmental regulations protecting fish and ducks.

“It’s tremendously slow, with zero water allocations in many areas of Merced County and throughout the West Side of Fresno and Kings County. It is  really hindering us. There’s nothing planted, there’s nothing to spray,” said Thiel.

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Cotton ELS Prices Good, While Upland Cotton is Bleak

Upland Cotton Prices Down; Extra Long Staple Types Are Up

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

 

Upland cotton prices are still bleak, falling 10 cents per pound over the last month, and are now in the .85 to .95 cents a pound range. However, there is a glimmer of good prices ahead for extra long staple (ELS) cottons on the open market.
Many growers forward contracted the just-harvested crop that might have returned a decent price, but the Pima and other ELS types are still holding a good price,” said Cannon Michael, V.P. Bowles Farming Co., in Los Banos Calif., who farms more than 11,000 acres of row and field crops, including cotton throughout Merced County.
“I know some guys that have booked some pricing of ELS for 2014 at $1.60 to $1.70, but that’s a market that operates in a different world,” said Michael. “There has been good demand, the world crop is down, and California does not have that much Pima this year due to an overall decline in cotton acreage.”
In 2013 California growers planted 90,000 acres of Upland cotton, down 37 percent from last year. ELS plantings in the West declined nearly 14 percent to 206,000 acres with largest decline -35,000 acres in California.
“There is more optimism on the ELS side due to higher prices,” said Michael. “But there is so much pressure on Upland cotton as far as what China and other areas of world can grow, so the prices are on the depressed side.”
Michael noted that farmers in his area grow the Hazera type of ELS, an Israeli hybrid type which is not as strong as Pima, but has the staple length and other properties. “It performs like an Upland type in terms of yield in the north end of the Valley, but pays about 10 cents less than Pima.

“While the Hazera seed is more expensive and does not have any Roundup Ready traits,” Michael commented, “it has a better quality fiber that the mills are looking for right now.”