“It's grim. It's going to be a rough year for the coho,” said Mariska Obedzinski, a fish biologist who coordinates the coho monitoring program. “They can't get where they need to go.”
Obedzinski is part of the UC Sea Grant program, based at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.
Two coho spawning streams — Porter and Pena creeks — are already cut off from the river. If no more rain falls, other tributaries, including Green Valley, Dutch Bill and Mill creeks, will likely go dry in spots, Obedzinski said.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is already planning rescue operations to save the smolts and younger fish in disconnected streams.
Last year some streams disconnections took place in late May, toward the end of the salmon run. The drying being seen in mid April may be unprecedented. Obedzinski said it was possibly the worst year for the fish since stream monitoring began in 2005.
A multiagency effort to save the Russian River coho began in 2001, when the fish were on the verge of extinction. The effort includes California Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and UC Sea Grant.
April 14, 2015
I am writing to ask that you join me in our efforts to secure full State funding for UC.
As you know, we are engaged in a serious conversation with Gov. Brown and legislative leaders regarding full State support for UC, including discussions about what a modern UC should look like, how much it should cost, who should pay for it and who should be able to attend. This conversation is crucial to the future of UC and, thus, California.
As a UC employee, you know first-hand about the countless contributions that UC makes to the people of California every day, from educating students and treating patients to scientific and medical innovations that help address some of our most pressing challenges. And as a member of the UC community, you also know that we are doing our part and working hard to control costs, operate more efficiently and develop new sources of revenue. But UC cannot cut its way to continued excellence. The State must do its part, and reinvest in public higher education so UC can keep its promise to the people of California.
For almost 150 years, UC has played a central role in the economic and social vitality of this great state. Indeed, California would not be California if it weren't for UC. We cannot lose sight of that fact, nor can we take our success for granted. We must continually protect and invest in those things that will ensure a healthy and prosperous future for us all. Full investment in UC is ultimately a full investment in the California dream.
Today UC is funded by the State, in constant dollars, at the same level as we were in 1999, even though we educate 83,000 more students and have one more campus. That's like adding an additional UCLA and UC Berkeley — without receiving a dime more from the State.
The California economy is improving. The February 2015 state controller's report found that the revenue estimates underlying the governor's proposed 2015-16 budget actually have increased by more than $1 billion — 18.3 percent higher than the original projection. Given the increased revenues available, there is an opportunity for the governor and the Legislature to put the university budget on track to recover from the deep cuts that came amid the Great Recession, and set UC on a financial course that will allow it to serve future generations of Californians as well as it has those of the past.
We need to make sure our elected leaders fully understand the contributions UC has made to California and to its citizens, continues to make today, and must make to future generations.
To this end, I ask that you join me in this all-important effort and contact Gov. Brown and your legislative representatives to let them know that investing in UC must be a top priority for the State.
The stakes are high, and we need your energy to be felt and your voice to be heard.
Yours very truly,
Sumner leads the UC Agricultural Issues Center, where scientists study such topics as international markets, invasive pests and diseases, the value of agriculture research and development and the rural environment.
The reason for drought's lack of impact on produce prices can be traced to the state's geography, water infrastructure and the economics of its agricultural industry, the op-ed says.
"The Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys are home to significant production of alfalfa, silage, rice, cotton and other so-called field crops, but are also a major source of fresh produce, including peppers, melons, grapes, oranges, tree nuts and tomatoes. Farmers in these valleys have typically relied on a mix of pumped groundwater and surface water deliveries via both the Central Valley Project—a huge network of dams, reservoirs and canals—and the larger California State Water Project. Most farmers, however, will receive no water from the CVP for the second year in a row, and the SWP is delivering only a fraction of normal allocations.
"This, coupled with much higher groundwater pumping costs as more and deeper wells are required, has forced many farmers to shift out of thirsty field crops. But this decreased production has minimal effects on food prices because California accounts for a small share of the supply, or because these crops affect food prices only indirectly. For example, fewer acres of corn silage makes it more expensive to feed milk cows, but the subsequent effect on the price of cheese is small. Fresh produce, which generates high revenue per unit of water consumed, continues to be planted."
The authors said the water bond voters passed in November 2014 and new regulations on groundwater use enacted by the state legislature is help, eventually. Some farmers are adjusting planting schedules and shifting crops between growing regions to adapt. Others are rerouting water from annual field crops, which can be left unplanted for a year or two, to permanent crops such as fruit and nut trees.
Even if water remains short for the next 10 years, an adequate supply of fresh fruits and vegetables should not be a concern, the authors wrote. "In a global market, produce suppliers from the U.S., Mexico, Chile and beyond compete to keep prices low," they said.
It takes nearly four litres of water to produce each solitary almond, the article said (about one gallon). The almond's small size, high retail price and easy-to-understand water needs create a a handy example of purported ag water gluttony for people being asked to conserve.
Almonds have become California's second-most lucrative crop and No. 1 agricultural export, but doesn't deserve "as much of a target as is on its back," said David Doll, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources almond expert. Doll is a farm advisor for UC Cooperative Extension in Merced County.
The industry, he said, has reduced its water use by about 30 percent over the last 30 years. At 0.8 litres of water per calorie produced, the almond is actually more efficient than the average food crop.
And the one gallon of water, Doll said, produces not just the edible almond but a hull and shell that are used as livestock feed, reducing the need for water-consuming corn and alfalfa.
All new ANR academics, please mark your calendars now for the 2015 Programmatic Orientation, which will be held October 27, 28 and 29, 2015, at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
This orientation is open to all new UC Cooperative Extension advisors, UC Cooperative Extension specialists, academic coordinators, academic administrators and Agricultural Experiment Station faculty.
Join Associate Vice President Bill Frost and our new vice president to discuss the mission of UC ANR and our varied roles in California and the University, and see examples of successful research and outreach programs. The program will begin at noon on Tuesday, October 27, and end at noon on Thursday, October 29. More details on the agenda and registration will be shared this summer.
In August 2014, 56 new academics (those who had joined ANR since 2009) met at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center to engage in discussions with colleagues and learn about the resources of ANR as a division. Evaluations of that orientation were very positive – 4.0 on a scale of 1 to 5.
For new academics who were unable to attend the 2014 workshop, and for those of you who have been hired recently – PLEASE MARK YOU CALENDARS NOW – and plan to join us October 27-29.
If you have questions about the orientation, please contact Jan Corlett, chief of staff to the vice president, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 287-3343.
View or leave comments for ANR Leadership at http://ucanr.edu/sites/ANRUpdate/Comments.
This announcement is also posted and archived on the ANR Update pages.