The role of Central California’s waterways and subsistent ecosystems are broadly known by many to be endangered and by some to be critically so. The work at Kern Turf is entrenched in Central Valley irrigation and ensuring irrigation systems are drought-friendly, so we tend to pay attention to these concerns. The irrigation systems that we sell, from families to farmers in the Central Valley area, have to be as drought-conscious as they are reliable.
It’s important, however, not to lose sight of progress that has been made by water coalitions, organizations and non-profit groups. Considering that evidence is constantly being churned up that tends to worsen the scope and depth of the drought, it’s essential to maintain that progress is being made in numerous ways. Today, we’ll highlight five of those ways, and how we can continue to work within these opportunities to ensure progress continues.
- Support projects that have multiple benefits.
The goals of various stakeholders, the public, and greater ecosystems are furthered when projects that benefit multiple systems have greater chances to achieve those goals. The Shasta Dam & Reservoir Expansion Project is one of these opportunities, in that it can improve water temperatures for fish, enlarge the cold-water pool, provide additional hydropower using an existing and completely carbon-free resource, increase water storage, and improve the reliability of water supplies to farms, families, and the environment.
- Move forward with the Voluntary Agreements.
The Voluntary Agreements include a watershed-wide approach to the use of public waters directly affecting 35 million people and nearly 8 million acres of farmland in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and many of its tributaries. Moving forward with the Voluntary Agreements would put a stop to frivolous lawsuits, utilize new scientific findings, bring reliability to water users and provide funding annually for environmental projects.
- Help struggling fish populations.
There are a number of fish populations whose existence depends on better water management by humans. Millions have been spent, most recently in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as a part of California’s EcoRestore initiative that will provide new sources of food and shelter for fish native to California, including smelt and salmon. This project restored and enhanced approximately 2,100 acres of cattle pastures into tidal marsh. Progress can be made. That is just one of many projects underway whose successful completion depends upon the unity of all of the stakeholders in the operations.
- Replenish groundwater reserves
When groundwater is depleted, it’s an emergency cry from the ecosystem. In irrigation systems, we hear these concerns all the time. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in 2014 provided for a way to protect underground aquifers by partnering farmers with scientists and conservationists to work on flooding their fields in winter, building recharge ponds on their farms, and restoring and expanding floodplains. It’s crucial that everyone work together throughout the region to ensure these measures are enacted, as they not only recharge groundwater, but they also offer flood protection and give habitats to local wildlife. This law has been especially useful in ensuring the cooperation of everyone in the area to work out solutions that will fit for their farms. It furthermore stands to show that one-size-fits-all, top-down solutions are not the best path forward.
- Cooperation is crucial
Did we just talk about cooperation? In order for any of these initiatives to succeed and for farmers, growers, families, irrigation systems and supply companies, and anyone else working with water in the Central Valley to be able to continue to do so, it’s going to take cooperation from all stakeholders, from businessmen and women to families to farmers to conservationists, ecologists and more. California shows as well as anywhere that working together produces results that benefit the whole state.