Welcome to California River Watch!

I find some hope for the future of our planet in the emergence of millions of unconnected environmental and social movements. The leaderless Anarchy of this mass phenomenon and its macro scale means that its cells will not be centrally controlled or turned aside by profit motives. It seems to be a genuine grass roots response to the global threat which our planet faces. —Paul Hawken

A Fight for the Oak Woodlands

Court Affirms Need To Protect Water Quality Even In Drought

February 07, 2017 | Kate Poole

During the last three years of California’s drought, the state and federal agencies charged with protecting fishable, swimmable, and drinkable water quality for all Californians have utterly failed to do their job. The results have been disastrous: more toxic algae blooms are infecting California’s waterways than ever before; at least 35 plants and animals native to the San Francisco Bay-Delta ecosystem are perched on the edge of extinction; and thousands of salmon fishermen up and down the coast are uncertain whether they’ll be able to pursue their livelihood for years to come.

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A Fight for the Oak Woodlands

The Mendocino County Supervisors will soon vote on a series of environmental protections that would include putting 714,000 acres of rangeland off-limits to new cannabis cultivation permits and adopting an impressively strict oak woodlands protection ordinance, while also allowing existing growers to become legally-permitted. The end of marijuana prohibition has opened up the possibility of a damaging “green rush," which these measures aim to prevent.

The person who has most vocally opposed these protections is Stuart Bewley, one of Mendocino County’s wealthiest landowners, who made his fortune in the wine industry and has now moved aggressively into the cannabis business.

I’ve described in the past about how marijuana growing is often used as a scapegoat for environmental degradation, but it’s also the case that extreme marijuana grows are a major source of environmental damage, land speculation, and cultural upheaval, as many people who have opposed damage from the timber industry have also pointed out.