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Governor Signs Legislation to Put Water Bond Before Voters

Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to put a comprehensive $7.5 billion water bond before voters in November. The bipartisan legislation, AB 1471 by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D–Lakewood), passed the Senate 37–0 and the Assembly 77–2. It will appear as Proposition 1 on the November ballot, replacing the current $11.1 billion water bond, which was passed in 2009. Rendon, chair of the Assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, held a series of hearings throughout the state earlier this year to discuss the 2014 water bond. One of those hearings was held in Modesto and attended by almond industry members. Jim Jasper of Stewart & Jasper Orchards told the committee, “I’ve been through a couple of droughts in the past, and I assure you that this one is unprecedented.” He spoke of a neighbor’s winning bid of $2,100 per acre-foot for 975 acre-feet at a closed auction, saying this “gives you an idea of the pressure some farmers are under when they have a permanent crop and are trying to save it.” Jasper also talked about additional storage to help capture water during wet years. Kelly Covello, president of the Almond Hullers & Processors Association, also commented on the water bond, telling the committee, “Our water system is inadequate and antiquated and in need of upgrades. Without a water bond and a reliable water supply, California’s future is uncertain.” The bond, totaling $7.545 billion, provides for water use efficiency and recycling as well as groundwater cleanup and management. There is also $2.7 billion for additional water storage, which has continuous appropriation — in other words, there is no need to go back to the Legislature each year for funding. The bond calls for investments in safe drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities, and provides for watershed restoration and increased flows in some of California’s most important rivers and streams. One of the more contentious water projects, the “twin tunnels,” is specifically precluded from funding through this bond measure. Below is an outline of the final bond. Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 Regional Water Reliability – $810 million Integrated regional water management – $510 million Storm water capture – $200 million Water conservation – $100 million Safe Drinking Water – $520 million Provide clean, safe and reliable drinking water to all Californians. With minimum to leverage federal funds for safe drinking water and clean-water programs and for disadvantaged communities. Small-Community Wastewater Program – $260 million Drinking water public infrastructure – $260 million Water Recycling – $725 million Statewide water recycling projects and activities Groundwater Sustainability – $900 million Prevent and reduce groundwater contaminants – $800 million Provide sustainable groundwater management planning and implementation – $100 million Watershed Protection, Watershed Ecosystem Restoration, State Settlements – $1.495 billion Conservancies – $327.5 million Wildlife Conservation Board – $200 million (restoration of flows) Department of Fish and Wildlife – $285 million (out of delta; no mitigation on Bay Delta Conservation Plan) Department of Fish and Wildlife – $87.5 million (in delta with constraints) State settlement obligations including CVPIA – $475 million Rivers and creeks – $120 million Storage – $2.7 billion Continuous appropriation for water storage projects Statewide Flood Management – $395 million Statewide flood management projects and activities – $100 million Delta levee subvention programs and delta flood protection projects – $295 million General Provisions Funding eligibility requires urban or agricultural water management plans and compliance with 2009 Water Conservation Act Bay Delta Conservation Plan neutral Protects existing water rights and reaffirms area-of-origin protections Assumes repurposing of $105 million from Prop. 84, $95 million from Prop. 50, $86 million from Prop. 13, $25.5 million from Prop. 204, $13 million from Prop. 44, $100 million from Prop. 1E and $7.120 billion of new debt
Newsletter
Nov 07, 2017 // Environmental Sustainability

UC Cooperative Extension Fills Key Almond and IPM Advisor Positions

The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) has filled several Cooperative Extension (UCCE) positions vital to research and outreach in the areas of almond production and integrated pest management. Since the start of 2013, there have been several UC Cooperative Extension position announcements.  Dr. Gurreet Brar joined UCCE in January 2013 as the new nut crops farm advisor in Fresno and Madera counties, following completion of his Ph.D. in horticultural sciences at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Dr. Brar focuses on almond, pistachio and walnut crops in Fresno and Madera counties. He has already been instrumental in establishing an almond regional variety trial in Chowchilla and is conducting research on almond salt tolerance. Brar was born and raised in Punjab, India, one of the most agriculturally productive regions of the world. He can be reached at (559) 241-7515 or by email at gurbrar@ucanr.edu. Dr. Kris Tollerup was appointed the new UC IPM advisor at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier in October 2013. Dr. Tollerup develops and delivers IPM strategies and practices to nut, fruit and vine growers and pest control advisers in the San Joaquin Valley and surrounding areas. With Almond Board start-up funding support, Tollerup is pursuing several insect pest management projects important to almonds. He earned a Ph.D. degree in entomology, IPM and insect behavior from UC Riverside. From 2010 until joining UCCE, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at UC Davis, collaborating on several research projects related to IPM in peppermint. Dr. Tollerup can be reached at (559) 646-6527 or by email at ketollerup@ucanr.edu. Earlier this year, ANR announced the addition of two new Sacramento Valley county farm advisors: UCCE farm advisor Dr. Katherine Pope in Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties, and Dr. Dani Lightle in Glenn, Butte and Tehama counties. A native of Sacramento, Katherine Pope earned her Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy at UC Davis in 2013, working on chilling and tree and crop development for almonds and other perennials. Pope can be reached at (530) 666-8733, or email at kspope@ucanr.edu. Dani Lightle joined UCCE in February as orchard systems advisor in Glenn, Butte and Tehama counties, focusing on almonds, walnuts and olives. Dr. Lightle earned a Ph.D. in entomology from Oregon State University. Prior to joining UCCE, Dani worked as a postdoctoral scholar for the Oregon Wine Research Institute, specializing in insect feeding behavior and insect vectors of plant viruses. Lightle can be reached at (530) 865-1153, or by email at dmlightle@ucanr.edu. In June, Dr. Emily Symmes became the UCCE area IPM advisor for Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba counties, based out of the Butte County Cooperative Extension Office in Oroville. Dr. Symmes was born and raised in the Sacramento Valley, and completed a Ph.D. in entomology at UC Davis in 2012, focusing her research on alternatives to current monitoring and management practices for aphid pests in prune orchards, using aphid sex pheromones to improve monitoring capabilities and impact of pest and natural enemy populations. Symmes can be reached at (530) 538-7201 or by email at ejsymmes@ucanr.edu. The new positions were created as longtime UCCE farm advisor Joe Connell retired in June after nearly 34 years as an orchard and landscape horticulture advisor in Butte County. Connell played a key role in several research areas that have led to significant yield improvements in almonds and integrated pest management strategies over the last three decades. For several years, Connell served the important role as the liaison officer to the Almond Board. A scholarship in his name has been established to encourage young students majoring in biological sciences with an interest in production agriculture. Contributions to establish the Joseph Connell CAAA Scholarship can be made to the UC Davis Foundation, with a notation for the Joseph Connell Cal Aggie Alumni Association (CAAA) Scholarship, and mailed to University of California, Davis; c/o Tiffany Beltran, University Development; UC Davis Conference Center, 2nd Floor; One Shields Avenue; Davis, CA 95616.
Newsletter
Nov 07, 2017 // About the Almond Industry

Governor Signs Legislation to Put Water Bond Before Voters

Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to put a comprehensive $7.5 billion water bond before voters in November. The bipartisan legislation, AB 1471 by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D–Lakewood), passed the Senate 37–0 and the Assembly 77–2. It will appear as Proposition 1 on the November ballot, replacing the current $11.1 billion water bond, which was passed in 2009. Rendon, chair of the Assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, held a series of hearings throughout the state earlier this year to discuss the 2014 water bond. One of those hearings was held in Modesto and attended by almond industry members. Jim Jasper of Stewart & Jasper Orchards told the committee, “I’ve been through a couple of droughts in the past, and I assure you that this one is unprecedented.” He spoke of a neighbor’s winning bid of $2,100 per acre-foot for 975 acre-feet at a closed auction, saying this “gives you an idea of the pressure some farmers are under when they have a permanent crop and are trying to save it.” Jasper also talked about additional storage to help capture water during wet years. Kelly Covello, president of the Almond Hullers & Processors Association, also commented on the water bond, telling the committee, “Our water system is inadequate and antiquated and in need of upgrades. Without a water bond and a reliable water supply, California’s future is uncertain.” The bond, totaling $7.545 billion, provides for water use efficiency and recycling as well as groundwater cleanup and management. There is also $2.7 billion for additional water storage, which has continuous appropriation — in other words, there is no need to go back to the Legislature each year for funding. The bond calls for investments in safe drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities, and provides for watershed restoration and increased flows in some of California’s most important rivers and streams. One of the more contentious water projects, the “twin tunnels,” is specifically precluded from funding through this bond measure. Below is an outline of the final bond. Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 Regional Water Reliability – $810 million Integrated regional water management – $510 million Storm water capture – $200 million Water conservation – $100 million Safe Drinking Water – $520 million Provide clean, safe and reliable drinking water to all Californians. With minimum to leverage federal funds for safe drinking water and clean-water programs and for disadvantaged communities. Small-Community Wastewater Program – $260 million Drinking water public infrastructure – $260 million Water Recycling – $725 million Statewide water recycling projects and activities Groundwater Sustainability – $900 million Prevent and reduce groundwater contaminants – $800 million Provide sustainable groundwater management planning and implementation – $100 million Watershed Protection, Watershed Ecosystem Restoration, State Settlements – $1.495 billion Conservancies – $327.5 million Wildlife Conservation Board – $200 million (restoration of flows) Department of Fish and Wildlife – $285 million (out of delta; no mitigation on Bay Delta Conservation Plan) Department of Fish and Wildlife – $87.5 million (in delta with constraints) State settlement obligations including CVPIA – $475 million Rivers and creeks – $120 million Storage – $2.7 billion Continuous appropriation for water storage projects Statewide Flood Management – $395 million Statewide flood management projects and activities – $100 million Delta levee subvention programs and delta flood protection projects – $295 million General Provisions Funding eligibility requires urban or agricultural water management plans and compliance with 2009 Water Conservation Act Bay Delta Conservation Plan neutral Protects existing water rights and reaffirms area-of-origin protections Assumes repurposing of $105 million from Prop. 84, $95 million from Prop. 50, $86 million from Prop. 13, $25.5 million from Prop. 204, $13 million from Prop. 44, $100 million from Prop. 1E and $7.120 billion of new debt
Newsletter
Nov 07, 2017 // Environmental Sustainability

White House Focuses on Pollinator Health

The importance of pollinator health has reached the White House. Recognizing the threats to pollinator health and their potential impact on the national economy, President Obama has expanded federal efforts to reverse losses of pollinators, including honey bees and monarch butterflies. In June, the White House announced the formation of an interagency Pollinator Health Task Force.  Cochaired by the heads of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. EPA, the new task force, when formed, will include representatives from 15 different federal agencies. By 2015, the task force is to create a national pollinator health strategy to improve habitat, better coordinate research and education, and encourage public-private partnerships focused on improving pollinator health. The June announcement followed an April 30 meeting of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, which included Almond Board of California (ABC) staff, to discuss paths to improve honey bee/pollinator health. In other federal action, EPA announced the release of revised honey bee risk assessment guidance for evaluating the potential risk of pesticides to bees. And USDA announced the dedication of $8 million in USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) incentives to states in the upper Plains to establish new habitats for declining pollinator populations. The Almond Board continues to be engaged in honey bee health efforts nationwide. ABC staff are working with the Honey Bee Health Coalition, which is focused on honey bee health and U.S. agriculture. In July, Almond Board’s Gabriele Ludwig attended a meeting in Washington, D.C., at which pesticide registrants and grower groups educated other grower organizations and pesticide users on the pollinator issues and the impacts of various EPA actions related to pesticides and honey bees. EPA has delayed the registration of new uses of certain insecticides in almonds to allay concerns about impacts on honey bees. EPA is also expanding the bee caution statements on labels developed for neonicotinoids for any compound with acute risk to honey bees. Almond Board’s Bob Curtis presented to ag economists at the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting who are researching the economic impact of honey bee health issues. This fall, ABC staff will be attending a number of policy and beekeeper meetings.
Newsletter
Nov 07, 2017 // Almond Bloom and Bees
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