Ok, that’s really weird.
Water wars are a permanent part of the state’s landscape. In recent years, the wars have centered around a fake “fish versus farms” lie. The Farmer-Liars (because all they do is lie) have set this up as “minnows versus farms.”
This is because a small fish called the Delta Smelt was declared Threatened a while back. This smelt lives in the Delta of the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers in California.
There are huge pumps in the Delta that suck water out of this Delta and send it south to farms mostly on the west side of the Central Valley where really nobody should be doing irrigated farming anyway. The reason is because there is a clay layer at a shallow depth in this soil.
So water goes down maybe eight feet, hits the clay layer and cannot go any further. Because the land drains so poorly (this entire area used to be a vast wetland-swamp which was drained to grow food), the water comes back up to the surface and leaches all of the salt and minerals out of the soil. So the runoff water from the irrigation is so polluted with salt and minerals, especially selenium, that it is basically toxic and no one knows what to do with it.
For a long time it was running into a place called Kesterson Reservoir, but the selenium levels got so high there that soon there were massive bird die-offs due to the birds laying bad eggs that gave birth to deformed chicks. So you had all these birth defect baby birds running around with coming out of their beaks and whatnot.
I remember in the 1980’s hearing about this Kesterson problem. I read about it for years, but no article ever told what was causing the problem. Why wouldn’t these journalists tell me what was causing the problem? Because we have free speech (TM) in this country!That freedom of speech enabled them to write articles for years about mysterious birth defects in birds while acting like it was all some sort of miraculous bafflement. The writers knew full well what was causing it, but they never told us because their corporate masters were bought off by Agribusiness and the editors didn’t want to blow the whistle on the fellow plutocrats.
What good is freedom of speech in the US if the media will never tell you what’s really going on?
I had to do a lot of digging to finally figure out that it was poisoning drainage water from irrigated lands that was the cause of the whole mess.
I am not sure what has happened in the meantime, but the farmers apparently still have a lot of toxic runoff water on their hands. The farmers keep demanding a canal of some sort to run over to the coast or the San Fransisco Bay so they can dump their horribly polluted mess in the Bay or the Sea. Naturally the liberal Bay Area reacts with horror to such mad scientist type ideas.
But it shows you what wonderful people these poor downtrodden farmers are! So generous of them! Demanding to dump their polluted, poisonous mess in our bays and oceans! Nice guys!
At any rate, the pumps have been overpumping way too much water out of the Delta for agriculture for a very long time now. The canary in the coal mine was the Delta Smelt (and now some other species are now going extinct too).
For it is not just the Delta Smelt that is in trouble. The smelt is crashing because the entire Delta ecosystem is in danger of collapse. Who is causing the collapse? Why those hardworking, salt of the Earth, sons of the soil, poor suffering farmers, that’s who!
Thing is, it is not just a minnow versus food story. The Delta used to have a huge striped bass and salmon fishery. The salmon runs are now all threatened or endangered and some are in danger of extinction. So it’s really one industry versus another.
And it goes beyond that. The Delta is part of the Commons of California, a piece of our collective endowment. What right do these farmer-pigs have to destroy a precious part of our state?
My position is quite reasonable. No, you farmers do not have the right to destroy the ecosystem of the California Delta! We will do whatever it takes to preserve that ecosystem, even if it means limiting the water you get on land that should never have been irrigated in the first place.
I believe that is a quite reasonable position.
However, I live in Moronica, where seldom is heard an original word and the brains are all cloudy all day. No one has an original idea ever, and the masses just conform to whatever ideology they have been told to think or else just think whatever everyone else is thinking.
There are regular conversations about the water issue around here. 99% of the local morons see it as “minnows versus food.” “Give us our water!” they cry. All the other sheeple nod their empty heads. I try to explain what’s really going on, and everyone looks at me like I am a lunatic.
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A mail I got from the Defenders of Wildlife, a group I support. I don’t really understand why environmentalists vote Republican. If you’re an environmentalist who votes Republican, why don’t you tell us what’s going through your head. The Republican Party is a viciously, savagely, brutally anti-environmental party, and they have been for 30 years now, since Reagan.
If you like to fish and hunt, why vote Republican? I don’t get it. Fishing and hunting depends on open, clean and wild areas for the fish and animals to live in. Republicans destroy rivers and lakes and wreck any wild land that they can find.
Now, if you’re an anti-environmentalist and vote rightwing, I respect that. You are a man of principles, and you are sticking to them. But a fisherman, a hunter, and environmentalist, who votes rightwing? You need to have your head examined.
Denham, the guy who wants to kill the restoration of the salmon run in the San Joaquin River, is my congressman. He’s as reactionary as they come; he’s more or less a Tea Partier. People don’t understand California. The Whites here (and some of the others) are very rightwing. The only liberals are on the coast. Inland, in the Central Valley, the Inland Empire, the Great Basin, the North Coast, the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades is very White and very, very rightwing. By the way, all of this slashing and cutting is being done under the rubric of deficit reduction.
The House of Representatives has left town for their summer recess, but not before unveiling a barrage of new anti-wildlife provisions in the Interior spending bill.
These provisions threaten wild Mexican gray wolves and endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles with extinction and pose a significant threat of increased injury and death for gentle manatees.
We must stop them.
Some in Congress seem bound and determined to unravel basic protections for some of our most vulnerable wildlife…
* Extinct Mexican gray wolves. Republican Representative Steve Pearce (NM) has introduced an amendment to end lobo recovery efforts, essentially dooming the 50 remaining Mexican gray wolves in the wild to extinction.
* Crushed sea turtles. Republican Representative Blake Farenthold (TX) has proposed blocking efforts to reduce the speed limits on beaches where threatened and endangered sea turtles – already reeling from the effects of last year’s BP oil disaster – nest.
* Wounded manatees. Boat strikes are one of the leading causes of death for Florida’s threatened manatees, but Republican Representative Richard Nugent (FL) wants to block a Fish and Wildlife Service rule to prevent boat collisions and end the hazing of these gentle sea cows.
* Dead salmon. Representative Republican Jeff Denham (CA) has introduced an amendment to block restoration of salmon in the San Joaquin River.
* A path to extinction for lesser prairie chickens and dunes sagebrush lizards. Republican Representatives Pearce (NM) and Randy Neugebauer (TX) are fighting to prohibit vital Endangered Species Act protections for these highly vulnerable animals.
* A lawless border zone. Republican Representatives Paul Gosar (AZ) and Rob Bishop (UT) have proposed amendments that would exempt the border patrol from laws and regulations that protect imperiled wildlife and federal conservation lands like our national parks and wildlife refuges.
But that’s not all. The bill also proposes deep cuts in funding for our National Wildlife Refuges and key conservation programs to keep our imperiled wildlife and wild lands safe.
Repost from the old site.
The Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulves vulpes necator) has been rediscovered around Sonora Pass on August 11, 2010.
It was spotted by a camera that had been set up to monitor other wildlife in an area where Yosemite National Park, the Stanislaus National Forest and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest all come together. The sighting was actually on the Humboldt-Toiyabe, not on the Stanislaus as many news reports had it.
Part of the confusion may have been that the sighting was near the border between the Humboldt-Toiyabe and Stanislaus Forests. I know that the fox was not seen right at Sonora Pass. Instead, I believe it was spotted in the area to the south of the pass. I am guessing that it was seen near the Leavitt Creek area.
Saliva analysis on a sock filled with chicken parts at the bait station confirmed that it was a Sierra Nevada red fox, and that it had a rare genetic signature previously only seen in museum specimens from the 1920’s.
This is the first proof of the Sierra Nevada red fox outside the Lassen area in a very long time. It’s great news!
The only confirmed population is a tiny population of only 20 foxes in and around Lassen National Park where the Northern Sierra meets the Southern Cascades.
This area has historically seen more sightings around Lassen than any other part of California (sighting map for Northern California). This concentration is focused in Lassen, Tehama and Shasta Counties in and around Lassen Park. There have also been a few sightings in Modoc, Siskiyou and Trinity Counties.
The existence of the Sierra Nevada red fox has recently been confirmed by a team led by John Perrine of UC Berkeley. The team has located a small population of 20 Sierra Nevada red foxes existing in and around Lassen National Park in the Cascades Range. A later study proved that these were Sierra Nevada red foxes and not Eastern Red Foxes, which are abundant at the lower elevations in California.
A good description of the Lassen study, along with several rare photos of the foxes, can be found here. In the Sierras, the Sierra Nevada red fox was typically found at about 9,000 feet, with one record at 4,000, another at 5,500 and another at 7,000 feet. In the Cascades, they are usually found at around 6,000 feet, dropping down to 4,000 feet in the winter and moving up to 8,000 feet in the summer.
A report by the DFG in 1987 said the Sierra Nevada red fox was endangered, but noted that sightings continue in the rest of the Sierra Nevada outside the Cascades within the traditional range of the species.
I am aware of some recent sightings on the East side near Mammoth Mountain at high elevations.
They reportedly still exist in Mineral King south of Sequoia National Park.
In the same region, there have been a number of sightings in the Sagehen Road area near Olancha on the Inyo National Forest in the past 12 years. The sightings were at the 4-6,000 foot elevation. This is near the South Sierra Wilderness Area. Map here.
There was a reliable sighting in 1993 at Sequoia National Park.
There have been sightings of the Sierra Nevada red fox in the past 30 years on the Sierra National Forest. In 1971, a Sierra Nevada red fox was sighted at Florence Lake at about 9,000 feet. In 1973, there was a sighting at Soda Springs near Mammoth Pool Reservoir at 4,500 feet. In 1987, there was a sighting along Highway 168 between Auberry and Shaver Lake at about 4,300 feet, a very low elevation. In 1991, there was a sighting at Papoose Lake north of Lake Edison at about 10,390 feet.
There have also been a few sightings in Yosemite Valley in the past decade or so.
The last documented sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox as near Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park in 1990. This sighting was verified via photograph. The fox was photographed in the middle of winter at about 9,000 feet.
On the Stanislaus, there have been a number of sightings around the Emigrant Wilderness, in particular something called the Waterhouse Wilderness Study Area on the northwest edge of the Emigrant Wilderness.
In Mono County, Sierra Nevada red foxes have been reported from Bridgeport Valley.
In Nevada County near Lake Tahoe, there is a sighting from 1994 along Highway 89 north of Truckee.
In addition to the Lassen area, there is also a recent sighting around Antelope Lake and around Lake Almanor and Jonesville on the Plumas National Forest.
There are recent sightings around Little Lake on the northern edge of the Lassen National Forest.
There are recent sightings around Mount Shasta and around Glass Mountain on the Klamath National Forest.
There are also recent sightings around the Trinity River near Mount Eddy on the northern edge of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
There is also a recent sighting near Canby on the Modoc National Forest.
Between 1940 and 1959, 135 Sierra Nevada red fox pelts were taken by trappers, an average of 7 per year. That number dropped to 2 per year from 1970-1974. The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) banned all Sierra Nevada red fox trapping in 1974.
The Sierra Nevada red fox has declined drastically and desperately needs Endangered Species listing.
This cool paper by C. Hart Merriam shows that Sierra Nevada red foxes were formerly common at high elevations in the Mount Shasta area, that tracks were seen almost every day (!), but the foxes were very wary and never entered the traps the researchers had set. It is interesting that fishers were also present in this area at the time.
This report makes one wonder just what it is that has driven V. v. necator to near-extinction. I strongly suspect grazing.
One of the best historical sources on the Sierra Nevada red fox is this chapter from Joseph Grinnell’s hard-to-find Furbearers of California from 1937. One thing it makes clear is that the Sierra Nevada red fox was much more common in the first four decades of the century than it is now. You can view it here.
At the time of Grinnell’s writing, this fox was preying heavily on Sierra Nevada snowshoe hares and White-tailed hares, both of which are now pretty rare in the Sierras. I wonder if that is related to their decline? The decline of the White-tailed hare in the Sierra, formerly common on the East Side, is related exclusively to grazing.
All high-elevation grazing needs to be banned from the Sierra, as it is a catastrophe. Cows do not belong in high elevation meadows. We can start by getting rid of grazing in wilderness areas (Allowing grazing in wilderness areas was the only way that the Wilderness Act of 1964 could be passed).
I am not impressed with the ability of the US Forest Service to preserve wildlife in general, not to mention sensitive or endangered species. I spent years monitoring the Sierra National Forest, and the workers I met with were some of the most corrupt and dishonest people I have ever dealt with.
The mentality was devoted to resource extraction, and even wildlife biologists, botanists and fisheries specialists routinely issued “no significant harm” findings on virtually every single Environmental Assessment Report I saw.
Even less impressive is the CDFG, though at least their heads were in the right place. Individuals working with the DFG are good people, but the Commission is run by political clowns.
There are all sorts of species that need to be listed as threatened or endangered, but the DFG has hardly made even one such listing in the last decade. The DFG has been routinely denying petitions to list any species as threatened or endangered for a decade or so now.
Further, there are questions about how much a CA T& E designation even helps a species, as the DFG seldom intervenes to help even the species they have listed as T & E.
In the early 1990’s, the CA DFG produced some excellent volumes – Reptiles and Amphibians of Special Concern in California by Mark Jennings, Fish of Special Concern in California by Peter Moyne and Threatened and Endangered Species of California.
The reports by Jennings and Moyne listed numerous species that should be listed as species of special concern, threatened or endangered. To my knowledge, 15 years later, not a single one has been listed. A prime example is that the Sierra Nevada red fox, which the DFG even admitted in 2004 was critically endangered, is still listed as “threatened” instead of “endangered”.
Even a petition to uplist it will surely be denied. The game here has been to devastate the DFG with budget cuts, even during times when the state is flush with cash. Then the DFG gets to say that they don’t have any money to list any new species. Cool game, huh?
It seems every year, the DFG gets hammered with new budget cuts, and in lush years, the money never gets reinstated. Any environmentalist who is a fiscal conservative needs to have their head examined.
The FS complains of budget cuts too, but in contrast they are actively hostile to the environment. When I was monitoring them, their whole agenda was to let grazing and logging go on to the greatest extent possible and to deny all negative impacts on the environment of such.
Go into a local FS office and the whole place, even the wildlife biologists, is avidly listening to Rush Limbaugh! Most of them, including once again wildlife biologists who supposedly believe in evolution, are members of fundamentalist churches! Go figure.
Such is the state of things in the supposedly pro-environment US. Large majorities support the environmentalist agenda, but of course the Republicans and incredibly even the Clintonista triangulating Democrats are both very hostile to the environment. There is no logical reason for either party, especially the Democrats, to take this stance.
The only explanation is that both parties are dedicated to the corporate and pro-business agenda, and the entire rest of the population, even if that means 55-98% of the population depending on the issue, can just go to Hell.
Grinnell, Joseph. 1924. Animal Life in the Yosemite. Berkeley: University of California Press, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.
Kucera, T. E. 1995. Recent Photograph of a Sierra Nevada Red Fox. California Fish and Game 81:43-44.
Merriam, Clinton Hart. 1899. Results of a Biological Survey of Mount Shasta, California. Washington D.C.: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey.
Perrine, J. D., J. P. Pollinger, B. N. Sacks, R. H. Barrett, and R. K. Wayne. 2007. Genetic Evidence for the Persistence of the Critically Endangered Sierra Nevada Red Fox in Northern California. Conservation Genetics 8:1083-1095.
Southern California Edison Company. 2001. Final Technical Study Plan Package (FTSPP) for the Big Creek Hydroelectric Projects (FERC Project Nos. 67, 120, 2085, and 2175). Terrestrial Resources – Chapter 13 – Mesocarnivores. Rosemead, CA.
Wildlife Conservation Board. 2002. Report to the Legislature on the Wildlife Protection Act of 1990. Annual Report – Fiscal Year 2002-2003. Sacramento: State of California.
As several posts on Occidental Dissent make clear, libertarianism (and its mainstream congener, neoliberalism) is utterly incompatible with the preservation of any non-human and non-domesticated or non-utilitarian life forms. Libertarians like to throw up weird scenarios whereby preserving wildlife, wild spaces and wild places would somehow be more economically viable than exterminating them, exploiting them, and devastating them.
The problem is that this never works out in praxis. Even when we environmentalists produce reports showing that preserving forests and meadows is worth way more than chopping them down or ruining them with cattle, 100% of libertarians always line up with exploiters. I’ve been reading them forever. Libertarian environmentalist is an oxymoron.
Since neoliberalism is just libertarianism, neoliberalism also can never support environmentalism. Market-driven environmental policies must be some kind of a cruel joke. They can never work. In strict economically rational terms, it is either never or almost never economically rational to save species, habitats or places. Destruction and extermination is where the money is, and in neoliberal theory, maximum return is the only variable we are allowed to consider.
Libertardarians now argue that humans (I guess maybe those of White European stock) now care enough about environmentalism that we can zero out government, privatize everything, and everything will still be hunky dory for the bighorns, the spotted owls and timber wolves. Yeah right.
In the first place, this would only work with White people, because only Whites can be environmentalists at the moment, and only more advanced Whites in North America and Europe need apply even here. That’s because Whites in Latin America and Russia have proven to be utterly capable of taking care of the environment. Native Americans and Siberians can probably preserve things too, but they don’t run any states.
Let’s test out the libertarian theory on most liberal-minded of the more progressive Whites on Earth, the ultra-liberals in California (though not a White state anymore, nevertheless, California is one of the most pro-environmental states in the nation).
The argument that humans now care enough about species to preserve them is proven wrong here in the West. Even here in ultra-liberal California, the glorious salmon are nearly extinct. The striped bass fishery in the Delta and Bay has also been ruined. The vast herds of Tule Elk that roamed all over the valleys and coastal areas of our state have been decimated and only exist on miniscule preserves that look like petting zoos. Fishers and spotted owls are being driven extinct by the timber industry as we speak.
A lot of CA endangered species are not real celebrities, but salmon would seem to have quite a bit of worth. Yet the salmon fishery in CA and up and down the West has been decimated. And even the ultra-liberal CA senators like Dianne Feinstein insist that we have not creamed the salmon enough, and need to take them out once and for all now. Feinstein’s mostly doing this for one of her rich Jewish buddies, Stewart Resnick of Beverly Hills. So much for liberal US Jews!
The notion that humans (Anywhere!) now value wildlife enough to be trusted with preserving them in a libertarian society is seriously wrong, and we can prove it right here in California.
In the 3rd World, humans are so bestial, venal, animalistic and backwards that they indeed are well on the way to extrerminating everything non-human, non-domesticated and non-utilitarian in sight.
An excellent argument in favor of White superiority (which I agree with) is, as I noted above, that Whites are really the only humans on Earth (who run states) that care about non-human life enough to preserve it.* Virtually every other race and ethnic group of man will gladly exterminate every single non-domesticated species and non-utilitarian species in its land at the drop of a hat.
Preserving species is something only Whites can do. And it’s something that only White governments can do, the White private sector haven proven endlessly to have failed at this endeavor.
*I honestly wish that non-European states were capable of not exterminating everything in sight, but I doubt it. The Middle East is an environmental catastrophe. The only environmentally decent place is Israel, but that’s populated by White people. The only environmentally progressive place in Latin America is Costa Rica, but once again, that’s a White country. It seems that all Arabs and mestizos can do is destroy.
Asians seem like a nightmare in environmental terms. They aren’t even capable of tender feelings towards cats and dogs, which they massacre for sport and food, so how can they possibly be trusted with non-domesticated things. The Japanese have been some of the worst scofflaws in international fishing and their bestial exploits in whaling have earned them the scorn of the planet.
True, in some ways, Koreans and Japanese seem to want to preserve what’s left on their lands, but environmentally, those places are pretty much human-nuked anyway, mostly by overpopulation. A preservationist impulse isn’t worth much if there is nothing left to preserve.
The hunter-gatherers of Southeast Asia never had the caretaker mindset of American Indians, instead opting for the more primitive mindset of “kill everything that moves.” The extinction process in SE Asia is very advanced and the state does very little to stop it. Environmental consciousness is extremely low.
Probably Vietnam is one of the more standout states. China is just now starting to develop an environmental ethic, but it doesn’t seem to be very advanced, and in a lot of ways, environmentally, China looks like America 1890.
I’m amazed that anything non-human and non-bovine is still walking around in India, where the extinction process is quite advanced, the state is extremely weak, and poachers are everywhere.
Russians have always been some of the most backwards and barbaric of the Whites, and environmentally, that’s still the case. Since the collapse of the USSR things have really fallen badly apart. Market hunters and poachers stalk the land. In Siberia, the poacher harvest of salmon is the same size as the legal harvest. The Amur Leopard and the Siberian Tiger are hanging on by their bare claws, and I expect them to go extinct soon.
Africa has to be one of the worst places on Earth to be a species of wildlife. Africans are primitive people, and primitives tend to kill anything that moves, usually for food. The only reason that there were still huge wildlife populations 50 years ago is due to White colonists, who forbade the Africans from wiping out the animals. With decolonization, Africans quickly set work slaughtering anything that moved.
That they had not done so in centuries past was due only to the crudity of their weapons. You can’t kill many animals with a spear. In 1965, Africans with firearms were a threat the animal population of the continent. The large megafauna were only saved when the former White colonists were called back in by concerned Africans to save the animals.
Many of the large animal populations still exist, but poachers and bush meat hunters take a devastating toll. I don’t see anything positive in the future. Africans don’t seem to be capable of not exterminating animals.
One argument is that non-Whites do these things because they are poor.
Equatorial Guinea now has a PCI of $21,000/year. Anyone seen any nice environmental initiatives coming out of there? Has the wealth of the Japanese prevented them from killing whales? Has Korean wealth prevented them from waging mass pogroms against dogs and cats? Has the relative wealth of Brazil and Argentina prevented environmental devastation in these places? The Gulf Arab countries are extremely wealthy, but my understanding is that they are environmental wrecks.
So much for the “they do it because they are poor” line.
Repost from the old site.
Environmentalists who insist that socialism or social democracy will save the environment have always worried me. Canada’s been ruled by social democrats for a long time, and it’s horrible on environmental issues.
Interestingly, the radical rightwing US Bush regime proposed a reduced quota to keep the bluefin tuna from going extinct, and the far rightwing governments of Guatemala and Panama amazingly agreed to it.
So who shot it down? A bunch of “socialists” in Europe, in particular the leftwing Spanish government. Looks like the Arab governments of Mediterranean (presumably including “socialist” Qaddafi and the “Socialists” in Algeria) are the ones who really shot it down. 90% of the remaining stocks are in the Mediterranean. On the European side, the criminals were Spain, Italy and probably France.
The impetus? Protect the local fishing trade, which is big money. But once the bluefins go extinct, and they will under this plan, the amount of money the industry will make off the bluefin trade will be $0 per year. The job loss will be a nice round 100%.
Extraction industries under capitalism have always been like gays on a condomless months-long group sex binge in San Francisco. Fun now, pay bigtime (die) later.
Over and over, fishermen have deliberately driven fish species to commercial or actual extinction, and that’s just recently. Extraction industries are ultimately suicidal. They never get it. They’re like Peter Pan and age. They never think the stock is going to run out.
Extraction industries will destroy everything in their path – fish, wild animals for furs or food, forests for wood, range for cattle or sheep, you name it. Foresters will always choose to cut down every last tree and then stand around bewildered like a drunk who wakes up on Saturday morning and realizes he blew his check at the bar.
Ranchers will always destroy range, especially if it’s public range that they don’t even own. How? By running too many cows or sheep on it. After decades of that, they can hardly run one ungulate on the land anymore, but like a wiped-out gambling addict running to the casino with his latest paycheck in hand, they never seem to get it.
Extractive industry is run by perpetual children masquerading as adults who are not able, due to the nature of their industry, to think or behave rationally. All voluntary regulation, deregulation, minimal government (Republican, conservative and rightwing) solutions will always fail.
If there’s one aspect of the capitalist economy that will always need adult supervision, it’s the extractive clowns. Problem is the state is typically in bed with the extractive problem gamblers.
There are no easy solutions, but socialism is surely a false hope. From flooding the West with immigrants, legal and illegal, to support for suicidal extractives on “national economy” grounds, modern socialism will always fail the environment. The solution is Deep Ecology. Deep Ecology is divorced from the capitalism vs. Communism thing and always puts the environment first.