The Sierra Nevada Range: The Source of California’s Vitality

I’ve spent a lot of wonder-filled time in the landscapes of the central Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Nevada range is about 400 miles long and 50 miles wide and runs along the state’s eastern boundary.  A one-hour drive from my childhood home in the San Joaquin Valley could get us to 6,000+ feet in the […]

Engineering Water in California and the Case of the San Joaquin River

I grew up near the place where the waters of the San Joaquin River emerge from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The San Joaquin River begins at Thousand Island Lake high in the south-central Sierra Nevada at an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet. The river’s water flows south-west from this spot through the mountains and foothills […]

The San Joaquin Valley: Past, Present, Future and from the Air

I lived the first 25 years of my life in the San Joaquin Valley of California. On December 1st, 2021, I saw the valley as I had never seen it before. Gary Lippner (Deputy Director for Flood Management and Dam Safety) and Kris Tjernell (Deputy Director for Integrated Watershed Management) with the California Department of […]

The San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge: A Natural Landscape Revived

In May of 2021 I visited the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge near Modesto, California. I grew up near the San Joaquin River about 100 miles south of the refuge, which was established in 1987 and is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The refuge encompasses about 7,000 acres and is a part […]

The Yolo Bypass: A 100-Year-Old Nature-Based Solution

The Sacramento is a “beast” of a river. It runs 400 miles from Mount Shasta to the delta where it meets up with its southern sister at the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, as both rivers join with the San Francisco Estuary and Bay.  The Sacramento River drains a watershed encompassing 26,000 square miles.  Gabriel Moraga gave […]

In Search of Balance on the Pajaro River

California’s landscape is big and diverse.  When I moved to the East Coast in 1988, I seemed to encounter a lot of people who held what I called the “surfing and earthquakes” image of California, a view of the state that is dominated by images of southern California beaches combined with tectonic disaster.  I’ve also […]