California Drought: Ugly

When outdoor writers feature the state of state’s drought you know it’s not good.  Tom Steinstra’s report is not good.

It seems few in government recognize what is happening out there, a full-on drought. In the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, everybody connected to the outdoors gets it.

The only ranches, farms and duck clubs that are getting water are those that have wells. Those few are worried about pumping too much ground water. Last week, I actually saw one almond orchard where a rancher was running piped water from a well into spray-type sprinklers to try to keep the trees from dying. In the middle of winter?

All the water deliveries from irrigation districts have been cut off. Some duck clubs have been high and dry all winter and have members who haven’t taken a shot.

In the San Joaquin Valley, it’s grim. Many cattle ranches have landscapes that consist of brown stubble and dirt. Ranchers are bringing in hay at tremendous expense – one at Pacheco Pass has spent $350,000 this winter trying to keep his herd – and some are selling off parts of their herds.

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