A coalition of environmentalists on April 20 blasted Beverly Hills billionaire Stewart Resnick, owner of Paramount Farms in Kern County, and other corporate agribusiness interests for continuing to plant thousands of acres of new almond trees during the drought while Governor Jerry Brown is mandating that urban families slash water usage by 25 percent. At this year’s annual pistachio conference hosted by Paramount Farms, Resnick revealed his current efforts to expand pistachio, almond, and walnut acreage during a record drought.
The National Park Service has acknowledged that that more than 250 tule elk died inside the fenced Pierce Point Elk Preserve at California’s Point Reyes National Seashore from 2012 to 2014, likely due to lack of access to year-round water. While nearly half the elk inside the fenced area died, free-roaming Point Reyes elk herds with access to water increased by nearly a third during the same period.
On April 15, urban farmers from the UC Gill Tract Community Farm, Occupy the Farm, other food and climate justice communities, and fast food workers joined together at an Oakland McDonalds for Fight for Fifteen protest. By noon, fast food workers and Gill Tract farmers joined for a Boycott Sprouts action at the grand opening of a Sprouts “Farmers Market” in San Rafael to protest the supermarket’s plans to pave the historic Gill Tract Farm in Albany. The action at the San Rafael Sprouts is the third in the last month.
According to the environmental group EcoRights, polluted industrial drainage water is entering into Elkhorn Slough from the Pick-n-Pull auto-wrecking yard in Moss Landing. In response, the group has initiated a petition calling on the County of Monterey to require a Environmental Impacts analysis, and to require the business to relocate if it cannot operate without polluting the Slough and harming resident species.
In response to a 2012 petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and several renowned scientists and herpetologists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on April 9 that Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for the western pond turtle. The agency will now conduct a one-year status review on the turtle, which faces declines of up to 99 percent in some areas. “Threats like habitat destruction from urbanization and agriculture are driving western pond turtles toward extinction,” said Collette Adkins, a Center biologist and lawyer.
As soon as April 16, the East Bay Zoological Society can begin sectioning off the combined seventy-seven acre “California Trail” and mitigation sites from public access behind an 8-foot chain-link barbed wire fence. On March 27, fifty people assembled to inaugurate a direct action campaign against the “California Trail” project that would expand the Oakland Zoo into the undeveloped 400-acre region known as Huchiun to Ohlone people, commonly referred to as Knowland Park.
A new report released by Californians for Pesticide Reform asserts that fumigant pesticides are an outdated, toxic technology that undermines soil health, and safe replacements are needed to grow food on the Central Coast of California. The report examines data that revealed cancer-causing chloropicrin is in the air where Monterey County children live and play, and shares monitoring results that confirm chloropicrin in the city of Watsonville’s air poses an increased cancer risk, despite state required “safer tarps” and "buffer zones".