Governor Brown Issues Statement on California Air Resources Board Draft Plan to Achieve 2030 Climate Goals

 

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement on the California Air Resources Board’s initial draft plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 – the most ambitious target in North America. The initial draft plan, released today, builds on the state’s successful efforts to reach its more immediate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and outlines the most effective ways to reach the new 2030 goal, including continuing California’s Cap-and-Trade program.

 

“This plan lays out a road map for California – and the rest of the world – to achieve climate goals that were inconceivable only a decade ago,” said Governor Brown, who established this 2030 target by Executive Order in April 2015 and signed SB 32 in September to codify it. “There are steep hills ahead, but we’ll scale them by continuing to take a series of bold actions, including extending California’s Cap-and-Trade Program.”

 

California’s Leadership on Climate Change

 

California is playing a world-leading role in setting aggressive climate goals, broadening collaboration among subnational leaders and taking action to reduce climate pollutants.

 

In recent weeks, Governor Brown issued a joint release with the governors of Oregon and Washington and the premier of British Columbia reaffirming their commitment to climate action at the close of COP22. The Governor also announced 29 new members to the Under2 Coalition, an international climate pact formed by California and Baden-Württemberg, Germany among cities, states and countries to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, the level of potentially catastrophic consequences. A total of 165 jurisdictions have now joined the coalition representing more than a billion people and $25.7 trillion in combined GDP – more than one-third of the global economy. 

 

In September, California took bold action to advance its climate goals, establishing the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America and the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants. The Governor also signed legislation that directs cap-and-trade funds to greenhouse gas reducing programs which benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation and protect natural ecosystems.

This action builds on landmark legislation the Governor signed in October 2015 to generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings. Governor Brown has also committed to reducing today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent within the next 15 years; make heating fuels cleaner; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon.

Over the past year and a half, the Governor has traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France, the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on other leaders to join California in the fight against climate change. Governor Brown also joined an unprecedented alliance of heads of state, city and state leaders – convened by the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund – to urge countries and companies around the globe to put a price on carbon.

These efforts to broaden collaboration among subnational leaders build on a number of other international climate change agreements with leaders from the Czech Republic, the NetherlandsMexicoChinaNorth AmericaJapanIsraelPeru and Chile and Governor Brown’s efforts to gather hundreds of world-renowned researchers and scientists around a groundbreaking call to action – called the consensus statement – which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.

The impacts of climate change are already being felt in California and will disproportionately impact the state’s most vulnerable populations.

Link to Governor Brown’s web site

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USDA Secretary Vilsack honored with portrait unveiling in Washington DC

Portrait of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack

Portrait of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack

 

 

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s official portrait, painted by Iowa artist Rose Frantzen, has been unveiled at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, D.C. Secretary Vilsack is the nation’s 30th Agriculture Secretary, serving since 2009.

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross provided a video message of congratulations and thanks for Secretary Vilsack’s service.

 

 

 

 

 

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A look at CDFA’s Medfly quarantine response

CDFA announced a quarantine today for a Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) infestation in Panorama City, Los Angeles County. The Medfly detections there have resulted in a series of responses from the agency’s Division of Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services, including a practice known as fruit sampling – fruit taken from properties and checked for Medfly larvae. This short video captures CDFA’s Abraham Lopez and Bestoor Behizadeh performing that work.

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CDFA joins other state agencies in releasing draft plan to make water conservation in California a way of life

News release excerpted

Working to make water conservation a way of life, state agencies have released a draft plan for achieving long-term efficient water use and meeting drought preparedness goals that reflect California’s diverse climate, landscape and demographic conditions.

The new plan’s fundamental premise is that efficient water use helps all of California better prepare for longer and more severe droughts caused by climate change. California recently suffered the driest four years in state history, with only average rainfall last year, and 75 percent of the state remains in severe drought conditions. Meanwhile, a new report from UCLA projects that the Sierra Nevada snowpack — one of California’s largest sources of water supply — is likely to drop 50 percent by the end of the century due to climate change.

Recognizing these risks and many others, the plan seeks permanent changes to water use that boost efficiency and prepare for more limited water supplies. These practices will help achieve a top priority in the Governor’s Water Action Plan – to “Make Conservation a California Way of Life.”

The plan builds on the success of mandatory water restrictions during California’s severe drought and develops long-term water conservation measures that will ensure all communities have sufficient water supplies. This will involve activities such as ensuring that farmers plan and prepare for severe drought, and permanently banning wasteful practices like hosing off sidewalks and driveways.

The plan represents a shift from statewide mandates to a set of conservation standards based on local circumstances, including population, temperature, leaks, and types of commercial and industrial use. Some of the actions described in this draft plan will require working with the Legislature on new and expanded state authority, while others can be implemented under existing authorities.

All recommendations aim to achieve the main objectives of the Governor’s Executive Order B-37- 16: use water more wisely, eliminate water waste, strengthen local drought resilience, and improve agricultural water use efficiency and drought planning. In addition to taking action to implement this long-term water conservation plan, State agencies recognize the reality that most of California potentially faces a sixth year of historic drought.

The plan was prepared by the Department of Water Resources, the State Water Resources Control Board, the Public Utilities Commission, the Department of Food and Agriculture and the Energy Commission. The state encourages the public to submit comments on the draft plan to wue@water.ca.gov no later than December 19, 2016. Comments will be posted at: http://www.water.ca.gov/wateruseefficiency/conservation/comments.cfm

Link to full news release

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#Farm2Fan video series – Sun-Splashed Peaches in Fresno County

California Grown and Visit California are teaming up to produce the #Farm2Fan video series, profiling farms throughout California and fans of those farms who stop by for a visit. The videos are funded by a grant from CDFA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. 

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California and Netherlands Renew Commitment on Climate Smart Agriculture

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross met with Netherlands Minster for Agriculture Martijn van Dam on Monday to discuss their ongoing commitment to collaborate on variety of agricultural issues. Secretary Ross traveled to the Netherlands last year and signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) between California and the Netherlands to steer this effort.

Minister van Dam is in California this week leading a business delegation focusing on agricultural technology, food and innovation. Delegation members are attending a Climate Smart Agriculture Seminar at UC Davis and the video below is ‘Welcoming Remarks’ from Secretary Ross and Minister van Dam.

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Wettest start to NorCal rainy season in 30 years, but drought persists – from the Sacramento Bee

Snow

By Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow

It’s only a beginning. But it’s a strong beginning, and it offers at least a rain gauge’s worth of hope to a state enduring its fifth year of drought.

The National Weather Service said Monday that the rainy season in the northern Sierra Nevada is off to its wettest start in 30 years. Mountain conditions are critically important to monitoring the drought because a major share of the state’s water supply is stored for months as snow.

Citing state data from a string of eight gauges scattered around the northern Sierra, the service said precipitation has come in at about twice the average for this time of year, making for the wettest kickoff to the water year in 30 years. The water year, as defined by climatologists and others, begins Oct. 1.

However, the strong start doesn’t guarantee an end to the drought, or even meaningful relief.

As it is, the rainy beginning is largely the result of one of the wettest Octobers ever, which dumped four times as much rain on the Sacramento region as normal, said weather service forecaster Travis Wilson. Already, there are signs of a slowdown: Despite the wet Thanksgiving weekend, November has been relatively dry, with the Sacramento area getting only about half the normal rainfall.

The two-month wet spell “doesn’t guarantee you anything,” Wilson said.

As if to underscore the forecasters’ caution, the state Department of Water Resources, in the season’s first outlook on water supplies, announced Monday that State Water Project customers can expect to receive 20 percent of their requested deliveries in 2017. The SWP serves some of the biggest water agencies in the state, including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

While 20 percent is twice as generous as a year ago, when the state told SWP customers to expect a 10 percent allocation, it shows that reservoir managers are still conservative. “We could still end up in a sixth year of drought,” said department director Mark Cowin in a prepared statement.

Initial allocations almost always change. The 10 percent allocation ultimately gave way to a 60 percent allocation for 2016.

Forecasters weren’t expecting a wet year at all when the season began. A few weeks in, the National Weather Service declared that the United States would experience a La Niña winter this year. For California, that raised the prospect of an average or even somewhat dry year. The last La Niña, in 2011-12, left California with a dry winter.

Still, experts say this season’s La Niña conditions are expected to be fairly weak, which means they can’t predict with any certainty how much rain and snow the winter will bring. La Niña is a weather phenomenon linked to comparatively cool water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.

Some of the key weather gauges show the season is off to a decent start. Shasta Lake, the state’s largest and most important reservoir, is at 7 percent above its normal capacity for late November. But Folsom Lake is 8 percent below average and Lake Oroville is 30 percent below. Drought conditions are considerably worse south of the Sacramento region. San Luis Reservoir, one of the most important reservoirs in the San Joaquin Valley, is about one-third below normal.

Overall, the major reservoirs are holding twice as much water as they did last year at this time, said spokesman Shane Hunt of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the federal government’s reservoirs and dams in California.

That leaves reservoir managers “cautiously optimistic,” Hunt said. But he noted that January is usually the wettest and therefore the most crucial month in the entire season.

“We’re still conserving storage when we can and pumping water south of the Delta when we can,” he said. The giant pumping stations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are the transit points of California’s north-to-south water delivery system.

A big mystery is the health of the Sierra snowpack. A solid snowpack can store millions of acre-feet of water through the spring and early summer, refilling the reservoirs and effectively extending the rainy season.

For now, though, little is known about the snowpack. The state Department of Water Resources won’t conduct its first snowpack measurement of the season until late December or early January. The snowpack generally peaks in April, and then starts thawing out.

In the meantime, state officials said they aren’t overly heartened by the wet start to the water year.

“In California, you can go from wet to dry on a dime,” said Ted Thomas, a spokesman for the Department of Water Resources. “We’re not out of the drought by any means.”

Link to story

 

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For the last minute Chefs – some menus and food safety tips

Fine Cooking

Fine Cooking’s ‘A California Thanksgiving Dinner’

David Tanis preparing salmon toast in kitchen. LeeHudson_Thanksgiving_FW_Nov2012

Food & Wine’s California-Style Thanksgiving

Saveur

A Rustic California Thanksgiving courtesy of Saveur

 

USDA turkey

and some food safety tips (don’t wash that turkey) from USDA.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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Lone Star Ranch Named 2016 California Leopold Conservation Award® Recipient

By Alex Karolyi, Sustainable Conservation

lca-logoSand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation are proud to announce Lone Star Ranch as the recipient of the prestigious 2016 California Leopold Conservation Award®. The award honors private landowner achievement in the voluntary stewardship of natural resources.

Lone Star Ranch is owned by Mark and Dina Moore. Mark is a fifth-generation rancher and was raised on the family ranch established in 1896. Located near Eureka, the ranch is approximately 5,000 acres of rangelands, oak woodlands and conifer forests. The Moore’s strongly believe in voluntary conservation practices, often exceeding the minimum regulatory obligations to improve and sustain natural resources, wildlife and ecosystems for future generations.

Dina leads a local watershed group, the Yager/Van Duzen Environmental Stewards (YES) with her ranching neighbors. The group worked collaboratively with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during development of sediment-reduction standards for the Van Duzen River, allowing the EPA to conduct assessments on the watershed’s 80,000 acres of privately owned ranches. Dina worked with the EPA to conduct anecdotal historical studies and outreach that helped the EPA determine that road-related erosion, not cattle grazing, was the largest source of sediment. Over 15 years, the Moore’s and other YES families have made sediment-reduction improvements on more than 400 miles of ranch roads, reducing enough sediment to fill more than 16,000 dump trucks.

Lone Star Ranch also voluntarily acquired a Non-Industrial Timber Management plan through Cal Fire, which provides regulatory assurances to the landowner in exchange for ensuring that timber is harvested in a sustainable manner. The Moore’s plant approximately five trees for every one harvested – ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 new plantings each winter. They also conduct an annual survey of northern spotted owls and provide setbacks of harvesting timber around streams for the protection of Coho Salmon. Their latest project will restore approximately 150 acres of native black and white oak in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”

“Many Californians don’t realize, but when they look out across the landscapes where they live and travel, more than half of that land is in private ownership,” said Ashley Boren, Executive Director of Sustainable Conservation, which has co-sponsored the award since its inception in California. “And, how those individuals and families manage their properties has a dramatic effect on the health of the state’s natural resources and communities. That’s why we’re thrilled to celebrate the decades-long efforts of the Moore’s. They’ve not only worked tirelessly to steward their own range and timberlands in ways that enhance the important landscapes, water and wildlife under their care. But, they’ve shown relentless commitment in inspiring other landowners to do the same across a vast 80,000 acres.”

Farmers and ranchers are constantly confronted with changing dynamics that effect their bottom-lines,” says Paul Wenger, President of the California Farm Bureau. Volatile markets and unexpected weather often conspire to challenge the profitability of farmers and ranchers. Protecting and enhancing the natural resources on our agricultural lands is an extremely important endeavor as we in agriculture strive to be the best stewards of our farms and ranches. We are honored to help recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of farmers and ranchers who go the extra mile in managing the natural resources on their farms and ranches. Aldo Leopold recognized that good stewardship required farmers to develop practical and economically feasible solutions in order to be effective stewards of their farms. The Leopold Conservation Award recognizes those individuals who are setting such an example for others to emulate and follow.”

The 2016 California Leopold Conservation Award will be presented December 5 at the California Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Monterey, CA. Each finalist will be recognized at the event, and the Moore’s will receive a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold and $10,000.

The award sponsors also wish to congratulate the 2016 finalists for their outstanding contributions to agriculture and conservation:

Ken and Matt Altman own and manage Altman Specialty Plants in Riverside and San Diego counties. Begun as a hobby, their greenhouse company grows 3,000 plant varieties. The nurseries utilize energy and water-efficient irrigation systems and moisture sensors that have reduced water use per acre by 50%. The Riverside County facility’s new system reuses 1 million gallons of water per day, nearly enough to fill two Olympic-sized pools. Ken and his wife, Deena, founded the Center for Applied Horticultural Research, a non-profit research and teaching center dedicated to the advancement of a sustainable horticulture industry.

C. Jeff Thomson is a fifth-generation famer near Bakersfield (Kern Co.) who grows a variety of annual vegetable crops, including watermelons, onions, potatoes and carrots. Thomson perfected a suite of notable conservation approaches to better steward the soil, water and wildlife both on and off his land. His use of drip irrigation and soil sensors has reduced water use on a number of his crops by up to 60%. To benefit a variety of waterfowl, including imperiled species, Thomson established an 850-acre wetland with help from colleagues and in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The California Leopold Conservation Award is made possible thanks to generous contributions from American AgCredit, Farm Credit West, The Harvey L. & Maud S. Sorenson Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense Fund.

ABOUT THE LEOPOLD CONSERVATION AWARD® The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. The award consists of $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold. Sand County Foundation presents Leopold Conservation Awards in California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming. For more information, visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org.

ABOUT SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION Sand County Foundation is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to working with private landowners across North America to advance ethical and scientifically sound land management practices that benefit the environment.www.sandcountyfoundation.org

ABOUT SUSTAINABLE CONSERVATION Sustainable Conservation helps California thrive by uniting people to solve the toughest challenges facing our land, air and water. Since 1993, it has brought together business, landowners and government to steward the resources that we all depend on in ways that make economic sense. Sustainable Conservation believes common ground is California’s most important resource.www.suscon.org

ABOUT CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of over 53,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members. www.cfbf.com

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Giving Thanks, Giving Back

thanksgiving_cornucopia

It takes a lot of hands to bring a crop to harvest, starting with farmers, farm workers and ranchers. They’re responsible for California’s ongoing status as the leading agricultural state in the country and one of the leading Ag economies in the world. These dedicated people all deserve our thanks this holiday season for the care and attention they devote to our food supply. It’s a wondrous, diverse bounty we can share with our family and friends at our holiday tables and elsewhere .

We also show our gratitude this time of year by sharing with people less fortunate than us. CDFA employees came together last week to donate a number of turkeys to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services for distribution to families in need. This annual effort serves as an informal jumping-off point for the State Employees Food Drive, which is facilitated with CDFA and coordinated with the Food Bank (the formal kickoff was back in September).

CDFA employees Brandon Morrow (L) and Darrin Okimoto help load turkeys destinted to the Sacramento Food Bank and then to needy families.

CDFA employees Brandon Morrow (L) and Darrin Okimoto help load turkeys destined for the Sacramento Food Bank and then to needy families. Department employees donated 845 lbs of turkey last week.

Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services provides for more than 130,000 food-insecure people every month, including many families with children. The Food Drive continues throughout the holiday season, and I know our employees will continue to look for ways to reach out to those who need a little help.

CDFA gives thanks in another way through its annual Farm-to-Food Bank Month each December. Working with partners at the California Association of Food Banks and CA Grown, CDFA coordinates this effort with farmers and ranchers looking to give back to the needy in their communities.  For a look at how this program helps families, please view a video below from our Growing California series. 

I want to wish all of you a happy, healthy and nutritious Thanksgiving and a joyous holiday season. Working together, we can all be part of this miraculous system that continues to produce, distribute and consume California agriculture.

 

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