ChicoSol journalists capture 5 state awards Waddell honored for police shooting, Sites stories

photo courtesy of Sites Project Authority
A conceptual rendering of the Sites reservoir west of Maxwell. Dave Waddell’s first-place story was supported by an Ethnic Media Services fellowship.

ChicoSol contributor Dave Waddell has won four honors, including two first-place awards, and ChicoSol Editor Leslie Layton was named a second-place winner in the 2019 California Journalism Awards competition.

The results were announced Tuesday by the sponsoring California News Publishers Association, which cancelled its planned spring awards gala because of coronavirus risks.

Waddell captured top honors in the in-depth reporting category for a series of stories on law enforcement killings in Butte County. He also placed first in land-use reporting for an extensive story on the proposed Sites reservoir. read more

Would Sites reservoir become a ‘biological wasteland’? Foes say $5 billion project to severely degrade water quality

photo courtesy of Sites Project Authority
A conceptual rendering of the Sites reservoir west of Maxwell.

by Dave Waddell

James Murphy’s ranchland, which he’s owned for 35 years, would be under water if the long-discussed Sites reservoir becomes a reality.

If the Sites Project Authority seeks to acquire Murphy’s property to build the reservoir, he’s going to make it as difficult for them as possible.

“I don’t want to sell my land; there’s no reason for me to sell,” said Murphy, a retired rancher who leases his 1,600 Sites-area acres for cattle grazing. “If they condemn it, they’ll have to tear it out of my hands.” read more

Camp Fire’s toxin runoff a threat to prized salmon While spring-run ‘vulnerable,’ wildlife to benefit long-term

photo courtesy of Friends of Butte Creek
2008 Butte Creek salmon run.

by Dave Waddell

Beyond the staggering human losses in last month’s devastating Camp Fire, another potential loser from the inferno’s toxic runoff are Butte Creek’s highly valued Chinook salmon during a particularly vulnerable time in their lifecycle.

Whether and to what extent that spring-run salmon population is poisoned by a potential witches’ brew of toxins flowing from the extremely hot wildfire won’t truly be known for about three years. That’s when most of the surviving salmon that today are juveniles are due to return from the Pacific Ocean to spawn and die in Butte Creek. read more

AquAlliance, Winnemem blast bid to raise Shasta Dam Environmental group says raising dam would swamp thousands of acres

photo courtesy of California Department of Water Resources

Hillside erosion around Lake Shasta in a drought year

by Dave Waddell

A decades-old plan to raise Shasta Dam – resuscitated by the Trump administration — would not only flood what little remain of the Winnemem Wintu’s sacred tribal lands but more broadly denude “thousands of acres” of forested watershed above Lake Shasta.

The estimate of forest area to be inundated is from AquAlliance, a Chico-based environmental group. AquAlliance contends that a higher dam would drown riparian plant and animal life around Lake Shasta, leaving more hillsides naked and more sediment eroding to the bottom of the reservoir. read more

The ‘browning’ of state’s green movement El movimiento verde se vuelve café

Protesters in Sacramento, part of a new generation of climate activists helping to redefine mainstream environmentalism in California.
Photo via Flickr

by Peter Schurmann

Almost thirty years ago East Los Angeles resident and mother of nine kids, Juana Gutierrez, took on an oil giant and won. Hailed at the time in national and international media, Gutierrez was seen as being in the vanguard of a “fledgling” environmental movement, one deeply rooted in California’s expanding communities of color. (Lea esta nota en ingles aqui.)

Today that fledgling movement has blossomed into what is fast becoming the new mainstream of environmental activism in the state. read more

Splash students study vernal pools Outdoor science classroom incorporates writing and art

“My real calling is I’m a pollinator. I kind of look at this world of people and nature as this thing that we need to better connect with. …it’s just that we sometimes fail to recognize that the connection is real and that it’s important to us as human beings” — Eva Butler, Splash founder.
(video by Guillermo Mash for AquAlliance.)