Valley’s Edge opponents worry about environmental impacts Fight over foothill development has wracked Chico for decades

photo courtesy of Steve Evans
From left, Steve Evans, Michael McGinnis and Kelly Meagher announced the No way San Jose campaign in 1988 to stop development next to Upper Bidwell Park.

by Leslie Layton
posted Feb. 4

Thirty-five years ago, a small, progressive coalition stopped development in the lower foothills adjacent to Upper Bidwell Park with the rallying cry, “No way San Jose.”

That area has been protected under the name of Bidwell Ranch since the 1988 referendum that stopped the project. Voters in favor of stopping the Rancho Arroyo project wanted to protect northwest Chico -– not so much from inevitable population growth -– but from the kind of suburban sprawl that had come to be associated with California cities like San Jose and Fresno. read more

Adapting agriculture to new climate demands Global warming: "Humans made it, humans can unmake it"

photo by Richard Roth
Wilson Landing Road orchards exemplify problems with conventional ag practices.

by Richard Roth
posted Oct. 27

Adaptive agriculture is one of the greatest tools humans have for solving the problem of global warming. A big ticket — true, but in an age where cow burps and farts have become the vapor of hot debates all around the world, it is time to take a reflective examination of the “what, when, how, where, and who” of natural resource management in our homes and greater communities. And then encourage implementation of corrective adaptation quickly.

In a time of radical climate change, we must consider radical change in land use management when considering such things as formation of the Tuscan Water District. read more

Butte County water levels at critical low point Major crop loss expected in some areas

photo courtesy of DWR
Aerial drone view of West Branch Feather River in May of this year.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Sept. 9

Butte County faces a worsening drought and a dim outlook for water supplies amid another year of extreme heat and little rain, as pressure on local water management to conserve grows.

The Butte County Water Commission met Sept. 7 to discuss current groundwater supply and drought levels, led by Vice Chair Matt Tennis filling in for the chair. County officials reported a dire situation that has been worsened due to low precipitation and snowpack and reduced reservoir conditions, which combined with higher temperatures puts more pressure on groundwater demand. As a result, over the last 20 years, data shows the majority of all local basins are in an ongoing decline, according to Kelly Peterson, county water resources scientist. read more

Proposed Tuscan Water District before LAFCO TWD is a "scramble" for the "new gold," critics say

photo by Karen Laslo
Deseret Farms, part of a corporate family run by the Mormon church, is the largest landholder in the proposed water district.

by Leslie Layton
posted Jan. 31

Many on the petitioners’ list of 70 parties working to form the proposed Tuscan Water District (TWD) describe themselves as local families who want to ensure the future of their farms.

But whether it’s the landowner-based voting structure, the many out-of-town mailing addresses, or the fact that that they’re trying to secure supplies of what many are now calling the “new gold,” TWD has rankled many Butte County residents.

The Butte County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) will consider giving its stamp of approval to TWD at a 9 a.m. Feb. 3 public hearing in the Oroville City Council chambers. LAFCO will also recommend conditions for approval meant to address the concerns of critics. read more

On the 3rd anniversary of the Camp Fire, a message to COP26 Allen Myers: "People are dying"

photo by Allen Myers

by Leslie Layton

Several days prior to the third anniversary of the devastating Camp Fire, a group of Paradise residents and former residents hoisted a banner with their message to the world painted in charcoal: “COP26: WE ARE ON FIRE. DO SOMETHING!”

Gathered in the Plumas National Forest in the Dixie Fire burn scar on Nov. 6, the demonstrators said their message was directed to world leaders at COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference underway in Glasgow, Scotland. “The climate crisis is here. We are on fire,” said Allen Myers, executive director of nonprofit Regenerating Paradise. read more

Greenpeace floats hot air balloon over Chico farm Message to governor: Stop fossil fuel extraction

photo by Karen Laslo
The Greenpeace protest balloon floats up over the north Chico farm in the early morning light.

by Karen Laslo
guest commentary

If you were driving west on Sacramento Avenue past the CSA GRUB Farm early Oct. 8, you might have seen a big blue and green globe floating above the tall trees on the edge of the farm.

It was a Greenpeace hot air balloon, painted to look like planet Earth and trailing a giant banner with a definite and firm message to the governor of California: “Newsom: Stop fueling the flames.”

The message was in reference to the massive climate change-driven wildfires that have scorched Northern California. read more