NWNL Spotlight

NWNL Spotlight: California Drought
Completed Itinerary

March 16 to 27, 2014 – Team Members: Alison M. Jones, Director of No Water No Life
and Annette Alexander, NWNL Expedition Assistant;
Expedition coordinator: Bonnie Muench, NWNL Photographer and Advisor
In conjunction with American Rivers and blogs by Barbara Folger

Sunday, March 16: San Francisco Bay and Sacramento–San Joaquin Rivers Delta

Sites:

  • San Francisco and San Pablo Bays, Delta Estuary (tidal marsh habitat, farmland):
    Port Sonoma Marina, Sonoma and Napa Creeks, Sonoma Land Trust, Skaggs Island causeway, Guadacanal Village Marsh Restoration, Mare Island and Baylands
  • American Canyon – town that could run out of water
  • Benicia: refinery industry, bridges and Suisan Bay
  • Carquinez Strait
  • Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta (a.k.a. California Delta or the Delta)
  • Pittsburg Marina (on the south shore of the Delta) – under full moon

Crops: Wheat

Species:

  • Flora: Indian paintbrush, Horsetail fern, Sticky monkey flower, Miner’s lettuce, ice plant, coyote brush, saltbush
  • Fauna: Red-winged blackbird, American avocet, Northern shoveler, Canvasback, Raven, California house finch, Anna’s hummingbird, Great egret, Osprey, Willet, killdeer

Overnight: Antioch

Monday, March 17: Sacramento–San Joaquin Rivers Delta (South shore)

Sites:

  • Pittsburg: Koch Carbon LLC, Sea Point Way, Railroad Avenue (murals of former commercial fishing industry), Plaza Marine, Pittsburg Marina
  • Bay Point: McAvoy Harbor, PG&E Shell Pond Restoration Project, General Chemical plant
  • Oakley: Big Break Regional Shoreline (East Bay Regional Park District) – near the convergence of salt and fresh water in the Delta
  • The Delta Science Center
  • Jersey Island – oil drilling, duck hunting, cattle raising
  • Dutch Slough Wetland Restoration Project
  • Bethel Island – recreational boating and fishing, levees

Livestock: Cattle

Species:

  • Flora: Tule reed
  • Fauna: Green heron, Turkey vulture, California quail, Cormorant

Overnight: Oakley

Tuesday, March 18: Sacramento River Basin (Antioch to Colusa)

Sites:

  • Antioch Bridge spanning the Delta, PG&E plant
  • Sherman Island: Eddo’s Harbor West and East Levee Roads (views of Twitchell Island, Brennan Island State Recreation Area, wind turbine farm)
  • Sacramento Deep Water Ship Channel
  • Woodland: plowed fields and Growers Association of California buildings
  • Zamora: grain silo and trains
  • Arbuckle (Tule and Wilson Bend Roads) – old walnut groves
  • Colusa: Ward’s Landing and Butte Slough Road, Sacramento River
  • Butte Sink Wildlife Management Area
  • Gray Lodge Waterfowl Management Area (CA Department of Fish and Wildlife)

Crops: Walnuts, Almonds, Rice

Livestock: cattle and sheep (grazing on Sherman Island)

Species:

  • Flora: Prickly Pear, Tule reed
  • Fauna: Mule deer, Black-tailed jackrabbit, Mallard, Northern shoveler, American coot, Owl

Overnight: Colusa

Wednesday, March 19: Sacramento River Basin (Colusa to Stockton)

Sites:

  • Colusa: Colusa County Farm Bureau, grain silos, Colusa Casino (Cachil Deha Winton Tribe)
  • Maxwell: Pearson Ranch tomato fields
  • Colusa County: River Rd., West Butte Sink Rd., Butte Slough Rd., South Butte Rd.
  • Tisdale Bypass Irrigation Canal, west of Sutter Basin Wildlife Refuge
  • Reclamation Road: agriculture
  • Knights Landing: Sacramento River bridge, farmers’ murals
  • Freemont Weir along the Sacramento River

Crops: Rice, Pistachios, Tomatoes

Livestock: Cattle

Species:

  • Fauna: Great egret, American coot, Canvasback, Belted kingfisher, Cormorant, Gophers

Overnight: Stockton

Thursday, March 20: San Joaquin River Basin (Stockton to Modesto)

Sites:

  • Stockton: March Road to Buckley Cove Park, March Road Levee
  • Stockton Deep Water Channel
  • Port of Stockton, Washington Street Bridge
  • Muller and Wilhoit intersections and Howard Road Bridge
  • Vernalis: Delta-Mendota Canal
  • California Aquaduct
  • Hetch Hetchy pipes
  • San Joaquin National Wildlife Refuge
  • San Joaquin River under Rte. 132/Maze Boulevard Bridge

Crops: Grapes, Pistachios

Livestock: Dairy cattle, goats

Species:

  • Fauna: Lesser scaup

Overnight: Modesto

Friday, March 21: San Joaquin River Basin (Modesto to Los Banos)

Sites:

  • Modesto: Maze Boulevard at Nebraska Ave: roadside farm, dairy
  • Mid-Lateral NO 4 Canal
  • San Joaquin River under East Durham Ferry Road bridge
  • San Joaquin National Wildlife Refuge (via Dairy Road Entrance): seasonal and permanent wetlands, old San Joaquin River channel
  • Crows Landing (area with many old wooden barns)
  • Newman Wasteway / Braza Road
  • San Luis Wildlife Refuge Complex (US Fish and Wildlife) via Santa Fe Grade Road (includes San Joaquin River Floodplain, Bear Creek and Salt Slough)

Crops: Cabbage, Strawberries, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Beans, Almonds, Turf sod

Livestock: Dairy cattle

Species:

  • Flora: Willow, Oak,
  • Fauna: Swainson’s Hawk, Raven, American coot, Northern shoveler, Great blue heron, American Egret, Black-necked stilt, American avocet, Great-horned owl, Lesser yellowlegs, Mallard, White-faced ibis, Killdeer, Snowy egret, Greater white-fronted goose, Mourning dove, Red-winged bi-color blackbird, European ring-neck pheasant

Overnight: Los Banos

Saturday, March 22: San Joaquin River Basin (Los Banos to Fresno)

Sites:

  • Los Banos: Pioneer Road farming
  • Pacheco Boulevard Dairy Processing Center
  • O’Neill Dam and Forebay
  • San Luis Reservoir and Romero Overlook Resources Visitor Center (owned & operated by CA Dept. of Water Resources and Bureau of Reclamation)
  • I-5 to Firebaugh via West Nees Ave
  • California Aqueduct
  • Delta Mendota Canal
  • Mendota:
  • Helms Canal
  • Mendota Pool
  • Delta-Mendota Canal
  • Outside Canal
  • Mendota Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • San Mateo Road crossing of San Joaquin River, east of Mendota

Crops: Cotton, Almonds

Livestock: Dairy cattle

Species:

  • Flora: Willow
  • Fauna: Lesser scaup, Striped bass, White pelican, American coot, Clark’s grebe

Overnight: Fresno

Sunday, March 23: San Joaquin River Basin (Fresno to Kettleman City)

Sites:

  • Tulare: Frequent “No Water – No Jobs” signs, agriculture
  • Bakersfield: irrigation systems
  • Shafter: nut processing plants (Mariani and Supreme Nuts of CA), labor camps
  • Wasco: irrigation canals and signs for “Flooding Areas”
  • Pixley National Wildlife Refuge and Deer Creek
  • Goose Lake Canal
  • Tule River
  • Exeter: picket fences and foothills
  • Lemon Cove: orchards
  • Lake Kaweah and the Terminus Dam (from the Sierra’s Little Kern River)
  • Corcoran: solar panel field
  • Tulare Lake Bed

Crops: Almonds, Pistachio, Grapes, Oranges, Grapefruit

Livestock: Dairy cattle, hogs

Species:

  • Fauna: American coot, Mallard

Overnight: Kettleman City

Monday, March 24: Kettleman City to Carrizo Plain NM to Santa Barbara

Sites:

  • Kettleman City: California Aqueduct
  • Waste Management plant for hazardous materials disposal
  • Kettleman Hills, Kettleman Plains
  • Antelope Plain: Paramount Farming pistachio orchards
  • Bitterwater Creek Valley: Occidental Petroleum signs for their rigs at Shale Point on western foothills of Tremblor Ridge
  • Tremblor Range, Elkhorn Ridge and San Andreas Rift Zone
  • Twistleman Ranch: Topaz Solar Farm and the California Valley Solar Ranch (among world’s largest solar projects)
  • California Valley, the Caliente Range, the Elkhorn Ridge
  • Carrizo Plain National Monument, Soda Lake, Soda Lake Creek
  • Cuyuma River Basin to Twitchell Reservoir

Crops: Pistachios, Grapes

Livestock: Cattle

Species:

  • Flora: Tumbleweed
  • Fauna: American avocet, American coot, Mallard

Overnight: Santa Barbara

Tuesday, March 25: Santa Barbara

Sites: Santa Barbara Farmers Market: pistachio, beef and almond farmers

Overnight: Santa Barbara