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Land Use and Water Planning

The San Joaquin River is at the center of the debate over how we grow into the future. Will the river and its wildlife resources survive as the centerpiece of a new development area? How will we adapt water plans to meet the changing needs of California's cities and agriculture?

Valley leaders wary of housing goal

Many question highest-density option in Blueprint.

In a bleak new year, a source of hope exists

In the Valley, we must rely upon ourselves to make things better.

Trial starts today over access to the San Joaquin River

By Russell Clemings / The Fresno Bee
01/06/08 22:54:51

Trial begins today on a key San Joaquin River access dispute after settlement discussions ended without an agreement.

A partnership of three major builders will square off in a Madera County courtroom against many homeowners in the 49-lot Sumner Hill tract, a gated subdivision atop a bluff on the river's north side.

The main issue: whether a major project planned by the partnership can route trails and other public access through the subdivision to reach the river bottom.

Groups protest water delivery

Board urges negotiation in dispute over water to housing developments.
By Mark Grossi / The Fresno Bee
(Updated Monday, August 22, 2005, 5:07 AM)

Twenty protesters oppose a bid to allow San Joaquin River water delivery to four housing developments and the Table Mountain Rancheria in the foothills east of Fresno.
Farmers, environmentalists, foothill residents and a federal wildlife agency last month filed protests, many saying the river should be restored before expanding delivery boundaries near Millerton Lake.
"The river is dried up downstream," said George Folsom of the Fresno-area group Revive the San Joaquin. "Why should foothill growth continue if we haven't addressed river restoration?"

Want a water study? Dig deep

For funds, that is. Cache below Fresno Co. foothills can be probed with radar.
By Marc Benjamin / The Fresno Bee
09/17/07 04:09:29
How much water is there below Fresno County's Sierra foothills? How much development can that water support?

Those questions have nagged Fresno County officials for years.

Now, scientists hope to find answers by creating a three-dimensional computer map of the water trapped in rock fissures and underground pools. All they need is money.

Valley lawmakers seek funds for regional water plan

Study by Fresno State aided by $1m in federal money would target 8-county area.
By Michael Doyle / Bee Washington Bureau
09/26/07 04:31:54

WASHINGTON -- San Joaquin Valley lawmakers want a regional water-management plan, but it might come too late to address immediate problems involving irrigation drainage, the San Joaquin River and the endangered delta smelt.

On Tuesday, Californians pushed for $1 million in federal funds to draft a water plan spanning the eight-county region from Stockton to Bakersfield. Fresno State's California Water Institute would coordinate the study.

"We are in a water crisis," warned Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, "and we have been living on borrowed time."

Farmers say they've been left off blueprint for the future

By Alex Breitler
Record Staff Writer
August 17, 2008 6:00 AM

THE DELTA - You've probably never been to McDonald Island.

A narrow bridge fords Turner Cut and winds down to farmers' fields, where a potato harvester churns the black soil and swallows up hundreds of taters in a matter of minutes.

Arguments against a canal

These are four common concerns expressed by various advocacy groups opposed to altering the San Joaquin Delta:

Fresno Co. politicians yield on growth bill

AB 375 favors green development plans.
By Russell Clemings / The Fresno Bee
09/18/08 23:41:35

A panel of Fresno County political leaders dropped its opposition Thursday night to a "smart growth" bill now on Gov. Schwarzenegger's desk, but stopped short of supporting the measure.

Assembly Bill 375 ended its two-year journey through the Legislature with broad support from environmentalists, builders and local government agencies, many of which had previously opposed it.

Fresno developments push the boundaries

Numerous projects passed through zoning changes are undermining a goal of Fresno's general plan -- reducing sprawl.
By Brad Branan / The Fresno Bee
09/27/08 21:48:08

A 2002 master development plan for Fresno has failed to make good on promises to curb urban sprawl, public records and interviews show.

Experts say sprawl -- poorly planned development scattered far from the city's heart -- could add to some of Fresno's biggest problems by creating more traffic and air pollution, depriving core neighborhoods of development and straining the city's budget for road maintenance.

Grow Better, Not Bigger:

AFT Joins Fresno County, Calif., Coalition in
Recommending Compact Growth
Harlan Ranch--Shawn Stevenson's family farm in Clovis, Calif.--is bustling. Last week the pistachios were harvested and trucked off to the processor. A few days ago the crews started picking and packing the naval oranges; soon they'll start on the lemons and kiwis.

Stevenson's family has farmed in California since before the Gold Rush and, at Harlan Ranch, in Fresno County for half a century. About 1,400 acres are in farming--mostly fruit, nuts and hay--and cattle graze on 3,000 more.

Watch streaming video of the Feb 4 debate on water issues at Fresno State, moderated by U.S District Judge Oliver Wanger.

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