The Secret of the San Joaquin River Delta...

Snowy Egrets on wing   CLOVIS - For centuries, Clovis ranching along the the San Joaquin River and Big Dry Creek area has co-existed with wetland wildlife of abundant number and variety. The wild things which live on this once damp prairie biome have flourished because of a strict ranching ethic and an unlimited water supply which supported their every need. In response to public interest, the Valley Press Media Network, publisher of the Clovis Free Press Newspaper, announced on Saturday it has established the Clovis Wetlands Conservancy to research and report on public concerns about the safety of Clovis area drinking water, and on availability of surface water irrigation for Valley ranchers. The Conservancy provided a little glimpse of the Wetlands history in its Press release.
   Valley Press Media Network spokesman, Dr. Howard Hobbs told reporters, "Today, expansive Clovis area urban developments, and nearby metropolitan areas have severely impacted the original nature of this once-great Clovis wetland. Hobbs, concluded, "By subdividing the available arable farm land near the city, planners have degraded both land and water resources needed to provide a viable food source".
   Data released by Valley Press Media contains hopeful findings that some Clovis ranchers have adapted to these incursions by introducing an ingenious computerized microprocessor irrigation system that takes available surface water and micro-manages its above ground distribution. The costs and labor-intensive management required for these innovations is added burden on the Central California rancher's dwindling resources.

Watershed and Wetlands Management...
Downstream San Joaquin River recreation near delta   Almost half the listed species in California's West Side are plants, many of which are victims of land and agricultural development. In addition, rare, showy, or unusual plants, are often illegally sought by collectors or unscrupulous dealers.

   Recovery efforts are now well under way. Many large West Side land owners have shown their willingness to support conservation measures for endangered plants and animals.

Wildlife Awareness and Preservation...
Red Wolf - a most endangered species    Once commonplace to the Clovis Wetlands at the turn of the century, was the Red Wolf. This animal has been squeezed out of its natural habitat throughout California.

   By the early 1970's this endangered species existed only in 22 captive breeding facilities.

   Due to tremendous public support, intensive management, and additional reintroduction and propagation projects, there are now more than 20 Red Wolves in the wild.

Education About Environmental Impact...

River marsh nesting area    Lesser known endangered species such as insects, reptiles, and crustaceans, are just as important to the Clovis Wetlands ecosystem.

   Why save endangered species? One compelling reason is that each species on the Earth plays and important role in our ecosystem. When a species becomes endangered, it is an 'early warning' that something is wrong with the intricate network of plant and animal communities in our own natural world.

   Every species has value to human beings. Some, more than others. For example, cancer fighting drugs have been derived from the bark of the Yew tree which is a native of the Pacific Northwest.

   The cause of human decline is tied to the worldwide habitat destruction. Disease, predation, inadequate conservation policies, pollution, and introduction of nonnative species all contribute to that decline.

...Farming Without the San Joaquin River.

San Joaquin River Delta from 100 mi. - infrared   The geographic scope of the ecological influence of the San Joaquin River environs can be glimpsed in the satellite view of the San Joaquin River Delta and the related estuary leading to San Francisco Bay. However, the San Joaquin River no longer runs through Central California's West Side. A large portion of that water supply needed by farmers in the San Joaquin Valley has been diverted to the City of Los Angeles.

   Inefficient water inflow to the San Joaquin River Delta, over time, has degraded river drainage all the way to Stockton. West Side farmers are now required to obtain surface water from an entirely different source, the California Aqueduct, a Sacramento River delta diversion.

   Another side-effect of diverting the river to municipal customers is that there are too few tidal marshes remaining for fish and wildlife resources dependent upon them for survival, after the riverbed went dry.

   So, today the Clovis rancher has to be creative and resourceful in working around natural and human processes which directly affect his productivity and staying power.

   One source of overcoming formidable challenges to the future of farming is the information revolution. With the use of a personal computer and the Internet, every farmer can instantly access world market prices, and chat with buyers and sellers across the international borders of the world.

   Today's ranching is the science of tomorrow's world. Even if our San Joaquin River doesn't run through it anymore!


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