[env-trinity] San Joaquin Valley Employment and Related Facts

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Sun Jun 28 10:48:23 PDT 2009

California Sportfishing Protection Alliance

"An Advocate for Fisheries, Habitat and Water Quality"

3536 Rainier Avenue, Stockton, CA 95204

T: 209-464-5067, F: 209-464-1028, E: deltakeep at aol.com, W: www.calsport.org



Contact Information

Bill Jennings, CSPA Executive Director: 209-464-5067, Cell 209-938-9053,
deltakeep at aol.com


Myths, Lies and Damn Lies

Despite drought, Valley agriculture doing far better than rest of economy

Stockton, CA - Sunday, June 28, 2009. 


Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is in Fresno today to

attend a meeting and listen to the economic woes of the south Valley.
Newspapers and airways

are awash with accusations that a three-inch fish has caused a man-made
drought in California

and that environmentalists and fishermen seek to "starve people in order to
save whales."

Congressmen, farmers and water agencies claim that 450,000 or more acres of
land have been

fallowed and 35-50,000 people have been put out of work: all because of
Delta smelt and the

Endangered Species Act. But, facts are stubborn things. And the facts tell
us that these

accusations are lies - bald-face lies.


"We hope Secretary Salazar will seek out the facts and see through the
transparent efforts by

Governor Schwarzenegger, Valley elected officials and the hydrologic
brotherhood to use the

red-herring of economic recession as justification for depriving the Delta
of essential water," said

CSPA Executive Director Bill Jennings. "Their efforts can only be successful
if the Secretary,

reporters and the general public ignore the facts," he said, adding, "The
truth is more water won't

wash away the Valley's recession and endangered species are the victims, not
the problem."


According to official data collected by the California Economic Development

during three years of drought, between May of 2006 and May of 2009, farm
employment went

up 13.7% in Kern County, 12.1% in Fresno County, 19.3% in Tulare County, 2%
in Merced

County, 5.3% in Madera and 8.4% in Stanislaus County.1 Only in the smallest

county of Kings, did we find a decline. While we're told that 262,000 acres
have been fallowed

in Fresno County, the County's Department of Agriculture was releasing a
report that revealed

2008 was another record year with agricultural production dollars up 5.9%
over the previous

record year of 2007.2


San Joaquin Valley farm unemployment has always been high and, while the
present economic

disaster has exacerbated conditions, farm unemployment has not fluctuated
according to wet and

1 CSPA Table, Monthly Farm Employment (attached) extracted from EED Data,


2 2008 Agricultural Crop and Livestock Report, Fresno Department of
Agriculture, page I, available on CSPA

website: www.calsport.org.

CSPA Press Release, Myths, Lies and Damn Lies, Despite drought, Valley
agriculture doing better than economy

28 June 2009, page 2.


dry years.3 Indeed, agriculture has fared far better in the current
recession than other segments of

the economy. While May 08 to May 09 construction, manufacturing, trade &
transportation and

financial employment in Fresno County dropped by 3,000, 2,300, 1,200 and
900, respectively:

agricultural employment actually increased by 100.4 Tulare County reports
that while,

agricultural employment increased by 2,100 between May 08 and May 09,

manufacturing, trade & transportation, hospitality and financial employment
was down 800,

1,100, 1,300, 400 and 500, respectively.5 Even in counties reporting slight
declines in

agricultural employment: other employment sectors experienced far greater
drops. In the last

year of a three-year drought (May 08-May09), statewide farm employment
dropped by only

9,600 while nonfarm employment plunged 744,400.6 Indeed, employment figures
for counties

for north-of-Delta counties that are receiving full water allotments are
showing similar

employment impacts.


Who is not telling the truth: our elected representatives or the California

Development Department? And, who is distorting the truth about actual water

As Department of Water Resources Director Lester Snow pointed out in a 15
May 2009 letter to

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Westlands Water District is expected to receive
86% of its normal

water supplies in this third year of drought; Kern County Water Agency is
expecting 85% and the

San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors will receive 100% of its non-drought
supplies.7 The

chart attached to Snow's letter claims that Westlands' 14% shortfall will
force it to fallow

225,000 acres rather than its normal fallowing of 78,000 acres and Kern
County Water Agency's

15% shortfall will compel it to fallow 220,000 acres rather than the normal
100,000 acres.8 The

numbers simply don't add up.


Mr. Snow was candid when he wrote Senator Feinstein that, "I believe many
have lost sight of

the plain fact that we are in a hydrologic drought, and as such water
supplies are simply limited

for all users"9 and when he testified to Congress that, if there was no
court order protecting fish,

there would only be a 5% increase in water to the Central Valley.


Unfortunately, Mr. Snow and those who scapegoat fisheries seem unable to
admit that water

supplies in a drought are also limited for fish and wildlife and that recent
biological opinions

provide less water for the environment during shortages. Nor can they
acknowledge that

California has issued water rights for 8 _ times the average amount of water
in the Bay-Delta

watershed or that Valley farmers have recently planted hundreds of thousands
of acres of

3 CSPA Table, Industry Employment & Labor Force by Annual Average,
2000-2008, extracted from EED data,


4 CSPA Table, Farm and Nonfarm Employment May 08 v. May 09, extracted from
EED Data,


5 Ibid.

6 Industry Employment & Labor Force, Employment Development Department,
Labor Market Information

Division, June 19, 2009. (Attached)

7 Letter from Lester Snow, DWR, to Honorable Dianne Feinstein, May 15, 2009.
Available on CSPA website:


8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

CSPA Press Release, Myths, Lies and Damn Lies, Despite drought, Valley
agriculture doing better than economy

28 June 2009, page 3.


perennial crops based upon the most junior water rights that assume
interrupted supplies during

the inevitable droughts that occur more than a third of the time in the


Those who accuse fishermen and environmentalists of trying to "starve
families to protect

whales" appear incapable of exhibiting compassion for the depressed
communities along the

coast and wrecked livelihoods of commercial fishermen whose boats are either
dry-docked or

repossessed by the bank or lamenting the 23,000 people out of work or the
$1.4 billion lost to the

state's economy because of fishing closures. And what of those on the
Westside of the Valley

who irrigate selenium laced soils that discharge toxic wastes back to the
river and Delta? Do

they believe they have a prerogative to water that leaves the Delta with
salinity levels that

threaten the existence of generations of Delta farmers who cultivate over
400,000 acres of some

of the finest prime soils on earth?


There is enough water in California to provide for people and rivers, if
it's used wisely.

Reclamation, recycling, groundwater banking, conservation and desalination
offer a virtual river

far larger than any additional supplies secured via new surface storage or a
peripheral canal.

Fish are not the problem. "A dysfunctional water delivery system, greed and
failure to comply

with existing laws have brought us to the edge of disaster," observed
Jennings. "Common sense,

sound science and a proper respect for law can lead us back from the abyss,"
he said.


CSPA is a non-profit public benefit conservation and research organization
established in 1983

for the purpose of conserving, restoring, and enhancing the state's water
quality and fishery

resources and their aquatic ecosystems and riparian habitats. CSPA's website



Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land

415 519 4810 cell

 <mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net

 <mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org

 <http://fotr.org/> http://www.fotr.org 




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