California Olive Ranch's Oroville location during harvest season.

(courtesy of California Olive Ranch)

Domestic Oil

Labor costs and foreign imports

Americans import 99 percent of the roughly 200,000 tons of olive oil consumed each year. It’s not that the foreign stuff is so much better — in fact a recent study suggests that it often isn’t.

Sep 1, 2010 Bill Romanelli
(istockphoto.com)

Getting Warmer

Does California need its own climate change policy

In 2006 the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger enacted the California Global Warming Solutions Act. The objective of the act was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California to 1990 levels by 2020 and further reduce emissions by 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050. The California Air Resources Board is charged with implementing the regulations.

Sep 1, 2010 Tony Quinn

Creating an Emerald Valley

Sacramento is the greenest of the green

In his first year as Sacramento’s mayor, Kevin Johnson focused public attention on a series of initiatives targeting the arts, education, the economy and public safety, which aim to bring together experts and residents to develop action plans to move Sacramento forward in its development as a well-rounded city.

Jul 1, 2010 Winnie Comstock-Carlson

McNamara’s Peace Garden

From D.C. to a walnut farm in Winters

How many farmers can say they spent their childhood bowling at Camp David or playing football with the Kennedy clan on the White House lawn? It’s the path Craig McNamara, 60, has taken from Washington, D.C., to his 450-acre organic walnut farm, and, at times, it was torturous.

Mar 1, 2010 Rich Ehisen

Euro Trash

European-style bottle reuse launches stateside

Bruce Stephens might be on to something. And if his estimates — and the optimism and faith of dozens of investors — prove accurate, his wine bottle washing company could provide a hefty return on investment, dozens of Stockton jobs and low-cost wine bottles for environment and budget-â?¨conscious wineries.

Mar 1, 2010 Christine Calvin

Tule Story

Researchers examine tule reeds and rice fields in the Delta

On Twitchell Island, near the Delta town of Isleton, tules covering 15 acres grow twice as tall as the average man. A gravel road separates the wetlands from a cornfield, sunken 25 feet at its lowest point. Every year, the wetlands’ soil rises a few inches, while the cornfield sinks. The discovery that tules increase land elevation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is fueling a joint experiment conducted by the state Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Geological Survey, along with UC Davis researchers, other universities and private consultants.

Dec 1, 2009 Joanna Corman
Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, says that desalination should be part of the state's water solution, however, "You don't solve the problem by shifting it from one ecosystem to another."

(Photo: Jill Wagner)

Salt of the Dearth

The role of desalination in California's water crisis

If Sir Isaac Newton were around today to assess California’s interest in seawater desalination, he would likely reference his own third law of motion, which in simple terms states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In short, as our water supply dwindles, the desire to glean freshwater from salty oceans and brackish groundwater is growing.

Nov 1, 2009 Rich Ehisen
Elk Slough, near the Delta town of Clarksburg

Peripheral Vision

Can state and federal officials agree on comprehensive reform before it's too late?

For centuries, the biggest environmental concern for most California water users was how to squeeze every last drop from nature. While a wet year might shift concerns to flood control, grab-as-grab-can gusto came back almost as soon as the waters receded. But that was then. Today, environmental concerns are center stage in the state’s ongoing effort to reform its water system.

Nov 1, 2009 Rich Ehisen