Sutter County farmer Greg Van Dyke stands in a field of short-grain rice being harvested last week in Pleasant Grove. California growers say while their growing season was generally good, concerns remain about whether there will be water available for post-harvest rice-straw decomposition.
Photo/Ching Lee
A field of short-grain rice is being harvested in Sutter County. The early-maturing variety usually kicks off the start of the state’s rice-harvest season.
Photo/Ching Lee
Water a concern as rice harvest begins
As rice harvest ramps up in the state, farmers agree their crop benefited from this year's good growing season, but impacts of the drought linger, with concerns that there won't be water available to decompose rice straw left in fields, a critical wildlife habitat during the winter for millions of birds. Read more...

Vote in Congress ups the pressure on EPA proposal
Opponents say they hope renewed national attention to a proposed rule that would expand U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforcement authority under the Clean Water Act will send a message to the EPA that it has gone too far. Read more...

California expects more competition for wine market
A new report showing that the United States continues to lead the world in wine consumption is viewed as good news for the California wine sector—but it shouldn't lead to complacency, according to three experts. Read more...

Commentary: Groundwater legislation: "One size fits all" just doesn’t fit
In the waning hours of the legislative session, three bills that will drastically alter California's groundwater management were passed with little vetting by the public or stakeholders impacted by the proposed changes. Senate Bill 1168 and Assembly Bill 1739 had been making their way through the legislative process, but in a completely different form than what was presented in the final days of the legislative session. Senate Bill 1319 was added to the package with just hours to go and voila, the legislative leadership declares a negotiated groundwater management package that works for all of California. Read more...

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