Sunday, January 5, 2003  [!]

We've got a January warm wave. Not so hot (90s, 100s) to call it a heat wave. Nice day for walking. beautiful, crystal clear.

Wine stories In light of my recent trip to Santa Ynez wine country (and I've still got a set of pix to upload!), this LA Times story (reg req'd): California Wine Industry is Souring The economy slump is seeing a glut of wine, price drops, and even winery bankruptcies.

Earlier this week, I listened to a KPCC AirTalk segment (realaudio), an interview with James Conaway, author of The Far Side of Eden: New Money, Old Land, and the Battle for Napa Valley. The book and discussion was about land use battles in the Napa Valley. What with the number of wineries in Napa, the valley floor is fully used, and now the steep slopes are being cleared for vineyards. Tensions mount between environmentalists, farmers, and the nuveau riche millionaires who've bought into boutique (vanity?) winemaking.

Three million tourists annually, vineyards, and ever-increasing settlement have caused major problems in Napa Valley, including watershed contamination and soil erosion. When local groups sued to limit development, a fight broke out in the Valley that is the subject of Conaway’s book
If wineries go bust big time, then land developers stand ready to build more homes. From estate vineyards to real estate. Igg.

from Land Woes to Water Woes CNN: Rocket Fuel pollutes Southwest Perchlorate pollutes lower part of Colorado River. And there's more in the CA water war, since Southern CA is getting much less water from the Colorado River starting January 1. This may be an El Niño year, but we still will have drought because of the shutoff.

During the 2nd half of the year, I read Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, Wallace Stegner's biography of John Wesley Powell. The book was published 50 years ago, and it recounts the changes in outlook for the west as a dry place. It's far more than the first adventurous trek -- by water-- through the Grand Canyon. Powell brought lots of change, notably a different form of land management based on dryness and water. Suggestions he made that weren't adopted, and then, in time, were. Powell is responsible for so much, including the establishment of the USGS. I suppose he's also responsible for lots concerning government science. Haven't yet read Cadillac Desert. But now seems to be the time.