Professor Garone's book

Dr. Philip Garone, an assistant professor of history at CSU Stanislaus, has been producing provocative papers on the history of California wetlands for some years and recently published a book about collaboration between ranchers and water agencies to restore parts of the wetlands beneath the great Pacific Flyway of migratory waterfowl, protected by treaties between a half a dozen nations.
The book is reviewed briefly below. We plan to get a copy ourselves for review. We hope we can support Garone's work. On his biography page at CSUS, he describes his research interests: 

My present work explores the history and ecology of the Central Valley from its geologic origins to the present, with an emphasis on the profound changes that have taken place in its landscape since California statehood in 1850. This project focuses on the social, economic, political, and cultural reasons that account for the transformation of the Central Valley from a region defined by millions of acres of wetlands, riparian habitat, and grasslands to one defined primarily by agriculture and urban growth. It also analyzes more recent trends, over the past several generations, toward protecting and restoring natural habitat in the Valley, particularly in response to the importance of the Valley’s wetlands for migratory waterfowl of the Pacific Flyway and for threatened and endangered species.

We think this is a promising direction and looking at the list of his academic papers, including several on the Kesterson disaster, we are hopeful that good things will come from this professor. Our recent experience with the University of California and its wholesale political/legal corruption of environmental law and regulation in order to site its UC Merced campus has made us look at relations between universities and the environment with jaundiced eyes.
We believe it will be many years before any professor at UC Merced, parked on in the middle of largest fields of contiguous vernal pools in the nation, will do academic work as important to the our region as Garone is now doing at good ol' "Turkey Tech." Stanislaus State, from the time it opened in 1960 with 15 faculty and 800 students at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, has been serving the higher educational needs of our region with having to import subsidized students from LA, who are developing quite a local reputation for committing acts of sexual violence on each other.
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The Fall and Rise of the Pacific Flyway
For those interested in the Pacific Flyway, the Great Central Valley of California, or a better understanding of one of the least understood elements of California’s water system, you should read The Fall and Rise of the Wetlands of California’s Great Central Valley. Written by History Professor Philip Garone from California State University, Stanislaus, the book provides a dense and yet very engaging history of the Central Valley’s wetlands. It is my hope that the book will draw further attention to the Pacific Flyway and the importance of preserving these important landscapes, including the water supplies that are essential to support both migrating and resident birds.

Photo by Brian Baer
The Pacific Flyway is enigmatic—it is a resource of international significance; yet it does not seem to be fully understood or even appreciated in California. Professor Garone in the opening passage of the book paints an excellent picture of the Pacific Flyway: “Every autumn and early winter, millions of aquatic birds—ducks, geese, swans, and shorebirds—descend upon the Great Central Valley of California.  Dozens of species of long-distance travelers return to their ancestral wintering grounds to feed and rest in the freshwater marshes, shallow lakes, and river systems of California’s heartland. Breeding, for the most part, in the northern wetlands of Alaska and western Canada, these birds have sought seasonal refuge for at least the past ten thousand centuries in the relative warmth of the Central Valley wetlands—California’s most important contribution to the Pacific Flyway, the westernmost of four North American migratory bird corridors, which stretch from the Arctic to Mexico and beyond.”
The book documents in detail the significant reductions in Central Valley wetlands over the past 150 years, but the author does not approach the Flyway as a “declension story,” instead he expresses “reasons for a cautious optimism about the future of wetlands in California’s Central Valley.” He states that “efforts to control nature in the service of agriculture have been superseded by methods through which agriculture works with, not against, nature. Contemporary agriculture in much of the Central Valley now operates in wildlife-compatible ways, such as the post-harvest flooding of fields for the benefit of waterfowl.”
A central part of the efforts to preserve and enhance the Pacific Flyway was the creation of the Central Valley Joint Venture (Joint Venture), which was formally organized in 1988 as part of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The Joint Venture is a self-directed partnership of conservation organizations and federal and state agencies. The Joint Venture is currently guided by its 2006 Implementation Plan (Plan), which is designed to sustain abundant waterfowl populations by conserving high priority landscapes. A core element of the Plan is the need for a reliable water supply to support migrating and resident birds.
In the Sacramento Valley, the Pacific Flyway includes six National Wildlife Refuges; more than fifty state wildlife management areas; half a million acres of ricelands; and other private wetlands–all of which provide important habitat and food for migrating waterfowl and birds. As described in Mr. Garone’s book, the water supplies for these wetlands on both public and private wetlands are now primarily provided through various arrangements with water suppliers throughout the Sacramento Valley. These arrangements involve intentional and very specific water management efforts to ensure water is available for managed and seasonal wetlands, which often requires irrigation after the traditional season.
The book was published by the University of California Press and the Stephen Bechtel Fund Imprint in Ecology and the Environment. For more information, see Central Valley Joint Venture or the California Rice Commission.