No place for a turtle

Translocation has become the de facto policy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service to manage the threatened desert tortoise in the Mojave. The problem is: Nobody knows if the land turtles can survive it long term.

“Dam Nation” by Stephen Grace

A recent book by the author of 'Under Cottonwoods' explains how sophist water policy is leeching the natural life out of the West and may eventually threaten the cities that overestimated then badly managed the region's fragile reserves.

Opposing faces of optimism

Two new books reviewed in High Country News present sharply opposing faces of optimism about the future of Western fresh water management.

Tunneling under Bay Delta water wars

To tunnel beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta or not? Without relief for the South Delta pumps currently serving California's Central Valley farms and the exurbias of San Diego and Los Angeles, the National Marine Fisheries Service sees doom for the Delta's once mighty populations of migrating salmon and steelhead as well as year-round residents such as Delta Smelt.

Los Angeles built into a corner

LA’s improbable relationship with the San Gabriel Mountains makes the cover story High Country News: The list price was $1.125 million in August 2011, when Sotheby’s International Realty held the first open house for 1674 Highland Oaks Drive, in the Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia. Scented candles burned, classical music played and the air conditioner ran as potential buyers milled through the home’s three bedrooms, living room and combination den/dining room. Through sliding glass doors, a pool was visible in the rear garden; beyond it stood a sharply trimmed hedge. Past the hedge, in the ravine below it, a deep wash lay. Metropolitan Los Angeles ends at the edge of this canyon property, and above the wash, its steeply upland collar of national forest begins.

Once, like all the canyons threading the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, Santa Anita Wash had a stream tumbling through it, lined with coast

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