Ducks Unlimited joined a group of water district managers, farmers and fish biologists in front of the Yolo Bypass on Thursday for a press conference to show how collaboration between organizations is making a difference in the California drought.
Jim Well, DU’s director of conservation programs for the Western Region, along with representatives from the Northern California Water Association, California Trout, Reclamation District 108, and the National Marine Fishery Service, touched on the efforts of environmental groups to work with farmers to get the most use out of limited water supplies, while benefiting endangered fish and waterfowl.
It was a congregation that stood in the face of what has long been a presumed truth in the California water world — the combative relationship between conservationists and farmers.
“The idea of conflict around water tends to be the dominant narrative,” (Cal Trout Biologist Jacob Katz) said.
But desperate times born from three years of historic drought have forced former adversaries to work together, and the result has been a new understanding that environmental and agricultural needs can coincide in the Sacramento Valley, (farmer Fritz Durtz) said.
“We all have a new mindset,” Durtz said. “It’s fix, not fight.”