Updates & Reviews

Monthly Briefings

Jul 28, 2016 — by: Family Farm Alliance
Categories: Monthly Briefings

President Signs Massive Water Bill into Law

After overwhelming House (360-61) and Senate (78-21) passage, President Barack Obama signed the Water Infrastructure Investments for the Nation (WIIN) Act into law on December 16, 2016.

Late in the night of December 9, the Senate passed (63-36) the FY 2017 appropriations ‘continuing resolution’ (CR), H.R. 2028, extending FY 2016 federal funding levels through April 28, 2017.  The vote avoided a federal government shut-down.  Then, the Senate easily passed the WIIN Act that included both the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA – S. 612) authorizing Corps of Engineers projects and policies and containing important California drought provisions and other West-wide natural resources items. 


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Jun 29, 2016 — by: Family Farm Alliance
Categories: Monthly Briefings

Special Western Drought Edition

Hydrologic Conditions, Watershed Health, "Regulatory" Drought and More....


Droughts come and go in the West. The larger issue, the underlying problem, is the ever-present and worsening shortage of water. Droughts only exacerbate water shortages. They also highlight the need to re-examine how we manage our limited water resources in the West. This edition of the “Monthly Briefing” summarizes current Western drought conditions and provides an update on federal drought spending, action on Capitol Hill, wildfire conditions and possible remedies, and the regulatory nature of the California drought.

Click here to read the June 2016 edition of the "Monthly Briefing" to learn more about these issues, and the other following topics of interest to Western water users:

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May 30, 2016 — by: Family Farm Alliance
Categories: Monthly Briefings

A "Historic" Day for the Family Farm Alliance
Reps Testify Before Three Congressional Hearings....in One Day


The Family Farm Alliance accomplished a rare feat earlier this month, when association representatives testified on three water-related policy matters before three separate congressional committees on Capitol Hill- in one day.

“This is definitely a first for our organization,” said Family Farm Alliance President Patrick O’Toole, a cattle and sheep rancher from Wyoming (pictured above, left). “Our presence is a testament to the command the Family Farm Alliance has of the relevant issues facing agriculture in the West.”

Click here to read the May 2016 special edition of the "Monthly Briefing" and learn more about these issues:

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Apr 28, 2016 — by: Family Farm Alliance
Categories: Monthly Briefings

The Endangered Species Act in the West:
Western Governors' Efforts, Delta Smelt...and the Oregon Spotted Frog


As the latest initiative of the Western Governors Association (WGA) approaches completion, application of the federal Endangered Species Act continues to generate uncertainty and real-life impacts to agricultural water users in the Western U.S.

Click here to read the April 2016 special edition of the "Monthly Briefing" and learn more about these issues:

  • Senate Passes Energy Policy Modernization Act
  • Recent Court Developments in “Waters of the U.S.”
  • ESA in the West—USFWS Under Fire in House Oversight Hearings
  • ESA in the West—Spotted Frog Victory for Central Oregon Irrigators
  • ESA in the West—Misery in the Central Valley
  • ESA in the West—Renewed Focus on Natural Predation of Listed Fish
  • Thirsty Land Premiers at “Water for Food” Global Conference
  • Governor Endorses Water Project Aligned with Colorado Water Plan
  • Two New Klamath Agreements Announced
  • Alliance, ACWA, NWRA Request More Comment Time on FWS Policy
  • A Big “Thank You” to our New and Supporting Members!

Please do not hesitate to an email at dankeppen@charter.net
if you have difficulties downloading the "Monthly Briefing".

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Mar 31, 2016 — by: Family Farm Alliance
Categories: Monthly Briefings

2016 Family Farm Alliance Annual Conference:
The Western Drought - Lessons Learned, Paths to Success


The 2016 Family Farm Alliance conference -“The Western Drought—Lessons Learned, Paths to Success” – took place February 17-19 at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. This special edition of the Monthly Briefing provides a summary of the important meetings and presentations that took place in Las Vegas last month, offering a glimpse into the most important water issues facing Western farmers and ranchers. 

The 2016 Annual Conference general session included panel discussions on the recent applications and misapplications of the federal Endangered Species Act, watershed health, water rights, and recent important legal developments. As is generally the case, the theme of problem-solving was a strong thread woven through the conference.

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Jan 27, 2016 — by: Family Farm Alliance
Categories: Monthly Briefings

White House Advances Drought Symposium Discussions
Alliance Advocates for New Infrastructure, Agency Coordination


As the White House follows up on discussions sparked in July 2015 at its Drought Symposium, the Family Farm Alliance continues to advance for new water infrastructure and improved coordination between federal agencies as key components to improving drought resiliency in the Western United States.

Alliance President Pat O’Toole and Executive Director Dan Keppen on January 14 participated in a White House Drought Symposium follow-up conference call hosted by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Several dozen stakeholder interests participated in the call, as well as Obama Administration appointees from the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Defense, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Participants discussed possible strategies to build long term drought resilience through watershed community drought planning and leveraging public and private innovation and investment.  

Also - this month's "Briefing" includes a complete agenda for the February 18-19, 2016 Family Farm Alliance Annual Meeting and Conference! For conference registration information, please CLICK HERE.

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Dec 29, 2015 — by: Family Farm Alliance
Categories: Monthly Briefings

2016 Annual Conference Set for Feb. 18-19 in Las Vegas
"The Western Drought: Lessons Learned, Paths to Success"

The 28th Annual Meeting and Conference of the Family Farm Alliance is set for February 18-19, 2016 at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino in Las Vegs Nevada. The conference theme – “The Western Drought: Lessons Learned, Paths to Success” – is fitting and takes place at a time when water challenges in the West have never been more significant or daunting.

Click here to read the December 2015 "Monthly Briefing" and learn more about this issue and other recent developments in the Western water world: 

  • Alliance Works with Governors to Advance ESA Initiative

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Aug 31, 2015 — by: Family Farm Alliance
Categories: Monthly Briefings

Federal Judge Blocks New Clean Water Rule

A U.S. District Court judge in North Dakota on August 27 issued a temporary injunction against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers' Waters of the U.S (WOTUS) rule, calling it "exceptionally expansive". The ruling blocks implementation of the rule in 13 states pending further judicial proceedings.

Click here to read the August 2015 "Monthly Briefing" and learn more about this issue and other recent developments in the Western water world: 

  • Welcome to the Bizarro Universe of California Water -
         Recent Management Decisions, Media Coverage Puzzling and Troubling
  • Wasting Water in Time of Drought? -
         An Important Fact Sheet Prepared by the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority
  • Environmental Groups Sue Over Oregon Spotted Frog -
         150 Local Farmers and Ranchers Show for Town Hall Meeting
  • Reclamation Hosts Infrastructure Investment Strategy Meeting -
         New Excess Capacity Policies Released for Public Review -
  • Federal Appeals Court Rejects Challenge to Klamath Straits Drain -
         Court's Holding "Welcome News" to Western Water Users
  • Arizona Water Management Certificate Program


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Jul 30, 2015 — by: Family Farm Alliance
Categories: Monthly Briefings

Alliance engages in white house drought symposium


The Family Farm Alliance was one of nearly 40 diverse stakeholder groups invited to discuss the federal government's role in building drought resilience into water management systems and the steps that federal agencies should take to forestall future drought crises. Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen (OREGON) participated in the day-long White House Drought Symposium that was held at the U.S. Department of Interior in Washington, D.C. on July 15.   

Pdf-icon  Click here to read the July 2015 "Monthly Briefing" and learn more about this issue and other recent developments in the Western water world:     

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Jun 30, 2015 — by: Family Farm Alliance
Categories: Monthly Briefings

Congress prepares to tackle western drought

House GOP Members introduce new legislation; Senate bill looms

With water supply conditions worsening in California and across much of the Western U.S., a group of House Republicans late this month introduced new legislation to address the drought in California and other parts of the West.  H.R. 2898, the "Western Water and American Food Security Act," would, among other things, help expedite California’s Central Valley water transfers, adjust water flow requirements protecting endangered fish species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in central California, and deauthorize a legal settlement on California’s San Joaquin River.  On a broader regional basis, the bill would also accelerate and streamline the review and permitting process for water storage projects in California and across the West, and allow irrigators in some water districts to prepay the long-term debts owed to the Bureau of Reclamation.  

On the Senate side, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CALIFORNIA) plans to introduce her drought bill sometime in July, and Senate Energy and Natural Resource Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski has committed to crafting a west-wide drought bill during this Congress. Indications are that Sen. Feinstein’s bill will address not just emergency operational changes but also longer-term approaches like desalination and more water storage.

Pdf-iconClick here to read more about this and other hot issues in the Western water arena:

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