The Fall and Rise of the Wetlands of California's Great Central Valley


The Fall and Rise of the Wetlands of California's Great Central Valley
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This is the first comprehensive environmental history of California's Great Central Valley, where extensive freshwater and tidal wetlands once provided critical habitat for tens of millions of migratory waterfowl. Weaving together ecology, grassroots politics, and public policy, Philip Garone tells how California's wetlands were nearly obliterated by vast irrigation and reclamation projects, but have been brought back from the brink of total destruction by the organized efforts of duck hunters, whistle-blowing scientists, and a broad coalition of conservationists. Garone examines the many demands that have been made on the Valley's natural resources, especially by large-scale agriculture, and traces the unforeseen ecological consequences of our unrestrained manipulation of nature. He also investigates changing public and scientific attitudes that are now ushering in an era of unprecedented protection for wildlife and wetlands in California and the nation.

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Bibliotekernes beskrivelse "This book has four great virtues. It covers the entire Central Valley; it is exhaustively researched; it demonstrates a keen knowledge of environmental sciences as well as history; and it is not a simple tale of the abuse or decline of nature. It is a hopeful story, one that deserves a broad audience. It will appeal to specialists in grasslands and wildlife ecology as well as those in the law, history, politics, and public policy."--Donald J. Pisani, author of Water and American Government: The Reclamation Bureau, National Water Policy, and the West, 1902-1935

"Everyone knows the Central Valley's reputation for big agriculture, but few realize it was once an extraordinary natural place--with rich wetlands, forests, waterfowl, elk, and fish. Phil Garone's fascinating new book fills a major gap in understanding this landscape at the heart of California. Breaking new ground, Garone weaves together the ecological history of the Central Valley with the human dreams and dramas that have utterly transformed it. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to find a deeper sense of place in the Central Valley."--Ann Vilesis, author of Discovering the Unknown Landscape: A History of America's Wetlands and Kitchen Literacy

"No part of California's natural landscape has experienced more profound change than the wetlands of the Great Central Valley. In this richly detailed study, Philip Garone offers a moving account of more than two centuries of human and ecological transformation. A cautionary and sometimes tragic tale of human endeavors in California's heartland, Garone's story is not only about loss and folly. Indeed, he presents readers with a more hopeful future for the state's wetlands as well as reasons why such a future is absolutely imperative for all of us. This is a stunning environmental history."--David Igler, author of Industrial Cowboys: Miller & Lux and the Transformation of the Far West, 1850-1920

"Philip Garone has written an important and fascinating study of California's Central Valley wetlands. Garone's work is particularly notable for his careful attention to both historical and ecological complexity. While never overlooking the dramatic losses sustained by these ecosystems, Garone gives us reasons to hope in his analyses of restoration projects that transcend departmental and disciplinary boundaries." --Nancy Langston, Editor-Elect, Environmental History

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