Environmental Law

Envt'l Law News Spring 2020, Vol. 29, No. 1

WORKING LANDS AND AGRICULTURE AND LAND STEWARDSHIP: FROM AN UNCERTAIN PRESENT TO A SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT FUTURE FOR WATER MANAGEMENT

by Katherine A. Spanos*

I. INTRODUCTION

California is frequently a leader in many areas, most notably agriculture, environmental protection and climate change. Many of the leading issues of the day relating to these areas are being addressed in the context of the use of working lands that can help lead to a sustainable and resilient future. These issues are being played out in agricultural areas of California1 in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta).2

This article first discusses what is meant by a sustainable and resilient future and describes working lands. It then identifies how the use of working lands for multi-purpose projects can have significant effects on land use and the local communities that live near and around the working lands. The article then discusses how and why current legal strategies that have only winners and losers may not be effective in resolving issues that arise in this context. The article provides an alternative paradigm that involves an open and transparent dialogue with local interests that could lead to all parties being winners.

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