Last weekend’s storm brought up to 8 feet of snow to the Tahoe area after a miserable ski season to date. While most of us don't ski, we certainly depend on the Sierra snowpack for water supply.
Kings River watermaster Steve Haugen says the Kings upper watershed saw snow levels down to 4,000 feet. Pine Flat Dam received 2 inches of rain so far in March with an average of just 3 inches of precipitation at the reservoir in a typical March.
For the San Joaquin Valley, March so far has been the wettest month of this water year, in a matter of a few days. Still, we have a long way to go, says Haugen, with forecasted runoff being under 40 percent of average.
”It would take a ‘March Miracle’ of huge proportion for Pine Flat to fill this year,” he adds. The reservoir closer to full than usual because last year’s runoff was so huge.
The good news is that March looks wet, at least a week out, as we go forward and not just in the Tahoe region. No less than seven storms are expected to move into the state starting March 10-22 with wave after wave also affecting Central California. Of course, this could change but several models are in alignment for now. In February, Pine Flat saw only one-quarter inch of rain where typically it receives 3 1/4 inches.
As of March 2, the state snow water content index stands at 32 percent, up from 22 percent a few days earlier. The San Joaquin precipitation index now stands at 53 percent.
Five low-income census tracts in Kings County may be eligible for a new tax incentive program being rolled out by Governor Brown to be designated as “opportunity zones” eligible to receive federal tax breaks under the new GOP-passed tax plan.
Brown, like all governors, can select which census tracts in the state could get the incentives with hopes investors will improve business conditions. To be eligible tracts should show a poverty rate above 20 percent. All five have rates ranging from 36 percent to 52 percent including tracts around Avenal, Kettleman City, Home Garden and Corcoran.
The state will file the plan with the federal government later this month after receiving comments.
“The intention of the program was to ensure that underserved areas, under federal tax law, would be able to attract a little more investment,” says a state official.
Want to build something? Better hold on to your wallet as lumber prices are the highest ever. Futures contracts for 1,000 board feet of lumber are trading at $510 this week. Prices are high in part because of a tariff on Canadian lumber coming into the U.S. imposed starting last November. The tariffs, as well as wildfires in the Northwest, are driving up the cost of homebuilding.
California farmers have planted new almond orchards at a slower pace this past year compared to the past two years. The state nursery sales report shows new orchards planted between June 2016 and May 2017 added to 40,000 acres compared to 72,000 acres and 77,000 acres for the two previous years.
In the latest year farmers planted 68,000 acres of trees including replacement trees that total 9.2 million. Farmers saw almond returns of $2.44 per pound in 2016, the lowest since 2011.
California provides two-thirds of the United States’ produce, but with the rising temperatures that come with climate change, yields of some crops could drop 40 percent by 2050 says a new UC report.
Walnuts would be the hardest-hit crop because they "require the highest number of chill hours, implying a future decline in walnut acreage within the Valley," the authors state. Nearly 99 percent of the nation's supply of the crop originates from California and supports around three-quarters of the global supply of the nut.
In Lemoore, sales tax revenues provide the second largest funding source for the 2017 fiscal year. Sales tax revenues were $1,752,910 - down from budget in the amount of $86,090 or 4.7 percent. The revenues are also down from prior year in the amount of $68,994 or 3.9 percent.
This week Wells Fargo set its 30-year fixed mortgage rates at 4.62 and 4.68 percent APR. Their VA rate was 4.62 percent and 4.94 APR. The rates are up from 4.5 percent last week.
Looking to bolster chances the state will support their Temperance Flat funding application, two founding members of Friant Water Authority have announced they will rejoin the water contractors' organization. Both Chowchilla WD and Fresno Irrigation District, are returning.
“As two of the largest Friant Division contractors – both in acreage and water contracts – CWD and FID are critical voices for growers in the Valley. We’re pleased to welcome them both back to Friant Water Authority, an organization they helped found nearly 15 years ago,” said FWA Board Chair Kent Stephens.
Hanford Chamber Board meeting: Friday, 8 a.m., Hanford Chamber of Commerce, 113 Court St., #104, Hanford. The Hanford Chamber Board of Directors meetings are on the second Friday of the month. For more information call 582-0483 or visit www.hanfordchamber.com.
Lemoore Chamber Board meeting: March 27, 4 p.m., Lemoore Chamber of Commerce, 300 E St., Lemoore. The Lemoore Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meetings are on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Information: Call 924-6401 or visit www.lemoorechamberofcommerce.com.
Short-term work experience program: The Kings County Job Training Office is supporting a short-term work experience program. JTO can fully underwrite the cost of worker wages and workers compensation insurance. The participating employer would provide training and worksite supervision. The training is planned to run for a maximum six months. Worksites are sought to sponsor a worker for up to 40 hours per week. Additionally, these workers maybe qualified to receive state tax credits. Information: email email@example.com or phone at 585-3564.
Training for local businesses: The Employer Assembly of Kings County is a local, co-sponsored partnership committed to providing employers with highly useful and up-to-date information concerning employment related issues. Visit the website for more information: www.employerassembly.com.
VA mortgage loan education available to veterans: HSH.com, a leading mortgage education site, has launched a new resource for veterans. By visiting http://bit.ly/1VF0OHV, veterans can gain insight to combine VA benefits with other home buying programs, listings of VA mortgage lenders, VA mortgage calculator and more.
Kings EDC offers business loans: The Kings County Economic Development Corporation offers business loans to businesses in Kings County. It offers 90 percent, fixed rate, long-term loans on commercial and industrial property. Information: Steve Stone at 585-3578.