Items by Matt Jenkins

Seeking the Water Jackpot
The Navajo Nation is determined to finally claim its rightful share of the Colorado River after 86 years of being left out of the region’s water politics.
Seeing the light in 2008
Matt Jenkins wants to help save the world – and its ski slopes – one compact fluorescent light at a time.
L.A. Bets on the Farm
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California – the West’s most powerful water agency – uses a shrewd blend of Wall Street tactics and rural diplomacy to keep the water flowing to L.A. and its environs.
Cutting trees to save the forest
Chris Kelly’s environmental group, The Conservation Fund, is carefully logging its own redwood trees in order to save forests and salmon in Northern California.
The Sultans of Spuds
Western farmers band together to form the “OPEC of Potatoes” – a farmers’ cooperative called the United Potato Growers of America
Brave New Hay
Monsanto’s genetically modified Roundup Ready alfalfa may take over the West, as the company re-engineers the world to conform to its business plan
Into thin air?
Global warming spurs calls for new dams in the West – but where will the water come from to fill them?
Stream leases languish
Efforts to privatize instream-flow protection – to keep enough water in rivers and streams to sustain their ecological functions – face tough going in the West.
The Efficiency Paradox
Water efficiency has long been touted as a silver bullet for the West’s water problems, but too much efficiency can cause problems of its own, especially in the fragile Colorado River Delta.
How to be #1 in the world and still be a loser
Giles Slade’s new book, Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America, is a fascinating intellectual history of how marketers demolished the American tradition of thrift.
Excremental gains?
Kern County, Calif., is trying to prevent Los Angeles sludge from entering the county, where it is used to fertilize farmland, and the resulting stink is raising all kinds of questions about how we handle human waste
River Redux
Six decades after Friant Dam killed off the San Joaquin River’s spring-run chinook, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Friant Water Users Authority are working with the federal government to restore both the fish and the river
How to save a creek... one drop at a time
A detailed map shows the work being done on Oregon’s Whychus Creek to restore instream flows with the cooperation of local farmers
Getting out of the office, and into hot water
California geology professor Jeff Mount uses river trips as an educational tool
On the ballot: Will Californians vote to build an off-ramp from the oil highway?
California’s Proposition 87 would tax oil produced in the state to raise money for the development of alternative fuels
A River Once More
In Oregon, a revolutionary community alliance is working to put water – and steelhead trout – back into the Deschutes River
Sleepers
Several magazines and newspapers provide good independent commentary on water in the West, but there is always room for more
The wet Net
John Orr created his "Coyote Gulch" blog to follow Denver-area politics and Colorado water issues
Waterblogged
Rick Spilsbury, a Western Shoshone Indian, writes bitingly and sometimes hilariously about Nevada’s water issues on his "noshootfoot" blog
Undoing the myth of Western exceptionalism
California’s decision to tackle global warming is a sign that the West is finally growing up enough to realize that it is not an "exceptional" place, entirely detached from the rest of the modern world.
Running on empty in Sin City
Although many rural Nevadans are unhappy with Las Vegas’ plans for a giant groundwater project, the six other states that rely on water from the Colorado River are hoping the Nevada project goes ahead.
California steps up to lead the nation
The writer salutes California for taking action on global warming and says that the notion of Western "exceptionalism" is dead
Wilderness cliffhanger
Three compromise wilderness bills have passed the House and now await Senate approval
'There was just some hard hittin' going on'
Matt Jenkins visits the annual Combine Demolition Derby in the tiny farming town of Lind, Wash.
Where there's fire, there's global warming
Climate scientist Anthony Westerling is working to illuminate the connection between rising global temperatures and the increasing ferocity of the West’s forest fires
A world built on groundwater
In Ogallala Blue: Water and Life on the Great Plains, William Ashworth examines the effects of groundwater dependency in a dry land
Making room for wolves
In the anthology Comeback Wolves, 50 Western writers talk about the complex emotional – and practical – responses evoked by the return of this iconic predator
The Perpetual Growth Machine
Phoenix, Ariz., is determined to disprove the idea that the West will someday run out of water and that every boom has to come to an end
Norton eases road claims
Outgoing Interior Secretary Gale Norton has opened the door for counties and states to claim control of roads crossing federal lands
The Latest Bounce
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner John Keys resigns; Phoenix finally gets some rain, but drought continues; Bonneville Power Administration must keep the Fish Passage Center open; Forest Service looks to outsource more jobs