Design and Architecture firm Workshop/APD has acquired a large Tranquil Waters print for a New York design project. It’s an honor to have my Pacific Ocean photographs make an appearance on the Atlantic side. These liquid abstractions are often the confluence of three movements: water, watercraft, and camera. All three are typically moving simultaneously in these photographs and the results are often surprisingly exciting or a complete failure. I may be better known for my monochromatic impressions of California deserts yet I’ve lived in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean my entire life. In my experience, the vast infinite and solitude of open water is not at all unlike standing on a desert summit with the vast and infinite stretched before my feet.
“…the voice of the desert is the one which has been least often heard.
We came to it last, and when we did come,
we came principally to exploit rather than to listen.
Joseph Wood Krutch
It’s long been acknowledged that the Mojave Desert provides the most ideal location for our prisons, landfills, renewable energy plants, military installations, military bombing ranges, and royalty-free access to minerals and water. In what other ways could man possibly benefit from the realm of desert bighorn sheep, extraordinary seasonal wildflower blooms, desert tortoises, and wild desert oases? Unfortunately, this is the traditionally held [and ignorant] view of and behavior toward the the California desert and its resources.
The publicly-traded company Cadiz, Inc. grows citrus and avocados on its 45,000 acres of privately held desert land in Cadiz Valley (water intensive farming in the desert?). Cadiz has proposed to mine 50,000 acre-feet of shared groundwater every year from beneath Cadiz Valley while absurdly claiming that pumping from the basin would not affect Bonanza Spring (seen in the attached photos), or any other springs in the adjacent Mojave Trails National Monument or the Mojave National Preserve to the north. U.S. Geological Survey geologists assert that only 5,000 to 6,000 acre-feet per year of recharge is possible (this is, after all, the driest desert in North America). It’s simple math: drawdown will exceed recharge (we learned this nearly one hundred years ago with the Owens Valley/Owens River and LADWP). For nearly two decades, Cadiz, Inc. has tried to advance their water mining project and for nearly two decades they have failed. Why?
“Access to new water supplies is extremely critical to the continued vitality of our cities,” says California Senator Tony Cárdenas in a promotional document defending Cadiz. But will a private water sale to one county (its current proposal) benefiting a mere 400,000 people offer relief to a metropolitan area of 13 million? Cárdenas falls in line with those who believe that coastal cities can sustain infinite growth (“vitality”) without having an adequate local water supply. It is both illogical and irrational for a coastal city to suggest that it requires rare desert water for its “vitality”.
The California desert conservation community has been repeatedly successful at beating the nonsense served up by Cadiz; forward movement for their water mining venture has been blocked again and again. That is, until the 45th President of the United States moved into the White House. Of all places, why would POTUS have an interest in the remote California desert and in a water project that serves less than half a million souls? Why would this unremarkable water project on the remote Mojave Desert make Donald’s Top 50 Priority List of Emergency and National Security Projects? Follow the money trail!
In late July of 2017, the 45th Administration confirmed David Bernhardt, a highly controversial pick, for the Number 2 post at the Department of the Interior:
“Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called on David Bernhardt, President Trump’s nominee for Deputy Secretary of the Interior, to recuse himself from all matters concerning the Cadiz water extraction project. Bernhardt is currently the head of the natural resources division at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, the lobbying firm that is representing Cadiz.” “Given the fact that your current firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, is contracted to lobby on behalf of Cadiz, Inc., I remain deeply concerned about any potential conflict of interest should you serve as Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior—the agency responsible for oversight of the federal lands related to the Cadiz proposal,” Senator Feinstein wrote.”
If , as the proponents suggest, the project is good and necessary, then why has it been hotly contested and written about for so many years? Does it make any logical or ethical sense to steal water from an arid desert and its wildlife to serve a coastal city? Several hours worth of reading and viewing can be found in the numerous links provided below. Start with the fist four articles marked in bold.
Protect and preserve your Mojave Desert. Thank you for reading and opposing this dirty project.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
The Cadiz Pipeline (audio: jump to 8:05)
My photograph, Serenity, was awarded a Blue Ribbon – 1st Place in the Photography category – at the 10th Annual Indian Wells Arts Festival. This festival was held in April at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, a $75 million state-of-the-art facility surrounded by mountainous desert vistas, and featured more than 200 award-winning artists. It’s an honor to have received this award, and I’m offering a 15% discount on any size and finishing of this print through May 31, 2012. Please use the discount code “Serenity” at checkout to activate the discount.
You are visiting the blog of fine art landscape photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website. You can also find Michael on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Beautiful white Sierra granite reflects morning sunlight onto the wind-rippled surface of Weir Lake. Thank you for looking.
You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.