View and download photos of habitat destruction.
Habitat destruction in occurring in the Salinas Valley do to the great
pressure from shippers and buyers that are misguidedly marketing sterile
farms as safe.
WFA works in this region, and we are seeing and hearing first hand reports
of how this compliance with unreasonable food safety requirements is resulting
in significant environmental degradation. Our mission of promoting agriculture
that protects and restores wild nature strikes at the heart of this matter.
Without changes to the direction of food safety programs, stewardship
practices supported by USDA and others that protect the environment would
be jeopardized nationwide.
Large images can be downloaded by clicking on thumbnails
Trees in 2008
Piles of dead trees lie in rows along parts of the Salinas
River, where farmers have been pressured by shippers and buyers to
remove habitat. Trees, grasses and bushes can effectively filter dust-
and water-borne pathogens and lower the risk of food contamination.
Habitat in 2008
Farmers are reporting increasing pressure to remove
everything (such as the trees shown above) that might attract wildlife
to fields of leafy greens, and many other crops. Environmental regulations
are ignored, as is the fact that non-crop vegetation is beneficial
for food safety.
River Trees in 2005 (NAIP)
The red lines in the photos immediately above and to the right indicate
the same area at two different points in time. The left photo was
taken in 2005. The right photo was shot in 2008. Given that ninety
to ninety-five percent of California’s riparian habitat was
historically destroyed, the little that remains is all the more valuable.
On average, seventy-five percent of wildlife species use riparian
areas at some point in their lifecycle.
Missing in 2008 (LH)
When the 2008 aerial photo above is examined closely, piles
of wood like the top two images can be seen to have been pushed
back along the edge of the existing vegetation. These trees formed
a mature multi-layered diverse forest that supported insect-eating
songbirds, rodent-eating hawks, and other wildlife. The total destruction
was a mile long and 100' wilde.
|Windbreak in 2005 (NAIP)
||Windbreak Missing in 2008 (LH)
||Lone Tree Left in 2008
Tree lines that
served as windbreaks and habitat for beneficial insects and rodent-eating
raptors in the past are rapidly being removed because of the unfounded
fear that native birds are significant vectors of E. coli 0157.
The left photo was taken in 2005 and the middle and right photos were
taken in 2008.
|Pond Present in
In the past, ponds not only served as storage sites
for water that could be cheaply pumped from wells during off hours,
but also provided habitat for frogs and birds.
Pond Missing in 2007 (GE)
Many ponds have been bulldozed and those that are left are often
sterile, due to the practice of using copper sulfate to kill algae
that clogs drip systems, but also conveniently kills frogs.
on Salinas River Floodplain in 2008
This fence in the Salinas River floodplain interferes with the
movement of wide-ranging wildlife between important water sources
and nearby uplands. When fencing is used, it should surround the perimeter
of the crop, not the border of the property.
Station in 2008
Depending on the requirements of the food safety auditor, farmers
are made to deploy either poison bait or traps in pvc stations like
this one shown here. Small wildlife have not been found to be vectors
of E. coli 0157; rather there is a risk of their being inadvertently
collected during harvesting and ultimately bagged (wholly or in parts)
with processed leafy greens. This is a difficulty with harvest techniques,
not a life and death concern for humans.
To get a quick overview, see WFA's Environmental
Destruction in the Salinas Valley: 'Food Safety' Requirements to Remove
Habitat Make Leafy Greens Less Safe, which explains why this
To learn the full extent of the problem and recommendations for improvement,
go to: Food
Safety Requires a Healthy Environment: Policy Recommendations for E.coli
Safety and Environmental Quality Impose Conflicting Demands on Central
Coast Growers appeared in California Agriculture and
outlines growers' response to new food safety guidelines.
GE: Goggle Earth
LH: Lighthawk 2008 -Jitze Couperus/Lighthawk 2008
NAIP: National Agriculture Imagery Program 2005