Tonight we will be exploring two Ecosystems in the northstate—having to do with water and then fire. 

We’ll be talking with Jim Brobeck, who is a water policy analyst for Aqualliance, a new organization in the northstate formed to confront attempts to divert more water from the northern Sacramento River Basin.

 Then we’ll talk with Calli-Jane Burch who is the Executive Director of the Butte Fire Safe Council, which provides educational information and a number of services to help keep us safe from fire in the northstate. 

Listen to the program: Click here.

Our Conversation with Jim Brobeck

We read from the website of AquAlliance, a newly formed organization in the northstate:

Water means life. Flora and fauna, land and people exist only with this essential element. High in the mountains, creeks and rivers commence their journey through majestic forests, oak woodlands, wetland savannas, and working lands before joining the mother river, the great Sacramento. AquAlliance exists to defend northern California waters. 

 Our guest is Jim Brobeck who has served as the foothill regional representative on the Butte County Water Advisory Committee allowing him to have direct communication with the county water department staff and water commission over the years. During Barbara Vlamis’s tenure at Butte Environmental Council Jim worked on many water and land use issues. Jim followed Vlamis when she was hired to direct Aqualliance.

  • Let’s start with Aqualliance.  What is it?  When was it formed?  What’s its purpose?
  • Perhaps the most urgent issue facing Aqualliance and our listeners is proposals to divert Glenn County waters to the south. Please give us an overview of those proposals.
    • Who wants to divert water?
    • What and how much do they want to divert?
    • How much money would change hands and who would receive it?
    • What would be the consequences to the Tuscan Aquifer if they are allowed to proceed?
    • BEC and Aqualliance are fighting Governor Schwarzenegger’s  declaration that we are in a period of drought, so diversion is necessary.  What’s your counter argument?
    • Where do these legal issues and lawsuits stand?
    • Who are the attorneys for BEC and Acqualliance?  Who are the attorneys for the opposition?  Does the opposition have deep pockets?
    • We’ve read that some legerdemain is afoot in that technically, existing irrigation water would be diverted, followed by extraction of groundwater to replace that lost from irrigation canals.  Why don’t people simply pump water straight from the ground to southern California?
    • Your website includes an action alert for a public commentary on the proposed water transfer. Please tell us how interested listeners can register their opinions.

Our Questions for Calli-Jane Burch Calli-Jane Burch  is Executive Director of the Butte Firesafe Council.

  • Please tell us about the function and mission of the Firesafe Council.
  • You are part of a larger California organization, Firesafe, and it sponsors a number of local councils, including, in our area: Palermo, Paradise, Upper Ridge, Yankee Hill, Berry Creek and Forbestown.  How do these organizations mesh?
  • What services do you offer?
  • What are your current projects?
  • What do people need to do on their own for fire safety?
  • How can people become more actively involved?

Playlist for Ecotopia #82 Fire and Water


1. Oceans Rising        3:58        Kristen Grainger & Dan Wetzel       

        Part Circus, Part Rodeo                       

2. Cool Water        2:01        Sons Of The Pioneers       

        Sons of the Pioneers: The Essential Collection

3.  Hidden Waters   Jimmy Brobeck              

4. Save the Water        3:36        Stan Breckenridge       


5. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes        3:53        Jeri Southern       

        The Very Thought of You: The Decca Years, 1951-1957       

6. Burn        5:10        Fruit       

        The Trio Album – Live at the Church       

7. Weave Me the Sunshine        4:28        Peter, Paul And Mary        

        The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary       

8. Haunted by Waters – A River Runs Through It (Reprise)        4:22        Mark 


        A River Runs Through It

9. Water Music – Horn Suite in F        38:00        George Frideric Handel       

        The Baroque Experience

10.. Wade In The Water        4:35        The Packway Handle Band       

        (Sinner) You Better Get Ready