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Doug Obegi, Staff Attorney, Western Water Project, San Francisco

Doug Obegi

I grew up in Orange County, California, a place bounded on one side by beautiful beaches and an ocean stretching to the horizon (after time, you mostly ignore the offshore oil platforms), yet surrounded by a seemingly endless stretch of asphalt in every other direction. Sure, I loved the beach, but growing up, some of my favorite memories are of the parks, forests, and rivers we visited on family road trips across the West. From Big Bear to Yellowstone, the Colorado to the Rogue River, our family crisscrossed the western half of our great country, instilling in me a love of wild places and water. After graduating from college on the East Coast, I packed my bags and volunteered for three months with the Student Conservation Association in Yosemite National Park. That experience confirmed that I wanted a career working to help conserve the environment. More than eight years later, after working as a policy analyst for a national environmental group for several years, I decided to go to law school and earned by law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law. Now, after a couple years as an attorney, I’ve landed my dream job, working to help NRDC restore the Bay-Delta and protect its imperiled wildlife.

Recent Posts

The Era of Big Dams is Still Over (Even With the Water Bond)

Posted September 3, 2014 by Doug Obegi in Living Sustainably

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The potential for new water storage in California is in the news because of Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond on California’s November ballot, which includes $2.7 billion for new groundwater and surface storage  (and an additional $800M for...continued

A Water Bond to Protect the Environment and the Economy

Posted August 28, 2014 by Doug Obegi

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Virtually all of California – 99.8 percent – is in severe drought. The toxic blue-green algae that shut down Toledo’s drinking water supply earlier this month is thriving in Stockton’s waterways, thanks to warm, stagnant water and low river flows....continued

The Clock is Ticking to Craft a Good, BDCP-Neutral Water Bond for California

Posted July 24, 2014 by Doug Obegi

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This November, California voters will almost certainly vote on whether to authorize billions of dollars of taxpayer spending for a water bond. But crucially, the next few weeks will determine what water bond will be on the ballot in November...continued

California's Drought: Where has the Water Gone this year?

Posted May 11, 2014 by Doug Obegi

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 Although a few storms in March and April improved hydrology and water supply for some water districts, 2014 is still going to be a very tough year for most farmers, some cities, and our fish and wildlife.  While this year...continued

Waiving Environmental Protections in the Bay Delta: Bad News for Fishermen, Water Supply, and BDCP

Posted April 3, 2014 by Doug Obegi

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Earlier this week, the National Marine Fisheries Service waived environmental protections for endangered steelhead in the Bay-Delta, in order to allow increased pumping by the CVP and SWP over the next few weeks.  This was the second time in as...continued

Doing the Math on California Water Solutions: Dams Can't Compete with 21st Century Options

Posted March 30, 2014 by Doug Obegi

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The Department of Water Resources upcoming announcement of dismal April 1 snow survey results, an important measure of available water supply for the coming year, will confirm that, despite a few welcome storms, California remains in the grip of drought....continued

State of California and Stakeholders Oppose H.R. 3964

Posted February 3, 2014 by Doug Obegi

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On Wednesday, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on H.R. 3964 (Valadao).  Like H.R. 1837 of 2011-2012, this bill would permanently preempt state law and weaken or eliminate protections for California’s rivers, salmon fishery, and Bay-Delta estuary.  The bill also...continued

We're All in this Drought Together (Unless Congressman Nunes Sacrifices the Environment First)

Posted January 22, 2014 by Doug Obegi in Living Sustainably

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Drought is a natural occurrence and a fact of life in California.  And climate change is likely to make the challenges of drought even more difficult.  While we can’t make it rain, we can prepare for drought by investing in...continued

When in Drought, Corporate Agribusiness Attacks Bay-Delta Environmental Protections

Posted December 19, 2013 by Doug Obegi

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As California begins what appears to be a third consecutive dry year, corporate agribusinesses and politicians in the San Joaquin Valley have begun calling for the State and federal government to waive environmental rules governing the Bay-Delta estuary – the same environmental...continued

Is California Prepared for Another Dry Year? It Depends...

Posted November 21, 2013 by Doug Obegi in Living Sustainably

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Yesterday, the California Department of Water Resources announced its initial, conservative estimate of how much water it will deliver from the Delta.  Since 2013 has, so far, been one of the driest years on record, there was some irony that the...continued

State Admits BDCP Portfolio Alternative is Far Cheaper Than It Previously Claimed

Posted November 14, 2013 by Doug Obegi in Living Sustainably

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As the State prepares to release the public draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and draft EIS/EIR next month, the public deserves to get accurate information on the potential benefits, costs, and impacts of BDCP and alternatives.  This...continued

State Agency Comments Show Need to Improve BDCP

Posted July 16, 2013 by Doug Obegi in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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Earlier this month, state and federal agencies were invited to submit comments on the administrative draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan documents.  While comments from the federal agencies and some state agencies are not yet available (the state says they will...continued

Voices for America's Wildlife - Fishermen Know that Protecting Endangered Salmon Protects Fishing Jobs

Posted May 16, 2013 by Doug Obegi in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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As we prepare to celebrate Endangered Species Day this Friday, the website Voices for America’s Wildlife is highlighting stories from around the country about why farmers, fishermen, hunters, businessmen, faith leaders, Tribal leaders, and many others support protections for wildlife...continued

State's Refusal to Use Sound Science Continues to Delay the Bay Delta Conservation Plan

Posted April 29, 2013 by Doug Obegi in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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For more than six years, state and federal agencies, water districts, conservation groups, and other stakeholders have been working to try to develop a successful Bay Delta Conservation Plan.  The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is one of the most complex...continued

Will California Restore the Lower San Joaquin River and its Salmon?

Posted February 21, 2013 by Doug Obegi in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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From their headwaters in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers were historically wild, teeming with salmon that sustained native Americans, early settlers, and abundant wildlife.  These rivers join the lower San Joaquin River and flow into...continued

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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