skip to main content

→ Top Stories:
Fracking
Safe Chemicals
Defending the Clean Air Act

Kate Poole, Senior Attorney, San Francisco

Kate Poole

I’m yet another displaced Midwesterner lured West by notions of open space, unspoiled wildness, and boundless potential. All of my romantic notions were confirmed in my first job “out West” as a park ranger at Dinosaur National Monument. I had many incredible experiences as a park ranger – which I highly recommend to anyone – but one of the most educational was the chance to participate in recovering peregrine falcons. Peregrines are amazing creatures that dive for prey at speeds up to 200 miles/hour, making it the fastest animal on the planet. But peregrines were nearly wiped out by DDT poisoning in the middle of the last century, which weakened their egg shells so much that they would break during incubation, preventing the birds from reproducing. The rangers at Dinosaur helped sustain the struggling peregrine population by rappelling down to the falcons’ eyrie after the adults laid their eggs, removing the fragile eggs to a hatchery, and returning the teenage birds to the eyrie after they hatched for lessons in how to fly and survive from their parents. After being pushed to the brink of extinction, peregrines are now off the threatened species list, thanks to the concerted efforts of many people over many years.

In 2004, I was fortunate enough to join the dedicated staff of NRDC’s Water Program and to continue working to protect the special places and attributes that define the West. Dragging century-old western water policy into the 21st Century is a daunting challenge, but so was recovering from the celebration of DDT that caused Paul Muller to receive the Nobel Prize for its discovery in 1948. I can’t wait to show my children a San Joaquin River that runs red with salmon, a California where every backyard has a rain barrel and every bathroom has an ultra-low flow toilet, a Bay-Delta teeming with native fish and wildlife, and a Central Valley that rewards farmers for pursuing drought-tolerant farming practices and installing efficient irrigation technology.

Recent Posts

PLF Asks the Supreme Court to Put the Demands of the Few Over the Needs of the Many

Posted October 9, 2014 by Kate Poole in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , , , , , , , , ,

Comments (2)

Last week, the Pacific Legal Foundation asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling validating the 2008 delta smelt biological opinion (“BiOp”). The 2008 BiOp analyzes the impact of two of the country’s largest...continued

Revised Water Bond Is the Right Response to California's Drought

Posted August 12, 2014 by Kate Poole in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

Tags:
, , , ,

Comments (5)

A broad array of stakeholders and interest groups, including NRDC, joined Governor Brown today to call for action on a proposed water bond that is slimmed down, focused on a key set of investments, and far superior to the $11.1...continued

Toledo's Toxic Drinking Water - Could It Happen in California?

Posted August 5, 2014 by Kate Poole in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , , ,

Comments (1)

It’s enough to make your stomach turn:  thick, gooey, green glop covering portions of Lake Erie and poisoning the drinking water supplies of Toledo and its neighbors.  Credit: Ohio DNR, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ Poor Toledo.  Could never happen here in California, right?...continued

The Proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan Is the Wrong Approach for California

Posted July 29, 2014 by Kate Poole in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , , , , , , ,

Comments (2)

As California struggles to respond to one of the worst droughts in generations, we need to do more than shorten our showers and turn off the faucet while brushing our teeth.   California’s water system is broken: The San Francisco Bay-...continued

California's Misguided Water Policy - Latest Approach Attracts Troubling Bedfellows

Posted May 15, 2014 by Kate Poole in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , , , , ,

The people of California and the State’s leaders have long prided themselves on innovation when it comes to protecting the environment.  In many areas, this reputation is well-deserved.  For example:   California passed and is successfully implementing the first comprehensive law...continued

Draining the Delta Will Not Fix California's Drought

Posted March 18, 2014 by Kate Poole in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , , , , , ,

Comments (3)

California’s drought is affecting everyone – cities, farmers, and our environment are all suffering from lack of water.  We all eat food, we all depend on our cities to sustain California’s vibrant culture and economy, and we all rely on...continued

Holding Water Thieves Accountable Is Critical In Times of Drought

Posted February 26, 2014 by Kate Poole in Curbing Pollution, Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , , ,

Comments (1)

Every day, the media is filled with new stories about California’s historic drought – cities facing the imminent threat of no drinking water; ranchers scrambling to feed herds grazing on brown stubble; migrating birds searching in vain for wetlands along...continued

Real Solutions for Meeting California's Water Needs

Posted January 27, 2014 by Kate Poole in U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , , , , , , ,

Comments (2)

If Speaker Boehner were in search of real solutions to California’s ever-worsening drought, he may have noticed something startlingly green during his visit to the state last week.  He spent part of that trip, as the Sacramento Bee put it,...continued

California's Drought - We Can Do More Than Pray for Rain

Posted January 8, 2014 by Kate Poole in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , , , , , ,

On Tuesday, the AP reports that the California Conference of Catholic Bishops asked people of all faiths to pray for rain in California, offering a suggested prayer for God to “open the heavens and let His mercy rain down upon our...continued

Restoring Fairness to the World of California Water

Posted November 22, 2013 by Kate Poole in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , , , , , ,

Comments (3)

The Los Angeles Daily News penned a noteworthy editorial last week titled “California is drowning in ancient and unfair water rules.” It’s noteworthy because the editorial correctly debunks some of the common myths about California’s water system and, in doing so,...continued

A Joyful and Fishless Celebration of World Rivers' Day

Posted September 30, 2013 by Kate Poole in Curbing Pollution, Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , ,

Yesterday was World Rivers’ Day, billed as “a celebration of the world’s waterways.”  I don’t know if Timothy Egan was anticipating World Rivers’ Day when he wrote this blog in last week’s New York Times, but it beautifully captures some...continued

The Natural Resources Agency's $3 Billion Error in Estimating Delta Tunnel Costs

Posted September 19, 2013 by Kate Poole in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , , , , , ,

The Natural Resources Agency has posted an “update” to its September 11, 2013 letter rejecting calls to analyze the portfolio alternative offered by several water districts, environmental groups, business interests, and local governments in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan process. The “update” indicates that...continued

Try as They Might, the Natural Resources Agency Can't Debunk the Portfolio Approach to Resolving Threats to the Delta

Posted September 16, 2013 by Kate Poole in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

Comments (6)

Last week our Natural Resources Agency, the umbrella agency responsible for protecting California’s coast, ocean, wildlife and forests and for managing our water, released a deeply flawed justification for rejecting a portfolio approach that dozens of water agencies, local governments and environmental...continued

A Tribute to Mike Taugher and Just the Facts, Ma'am

Posted July 31, 2013 by Kate Poole in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, The Media and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , ,

The world of California water has been reeling the last couple days at the news of Mike Taugher’s untimely death. Mike lost his life on Sunday while snorkeling in Hawaii, at the far-too-young age of 50.  He leaves behind a...continued

A Healthy Fishing Industry Is Just One of the Benefits of Strong Endangered Species Protections

Posted May 13, 2013 by Kate Poole in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, U.S. Law and Policy

Tags:
, , , , , ,

Comments (3)

Friday is Endangered Species Day – a day to celebrate the incredible diversity of our planet and the bounty it provides.  It also happens to fall during that time of year when we’re itching to get outside and revel in the...continued

About

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.

Feeds: Kate Poole’s blog

Feeds: Stay Plugged In