This is the story of a man named Boswell and Boswell had a very lovely wife (Sorry Brady Bunch) who turned the San Joaquin Valley from a lush river and lake wildlife area into the nation’s bread basket. Also how it destroyed a massive habitat This was and is a despicable enterprise. Sort of on the order of a Nuclear Testing site in the desert. Or a Copper Mine for that matter. If you want to hear a video about it. There is This:
If you want to read about it. You can go here:
Hydrologic History of the Tulare Basin
The Tulare Basin historically supported an amazing complex of wetland habitats, unique in the world. This largely flat and arid region served as the floodplain for water flowing west from the southern Sierra Nevada, north from the Transverse Ranges, as well as from small intermittent arroyos flowing east from the Coast Ranges. Oak woodlands and riparian forests formed green corridors across the broad prairie on the eastern edge of the Tulare Basin. Freshwater tule marshes and alkaline wetlands adorned the slow-moving sloughs and shallow margins of Kern, Buena Vista, Goose, Tulare, and Summit lakes. Emergent marsh vegetation, such as tules and cattails, grew in permanent standing water at the shallow edges of freshwater wetlands. Upslope from the marshes, water intermittently flooded iodine bush scrub and alkali grassland habitats.
This highly-productive, shallow water system supported abundant populations of endemic lake-adapted fishes such that American white pelicans (Pelacanus erythrorhynchos) nested by the thousands on islands in Tulare Lake and Buena Vista Lake. The Tulare Basin’s extensive wetland habitats historically attracted significant numbers of resident and migratory waterbirds, including grebes, pelicans, cormorants, herons, egrets, ibises, geese, swans, ducks, rails, sandhill cranes, plovers, stilts, avocets, sandpipers, phalaropes, gulls, and terns.
The conversion of this water system to a lake-and-slough wetland to agriculture began in the mid-1800s when European settlers began to build canals and diversion structures to irrigate their crops. This early irrigation infrastructure upstream from Tulare Lake slowly cut off the lake from its source waters, shrinking the lake’s footprint. By 1899 – less than 50 years after irrigation was initiated – Tulare Lake went dry for the first time in history.