Most of Yuba County is located in the foothills and lower elevations of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. On the West, from the edge of the Sacramento Valley to the northeastern corner of Yuba County, elevations increase from a dense 60 to a thin 4,000 feet.
In a recent article, Fresno Bee reporter Barbara Anderson stated that a number of people thought to be sickened by pesticides more than doubled in California from 2001 to 2002.
Farm workers are exposed to dust and pesticides in the fields where they work, while residents of the Sutter/Yuba area are at risk from runoff water that can carry sediment, animal feces; pesticides and other pollutants into creeks and rivers that water experts consider to be the No. 1 source of water pollution in the Central Valley.
The state Department of Pesticide Regulation announced in February that it had found pesticides to be a possible or factor in the 1,316 cases of reported illnesses in 2002, compared to a marginal 616 cases the previous year.
A new program designed to cut off farm-related pollution was challenged at the end of February 2004 in a lawsuit filed by several environmental groups.
The Associated Press reported that four environmental groups sued five Central Valley irrigation districts, alleging they did not follow proper procedures in approving weed-control programs that include spraying harmful chemicals.
The groups alleged that the districts did not conduct adequate studies or give required public notice before certifying the programs.
The suits further contended that the districts of Oakdale, Merced, Modesto, South San Joaquin and Turlock violated the California Environmental Quality Act by certifying the programs would produce no ill effect.
Together, the five districts monitor 1,200 miles of state waterways used for fishing, swimming and municipal programs.
The suits filed in Sacramento County Superior Court asked a judge to stop the weed control programs until the environmental dangers are reviewed and to reopen the public comment period.