In response to the New Times article “Weather or not” (Oct. 20), the agricultural community of Huasna certainly appreciates winter rainfall but asks the question: Was Santa Barbara County Water Agency seeding clouds during the heavy rains of 1998, 2000, and 2005 when there was excessive run off and flooding? Sure. Santa Barbara County benefited from all that water filling Twitchell Reservoir, but the residents of Huasna encountered costs repairing erosion, re-grading roads, and taking flooded acreage out of production.
In addition, the highly erosive topsoil that eroded from the Huasna Valley during those storms flowed into Twitchell Reservoir, adding to the ongoing siltation that they claim is reducing the capacity of their water storage. This siltation has required raising the high water line of the reservoir, which causes flooding at higher water levels along the Huasna River into Huasna and on the Porter Ranch.
Finally, there is the question of the environmental impacts of silver in the Huasna Valley soil and groundwater. Silver has wonderful antimicrobial properties. Unfortunately, it kills both bad microbes and good microbes. What impact has almost two decades of raining silver on the Huasna Valley had on the microbial life of our soil, and how has that affected our agricultural production?
I haven’t had the chance to look into what impacts iodine might have on the environment, but I’m sure I’ll find a good analysis of the entire cloud seeding project in the Environmental Impact Report prepared for SLO County and APCD prior to permitting the cloud seeding project back in 1992. It will also be interesting to see the data collected by those agencies during the past two decades of monitoring the atmospheric discharge of silver iodide in our county. I’m sure that our government officials have been looking out for the best interests of their citizens and agricultural community and that they will be able to answer all of my questions