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How ‘land barons’ steered flooding in the San Joaquin Valley

A closed and flooded road in Kings County following the return of Tulare Lake in March 2023.
Joshua Yeager
A closed and flooded road in Kings County shows the magnitude of disaster created by the return of Tulare Lake this year.

In March of this year, as Tulare Lake began to reemerge, the Kings County Board of Supervisors did something unprecedented: They voted to cut a levee on land owned by giant agribusiness J.G. Boswell Company.

What happened after that was detailed in a recent investigation by the L.A. Times. KVPR’s Kerry Klein interviewed Times reporter Jessica Garrison about that meeting, and what it demonstrates about flood management in the Tulare Basin.

Listen to the interview in the player on this page.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.