Video loading...

This Farmer Has Been Working to Revive California’s San Joaquin River for over 65 Years

Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.

In central California, the San Joaquin River snakes 366 miles from the Sierra Nevada through the fertile farmland of the San Joaquin Valley before joining the Sacramento River, which flows into the San Francisco Bay and out to the Pacific. Like other bodies of water throughout the western U.S., the San Joaquin has suffered from a decade of drought. The river is also heavily dammed and one of the most diverted in the state. According to American Rivers, “More than 100 miles of the San Joaquin’s main stem have been dry for over 50 years, and water diversions along the tributaries take more than 70 percent of the natural flow.”

Raisin farmer Walter Shubin wants to protect the river. In Walt, from American Rivers and filmmaker Justin Clifton, viewers learn why the San Joaquin is so special to Shubin and how he’s seen it change over the years. Though the film is from a few years back, the work to revive the river continues.