The condition our condition is in…. As I slipped the kayak into the cool clear water of the Santa Ynez River, I starred at the cottony clouds and imagined myself an early explorer to this magical area. Just upstream I peered at the seemingly haphazard construct of a beaver dam that is actually an engineering marvel. A doe and fawn bounded away from the water as I approached. I wondered what other wildlife in the land of plenty watched from the safety of the Cottonwood and Sycamore trees along the bank.

Not unusual to see large cats, foxes, feral pigs or the ubiquitous wild turkey. Looking up, I followed the flight of several Red Tail Hawks sharing territory with a Bald Eagle. Truly a natural paradise nourished by the ever threatened water resources. With a severe drought nearing its end, if the weather people are correct, and El Nino in front of us, the conversation about water is changing. Although still very concerned about our resources, most long time residents understand that this is a semi-arid environment and droughts are part of a natural cycle. If nothing else, people are much more enlightened about conservation and committed to better water management.

The Santa Ynez Valley is blessed with large aquifers and drainage from various mountain ranges. Although many shallow wells have suffered, we still see large areas of lush pastures, prolific vineyards and extensive agriculture and our deep water wells still have impressive production.
So indeed, if Mother Nature blesses us with warm winter rains, “the condition our condition is in” …will be excellent!