Green Scene

HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS: HELIX WATER DISTRICT’S MIKE UHRHAMMER AND MARK UMPHRES

 

East County News Service

October 26, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Recently we interviewed  Mark Umphres director of water quality and systems operations, and Mike Uhrhammer, senior public affairs representative from the Helix Water District.  We talked about water rates, water quality issues including a recent state report on mercury levels in fish,   and some exciting new additions at Lake Jennings—including tipis!

You can listen now to our interview, which originally aired on our East County Magazine Radio Show on  KNSJ 89.1 FM, by clicking the audio link. (Note: audio file may take a few moments to load.)

Audio: 

SUPERVISORS APPROVE JACUMBA SOLAR POWER PLANT

 

By Gig Connaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

October 19, 2016 (Jacumba) - The County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a permit Wednesday to build a solar farm in Jacumba that could generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes.

Proponents and County staff said the plant fit the guidelines of the County’s general plan, would help the region meet state goals of producing one-half of all electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

LA MESA CANDIDATES SHARE VIEWS ON COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY OPTION

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 17, 2016 (La Mesa) — Recently, La Mesa’s Planning Commission and Environmental Sustainability Commission held a public meeting on the potential for La Mesa to form its own community choice aggregation (CCA) energy program. The plan would enable the city to purchase power from renewable energy sources and sell it directly to residents, offering an alternative to SDG&E, which would continue to maintain power lines.

But where do the three candidates running for La Mesa’s City Council stand?  ECM contacted each candidate; their replies are below.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW WITH MARK JORGENSEN, AUTHOR OF DESERT BIGHORN SHEEP, WILDERNESS ICON

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 15,2016 (Borrego)—We sat down for an interview with Mark Jorgensen,  former  Superintendent of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and author of the award-winning book, Desert Bighorn Sheep,  Wilderness Icon. 

He spoke about the progress made to protect these  magnificent animals,  as well as threats to their survival and challenges that remain.  You can listen now by clicking the link to our interview, which originally aired on the East County Magazine Show on KNSJ 89.1 FM Radio.

Audio: 

TULE WIND HEARING TODAY AT 1 PM IN SAN DIEGO: STATE LANDS COMMISSION TO VOTE

Wind project threatens eagles:  concerned citizens can send comments via e-mail

By Miriam Raftery

October 13, 2016 (San Diego)—The State Lands Commission is scheduled to vote today on leasing 640 acres of state land for the controversial Tule Wind project in McCain Valley for 40 years. The meeting is set for 1p.m. today at the Sheraton Hotel in San Diego near the airport.

 This project is one of a larger project on federal lands that will lead to injury and deaths for eagles,  environmentalists warn.  Opponents  urge concerned citizens to ask the Commission to vote no or delay voting until and unless U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service grants an eagle take permit and until litigation is resolved.  You can email comments on Tule Wind,  Agenda Item 63,to CSLC.Commissionmeetings@slc.ca.gov

SAVING HIVES AND LIVES: BEES' RELOCATION BETTER THAN THEIR DESTRUCTION

 

By Ted Salois, Helix Water District

October 11, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - Jesse Adcock knows bees.  He moves among them with the ease and acceptance of a good friend—because he is one, even though the bees don’t know it.  

His “self-taught” expertise with the busy, buzzing, honey-makers tells him how to approach a sizable nest while remaining safe.  His choice of clothing--t-shirt, shorts and sandals--shows confidence in his judgment.  “When I first arrive at a hive, I listen to the sound the colony is making,” Adcock said.  “I can tell by the tone whether they’re angry or likely to become aggressive.”  

OAK TREE EXPERTS: HOW OAK TREES ARE DYING AND WHAT CAN BE DONE TO SAVE THEM

 

By Janis Russell

October 10, 2016 (Jamul) - On Saturday, October 1, the public gathered under some oak trees near the Lyons Valley Trading Post in Jamul to hear two experts talk about what has been happening with the coast live oak trees in California.

LA MESA CONSIDERS NEW WAY TO GET GREENER POWER

 

By Mike Allen

October 3, 2016 (La Mesa) -- As the issue of climate change becomes more elevated, more cities are taking a harder look at their carbon footprints and mulling alternatives.

In California, at least two counties and a few smaller cities have already formed new entities that purchase a larger share of their energy from renewable sources and are doing it at cheaper rates than was previously provided by the investor owned utility.

REPTILES OF EL MONTE VALLEY: PRESENTATION OCT. 17 IN LAKESIDE

 

East County News Service

October 1, 2016 (Lakeside) – The U.S. Geological Survey has completed and published its report, “Rare Alluvial Sands of El Monte Valley, California” confirming the rich diversity of reptile species found here.  Jonathan Richmond, PhD, of the USGS will present findings on Monday, Oct. 17 from 7-9 p.m. at the Lakeside Christian Church, 13739 El Monte Rd. in Lakeside.

NEW BILL WOULD HELP PROTECT CONSUMERS FROM CONTAMINATED DRINKING WATER

 

Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 2016 would set stage for improved funding and stronger warnings from EPA

Source: Environmental Integrity Project

September 22, 2016 (Washington D.C.) -- Lawmakers introduced a new bill today in Congress that would increase funding to improve the safety of public drinking water systems in California and across the U.S. and set the stage for stronger warnings about contaminated tap water.

BLUEBIRDS EXPAND RANGE INTO URBAN/SUBURBAN AREAS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 18, 2016 (Mt Helix) – I grew up in La Mesa, where my mother had a bird feeder.  It attracted many species, but never bluebirds.  Until recently, I’d seen bluebirds only rarely, in the mountain areas.  So I was delighted to spot one in our yard on Mt. Helix this week—and soon learned that bluebirds are expanding their range locally.

COUNTY TO PRESENT RECOMMENDING ZONING CHANGES FOR ALPINE, FOREST LANDS INITIATIVE PLAN AMENDMENTS AT SEPT. 22 MEETING

 

East County News Service

September 13, 2016 (Alpine) -- The Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI) Lands General Plan Amendment (GPA) will be on the agenda for the September 22, 2016 meeting of the Alpine Community Planning Group.  This meeting begins at 6:00 pm in the Alpine Community Center at 1830 Alpine Boulevard, Alpine. 

 County staff will present the following:

BIRD TALK: MOCKINGBIRDS

By Greg Dunne

“Hush, little baby don’t say a word, Mama’s going to buy you a mockingbird.”—traditional lullaby

September 13, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- The Northern Mockingbird is the only mockingbird commonly found in North America. This bird is mainly a permanent resident, but northern birds may move south during harsh weather.  While most other North American birds become silent or migrate in the fall, mockingbirds keep on singing in hopes of landing a mate for next spring.  Males with a good repertoire of song can be a good catch.

AUGUST WAS THE WARMEST AUGUST SINCE 1880

 

By Miriam Raftery

Data provided courtesy of Roger Coppock

September 12, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - Last month was the warmest month of August in 136 years that NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies has kept land and sea records.  The last time it was this hot, back in 1880, James Garfield was president, France was building the Statue of Liberty, Mark Twain was busy writing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the first outdoor electric light bulb was installed in a street lamp and Science magazine started publication with funding from inventor Thomas Edison.

The 1880s brought a second industrial revolution fueled by growth in railroads, rise of the steel industry, factories and the first skyscrapers, invention of the telephone and the internal combustion engine to power automobiles—all setting the stage for pumping increasing amounts of carbon industry the atmosphere.

READER'S EDITORIAL: HIDING EVIDENCE OF THE MASSACRE

 

By Mark Duchamp, Save the Eagles International

Photo courtesy Ontario Wind Resistance


September 12, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - News of bird and bat deaths at wind farms have reduced to a trickle. Does that mean that a solution has been found? Yes, it has, but it's not what you think. Wind turbines are every year more numerous and the massacre they cause is ever increasing. What has changed is that the cover up is now effective at 100%, or just about.

The following news sheds light on the latest technique for making mortality data unavailable to the public (and the media):

TRIBAL BEAT: OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HALTS DAKOTA PIPELINE TEMPORARILY IN VICTORY FOR STANDING ROCK SIOUX

 

By Miriam Raftery

“Stand with Standing Rock” event set for Sept. 19 in San Diego; journalist Amy Goodman arrested for trespass after videotaping dog attacks on Native Americans

September 11, 2016 (Washington D.C.) – For members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and thousands of Native Americans who have joined in standing against the Dakota Access Pipeline, Friday brought bad news—and then good news.

BLM WITHDRAWS PLANS FOR SURGICAL STERILIZATION "RESEARCH" ON WILD HORSES FOLLOWING LAWSUIT BY FRONT RANGE EQUINE RESCUE

 

Nonprofit Horse Rescue Group Challenged Inhumane Experimental Surgery

East County News Service

Photo:  Wild mustangs, Bureau of Land Management

September 9, 2016 (Hines, OR) Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), a national nonprofit working to end the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue, advocacy and education, announced today that, just six weeks after a lawsuit filed by FRER, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management has withdrawn its program to perform experimental sterilization of wild mares in Oregon. The BLM’s decision was formally vacated by the Interior Board of Land Appeals this morning.

FRER’s suit contended that the BLM’s intention to conduct surgical experiments on 225 wild horses, many in various stages of pregnancy, and potentially thousands more horses over time, causes harm and suffering in violation of federal law.

COUNTY RESPONDS TO CONCERNS OVER IMPACT ON BEES FROM SPRAYING TO CONTROL ZIKA VIRUS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2016 (San Diego) – Spraying chemicals to kill Aedes mosquitoes that can transmit Zika virus is being done in communities across the nation where returning travelers have been diagnosed with Zika. But a report in South Carolina of massive bee kills from aerial spraying has raised concerns over how to protect bees from poisoning while also protecting public health from the dangerous Zika virus.

MICHAEL BECK SAYS HE WILL RECUSE HIMSELF FROM SAND MINE VOTE, DEFENDS HIS EFFORTS TO ASSURE RESTORATION OF EL MONTE VALLEY SITE AFTER MINING

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 4, 2016 (Lakeside) – County Planning Commissioner Michael Beck,founder of the Endangered Habitat League,former head of the Lakeside River Park Conservancy and current board member of theSan Diego River Park Foundation, has drawn sharp criticism from some Lakeside residents over his involvement with the El Monte Nature Preserve LLC that is proposing a sand mine in El Monte Valley.  One prominent activist has called for Beck to recuse himself from voting for conflict of interest reasons.

Now Beck, in an exclusive interview with East County Magazine, says he’s always planned to recuse himself from voting on the controversial project—and also defends his efforts to get the best long-term environmental restoration possible for a project he believes will likely be approved as an allowable use under current zoning. No one has asked that the zoning designation be changed, he notes.

EARTHTALK®: SMOKE WAVES FROM WILDFIRES ARE HAZARDOUS TO HEALTH

 

From the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine

Photo: Smoke waves can radiate out for hundreds of miles from wildfires, spreading particulate matter and causing health problems for millions of Americans who think they are safe and far from the fire lines. Credit: Dave Thomas, Flickr CC.

September 2, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- Dear EarthTalk: What are “smoke waves” from wildfires and how can they be hazardous for our health? -- Doug Jenkins, Big Sandy, TX

STATE AND FEDS AGREE TO PROTECT THE SALTON SEA

 

Conservation groups call on the state of California to use new agreement as a launching point for on-the-ground projects

Source: Audobon Society press release

August 31, 2016 (Salton Sea) -- A coalition of conservation groups– Defenders of Wildlife, Audubon California, the Pacific Institute and Sierra Club -- today called on the State of California to use a new agreement with the Federal Government on the Salton Sea as a launching point for a renewed effort to get much-needed conservation projects started on the ground.

ARE YOUR OAK TREES DYING? FREE SEMINAR OCT. 1 IN JAMUL INCLUDES NEW FINDINGS TO SAVE OUR OAKS

 

East County News Service

August 30, 2016 (Jamul) — Oak boring beetles have killed thousands of oak trees across East County.  But now there is hope to save them. On October 1st, the Lyons Valley Trading Post (17608 Lyons Valley Road in Jamul) will host a free workshop under the oak trees. Experts from U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Riverside and Cal Fire will be on hand to share the latest information including treatments that can save your trees.

COMMUNITY CLEANUPS SET FOR CAMPO, BOULEVARD, JACUMBA AND POTRERO IN SEPT-NOV.

 

By Jan Hedlun

August 30, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- The Community Cleanup on Broken Bone Lane on August 27 was a wonderful success. Thank you to EDCO for providing the shipping containers for free. Thank you to The Real Estate Fire Safe Council who made this possible along with CERT and TEAME.

HELP THE ENVIRONMENT--BE GREEN! DISPOSE OF HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS FREE ON SEPT. 17 IN POTRERO

 

 

 

August 25, 2016 (Potrero) --Residents in the  Potrero area /unincorporated San Diego East County are encouraged to use the County’s one-day household hazardous waste collection event Sept. 17 at the Old County Fire Station in Potrero.

Did you know?  Many products used in the home may be hazardous to people, pets or the environment and should not be thrown in the trash or dumped down the sewer or storm drains.  While it is always best to use up your household chemical products, the County of  San Diego’s Department of Environmental Health would like to notify you of a one-day collection event where residents living in the unincorporated county can bring their household chemicals for proper disposal or recycling—for free!

UNDERWATER HOMES: RISING SEAS COULD SUBMERGE HALF THE HOMES IN OVER 300 CITIES, ZILLOW PREDICTS

 

San Diego could lose 2,289 properties to rising seas

By Miriam Raftery

August 24, 2016 (San Diego) - Zillow, a leading national real estate company, has issued a new report about homes underwater. (See also http://www.zillow.com/research/climate-change-underwater-homes-12890/).

FREE ENTRANCE DAYS IN THE NATIONAL PARKS

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 23, 2016 (Washington D.C.) -- The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday this year—and wants everyone to join the party. So they are giving away free entrance to all national parks on August 25th through 28th for the National Park Service’s birthday.

There will also be free admission again to all national parks on September 24th for National Public Lands Day and on Veterans Day, November 11th.

WATER AGENCIES RESPOND TO MERCURY CONCERNS IN RESERVOIRS: TESTS FOCUSED ON FISH

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 19,2016 (San Diego’s East County) – State and local water agency representatives have offered more information for the public following a recent report revealing that 150 reservoirs statewide are “mercury impaired,” including10 in San Diego County, as ECM reported

A key clarification is that the term “mercury impaired reservoirs” referred to testing of fish in those waters,  not testing of water for drinking.  Drinking water can test with no detectable mercury levels, yet still have high, unsafe concentrations of mercury in fish, particularly larger fish that have consumed smaller fish.  This problem raises a new issue: the need for new testing methods to detect low levels of mercury that while not unsafe in drinking water,  can result in unsafe levels in fish living in those waters.

WHERE ARE THE WEASELS? COUNTY RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS OVER GOPHER POISONS AT LINDO LAKE

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 18, 2016 (Lakeside) – Weasel-watching has been a popular pastime for photographers at Lindo Lake Park. But after the County applied poison to kill gophers, a reader of ours raised questions over what impact that could have on weasels, which have not been popping up in the area lately.

EARTHTALK®: HELPING SCHOOLS GO SOLAR

 

From the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine

August 12, 2016 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: I am interested in helping my school get solar panels on the roof to show students how we can be part of the solution to the climate crisis. Are there any resources or grants out there to help schools go solar? --
Charles Hamilton, Warren, OH

INTERIOR ANNOUNCES FASTEST SUCCESSFUL RECOVERY OF AN ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT-LISTED MAMMAL; THREE ISLAND FOX SUBSPECIES IN CALIFORNIA NO LONGER ENDANGERED

 

Obama Administration now oversees more de-listings than all other Administrations combined

Photo:  Photos for media use available at flickr.com

August 12, 2016 (Washington D.C.) -- Representing the fastest successful recovery for any Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed mammal in the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced the final de-listing of three subspecies of island fox native to California’s Channel Islands. The removal of the San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Island fox subspecies from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife brings the total number of ESA de-listings due to recovery to 37, with 19 of those overseen by the Obama administration. In the Act’s 43-year history, more recoveries have been declared under the current Administration’s watch than all past Administrations combined.

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