Green Scene

SUPERVISOR ANDERSON CALLS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EQUITY FOR EAST COUNTY COMMUNITIES

By Miriam Raftery

April 30, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – In honor of Earth Day, Supervisor Joel Anderson posted a video on YouTube urging his colleagues to support environmental equity for all residents. 

In the video, Anderson noted that his District 2 in East County has often suffered a disproportionate share of negative environmental impacts, from wildfires to air pollution.


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EAST COUNTY ADVANCED WATER PURIFICATION PROGRAM RELEASES NEW VIDEO - THE CLEAR SOLUTION

East County News Service

April 27, 2021 (Santee) – The East County Advanced Water Purification (East County AWP) Program released a new video, The Clear Solution, that can be viewed on the Program’s website at www.eastcountyawp.com/videos. The four-minute video educates viewers about the importance of the East County AWP Program and how it will create a new, local, reliable and drought proof drinking water supply by recycling and reusing the region’s wastewater. The East County AWP Program is a collaborative partnership between Padre Dam Municipal Water District, County of San Diego, City of El Cajon and Helix Water District.


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STATE ISSUES WARNING FOR PEOPLE AND PETS TO AVOID WATER CONTACT AT SALTON SEA DUE TO TOXIC ALGAE OUTBREAK

Recent death of a dog underscores potential consequences

 

East County News Service

 

April 23, 2021 (Salton Sea) – The California Water Boards has issued a warning for people and their dogs to avoid water contact in the Salton Sea, located in Imperial and Riverside Counties. The warning is due to multiple Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) detected at numerous sites in the Salton Sea after a dog died following a swimming excursion there.


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CONSUMER REPORTS ENDORSES BILL TO PROTECT PUBLIC FROM TOXIC PFAS “FOREVER CHEMICALS”

Consumer Reports Investigation Found PFAS Contamination Widespread in U.S. Tap Water

East County News Service

April 21, 2021 (Washington D.C.) -- Consumer Reports (CR) is calling on Congress to pass legislation just introduced by Representatives Debbie Dingell and Fred Upton that aims to protect the public from the growing health threat posed by PFAS “forever chemicals.” PFAS are widely used by manufacturers to make products resistant to stains, grease, and water, and are so pervasive that 95 percent of all Americans have trace amounts of the chemicals in their blood.

The bill mirrors the PFAS Acton Act of 2019, which passed with a bipartisan vote in the House, but did not advance in the Senate before the end of the last session.


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UTILITIES ARE TRYING TO STYMIE ROOFTOP SOLAR IN CALIFORNIA

By Dave Rosenfeld, special to CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.

Photo via iStock

April 20, 2021 (Sacramento) - Two years ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom described Pacific Gas & Electric and the events that led to the deadliest wildfire in state history saying, “It’s about corporate greed meeting climate change. It’s about decades of mismanagement.” 


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VIRTUAL CELEBRATION, REAL FUN — COUNTY’S EARTH DAY 2021

East County News Service

April 19, 2021 (San Diego) -- The celebration is virtual, but the fun is real — San Diego County’s Virtual Earth Day Fair is back. Visit the County’s Land Use and Environment Group’s Earth Day webpage, which is filled with fun and education for kids and parents alike. You can play games, solve puzzles, take virtual hikes in our County parks, get hiking tips from a County park ranger, watch animated video stories about whales and watersheds, sing the Earth song, learn about beekeeping and invasive bugsexplore and travel around the world — even walk on Mars right in your living room.


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EARTH DAY IN THE HIGH DESERT APRIL 24

East County News Service

(Photo by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)

April 10, 2021 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – Desert View Tower in Jacumba Hot Springs will host an Earth Day celebration on April 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You’re invited to come experience Earth in the high desert including an Earth blessing ceremony and Sacred black Star Eyed Eagle Dancer, an array of live music, healthy natural foods including vegan options, and a wildflower and plant walk. There will also be alternative healers, local arts and crafts, nature art, native plants for sale, herbal products and essential oils, EMF awareness, nutritional counseling, natural beauty, country collectibles and more.


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EARTHTALK®: BESIDES GENERATING SEASONAL ALLERGENS, DO ANY PLANTS ACTUALLY REDUCE AIR QUALITY OR CAUSE AIR POLLUTION?

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

March 27, 2021 (San Diego) -  Dear EarthTalk: Besides generating seasonal allergens, do any plants actually reduce air quality or cause air pollution? -Mike T., San Juan, Puerto Rico


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SUPERVISORS VOTE TO BUY AND CONSERVE 2,151 ACRE HISTORIC STAR RANCH LAND IN CAMPO

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

March 20, 2021 (Campo) -- San Diego County supervisors voted Wednesday to buy the 2,151-acre, historic Star Ranch area in Campo, its largest acquisition of sensitive habitat, wetlands, potential passive park land and hiking trails in a decade.

County officials said the land will provide a permanent home for sensitive species and conserve important habitat including 200 acres of wetlands, and it could eventually provide a large park and connections for hikers to nearby trails such as the Pacific Crest Trail.


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SUPERVISORS APPROVE CREATION OF YOUTH ENVIRONMENTAL/RECREATION CORPS TO PROVIDE GREEN JOBS TRAINING

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Creative Commons image by NC-ND

 

March 16, 2021 (San Diego) -- Today the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 in support of the Youth Environmental/Recreation Corps, a program aimed to provide youth with skills training and opportunities to develop knowledge, practice skills and gain work experience in the growing sector of green economies. Youth Will has been working closely with Supervisor Lawson-Remer and the Invest in San Diego Families coalition to promote this initiative and ensure the youth voice is represented in improving access to green space and green work opportunities.


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ETIQUETTE ON THE HIKING TRAILS

Story and photos by Greg Dunne

March 14, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- A hiking we go, a hiking we will go, it’s a beautiful spring day, a hiking we will go! Hiking on the trails of San Diego County has been a great past time over the last 12 months of the pandemic. Let’s have our trail etiquette boots on when we are out there with our fellow hikers.

The hiking trails have been packed with people the last 12 months. The increase is due to Covid-19. As a regular hiker here in our East County, I would estimate it to be 8 to 10 times as many people and even more than that on the weekend. With more people on the trails, we need to be more diligent out there. So, let’s be conscience of our surroundings.

Don’t be in a hiking daze when on the trail. It’s important we know a few rules of the trail so everyone can enjoy the outdoors. Trail etiquette is needed on the trails when hiking, especially on narrow paths. Always try to stay to your right side when passing hikers along the trail coming from the opposite direction—just as when we are driving in our cars, we drive on the right-hand side of the road. There are a few hikers out there sticking to the left side, maybe they’re used to European trails?


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STATE WILDLIFE AGENCIES TO HOLD WORKSHOPS ON COYOTES IN URBAN AREAS

Source:  California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Photo by Debbie Merrill

March 10, 2021 (San Diego) - Due to an increase in the number of reported conflicts between humans and coyotes in California, a series of online-based workshops are planned to help local communities and residents understand the reasons for that increase and how to reduce future conflicts.


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SUPERVISOR VOTE ON FINAL APPROVAL TO RESTORE, IMPROVE EL MONTE RIVER VALLEY LAND IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service

March 6, 2021 (Lakeside) -- San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to set aside $6.44 million to restore and improve roughly 98 acres of newly acquired open space, trails and recreational facilities in Lakeside’ scenic El Monte River Valley. The board hailed the action as a “great” project for the region.

The Board previously voted Feb. 10 to spend $3.2 million to buy the property that includes important coastal sage scrub, riparian scrub and riparian forest habitats, open space and already existing equestrian and youth sports playing fields. That action came after a petition signed by thousands and a march with hundreds of residents and Kumeyaay Native Americans urged support of the acquisition.

Board members envision the land as the home for future trail connections to other County parks, and recreational facilities for the public to enjoy in addition to the open space. The land is located nearby the County’s existing Cactus County and Louis A. Stelzer parks, and its future $18 million Lakeside Equestrian Park.


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT LAUNCHES 2021 LAKE JENNINGS SPRING PHOTO CONTEST

Source: Helix Water District

March 4, 2021 (Lakeside) -- Helix Water District has launched its 10th annual Lake Jennings Spring Photo Contest to share the beauty of its reservoir with the local community. The contest is open to photos taken at Lake Jennings between March 1 and May 31, 2021.


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COUNTY LAB, FIRE STATIONS TO BENEFIT FROM BACKUP POWER SUPPLY FUNDS

By Donnie Ryan, County of San Diego Communications Office

March 4, 2021 (San Diego) - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to ratify the acceptance of fiscal year 2020-2021 state community power resiliency funds, a key step in helping to improve backup energy sources for essential facilities and communications equipment as part of emergency preparedness efforts in the county.

Launched Oct. 25, 2019, by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Local Government Public Safety Power Shutoff Resiliency Program provided state funding to help mitigate the effects of utility-initiated public safety power shutoffs. The name of the program was changed to “Community Power Resiliency” for the current fiscal year.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: WHY WE NEED A CARBON TAX, NOT CAP AND TRADE

By Carol Slater
 
March 1, 2021 (San Diego) - I write with deep concern regarding the climate emergency in which we find ourselves, one that President Biden appears to be taking seriously, although most Americans remain dangerously uninformed concerning the critical natureof risk to the planet.

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LEMON GROVE INVITES YOU TO A RECYCLING WEBINAR FEB. 27

East County News Service

 

February 11, 2021 (Lemon Grove) – I Love a Clean San Diego and the city of Lemon Grove invite you to a seminar titled “Recycle Right: Ask Me Anything” with Andrew Barajas. The seminar will be held on Saturday, Feb. 27 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.


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DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: SUPERVISORS VOTE TO HONOR COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY BY PURCHASING 98 ACRES IN EL MONTE VALLEY, LAKESIDE

By Henri Migala

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report.

Photo, left: Billy Ortiz and Bobby Wallace, co-organizers of efforts to preserve El Monte Valley

February 11, 2021 (Lakeside) – Thanks to widespread community engagement, San Diego County Supervisors yesterday voted unanimously to purchase 98 acres in El Monte Valley from Helix Water District for $2.92 million, preserving the land for public use.

The action came after the board received a petition with over 2,000 signatures and heard unanimous public testimony in support of the purchase. In addition, some 200 residents and tribal members held a march through the valley calling for the land to be protected.

Supervisor Joel Anderson, East County’s newly elected representative whose district includes Lakeside, initially voiced concerns over the cost and disrepair of facilities on the site. But after the majority of the board voiced support for the acquisition initiated by former Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Anderson ultimately not only voted for the land purchase, but also pushed his colleagues to support additional funds to restore dilapidated ball fields and other facilities on the site.


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SUPERVISOR ANDERSON RAISES CONCERNS OVER EL MONTE VALLEY LAND PURCHASE

By Miriam Raftery

February 10, 2021 (Lakeside) – Despite a petition signed by more than 1,500 constituents urging Supervisor to approve this morning’s agenda item to buy and preserve 98 acres in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley from Helix Water District, Supervisor Joel Anderson has issued a press release late yesterday indicating he will likely oppose the measure.

To watch this morning’s meeting or send in comments, visit https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/cob/bosa.html.

Anderson contends the land is too expensive compared to another proposed land purchase at Star Ranch in Campo, which is also on the agenda.

While Campo-area residents have longed pushed for preservation of  Star Ranch, protecting that large parcel provides no direct benefit to people in Lakeside, who fear that if the County does not buy the land, it could be sold to sand mining interests. Helix Water previously sold a separate parcel in El Monte Valley to a sand miner, whose proposed project has drawn strong opposition from Lakeside residents.

Anderson’s district includes El Monte Valley.  The announcement that he opposes the El Monte Valley land purchase proposed by Dianne Jacob before she left office due to term limits has outraged some Lakeside residents.


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HUNDREDS MARCH TO SAVE EL MONTE VALLEY: LAKESIDE RESIDENTS AND TRIBAL MEMBERS URGE SUPERVISORS TO VOTE YES ON LAND PURCHASE

Over 1,500 sign petition to save valley from sand mining

 

By Henri Migala

 

Photo: marchers support land purchase to protect land from sand mining

 

February 7, 2021 (Lakeside) -- San Diego County Supervisors are slated to vote this Wed., Feb. 10 on purchasing 98 acres of Lakeside’s  El Monte Valley from the Helix Water District. A petition signed by more than 1,500 people urges them to vote yes, in hopes of protecting the valley against sand mining and protecting it for posterity. (An earlier petition to stop sand mining in the valley drew more than 3,000 signatures.)

 

Former Supervisor Dianne Jacob introduced the measure to protect the land for the public and prevent it from becoming a sand mine. Jacob, who represented District 2 which includes Lakeside, was a forceful ally of the community and the Kumeyaay in their efforts to protect El Monte Valley from being mined. She secured funds and gathered support of other Supervisors to purchase the land, but term-limits ended her tenure before the issue came up for a vote. Now her replacement, Supervisor Joel Anderson, and two other newly elected Supervisors, will cast deciding votes.  

 

To make sure the new Supervisors are aware of the strong sentiments of the community, a “Save El Monte” demonstration and march was held by Kumeyaay Native Americans and people from across San Diego County on Saturday.


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ECO-FRIENDLY WAYS TO INCREASE HOME VALUE

By Sam Bowman, EarthTalk

February 7, 2021 (San Diego) - The housing market has never been in a greater state of flux. The pandemic has lowered interest rates and increased home values in never-seen-before ways. In addition, in spite of the coronavirus — and at times because of it — many have made moves for both professional and personal reasons.


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SUPERVISORS’ VOTE ON MAJOR BACKCOUNTRY ENERGY MEASURE DELAYED UNTIL FEB. 10

By Miriam Raftery

Photos, left:  Campo Wind's turbines hae been fire-prone, causing multiple fires in the past. Residents worry that more turbines raise the risk of a catastrophic fire, if a blaze should begin during Santa Ana gusty winds.

February 5, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – A vote by County Supervisors on a Renewable Energy Overlay plan has been postponed until Wednesday, Feb. 10. If approved, the measure would designate vast swaths of rural East County for industrial-scale wind and solar energy projects.

The aim is to make it easier to get approval of projects that provide clean energy to meet state renewable energy mandates amid a climate crisis.  But the measure has also drawn strong opposition from some rural residents, including Donna Tisdale, who advise East County residents to contact Supervisors to voice opposition so that “Supervisors know how East County really feels about being thrown under the bus as a renewable energy sacrifice zone.”

Click on this link to register your  opinion with Supervisors on the Renewable Energy Overlay before the Feb. 10 hearing, which begins at 9 a.m.  The item is the second item on the agenda.

Tisdale is Chair of the Boulevard Planning Group and founder of Backcountry Against Dumps, a nonprofit that has sued the County over several major energy projects in the region. Residents living near existing wind turbines have complained of noise, sleep disruption and other health problems, flashing lights, visual blight from towers hundreds of feet tall, killing of birds, safety concerns from blades whirling off,loss of rural character and loss of property value for homes nearby. Solar projects have generated concerns over glare, loss of wildlife habitat and potential depletion of scarce groundwater for construction and cleaning of panels.


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WESTERN MONARCH BUTTERFLY WINTER COUNT DOWN 99.9%

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

Photo via Pixabay

February 5, 2021 (Pismo Beach, CA). -- The Western Monarch butterfly population that overwinters in California has dropped to devastating levels, with only 1,914 individuals spotted in this year's winter count.

They've been declining for decades, but experts say they may have reached an extinction threshold in 2018 when volunteers only counted 30,000.

Angela Laws, endangered-species conservation biologist for the Xerces Society, said the population appears to be collapsing.

"It's a 99.9% drop from the '80s, when there were an estimated four million monarchs overwintering along the California coast," Laws outlined. "It's a big drop in their population. It's very worrying."


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STATE PARKS REOPEN FOR CAMPING

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Jonny Victorino, via Anza-Borrego Foundation

 

February 3, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- As of February 1, camping is now officially open again at California State Parks, including Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, and Palomar Mountain State Park in San Diego’s inland region. State health rules and social distancing guidelines will apply.

 

Here is what’s open in our local state parks:


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WALK TO SAVE EL MONTE VALLEY FEB. 6 CALLS ON SUPERVISORS TO BUY LAND FROM HELIX WATER

By Miriam Raftery

February 3, 2021 (Lakeside) – County Supervisors will vote February10 on a proposal to purchase a 104-acre parcel of land in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley from the Helix Water District. This Saturday, Feb. 6, a “Walk to Save El Monte Valley” will be held by East County Land-Use Watchdogs, a 501c3 nonprofit, along with Save El Monte Valley.  Supporters are also urged to sign a petition that has gathered nearly a thousand signatures so far.

Walkers should meet at 10204 Channel Rd. in the dirt lot for the two-mile walk, which is organized by Save El Monte Valley and the East County Land-Use Watchdogs. Arrive at 9 a.m. for the walk starting at 10 a.m. Masks are required. Participants are urged to wear yellow, comfortable shoes, and bring water.

“This land MUST be purchased by the County so it can be conserved and utilized for the public good as open space, instead of being left exposed to development that loses the area’s rural character and doesn’t have the community’s interests at heart,” the flyer states. “Come walk with the East County Community including local Tribal members and supporters of the river this Saturday. Your voice makes a difference!”


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INVASIVE WEEVILS KILLING PALM TREES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: UC Riverside: Top row, healthy palms. Bottom row, infested palms.

January 26, 2021 (San Diego) – The invasive South American palm weevil has destroyed an estimated 10,000 palm trees in our region, according to researcher Mark Hoddle at the University of California, Riverside.  Locally, it’s been found in El Cajon, Bonita, San Diego and South Bay communities. Left untreated, it will ultimately kill the trees best known for lining waterfronts along some of San Diego’s most prominent destinations.


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CALIFORNIA TELLS TIRE MAKERS TO REMOVE HARMFUL CHEMICALS THAT THREATEN OUR AQUATIC LIFE AND WATERWAYS

Source: Calif. Dept. of Toxic Substances Control

Photo: CC by SA via Bing

January 14, 2021 (Sacramento) -- California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Tuesday put tire manufacturers on notice that California wants them to explore alternatives to using zinc, a toxic chemical that harms aquatic life and burdens waterways.


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WHEN THE RAINS COME, CATCH EVERY DROP WITH DISCOUNTED RAIN BARREL

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

January 8, 2021 (San Diego) - The weather forecasts say this could be a relatively dry winter, which means having a rain barrel to collect every precious drop of rain and cut your gardening water costs could be more important than ever.


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ESTRELLA COUNTY PARK OPENS IN CASA DE ORO

East County News Service

January 1, 2021 (Spring Valley) -- On Friday, Dec. 18, the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation opened Estrella County Park in San Diego’s Casa de Oro community.


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CAMP CHEF RECALLS PORTABLE GAS STOVES DUE TO GAS LEAKS, FIRE HAZARD

By Miriam Raftery
 
December 19, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Product Safety Commission Wednesday announced a recall on Camp Chef portable outdoor stoves after 26 reports of gas leaks.
 
An internal part of the gas regulator component can have a sharp edge that can wear or tear a hole in the seal causing gas to leak out of the top of the regulator, posing a fire hazard. To date, no injuries have been reported.
 
Remedy: Consumers are urged to stop using the defective products immediately and contact Camp Chef to obtain a free gas regulator replacement kit.
 
Distribution: About 20,000 of the defective camp stoves were sold nationwide at sporting good stores and Walmart from August 2019 through September 2020 from between $150 to $300 depending on the model. The products were made in China and imported by Logan Outdoor Products LLC in Utah (Camp Chef). 

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