Green Scene

JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS REACTS TO MASSIVE PROPOSED ENERGY PROJECT, ASKS FOR LOCALS TO SUBMIT CONCERNS IN WRITING BY DEC. 7

By Rebecca Person

November 23, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) --  Residents of quiet Jacumba Hot Springs, a longtime retreat destination for traveling nature lovers and health seekers worldwide, are raising their voices to object to a proposed solar farm directly adjacent to the town. At a meeting Nov. 11 in town, they gathered to learn more about the proposed project and weigh in on its impact on their lives.

Locals say the project, which would cover an area of 643 acres, 6 times the area of their town, will impact its economic base and atmosphere. It could destroy the town’s travel appeal on historic Old Highway 80 where tourists, bicycle, motorcycle and classic car clubs venture, hikers explore the scenic high desert known for its boulder formations, desert washes and native plants, oaks, sunsets and sunshine.  


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HOW BANS ON GAS-POWERED VEHICLES WILL IMPACT CITY DEVELOPMENT

By Indiana Lee

 

Image source: Pexels

 

November 10, 2020 (San Diego) -- It should be no surprise by now that we are on the edge of environmental catastrophe. We have just a handful of years to make significant changes to the way we live or else inflict irreversible damage to our planet. None of us want to cause unnecessary panic, but it also won’t help us to ignore the facts here.   


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EARTHTALK®: ARE WE BURYING OURSELVES IN PPE WASTE?THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON OUR WASTE STREAM COULD LAST DECADES

By Louise Willis

November 9, 2020 (San Diego's East County) - Dear EarthTalk: What’s the environmental impact of all the single-use PPE we are throwing away now in huge numbers as a result of responding to the COVID-19 crisis? —Jay M., Cary, NC


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FEDS MOVE TO ALLOW BEAR BAITING, TRAPPING, IN KENAI NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

Photo: Alaskan brown bear; Sapphoris/Pixabay

New rule would permit the use of steel leg-hold traps with teeth, spikes and serrated jaws.

November 2, 2020 (Sacramento) --  Time is running out for people to weigh in on a Trump administration plan to allow baiting and trapping of bears in Alaska's Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The public comment period ends one week from today, on a new rule which would also permit hunters to kill cubs in their dens.


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COUNTY BEGINS IMPROVEMENTS TO LAKESIDE'S LINDO LAKE COUNTY PARK

 By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

Video: Andy TolleyCounty of San Diego Communications Office

October 31, 2020 (Lakeside) - The County has broken ground on $11.2 million of work to rejuvenate and improve Lakeside’s popular Lindo Lake County Park.

Improvements at the 55-acre park will include building a new fishing pier and birdwatching stations, planting hundreds of native trees and improving water quality in the lake’s east basin by removing more than 200,000 tons of sediment — enough to cover nearly five football fields 12 feet high — that has built up over decades.

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and County Parks officials kicked off the start of construction last week with a socially distanced groundbreaking. Jacob, who is retiring in January after serving 27 years, has long championed efforts to rejuvenate the park.


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LEGAL AGREEMENT PROTECTS CALIFORNIA WILDLIFE CORRIDOR FOR SANTA ANA MOUNTAIN LIONS

Source: Mountain Lion Foundation

Photo: Mountain lion at Lions, Tigers and Bears

October 26, 2020 (Temecula) --  Conservation groups approved a legal agreement today that will protect a critical wildlife corridor for local mountain lions and other wildlife, fund restoration efforts and ensure implementation of a regional conservation plan. The agreement comes after a judge issued a ruling this spring against the proposed 270-acre Altair development in Western Riverside County in California.

The agreement permanently protects the 55-acre “South Parcel” — a key part of one of the only passages left for endangered Santa Ana mountain lions to move between coastal and inland mountains. This lion population suffers from extremely low levels of genetic diversity due to limited wildlife connectivity.


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LEMON GROVE BULK ITEM DROP-OFF AND E-WASTE PAPER SHREDDING EVENT OCT. 24

East County News Service
 
October 19, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- The city of Lemon Grove and EDCO Disposal invite you to a bulk item drop-off and e-waste/paper shredding event on Saturday, October 24, 2020 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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LA MESA HOSTS ANNUAL PARK APPRECIATION DAY

Source:  City of La Mesa

October 15, 2020 (La Mesa) - The public is invited to participate in the City of La Mesa’s annual Park Appreciation Day on Saturday, October 24, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. to noon.  Projects are arranged for households to remain socially distanced while helping beautify La Mesa parks and public spaces. Volunteers are requested to sign-up ahead of time for their project at http://bit.ly/ParkAppreciation2020  or by calling 619.667.1300.


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LATINO FAITH LEADERS URGE ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

October 8, 2020 (San Bernardino) -- Latino faith leaders are reaching out to members of Congress urging action on climate change, which is worsening the fires that are choking their neighborhoods with smoke.


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CUT STRAPS BEFORE TOSSING USED FACE MASKS, WILDIFE GROUPS ASK

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo via Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
 
A wildlife rescue nonprofit is asking people around the world to cut straps on masks before throwing them away, after rescuing hundreds of animals and birds that became entangled in elastic bands on masks used during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) director Eilsa Allen says, “Birds have died after become entangled in face masks, while dolphins, turtles and other marine animals can easily choke or suffer from fatal bowel obstructions when they mistake PPE [personal protective equipment] for food,” Yahoo News reports. 

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COMMUNITY CLEANUPS AND GREEN WASTE CHIPPING EVENTS IN POTRERO, JACUMBA AND CAMPO

By Miriam Raftery

September 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Community clean-up events are slated in three backcountry communities for residents to bring e-waste, furniture, box springs, appliances, mattress and other oversized trash (but no construction waste) from 8 a.m. until dumpsters are full. Chipping of green waste will also be available from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m.  The events are scheduled for:

CAMPO:  Sept. 19 at Homemaker’s Thrift Shop, 987 Custer Rd.

JACUMBA: Oct. 17 at Jacumba Community Park, 44605 Old Highway 80

POTRERO: Nov. 21 at Potrero Community Park, 24800 Potrero Park Dr.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: ACTION NEEDED TO CUT CARBON USE, ADDRESS WILDFIRES FUELED BY CLIMATE CHANGE

By Susan Tamura, San Diego
 
September 15, 2020 (San Diego) -- With California wildfires in the forefront, it is readily apparent that climate scientists' predictions of drier conditions in the West are coming to pass.  Wildfires and their smoke are not new to us; it's their ever-increasing magnitude that will test our resilience.

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NOMINEES ANNOUNCED FOR CIRCULATE SAN DIEGO'S 2020 MOMENTUM AWARDS

 

By Colin Parent, Circulate San Diego

September 14, 2020 (San Diego) – Circulate San Diego announced today the 2020 nominees for their annual Momentum Awards. The nominees are listed below.

Circulate San Diego’s Momentum Awards recognize the people and projects in the San Diego region that are creating excellent mobility choices and vibrant, healthy neighborhoods. This year’s awards also include a special category for COVID-19 Innovation, to highlight the efforts made to transform streets and policies during the ongoing pandemic.

The 2020 Momentum Awards will be online-only on October 1st, at 5:30 p.m. Attendance is free, but registration is required to receive information for how to participate in the event. Registration and event details are online at http://www.circulatesd.org/gala2020.


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LAWSUIT CHALLENGES COUNTY’S FAILURE TO ADDRESS CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE FROM VEHICLE TRAVEL

East County News Service
Photo cc via Bing
 
September 9, 2020 (San Diego) -- Cleveland National Forest Foundation (“CNFF”) and Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (“CERF”) filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court on September 4, 2020 challenging San Diego County’s plan for addressing the climate and environmental impacts of vehicle travel as required by Senate Bill 743 (“SB 743”). 
 
Instead of adopting a plan to reduce vehicle trips caused by new development, the County chose to exempt the vast majority of potential new developments under the County’s General Plan from even examining, much less addressing, driving-related impacts, the suit contends.
 
“San Diego County keeps doubling down on sprawling, car-centered development and thumbing its nose at the law. We need a paradigm shift that unites alternative transportation and affordable housing, not the same-old-same-old backcountry sprawl, ecological destruction, and endless, dangerous commutes,” said Duncan McFetridge, Director of CNFF.

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STATE PARKS WILDFIRE RELIEF FUND SEEKS DONATIONS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 9, 2020 (Sacramento) – Wildfires have charred thousands of acres in California state parks over the past two weeks, damaging scores of park structures as well. 

Big Basin Redwoods, Butano State Par, Armstrong Redwoos, State Natural Reserve and others need financial help to recover, with state resources stretched thin fighting fires and battling a pandemic.


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NEWSOM ORDERS INVESTIGATION OF ROLLING BLACKOUTS; GRID OPERATOR BLAMES PUC

SDG&E thanks customers for reducing power usage, averting need for outages yesterday, but brief outages are possible over next several days during heat wave

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons by SA-NC via Bing

August 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – As triple-digit heat scorches the West, California Independent Systems Operator (CAISO), which manages California’s power grid, ordered utilities to implement rolling power outages last weekend – but only notified the Governor on Friday. Outages are particularly disruptive during the pandemic, with miilions of Californians working from home and educating children at home. Many have nowhere to go to escape the heat during an outage, with libraries and other public facilities closed due to COVID-19.

Governor Gavin Newsom voiced outrage and ordered an investigation, also signing an emergency proclamation that temporarily allows some energy users and utilities to use backup energy sources to relieve pressure on the grid during peak times in the energy emergency. Meanwhile CAISO is pointing the finger at the Public Utilities Commission, claiming it has been warning the PUC to take preventive steps for years to make utility companies assure they had emergency back-up energy sources lined up, but that the PUC ignored those warnings.


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DISEASE OUTBREAK STRIKES CALIFORNIA DEER HERDS

Source:  Calif. Dept of Fish and Wildlife 

Photo by Miriam Raftery

August 3, 2020 (San Diego) - The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed outbreaks of adenovirus hemorrhagic disease in deer in several northern California counties, and is asking California residents to help curb the spread by not feeding wild animals, and reporting potential cases to the department.


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EARTHTALK®: IS DEET SAFE?

From the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is DEET natural and is it safe to use topically as a mosquito repellent? And which formulations and concentrations are advised?-- M. Frey, Milwaukee, WI

August 1, 2020  -- DEET (short for “diethyltoluamide”) is a synthetic compound invented by the U.S. Army in 1946 that can be applied topically to repel mosquitos, ticks, fleas, chiggers, leeches and other biting insects. Unlike other repellents which actually deter bugs with smells they don’t like—or even kill them on contact—DEET just makes it harder for pests to smell us so they are more likely to leave us alone.


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HOW TO ATTRACT MONARCH BUTTERFLIES IN EAST COUNTY

By Francie Murphy

July 23, 2020 (San Diego) --It is easy to bring beautiful Monarch butterflies into your San Diego backyard this summer by simply offering them the perfect meal – milkweed plants.

Anyone can learn how to start their own butterfly garden thanks to a new video out now from the University of California Master Gardener Program of San Diego County.  It only takes two and a half minutes to watch. You will get up close to caterpillars as they devour the milkweed on their way to becoming butterflies.

These beautiful creatures make the perfect house guest –you will welcome them back again and again!


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ACLU TAKES BORDER WALL FIGHT TO SUPREME COURT, SEEKS HALT TO DESTRUCTION OF SACRED SITES, WILDLIFE AND PROTECTED SCENIC AREAS

By Miriam Raftery

 

File photo: A section of the old border fence being torn down in San Diego’s East County as work continues on new wall despite lawsuit and pandemic

 

July 23, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- The American Civil Liberties Union yesterday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt construction of President Trump’s border wall. In a motion filed on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition, the ACLU is urging the court to lift an earlier stay that allowed the Trump administration to divert $2.5 billion from military pay and pension funds for border wall construction that Congress had specifically denied. 


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LATINO CONSERVATION GROUPS URGE ACTION ON PANDEMIC, CLIMATE CHANGE

By Suzanne Potter

Reprinted from California News Service, originally published in June

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming

July 17, 2020 (Sacramento) --  Latino conservation groups say battling the pandemic goes hand in hand with fighting climate change, because poor air quality exacerbated by climate change makes people more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Juanita Mora, CEO of the Chicago Allergy Center, said Latino communities are disproportionately affected by both the pandemic and poor air quality.


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HELIX WATER DISTRICT’S DEMONSTRATION WATER-WISE GARDENS ARE COMPLETE

 

Source:  Helix Water District

View video: https://youtu.be/OuJTPTgV3_8

July 16, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Helix Water District’s new demonstration landscape, located at its administration office in La Mesa, is complete. The project beautifies the neighborhood and inspires others to install WaterSmart landscaping.

The demonstration landscape includes three unique water-wise gardens on the streets around the building, including a Mediterranean garden on University Avenue, a desert landscape on Lee Avenue and a California native landscape along the building’s main entrance on Quince Street. Each is full of flowers, colors and textures.


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RESCUED EAGLE DIES

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 9, 2020 (Alpine) – An Bald Eagle rescued in Alpine has passed away, despite valiant efforts by the San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife to save the ailing bird brought to their facility on the Fourth of July.
 
The fledgling eagle was found dehydrated on the ground at Camp Barrett and rescued by SoCal Parrot, which brought the eagle to Project Wildlife. It received intravenous fluids, oxygen, treatment for mite and diagnostic testing; results are still pending.
 
Monday the young bird was able to stand and accepted hand feeding from volunteers, but still needed oxygen.
 
So staff members sedated and anesthetized the Bald Eagle for a thorough exam.But Nina Thompson, interim director of marketing and communications for the San Diego Humane Society reports, “This morning the juvenile bird was having more difficulty breathing, despite receiving supplemental oxygen in the critical care unit at our Pilar & Chuck Bahde Wildlife Center." Thompson continues, "Our highly trained medical staff knew they had to find out why the bird was not able to breathe.”

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SUPERVISORS WON’T APPEAL COURT RULING ON CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

By Miriam Raftery 

 

July 9, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego County Supervisors today voted unanimously not to appeal an appellate court ruling which found the County’s Climate Action Plan to be inadequate.  


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TWO EAST COUNTY STUDENTS RECEIVE SUSTAINABILITY SCHOLARSHIPS FROM WHEELHOUSE CREDIT UNION

*Wheelhouse awards $5,000 to college-bound students in San Diego through annual scholarship program*

East County News Service 

Photos:  Wheelhouse Scholarship Recipients Alby Penney from Valhalla High School and Hailey Qasawadish from Patrick Henry High School, San Diego

July 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Wheelhouse Credit Union (Wheelhouse) is helping the next generation of environmental trail blazers by awarding five scholarships of $1,000 each to college-bound students through its annual Sustainability College Scholarship Program. In this year’s program, Wheelhouse recognized five graduating high school seniors in San Diego County who demonstrated leadership, public service, and a desire to make a sustainable difference in their schools and communities.


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LAWSUIT FILED OVER CAMPO WIND PROJECT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Donna Tisdale fears massive wind turbines will ruin life at her rural ranch, pose severe wildfire and safety hazards for neighbors and tribal members

View Lawsuit

July 9, 2020 (Boulevard, CA) – A federal lawsuit has been filed against the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the U.S. Department of Interior and agency officials challenging their approval of  Campo Wind facilities on tribal land, including 60 wind turbines each 586 feet tall on 2,200 acres, as well as Boulder Brush energy facilities on adjacent private land. 

“The project is a dangerous and completely unnecessary industrialization of high-quality wildlife habitat in an area with an extremely high wildfire risk and frequent low-flying military, commercial and private aircraft,” states the suit filed by the nonprofit Backcountry Against Dumps along with Boulevard residents Donna and Ed Tisdale, whose ranch adjoins the project site with a half-mile shared border.


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HUMANE SOCIETY WORKS TO SAVE YOUNG BALD EAGLE IN EAST COUNTY ON FOURTH OF JULY

By Miriam Raftery

Updated July 5, 2020 from Nina Thompson at Project Wildlife: The juvenile bald eagle, which has not yet developed its white head feathers, is now standing on its own and accepting food.

July 4, 2020 (Alpine) – Our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, is rarely seen in San Diego County, where only a handful of nesting pairs have been documented.  Today, as our nation celebrates Independence Day, local wildlife workers are fighting to save the life of one found in the Alpine area in hopes of helping  the large raptor regain its indepedence.

“On this July Fourth holiday, San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife admitted a Bald Eagle.The magnificent bird was rescued and brought to us by SoCal Parrots, after it had been observed on the ground for a couple of days at Barrett Honor Camp,” says Nina Thompson, Interim Director of Marketing and Communications for the San Diego Humane Society.

The Bald Eagle is dehydrated, has been given fluids and  has also been treated for mites, Thompson writes in an email to ECM. 


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STATE ENDANGERED SPECIES STATUS SOUGHT FOR LOCAL BUTTERFLY

By Miriam Raftery

July 2, 2020 (San Diego)—Once the most common butterfly in Southern California, the Quino Checkerspot Butterfly has lost over 70 percent of its habitat.  It’s been listed as a federally endangered species since 1997, but is not on California Endangered Species Act. That could soon change, if a petition filed this week by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Endangered Habitats League is successful.

The butterfly is now found only in San Diego and Riverside Counties. The petition, filed with the California Fish and Game Commission, would make the colorful butterfly an endangered species under state law, giving stronger protections against habitat destruction and fragmentation, climate change, nitrogen pollution, invasive species and enforcement.


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EARTH TALK: ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE--A BLACK LIVES MATTER PRIORITY

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss, EarthTalk

Photo:  Air pollution and rollbacks to environmental protections and regulations make it hard for black people to breathe,” says Robert Bullard, the “father of environmental justice” and founder of the non-profit National Black Environmental Justice Network (NBEJN). Credit: Pexels.com

June 19, 2020 (San Diego) - Dear EarthTalk: Is there any overlap between the #BlackLivesMatter and Environmental Justice movements? -Jennifer B., Athens, GA


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SUPERVISORS TO HOLD HEARING ON CONTROVERSIAL LILAC HLLS RANCH JUNE 24 AFTER STAFF AND COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY RECOMMEND DENIAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Site of proposed master-planned deveopment that has sparked a firestorm of controversy

June 18, 2020 (Valley Center) -- The San Diego County Fire Authority and County staff have recommended that Supervisors deny the controversial Lilac Hills Ranch mixed-use development project in Valley Center due to concerns over fire safety and evacuation routes. County Supervisors will consider the recommended denial on Wednesday, June 24. Theh project has also drawn strong opposition over the years from community members.

Despite objections from fire authorities, however, the County Planning Commission voted 5-2 to overrule staff and ignore concerns over lack of safe evacuation routes.  Intead, the majority of commissioners recommended that Superivsors allow the developer to pay a $2 million fire protection fee with various escape clauses in order to proceed, with building the project with the homeowners' associatoin paying for annual brush clearing, as the developer has sought.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and will be virtual due to COVID-19.


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