Green Scene

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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REMAINING RESERVOIRS IN EAST COUNTY REOPEN

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: El Capitan Reservoir in Lakeside is now back open to the public
 
June 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – After pressure from local elected officials and candidates, the city of San Diego has backed off his plan to keep six reservoirs in our inland region closed for the rest of this year. Three of the reservoirs in question have reopened within the past week and the remaining three will open in early July
 

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WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN REOPENS IN MID-JUNE: BUTTERFLY RELEASES PLANNED

East County News Service
 
June 11, 2020 (El Cajon) -- As of June 15, The Water Conservation Garden reopens for members and reopens to the public on June 16, but with a small admission fee for non-members. All visitors in June will receive free ice cream and popsicles, as well as having the opportunity to visit the Dorcas E. Utter Memorial Butterfly Pavilion to view butterflies throughout June. Butterfly release dates are planned June 15, 19 and 27.

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AMID PANDEMIC, ANZA BORREGO FOUNDATION ACQUIRES LANDS TO EXPAND STATE PARK

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Ursula Esser courtesy of Anza Borrego Foundation:  Base of Sheep Canyon

June 8, 2020 (Borrego Springs) – California’s largest state park is about to get even bigger. The Anza Borrego Foundation announced that it has closed escrow on several properties it plans to donate to the state to expand Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The land transfer will include 331 parcels totaling 17,598 acres over 25 years of land acquisitions.

“In response to COVID-19, there has been increased land activity. Landowners have called eager to sell, and a couple even wanted to donate their land to ABF,” a newsletter sent by the ABF to its members states.

Grant writing and land acquisition have continued even while the park has been closed off to the public due to the pandemic.


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SANDAG AWARDS $95,000 TO CITIES AND COUNTY FOR SHARED STREETS PROGRAM

Pilot projects to create safe spaces for biking and walking amid pandemic

Source: SANDAG

Image via Pixabay

June 2, 2020 (San Diego) - In light of the current public health crisis and in recognition of National Bike Month in May, SANDAG created a new pilot program to support local jurisdictions with providing safe spaces for residents to obtain essential goods, services, and exercise.  


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REGIONAL COLLABORATION ON WATER PURIFICATION PROJECT EXPANDS LOCAL, DROUGHT-PROOF SUPPLY OF DRINKING WATER

Source: Helix Water District

May 29, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Helix Water District’s Board of Directors authorized its General Manager to sign water purchase agreements for the East County Advanced Water Purification (ECAWP) project at a special meeting on May 27.

The project is a collaborative, regional effort that will diversify the district’s water portfolio, provide a drought-proof supply and further enhance reliability by purifying treated wastewater using the district’s Lake Jennings and other facilities.

The $681 million project, led by the ECAWP Joint Powers Authority, will recycle daily wastewater flows from Santee, El Cajon, Lakeside, Winter Gardens and Alpine. Treated water will undergo membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and advanced oxidation to produce water that is near-distilled in quality.


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ADD LOCAL PARKS TO YOUR NEXT ZOOM VIDEO CONFERENCE

East County News Service
 
Photo: Seven Wild Bighorn Sheep, Credit: County of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department, at Agua Caliente
 
May 17, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) --Infiltrate a herd of bighorn sheep. Hike to the half-way point of San Diego’s toughest climb. Peruse the grounds outside a cabin, nature center or historic adobe dwelling. Enjoy sunset over Lake Morena, stop to smell the lilacs in Sycamore Canyon, or graze alongside cows on the sprawling hillsides of Santa Ysabel.
 
All of these adventures are possible virtually, with a little creativity and perspective, thanks to San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department’s new collection of photo backgrounds designed especially for video conferencing sites.

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LAKE JENNINGS CAMPGROUND REOPENS FOR RVS

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Lake Jennings, courtesy of Helix Water District

 

May 16, 2020 (Lakeside) – The Lake Jennings campground will reopen Monday, May 18 – but only for recreational vehicles (RVs).  No tent camping will be allowed yet, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recreational side of the lake will remain closed.


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SUPERVISOR JACOB AND BOTH CANDIDATES FOR HER SEAT ASK MAYOR FAULCONER TO REOPEN ALL EAST COUNTY LAKES

City opens Miramar, Murray and Lower Otay reservoirs, but leaves others closed indefinitely

Photo: Lake Murray, by Miriam Raftery

May 15, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Lake Murray, Lower Otay Reservoir and Lake Miramar reopen today for fishing, boating, cycling and walking, the city of San Diego announced. But other lakes remain closed. Four of them – El Capitan, Hodges, San Vicente and Upper Otay, are being evaluated for potential reopening later, but Lakes Barrett and Sutherland are slated to stay closed all year, even if stay-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.

Earlier this week, Joel Anderson, candidate for County Supervisor in the 2nd district, launched a petition he urges the public to sign. It calls on County Supervisors to intervene and  “save our lakes.”


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RABBIT HEMORRHAGIC DISEASE FOUND FOR FIRST TIME IN CALIFORNIA

Public, hunters and hikers  asked to take precautions to avoid spreading deadly illness

East County News Service

Photo: Creative Commons-S.A. via Bing

May 13, 2020 (Palm Springs) – After 10 dead jackrabbits were found dead on a private property near Palm Springs, a carcass has tested positive for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease virus type 2 (RHDV2) which is highly contagious and often lethal to both wild and domestic rabbits, as well as hares and pikas. The virus has been confirmed in state and federal lab tests. 


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