Green Scene

READER’S EDITORIAL TERRA-GEN’S CONTROVERSIAL CAMPO WIND TURBINE PROJECT APPROVED BY DEPT OF INTERIOR OVER STRONG OBJECTIONS OF IMPACTED TRIBAL MEMBERS

Decision bypasses Campo’s tribal regulations and land use planning protections: Legal challenges are in the works

By Donna Tisdale, President of Backcountry Against Dumps

April 9, 2020 (Campo and Boulevard, California)-- Against strong opposition, including many tribal members, the Department of Interior just approved the Record of Decision (ROD) for Terra-Gen’s controversial Campo Wind project with 60-586 ft tall 4.2 megawatt (MW) turbines on Campo Tribal lands in rural San Diego County.

These turbines are taller than the tallest skyscraper in San Diego and twice as powerful as existing Kumeyaay Wind and Tule Wind turbines that already generate nuisance level adverse impacts for neighbors! To add insult to injury, the ROD was signed by the Assistant Secretary, which means we lose the right to appeal that approval.

Legal challenges are in the works.

Campo Wind is opposed by neighbors as well as by a qualified number of voting Campo Tribal members, but Campo leaders have ignored two valid tribal petitions: 1) to terminate Campo Wind ; 2) to remove their leadership for failing to hold the vote to terminate[1]. Turbines are planned far too close to homes and offices and can restrict the number and placement of new homes for current and future residents.

Campo’s elections are set for April 17th, with strong hope that leaders will be voted in who will act to better protect their people and resources, and to stop Campo Wind dead in its tracks.


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LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL OFFERS COVID-19 INFO FOR RESIDENTS AND PASSES CLIMATE ACTION PLAN WITH AMENDMENTS FORTHCOMING

By Jake Zawlacki

Audio Recording Link: https://www.lemongrove.ca.gov/city-hall/city-council/city-council-meeting-audio-recordings

April 8, 2020 (Lemon  Grove) -- In a 3-2 split, the Lemon Grove City Council voted Tuesday to approve the city’s Climate Action Plan, a plan to take advantage of $2.5 million in grant funds  from SANDAG to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 through local projects.

In accordance with Gov. Newsom’s Executive Orders in a response to mitigating the transmission of COVID-19, the meeting commenced online via Zoom.


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VIRTUAL DESERT WILDFLOWERS TOUR

East County News Service

April 4, 2020 (Borrego Springs) -- The COVID-19 stay-home order and parking lot closures at all state parks has prevented many San Diegans from traveling to see desert wildflowers. Fortunately, the Anza-Borrego Foundation has put up a video tour of this year's blossoms, with this note:  "Since so  many of you cannot visit Anza-Borrego right now, we wanted to bring our spring bloom to you. Enjoy!

Take the virtual wildflowers tour here:  https://www.facebook.com/AnzaBorregoFoundation/videos/1112381709122228/


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GROUPS SLAM TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S ROLLBACK OF AUTO EMISSION STANDARDS

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

April 3, 2020 (Los Angeles) - Groups that promote public health and clean air and that advocate for consumers all are vowing to fight the Trump administration's new rollback of vehicle-emission standards. The new rule was finalized on Tuesday.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: A MID-FLIGHT TRANSFER

East County News Service
 
April 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Debbie Merrill sent in these photos of a white-tailed kite bringing a vole (similar to a mouse) to his mate in a mid-air food exchange that is “typical behavior for these raptors,” according to Merrill.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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LEMON GROVE GETS GRANT OF NEARLY $1.5 MILLION FOR CONNECT MAIN STREET PROJECT

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – Amid a wave of fiscal bad news for Lemon Grove, from its sales tax measure failing to the Covid-19 crisis dropping sales tax revenues even further due to business shutdowns, one slice of good news has emerged.

 

The California Natural Resources Agency has announced that the city of Lemon Grove will receive a $1.47 million Green Infrastructure Grant for phase 3 of its Connect Main Street project.


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CAMPO TRIBE'S FORMER CHAIR LA CHAPPA AND 64 MEMBERS PETITION FOR SPECIAL MEETING OVER ALLEGEDLY “CORRUPT ACTIONS” OF LEADERSHIP UNDER CHAIRMAN CUERO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Monique La Chappa

March 26, 2020 (Campo) – After Campo tribal chair Harry Paul Cuero Jr. reportedly refused to recognize a motion or allow a vote on a petition to overturn approval of the new Campo Wind project, as ECM reported, a new petition (posted below this article) has reportedly been presented to Cuero which seeks to remove him and potentially other executive committee members from office.

The petition, which former Chair Monique La Chappa says has been signed by 64 tribal general counsel members, calls for a “vote to stop the corrupt actions of our Campo tribal leadership.” She indicates 64 signatures meets the threshhold which would mandate that  a meeting and vote be held.

But she and others fear the Chair may not respect the tribal constitution or federal laws, citing a pattern of disregarding such requirements in recent years in what La Chappa contends amounts to "a dictatorship," she told ECM an in exclusive interview.


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MORE PUBLIC PLACES SHUT DOWN DUE TO VISITORS CROWDING ATTRACTIONS, IGNORING SOCIAL DISTANCING

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread in San Diego and people eager to exercise or socialize crowd into outdoor public spaces, more are shutting down including most local beaches as well as many parks and trails.

Here’s the latest on what’s open and closed.

While it's best to stay home if you have space to exercise and get fresh air there, if you do venture out to public spaces, be sure to maintain social distance of six feet from anyone not in your famliy and so that the few remaining places to enjoy nature won’t be shut down, too. No groups of 10 or more are allowed anywhere in the state.  The Sheriff has said that those violating social distancing rules may be arrested, fined, and jailed.


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CORONAVIRUS SILVER LINING: POLLUTION DROPS AROUND THE WORLD

By Miriam Raftery

March 22, 2020 (San Diego) – With people around the world sequestered at home due to the COVID-19 virus, factories shut down and freeway traffic jams virtually gone, satellite images and photos are revealing sharp drops in pollution across the globe.

In Los Angeles, early data from the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-5P Satellite shows that levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air, mainly produced by vehicle emissions, dropped sharply in the first two weeks of March, the New York Times reports.


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WHAT TO DO DURING CORONAVIRUS SHUTDOWN? CHECK OUT THESE ACTIVITY IDEAS

By Miriam Raftery

March 14, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’re healthy and under 65, but trying to avoid crowds and maintain social distancing (authorities recommended six feet from others), here are a few options to consider, from hiking and fishing at local forests, parks and lakes to homebound activities such as gardening, games, cooking and virtual tours.


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PUBLIC COMMENTS NEEDED ON STATE PARKS PLAN TO RESTORE CLOVER FLAT WILDLIFE PRESERVE DAMAGED BY OFF-ROAD VEHICLES

By Patrick Williams, Back Country Land Trust

Photo; Typical Clover Flat OHV trail for closure and restoration:

March 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Mountain Empire residents and others interested in seeing the Clover Flat wildlife preserve near Campo restored can submit comments on the restoration proposal by May 4, 2020.  Below are details on the proposal and how to submit your public comments.

California State Parks  proposes to  restore off-highway vehicle (OHV) including quad and four-wheel drive damaged areas totaling five restoration acres at Clover Flat wildlife preserve. Damaged areas will be secured, then restored with native plant seed, wattles and mulch and signage will be placed to direct riders (mostly accessing the area from the RR access road) to legal OHV Corral Canyon or Lark Canyon riding areas.

State Parks OHV public review and comment instructions:


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REAL ESTATE REALITY: PROTECTING THE NEST FROM UNCOOPERATIVE NEIGHBOR

By Maryanne Jackson real estate Broker CNE, CPRES.

Photo: Cooper's hawk, Freestock creative commons

March 6, 2020 (San Diego's East County)

 Dear Maryanne,

I woke up to a commotion in my driveway. I looked out and noticed tree trimmers trimming a large tree on our property with branches that grow over to the neighboring side. This tree is providing privacy and shade to me! Most important of all the tree is home for a hawk; she has a nest and babies currently in the tree.

I ran out and yelled for the tree trimmers to stop as they were climbing the tree on our side. My concern is we had not discussed this with our neighbors. Shouldn’t we have a voice in the company selected and the time of the service? We want to protect the hawks and we also want to make sure the company is licensed and bonded. What can we do now?

 R.M.

La Mesa, Ca.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: WHITE-TAILED KITES

East County News Service

March 5, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Debbie Merrill snapped these photos of a pair of white-tailed kites nesting in East County.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: BALD EAGLE IN EAST COUNTY

East County News Service
 
March 1, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Photographer Debbie Merrill snapped these spectacular close-ups of a bald eagle, America’s national symbol.  The photos were taken at an East County location that is not being disclosed to protect the bird’s safety.
 
Bald eagles are rare in San Diego County, with only a handful of nesting pairs in recent years. Sightings have previously been reported in the Cuyamaca, Lakeside, and Lake Morena areas.
 

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SUPERVISORS TO HOLD HEARING FEB. 26 ON PROPOSED ZONING LANGUAGE FOR FORMER FOREST CONSERVATION INITIATIVE (FCI) PROPERTIES

 

East County News Service

February 25, 2020 (San Diego) – On Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 9 a.m., San Diego County’s Planning & Development Services will present to the Board of Supervisors a Zoning Ordinance amendment to include “Former Forest Conservation Initiative Properties Overlay of Part Five: Special Area Regulations” on former Forest Conservation Initiative lands that lie outside of Village or Rural Village boundaries.

The Forest Conservation initiative passed initially by voters once protected extensive forest lands in the vicinity of Cleveland National Forest, but the measure expired through sunsetting and was not renewed by Supervisors.

The Overlay does not change underlying land use regulations or General Plan densities. However, it requires additional analyses and findings before approval of any proposals that increase residential density on these lands beyond what is currently allowed by the General Plan.

The Supervisors meeting will be held in the County Administration office at 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, Room on the north end of the third floor.


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PROTEST AT LEMON GROVE TOYOTA FEB. 29 TARGETS COMPANY’S SUPPORT OF TRUMP LAWSUIT AGAINST CA OVER EMISSION STANDARDS

By Miriam Raftery

February 21, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – Toyota positions itself in marketing as a green company. But the company recently joined the Trump administration in a lawsuit against California seeking to overturn our state’s clean emission laws for vehicles.

On Saturday morning, February 29, protesters are organizing a march through Lemon Grove ending in a rally at Larry Miller Toyota in Lemon grove.  A press release issued by Toyota Loves Trump, an environmental justice campaign organized by Activist San Diego, states, “Toyota management wants to put their profit above our health. We must let them know this is unacceptable."

All who care about clean air, healthy bodies and freedom from fossil fuels are invited to meet at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 29 at 7065 Broadway I Lemon Grove, outside a vacant social services building. The group will march to the Toyota dealership, where they will hold a protest rally and hear from several speakers.


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ENVIRONMENTALISTS SUE SANTEE OVER CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

East County News Service
 
February 20, 2020 (Santee) – A lawsuit has been filed against the city of Santee, claiming the city erred in passing its Climate Action Plan and a related environmental impact report without accounting for potential emissions from Fanita Ranch, Home Fed’s proposed project that would add 3,000 homes and increase traffic on already congested roadways.
 
The suit was filed in San Diego Superior Court by three environmental advocacy groups: Preserve Wild Santee, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Climate Action Campaign.

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ROBERT KENNEDY, JR.'S LEGAL TEAM SUES FCC OVER WIRELESS HEALTH GUIDELINES

Robert Kennedy Jr.’s Legal Team Sues FCC – The team includes RFK, Jr., IRREGULATORs’ Attorney Scott W. McCollough & Dafna Tachover, CHD’s Director of Stop 5G & Wireless Harms
 
Reprinted with permission from Children's Health Defense, Inc. 
 
February 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Robert Kennedy, Jr., Chairman of Children’s Health Defense (CHD), is committed to be proactive on the concerns regarding excessive exposure of our children to 5G and wireless radiation. To fulfill this promise, CHD submitted a lawsuit on February 2, 2020 against the FCC for its December 4, 2019 decision to decline to review its 1996 guidelines, and for its determination that the guidelines are protective of human health.

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CAMPO TRIBAL MEMBERS PLEAD FOR LEGAL HELP, ALLEGE RIGHTS VIOLATED IN WIND PROJECT APPROVAL: PETITION SEEKS REVOTE ON CONTROVERSIAL PROJECT

“Our reservation is in dire financial condition. We have really nothing to give our youth…All we have are false promises.” – Denis Largo, tribal elder who delivered a petition calling for a vote to overturn wind project approval

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Tribal elder Dennis Largo

February 14, 2020 (Campo)—Whistleblowers in the Campo band of Mission Indians claim that their tribal leadership pushed through approval of a massive wind project during an improperly noticed meeting. They have now collected enough signatures to overturn that approval with a revote.  But despite the Feb. 13th deadline to notify tribal members of a meeting to revote on the controversial project, several tribal members say they have not received any such notice.   

The proposed Campo Wind project would allow 60 turbines built by Terra-Gen on the reservation. Each would be 586 tall, the tallest wind turbines ever built on land, according to Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group, which also opposes the project.


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DISTEMPER CASES RISE AMONG CALIFORNIA'S FOXES, RACCOONS, SKUNKS

Residents Reminded to Vaccinate Pets, Remove Wildlife Attractants

Source: Calif. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Photo: creative commons via N.A. on Bing

February 11, 2020 (Sacramento) -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reporting an unusually high number of canine distemper virus (CDV) cases in wildlife populations throughout the state. CDV can infect a wide range of domestic and wild carnivores, including some non-canids. Gray foxes, raccoons and skunks are the most commonly affected species.

Unvaccinated domestic dogs can potentially contract the disease through contact with food or water bowls that are "shared" with infected wild carnivores. Pet owners should be particularly vigilant in their efforts to keep their domestic animals from coming into contact with wildlife. CDV is not transmissible to humans.


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RAIN BARREL DISTRIBUTION FEB. 22 IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service
 
February 8, 2020 (Spring Valley) – If you would like to capture rainwater to use in your garden, a rain barrel distribution event will be held Feb. 22 at Mt.Miguel High School In Spring Valley. Rebates are available and  pre-orders should be made by Feb. 16.  See details below. 
 
Event Name: Rain Barrel Distribution Event - Spring Valley
 
When: Saturday, February 22, 9 am - 1 pm
 
Where: Mt. Miguel High School, 8585 Blossom Ln, Spring Valley, CA 91977
 
Contact: (760)436-7986 x700 or compost@solanacenter.org
 
 
Event Description: 

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PORT OF SAN DIEGO ENCOURAGES GREENER FREIGHT AND SHIPPING

$44 million “CORE” project launches to speed deployment of zero-emission freight equipment at CA ports, rail yards, airports, warehouses and terminals to clean the air, reduce climate emissions

Zero-emission terminal tractors, railcar movers and transport refrigeration units displayed at Port of San Diego kickoff event; big point-of-sale incentives are available through voucher project

Source: Story & Reach Communications

Photos Credit: Port of San Diego

February 6, 2020 (San Diego)The California Air Resources Board (CARB) last week launched the Clean Off-Road Equipment Voucher Incentive Project (CORE) with the goal of cleaning up one of the state’s biggest economic sectors that is still reliant on heavy, fossil-fuel-powered equipment. CORE seeks to accelerate the deployment of zero-emission off-road freight equipment used at goods-movement hubs, including ports, distribution centers, airports, and rail yards.


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MAST PARK OPENS AFTER YEARLONG RENOVATION

Story and photos by Mike Allen

The wait is over. After 13 months of reconstruction, Mast Park reopened Feb. 1 to hordes of Santee residents who were nearly universally happy about the results.

“I like it but I can’t wait until all the people are gone,” said Olga Buhler, a 24-year resident of Santee who frequents the park on daily walks. “I’ve been waiting, waiting, every day…They did a super job.”

“It looks beautiful,” said Michael Ranson, who lives nearby in the Santee Lakes neighborood. “This looks a lot more open, brighter, and safer. They did an amazing job.”


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GIANT WIND PROJECTS DRAW STRONG OPPOSITION FROM RURAL RESIDENTS AND TRIBAL MEMBERS: DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS IS TODAY

 

By Rebecca Person

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this article

Photos: An existing wind project on the Campo reservation has previously had multiple fires caused by exploding wind turbines, shown here, raising alarm among area residents over fire dangers and other potential hazards posed by the proposed new and far larger turbines

February 3, 2020 (Campo) -- Residents of Campo, Boulevard and Jacumba voiced their concerns Jan. 23rd at a meeting in Boulevard held by the County Planning Development Services staff addressing the construction of 120 wind turbines in Boulevard and on the Campo Reservation.

The wind turbines will be 596’ tall, taller than towers which dot the high desert that stand between 325' to almost 400 ft tall. 60 turbines are planned for the Campo Indian Reservation, and 30 turbines for McCain Valley near I-8 freeway in Boulevard. According to Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group, these may be the largest wind turbines ever erected on land. Turbines on tribal land would also abut her property in rural Boulevard. Setbacks from some homes would be far less than at many other wind projects, even though the turbines are larger.

Over 60 local residents gathered at the meeting and many spoke of the effects existing towers have had on their quality of life. Campo Band of Mission Indians tribal members who live on the Campo Reservation and oppose the project stated that they have presented a petition with 65 signatures asking their tribal council to overturn an earlier disputed vote to erect the giant turbines on the reservation.


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REPORT URGING ACTION ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND TRANSPORTATION FUNDING RELEASED

Source: Circulate San Diego
 
February 1, 2020 (San Diego) – Supervisor Nathan Fletcher (photo, center) and affordable housing advocates joined Circulate San Diego for the release of “Fair Share,” Circulate’s report that details how San Diego is not receiving its fair share of affordable housing and transportation funds.
 
The Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program is a state grant program that funds the construction of affordable housing and transportation projects that address San Diego’s homelessness and housing crisis, and greenhouse gas reductions goals. Unfortunately, the San Diego region received $14 million less than it would if it had won grant funding proportionate with the County’s share of California’s population in the last grant cycle alone.
 
“As this report makes clear, we need to move together as a region to make San Diego more competitive for funding that can lower housing costs, reduce traffic congestion, address climate change - all while building a San Diego for all” said County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.

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POLL: CARMAKERS' SUPPORT FOR CLEAN CAR ROLLBACKS ALIENATES CUSTOMERS

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service
Photo: Tailpipe emissions, CC by SA via Bing
 
January 29, 2020 (Sacramento) --  A new poll suggests carmakers that support the Trump administration's attempt to roll back clean-car emission standards may be undermining their standing with their customers. Toyota, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Subaru, Nissan, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsubishi support the feds in a lawsuit to prevent California from establishing tougher emissions standards than those set by the federal government.

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TOXIC PFAS “FOREVER CHEMICALS” FOUND IN WATER SUPPLIES ACROSS U.S., BUT TRUMP THREATENS TO VETO REGULATORY BILL

PFAS chemicals have been used in some fire-fighting foams, cookware, carpets, clothing,  and fast-food wrappers

By Miriam Raftery and Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo, left: Poster for 2019 Dark Waters movie

January 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The 2019 movie “Dark Waters” alerted the public to health hazards posed by perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS, also know as PFOA and PFOS) that contaminated water and groundwater around manufacturer DuPont’s facility in Parksburg, West Virginia. The chemicals have been linked to deaths, cancer and more--and they are pervasive, found in 97% of Americans tested, PBS reports, citing a U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination study in 2015.

Pollution nationwide

Recent tests by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found PFAS in water supplies of major cities across the U.S. – far more than revealed in federal tests.  Yet the federal government has failed to take action to protect public health. A bill seeking to regulate PFAS has passed the House of Representatives and faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Even if it passes,  President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the measure.

California contamination

In California, a 2019 study found drinking water sources for 74 community water systems serving 7.5 million Californians are contaminated with PFAS, according to an EWG review of the latest state data, as the Los Angeles Times reported.

All PFAS found in California water systems’ sources exceeded 1 part per trillion, or ppt, the safe level recommended by the best independent studies.  At the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base, a combined concentration of 820 ppt for seven different PFAS chemicals was measured in a single well in 2017.


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MISSION TRAILS ANNOUNCES WORKSHOPS ON BIRD IDENTIFICATION AND MOUNTAIN LIONS

East County News Service
 
January 15, 2020 (San Diego)—Mission Trails Regional Park announces a series of bird identification workshops on Saturdays, Feb. 1, 8, 15, and 22 from 1-3 p.m. at a cost of $15 per session. 
 
In addition, on Thursday Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. a program on “Mystery cat: Southern Caifornia’s elusive mountain lion” will be presented in the visitors’ center at a $10 cost.
 
Bird identification: The bird identification workshops will be led by Millie Basden and include a guided in-field walk the following morning.  Learn to identify 50 common birds found in Mission Trails Regional Park as year-round residents or winter visitors.

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BUTTERFLY DECIMATED BY SAN DIEGO WILDFIRES IS PROPOSED FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES PROTECTION

Photo by Michael W. Klein Sr. via U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Hermes copper butterfly is found primarily in San Diego County, as well as northwestern Baja, Mexico. 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
January 14, 2020 (San Diego) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week announced a proposal to add the Hermes Copper Butterfly as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act.  
 
The butterfly is found only in San Diego County and northwest Baja California, Mexico, but wildfires including the 2003 Cedar and 2007 firestorms have decimated most of its habitat, as have development. 
 
Now, the USF&W wants to designate 35,000 acres of protected critical habitat in San Diego County  The plan also calls for a captive breeding program and reintroduction into the wild.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: OPEN LETTER TO SANTEE COUNCIL MEMBER LAURA KOVAL - PUBLIC INTEREST MOTIVATES PRESERVE WILD SANTEE

By Van Collinsworth, Director, Preserve Wild Santee
 
January 14, 2020 (Santee) -- At the last meeting, the new Vice-Mayor Laura Koval waited until after I had addressed the council and returned to my seat to suggest that Preserve Wild Santee and/or other environmental organizations work is financially motivated. To be clear, and as has always been the case, I will engage with any council member at the podium to address their directed remarks, as I did with the mayor. From my perspective, waiting until I cannot respond to make this suggestion of financial motivation, demonstrates the weakness of your position.
 

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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

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