Category: News

Proposed Cali ballot measure to build new dams goes bust

This view of Florence’s Lake’s dam from October, 2021, shows the extent of water loss from the continuing drought. It was built in 1926 as part of a hydroelectric project and captures water from the South Fork of the San Joaquin River in the western Sierra. (Credit: Jim Burns)

From the Mercury News:

Supporters of a proposed November ballot measure to provide billions of dollars to build new dams, desalination plants and other large water projects in California announced Tuesday they are ending their campaign due to lack of signatures and funding.

“Despite crafting an initiative that would solve California’s challenge of chronic and worsening water scarcity, and despite recent polling that indicates over 70% of California’s voters support increased state spending on water infrastructure, the campaign has been unable to attract the financial support necessary to gather the required 1 million signatures,” the campaign said in a statement.

Read the whole story here.

 L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration to receive $28 million from bipartisan infrastructure bill

@MayorofLA — Mayor Garcetti today celebrated $28 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration project. This funding will enable habitat restoration near the Arroyo Seco confluence and the Taylor Yard site. 

A city button from when “riverly” was a thing. (Credit: Jim Burns)

“The L.A. River is one of Los Angeles’ crown jewels – a foundational piece of our city’s story. Now, it’s on us to make it shine for ourselves and future generations,” Mayor Garcetti said. “This $28 million investment by our federal partners – their largest to date in the river – caps off nearly a decade of progress and investment in our bold vision of the L.A. River’s future. I am deeply grateful to our Los Angeles Congressional delegation, as well as the Biden Administration for this funding, and I look forward to seeing the transformation continue as a lifelong Angeleno.”

The L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration project will restore 11 miles of the L.A. River from Griffith Park to Downtown Los Angeles. The city estimates this plan will generate 14,200 construction jobs and 2,670 permanent jobs. It will restore hundreds of acres for multiple plant and animal species and provide access to natural areas and trails for historically disadvantaged communities.  

During his first term, Mayor Garcetti personally lobbied the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the approval of the L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration project. He led on the passage of Measure M in 2016 which funded a drastic expansion of the LA RiverWay bike path. In 2017, the city acquired the 42-acre G2 parcel at Taylor Yard to expand park-land around the river. The river restoration project has been a priority for the City of Los Angeles for more than 20 years and is reflected in the City’s 2007 Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan, which outlines the City’s vision for the future of the L.A. River as well as the numerous benefits that its revitalization will bring to diverse communities in the region.

Outside LA, Nature Conservancy creates 72,000-acre refuge that is ‘off limits to development’

The Nature Conservancy’s new 72,000-acre Randall Nature Preserve in the Tehachapi Mountains north of Los Angeles gives wildlife a hedge against 11 million people and development.
(Tyler Schiffman/Nature Conservancy)

The preserve is a Grand Central Station of wildlife corridors sustaining gene flows of native wildlife,” said Cara Lacey, the Nature Conservancy’s director of wildlife corridors, “by connecting them to swaths of undeveloped habitat that run from the Sierra Nevada to the Baja Peninsula.” Read the whole story in the Los Angeles Times about the new Randall Nature Preserve in the Tehachapi Mountains, two hours north of Los Angeles.

Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers remove more than 5,000 pounds of trash in three hours

A volunteer at the Trout Unlimited South Coast chapter LA River cleanup joined 2,735 others on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 35 beach, river and inland sites in Los Angeles County for the 32nd Annual #CoastalCleanupDay. Volunteers covered 50-plus miles of area on land and underwater—removing 5,051 pounds of trash and 156 pounds of recyclables in three hours. (Credit: Miranda Robin)

Checkmate: EPA to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay, blocking major gold mine

Bristol Bay’s salmon spawning grounds sustain a commercial fishing industry that generates more than $2 billion every year. (Courtesy Wild Salmon Center)

From the Washington Post: “The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that it would restore protections for Alaska’s Bristol Bay, blocking the construction of a massive and controversial gold mine near the world’s largest sockeye salmon run.

The policy shift, indicated in a court filing Thursday in response to a lawsuit filed by the mine’s opponents, deals a serious blow to a project that has been in the works for more than a decade and would have transformed southwest Alaska’s landscape.” Read the whole story.

USDA Forest Service Temporarily Closing All California National Forests for Public Safety

Release Date: Aug 30, 2021

Contact(s): Public Inquiries, Media Inquiries

PDF of this news release

Link to Regional Order

VALLEJO, Calif., — August 30, 2021. To better provide public and firefighter safety due to the ongoing California wildfire crisis, USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region is announcing a temporary closure of all National Forests in California. This closure will be in effect from Aug. 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. through September 17, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. This order does not affect the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, which is not in the Pacific Southwest Region.

“We do not take this decision lightly but this is the best choice for public safety,” said Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien. “It is especially hard with the approaching Labor Day weekend, when so many people enjoy our national forests.”

Factors that led to this decision include:

1. By temporarily reducing the numbers of people on national forests, we hope to minimize the likelihood that visitors could become entrapped on National Forest System lands during emergency circumstances.

2. The closure order will also decrease the potential for new fire starts at a time of extremely limited firefighting resources, and enhance firefighter and community safety by limiting exposure that occurs in public evacuation situations, especially as COVID-19 continues to impact human health and strain hospital resources.

3. Due to state-wide conditions, any new fire starts have the potential for large and rapid fire growth with a high risk to life and property. The Forest Service and our partners are absolutely doing all we can to fight these fires and will continue to do so, but the conditions dictate the need for this region-wide closure order.

4. Forecasts show that conditions this season are trending the same or worse as we move into late summer and fall.

5. Although the potential for large fires and risk to life and property is not new, what is different is that we are facing: (a) record level fuel and fire conditions; (b) fire behavior that is beyond the norm of our experience and models such as large, quick runs in the night; (c) significantly limited initial attack resources, suppression resources, and Incident Command Teams to combat new fire starts and new large fires; and (d) no predicted weather relief for an extended period of time into the late fall.

Cause Celebre: How a trout rescue on the q.t. ignited a water war in Pasadena

An incredible story of disappearing water, relocated trout and the thirsty needs of Pasadena.
Once known for its fly-fishing close to home, the Arroyo Seco above Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has become an unwilling poster child for all the calamities trout face: devastating fires, ruinous mudslides, parching droughts and , of course, human pressure. (Jim Burns)

An amazing story from the incomparable Los Angeles Times environmental writer Louis Sahagun: “In an era of increasing drought and nearly back-to-back wildfires, state conservationists have been working overtime in the San Gabriel Mountains to rescue frogs, fish and other species facing potential oblivion by rounding up populations of threatened animals and transporting them to safer areas.

While most of these efforts have occurred in obscurity, one recent mission to save hundreds of doomed rainbow trout has touched off a heated battle between humans and fish over the clear waters of Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco. The controversy has also served to highlight the challenges wildlife biologists now face as they search for havens amid Southern California’s patchwork of urban development, wildfire scars and seasonal mudslides.”

South Gate’s Urban Orchard Project moves closer to reality

From Stillwater Sciences:  We are excited to announce one of our first groundbreaking projects in the Lower LA River watershed in the City of South Gate, the Urban Orchard Park and wetlands with a trout stream!

See video link featuring the Mayor of South Gate, Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, RMC Mark Stanley, TPL Robin Mark, and prominent community and tribal leaders.

The project connects to the LAR Bikeway, Lower LAR Revitalization Master Plan, Metro station, multi-use planned community center, schools, neighborhoods and biodiversity bringing native habitat and species home to South Gate. Stillwater Sciences designed the one-acre native wetland, trout stream, and native habitat for the seven-acre park. We also completed the regulatory permitting for the project approvals.