As Mark Tyson watched a flock of seagulls chase a larger white bird, he knew the latter was something he had never seen before. And, he thought, if he was right, the large seabird was hundreds, if not thousands, of miles outside of its typical range.
The ocean inlet to the Bolsa Chica wetlands, once again being dredged to allow the tidal flushing vital to the abundant wildlife in the area, could run dry of funds necessary for the near-annual pumping operation required to maintain the ecosystem.
A long-contaminated Orange County site is getting increased federal attention after the court-ordered release of emails showing that conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt set up a meeting between controversial EPA chief Scott Pruitt and attorneys for the Orange County Water District, which is seeking federal oversight of the cleanup process.
When a contaminated aquifer in Orange County made U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s list of top-priority sites for “immediate, intense action,” the local water district was quick to highlight the announcement. But questions of political favoritism are swirling over Pruitt’s decision in December to prioritize cleaning the Orange County North Basin groundwater pollution plume beneath Anaheim and Fullerton using the federal Superfund program.
“Already five years behind schedule and about $12 million over budget, a new pump station to prevent flooding in Seal Beach still hasn’t been finished – and won’t be for another six months, say county officials. …
“The pump station and a new water basin were originally intended to keep Seal Beach from getting flooded again after the overwhelming rains of January 1995.”
“So here’s what we know: For nearly 10 years, the Orange County Water District has waged a complex legal war to force businesses to pay more than $200 million to clean up contamination that it insists threatens drinking water.”
“Falcons and hawks trained and flown by Adam Chavez of San Juan Capistrano evidently have succeeded – at least for now – in scaring away sea gulls blamed for polluting the beach with their droppings in recent years. The birds hung out by the hundreds at a freshwater pond at the mouth of a Poche flood-control channel.”
“It’s the start of the planting season for strawberries, a dwindling crop in an increasingly urbanized county. … The persistence of local strawberry fields is explained in part by simple economics: Consumers are willing to pay a higher price for a pound of berries than, say, a pound of oranges.
“As Orange County heads into another season of dry vegetation and fire-stoking winds, fire officials will rely on a time-tested method to gauge the danger: clipping samples of wild vegetation and, back at headquarters, measuring how much moisture they hold.
“But a new effort by a research team that includes Chapman University and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena could eliminate the leg work – and catapult fire-risk assessment into the 21st century.”
“Homeowners associations, with their large common areas, are a big draw on water supplies. Recognizing that, the county’s water wholesaler and individual water districts offer programs designed to help associations and their residents reduce outdoor water use.”
The Orange County Water District’s board on Thursday will consider whether to launch negotiations with a company that wants to build a power plant capable of generating up to 300 megawatts of energy on the same plot of land where Anaheim city officials want to open a park that would serve community sports leagues.”