Los Angeles has big, big plans for revitalizing an 11-mile stretch of the [Los Angeles] river over the next several years, at a price tag that began at $1 billion and soon bumped up to an estimated $1.6 billion. But is the water clean enough for recreational use, or to be a draw for people to live or work along the banks of what amounts to a drainage ditch for urban storm runoff and treated sewage?
Developers in the city of San Diego are facing tougher government enforcement at construction sites that have the potential to pollute rivers and streams — including fines and even stop-work orders. That’s the result of a settlement San Diego officials entered into with water quality regulators that will require the city to pay $3.2 million and step up policing of development.
When the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted a new Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems Permit last year, there was great alarm on the part of local governments, real estate developers and others affected by it.
From the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Switchboard Staff Blog, in a post by Alisa Valderrama:
Stormwater runoff is a primary source of water pollution nationwide—be it a local river, lake, or ocean beach, so I knew cities in California would have their share of stormwater management challenges. What surprised me is just how far many of California’s cities are from meeting their water quality goals.
Five hundred million dollars in road and water-quality improvements are underway on the California side of Lake Tahoe. … The new roads are designed to collect storm water and filter out pollution in 30-by-60-foot sand pits.
“The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to review a long-running Los Angeles County case, handing a victory to environmentalists in a battle over polluted urban runoff that fouls Southern California’s coastal waters.”
“[Lara] Meeker, who heads the environmental group’s DrainWatch program, is overseeing a special corps of volunteers called Storm Water Assessment Teams — or SWAT — who fan out across the region to collect water samples in an effort to force polluters to clean up.”
“An innovative project installed by the city to cleanse storm water naturally before it reaches San Francisco Bay is serving as an inspiration for a similar, but larger project planned for El Cerrito and six other East Bay cities.”
“Associations representing the nation’s mayors, counties, cities, stormwater agencies and major California water agencies filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting efforts by a coal mining company to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from having the power to retroactively revoke Clean Water Act permits.
“The U.S. Department of Interior has just announced nearly $9 million in grants for conservation projects around Lake Tahoe and in Nevada. The money comes from federal land sales, but such funding is quickly disappearing. …
“The TRPA [Tahoe Regional Planning Agency] is highlighting business investment in the environment from plant restoration to storm water management.”
From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by Andy Lipkis:
“On Nov. 5, 1913, William Mulholland stood before a crowd of 40,000 people near San Fernando and unfurled an American flag, signaling the official opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. As water from the Owens Valley rushed through the spillway for the first time, Mulholland exulted to the assembled onlookers: ‘There it is. Take it.’”
“After years of study, legal turmoil, public debate and legislative uncertainty, county planners say it’s going to take another year of staff work, an ombudsman and a citizens committee to figure out how to regulate creekside lots in Marin.
“Development rules that have proven politically elusive are up for another round of review at the Civic Center Tuesday morning as the Board of Supervisors reconsiders a controversial ’stream conservation area’ zone program that affects what happens near creek banks.”
“Our view: Butte County proved it’s no better than the state government at enforcing environmental rules. When Butte County railed at the state Department of Water Resources for not enforcing water runoff rules against industrial marijuana farmers carving up the foothills, the state agency responded in a way that cast itself in a poor light.
“But recent revelations about the county’s grading ordinance indicated the ineptitude in dealing with pot factories doesn’t just emanate from Sacramento.
“The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Stormwater Management Program has announced the launch of a new Lake-Friendly Business Program designed to encourage Tahoe businesses to complete and maintain their Best Management Practices.”