In the small community of Circle Oaks, California, a few miles east of the wine-soaked Napa Valley, residents are fuming over a wealthy Texas couple’s plans to cut down 14,000 adult oak trees and replant the cleared woodland with 209 acres (85 hectares) of irrigated grapevines. The project, opponents warn, will destroy fish and wildlife habitat, reduce the environment’s resilience to climate change, and drain groundwater reserves.
“Regional water officials have shaped a plan to improve water quality in the Lagunitas Creek watershed, which provides habitat for coho salmon, steelhead trout and California freshwater shrimp, all listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.”
“A rural creekside property used in the past as a golf course and a horse pasture is a conservation group’s latest and biggest purchase to protect and restore Marsh Creek, the second longest creek in Contra Costa County.”
“The San Lorenzo River Alliance, a partnership founded by the Coastal Watershed Council, an environmental nonprofit, concluded its four-part public forum series Monday at Santa Cruz’s Patagonia Outlet.”
“The Bureau of Reclamation’s Cooperative Watershed Management Program is accepting applications from entities seeking to establish or expand watershed management groups. The funding opportunity announcement is available at www.grants.gov by searching for funding opportunity R14AS00038.”
From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld today [April 22] announced nearly $5 million in EPA grants to state and local agencies to restore water quality and wetlands throughout the San Francisco Bay watershed at a ceremony held at Breuner Marsh (Richmond, Calif.)—one of the sites to receive federal restoration grant funding. The ceremony was attended by U.S.
“A conservation group is working on a demonstration project in the Salinas River to inject science into an emotional argument about the best way to achieve flood protection for growers while maintaining critical habitat for endangered wildlife.”
“President Barack Obama is bringing additional drought aid with him Friday, as he arrives in California’s stricken San Joaquin Valley.
“The new assistance includes sped-up livestock disaster assistance for California producers, provided under a newly signed farm bill, as well as targeted conservation assistance, watershed protection funds, additional summer feeding programs and emergency community water grants.”
“With California’s drought reaching crisis level and the long-term weather forecast calling for sunny skies, the Calaveras County Water District held a Water-Forestry Forum at the San Andreas Town Hall Thursday, Jan. 23.
From Greenversations, An EPA Blog About Science Matters, in a post by Marguerite Huber:
“EPA researchers studying green infrastructure (using vegetation, soil, and other naturalistic techniques to reduce stormwater runoff) collaborated with colleagues in the Agency’s New England office (EPA Region 1) to develop a new public-domain software app called the Watershed Management Optimization Support Tool (WMOST).
“The goal of the tool is to help water resource managers and planners identify cost effective, sustainable green infrastructure options for their local jurisdictions.
From the Marin Independent Journal, in a commentary by Peggy Sheneman:
“Marin’s interim stream conservation ordinance takes an important step and provides a framework for improvements. Marin Conservation League, Marin Audubon Society, Friends of Corte Madera Creek, San Geronimo Valley Planning Group and San Geronimo Valley Stewards all requested the Board of Supervisors to adopt the ordinance.”
“Setting 800 catch-and-release kangaroo rat traps with biologists. Searching for speckled dace in a mountain creek. Pulling teeth from bear carcasses for testing. Patrolling lakes to educate fishermen.
“The tree-thinning program to reduce fire danger in the Tahoe National Forest is having an unexpected consequence. There are fewer trees for the popular public Christmas tree cutting program and the U.S. Forest Service are handing out fewer permits.”