San Diego joined 119 other California cities on Monday by banning polystyrene food and beverage containers, which have been blamed for poisoning fish and other marine life and damaging the health of people who eat seafood. … Nearly all national and regional restaurant chains long ago stopped using polystyrene, commonly called Styrofoam, in response to lobbying by environmental groups and backlash from customers concerned that foam isn’t biodegradable.
Within a little more than a year, Santa Cruz is due to decide how best to weather future droughts that last multiple years. The city is set in the next few months to begin test driving several water projects, including top favorites where the city sends extra river and stream water to neighboring jurisdictions, rather than letting it pour out into the ocean.
Orange County health officials barred ocean water-contact sports in Sunset Aquatic Marina and Portofino Cove in Huntington Beach due to a 1,000-gallon sewage spill on Sunday, Oct. 14. The contaminants originated from a sewer line blockage in Anaheim, according to a news release from the Orange County Health Care Agency’s Environmental Health division.
Blue whales, the largest animals known to ever exist, weigh as much as 300,000 pounds — equal to the weight of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean every nine minutes. That statistic helped inspire the Monterey Bay Aquarium to commission a pair of artists to create an 82-foot-long blue whale sculpture, which will be on display at Crissy Field in San Francisco starting Saturday, using hand-recycled plastic trash.
Sections of the cliffs along Del Mar’s coastline have violently collapsed three times in recent weeks — casting a specter of disaster along the idyllic shoreline. Thankfully, beachgoers were clear of the landslides each time the sandstone bluffs came crashing down onto the beach in rolling clouds of dust and heavy debris.
Not only did water never make its way naturally from Aliso Creek into the ocean, but OC Lifeguards kept close watch for anyone trying to dig culverts to let the water escape. That, along with decreased runoff from inland communities and possible sand swells that shifted more sand to the mouth of the creek, helped to create one of the largest berms on the beach in four decades.
After more than three decades of stops and stalls, the state this week made clear the fight for beach access at Hollister Ranch is far from over. Coastal officials revived efforts to create a long-delayed public path while also preventing a family from building on its slice of the ranch until all visitors can enjoy the 8.5 miles of secluded Santa Barbara County coastline.
The likelihood this winter of an El Niño — the weather pattern marked by warm Pacific Ocean waters that can affect California’s rainfall — is increasing. But so far, this El Niño looks more like a lamb than a lion. The probability of El Niño conditions being present by December is now 70 to 75 percent, up from 50 percent five months ago, according to a new report Thursday from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A state of emergency was declared for the bayfront community of Belvedere after investigation of a damaged seawall revealed the problem is larger than the city had realized. Consulting engineers told the city late last month it should act immediately to prevent the seawall along Beach Road — which protects the area from flooding — from shifting any further or collapsing into San Francisco Bay.
An El Niño is forecast for the winter ahead, and we all know what that means. Or do we? … But in reality, whether El Niño actually delivers greater-than-normal precipitation is strictly a toss-up, says Jan Null, owner of Golden Gate Weather Services, a consultancy based in Saratoga, California.
A Marin Audubon Society-led marsh restoration project in San Rafael’s Canal area seeks to pack a double punch on the environmental front by both restoring some of the state’s dwindling wetland habitat and bolstering defenses against sea level rise. The project at the 20-acre Tiscornia Marsh near Pickleweed Park is in its early planning and fundraising stages, but has already gained widespread support among San Rafael officials and departments.
The controversial Poseidon desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach is the least cost-effective option and carries the most fiscal risk of key water projects being pursued in Orange County, according to a newly released draft report.
As Congressman Jimmy Panetta stepped up on the podium at a ceremony last week at Hester Marsh, pelicans glided behind him to a landing near bobbing otters. The flurry of wildlife underlined Panetta’s message of just how crucial wetland habitat is. “We want to show the importance of Elkhorn Slough not just to the Central Coast, but to the world,” Panetta told the crowd of scientists, activists, and politicians.
When California ordered property owners to provide beach access for all, Hollister Ranch made the case that the pristine coastline west of Santa Barbara deserved an exception. With 14,500 acres connected only by private roads, ranchers argued it was impossible for each of them, as required by law, to provide a public route to the beach every time they sought a permit to build.
Sea level rise is changing Bay Area shorelines, and the focus of planning discussions on mitigating the effects suggests most communities in the water’s way have time to adapt. But it doesn’t always feel that way in East Oakland or West Marin.
From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Linda S. Adams and Karen L. Hathaway:
As early as next month, the State Water Resources Control Board could take up the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board’s recommendation for the maximum level of copper particulates allowed in Marina del Rey, one of the largest man-made harbors in the world.
From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, in a commentary by former U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey:
On a warm evening in 1988 at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, I sat with a group of women delegates from the North Coast listening to Rachel Binah — our coastal protection political and spiritual leader — who was rallying us to oppose offshore oil and support then-Rep. Barbara Boxer.
It looks as if the last oyster may finally be shucked at the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. by the end of December, judging by what both sides in the long legal fight over the future of the farm said in federal court Monday. Then again, maybe not.