Highway 70 over Lake Oroville
Highway 70 over Lake Oroville
By Cynthia Kaufman, Pacifica Climate Committee
On July 14, Pacifica City Council passed a weakened Climate Action Plan (CAP).
The Pacifica Climate Committee, a local citizens group working on climate change issues, lobbied the city to start working on a plan in 2009. The council appointed a task force in 2010 that worked for two years to develop the plan. After much effort, the plan has strong goals but is rather weak in what it asks the city to do.
The Pacifica Climate Committee hopes that the city will follow through and begin work to achieve the goals set out in the plan. The city should appoint a staff person in charge of implementation as promised at the council meeting, when it cut the dedicated half-time staff person that the plan originally called for. Council should take quick action on near-term measures in the plan.
The CAP calls for a 35 percent reduction in Pacifica’s greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2020, and 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, which is consistent with State of California targets. These are very ambitious goals. Pacifica’s plan calls for encouraging new development to be near transit, improving walking and biking infrastructure (e.g., safe routes to schools, bike lanes), setting a waste diversion goal of 75 percent away from the landfill by 2020 and zero waste by 2030, and supporting state law requiring commercial recycling. The plan also calls for improving public transit but without any specific measures.
Originally, the CAP called for residential and commercial energy efficiency ordinances that would have required sellers or buyers to make basic energy efficiency improvements to homes and commercial buildings when they were sold. This part of the plan was cut by council due to opposition primarily from real estate interests, most notably the San Mateo County Association of Realtors (SAMCAR).
While Council supported the ambitious goals set out in the CAP, it appears that that the current plan will not actually achieve those goals. In a July 14, 2014 letter to the city’s Associate Planner Lee Diaz, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) staff commented that the plan, as currently written, is not strong enough to reach those targets.
BAAQMD staff also questioned various inconsistencies in the CAP and criticized the methodology the city’s consultant used to calculate some of the projected emissions reductions. For example, staff commented, estimated reductions from adoption of a water conservation ordinance were “grossly overestimated,” and other estimates were similarly flawed.
BAAQMD staff strongly recommended (among other things) that the city should reinstate the residential and commercial energy conservation ordinances to ensure that short- and long-term goals of the CAP will be met.
In another peculiar exchange, council member Karen Ervin asked whether the city could encourage the adoption of residential solar energy by lowering solar permit fees. Planning Director George White responded that the city had investigated this and determined that Pacifica’s solar permit fee is already among the lowest in the area. But according to a study done by the Sierra Club, Pacifica’s $335 solar permit fee is the second-highest fee in San Mateo County, second only to Daly City's. Pacifica’s permit fee is well above the $257 average for Northern California cities. We hope council can be persuaded to lower solar permit fees in the future.
It will be up to the public to make sure that the city dedicates staff time needed to accomplish the actions called for by the plan so that the ambitious goals set out in the CAP are achieved.
Seasonal fencing to protect Western snowy plovers is now installed at Pacifica State Beach in Linda Mar. City of Pacifica teams from Public Works and Parks, Beaches, and Recreation, as well as volunteers from Pacifica Shorebird Alliance and Sequoia Audubon, worked together to install temporary symbolic fencing and signs.
Installed before the birds arrive in early fall and removed after they leave in late spring, this visual barrier makes it easy for people to walk around roosting snowy plovers, which are difficult to see. It is a standard tool for protection of shorebirds and has public acceptance at other Bay Area beaches and throughout California.
Protection of the Western snowy plover at Pacifica State Beach (Linda Mar) has been in process for several years. The symbolic fencing, educational materials, and some of the signage are made possible by a generous grant from the Audubon Society and administered by Sequoia Audubon and Pacifica Shorebird Alliance (PSA), a project of Pacfica's Environmental Family, a 501(c)(3) organization.
Pacifica Shorebird Alliance
Sprout Farm by Beau Gill
Fall Harvest by Larry Calof
"California Agriculture" Art Show, Coastside Land Trust Gallery, 788 Main Street, Half Moon Bay. Exhibit runs through October 24. Gallery hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and by appointment.
SAVE THE DATES!
Saturday, August 23 from 10 a.m. to noon: Purissima Old Town Site Workday. Please join us for the second of four habitat restoration workdays at the old town site. We continue to remove invasive plants and maintain a small foot trail leading to a meadow. Meet at the corner of Verde Road and Highway 1 (same turn as Elkus Ranch). Wear long sleeves and pants, sturdy shoes, and sunscreen. Bring buckets and gloves. All ages welcome; under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Monday, September 1, 10 a.m. to noon: California Coastal Trail Construction Kickoff! You are cordially invited to join us for a casual celebration and orientation for this exciting project! Exact location TBA, as we get closer to the date.
Call 650-726-5056, email email@example.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for up-to-the-minute announcements. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Coastside Land Trust is dedicated to the preservation, protection and enhancement of the open space environment, including the natural, scenic, recreational, cultural, historical, and agricultural resources of the San Mateo County coast for present and future generations.
Native Plant $5 Sale!
Go green with summertime sale prices on 1-gallon native plants, including coyote bush, currant, bee plant, strawberry, lizard tail, white yarrow, wild rose, and sagebrush. Please visit our office to purchase plants and view our demonstration garden.
Coastside Land Trust
788 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, 650-726-5056
We know they’re out there: people who do exceptional things to protect, steward, and educate us about the natural world of the Bay Area, often without the recognition they deserve. Now’s your chance to change that and help us celebrate their great work!
Bay Nature is soliciting your help to identify three such individuals who deserve to be honored as “Local Heroes” for the Bay Area environment at our Annual Awards Dinner on Sunday, March 22, 2015.
The first step is to nominate your personal hero/oes and tell us a little bit about them. You can do that through our online form at baynature.org/awards. There are three award categories. You may nominate one person for each category.
1. Conservation Action
This award goes to an individual who has made significant contributions to the conservation of the natural landscapes, watersheds, wildlife, and/or flora of the San Francisco Bay Area, through advocacy, legal action, acquisition, and/or stewardship.
2. Environmental Education
This award recognizes the achievements of an individual who has made significant contributions to public understanding and awareness of the natural history and ecology of the San Francisco Bay Area, through research, teaching, field trips, journalism, film/video, and/or other media.
3. Youth Engagement
This award goes to an individual 25 years old or younger, who is making significant contributions in the fields of natural history, stewardship of the natural world, conservation advocacy, and/or environmental education.
The award recipients will be honored at Bay Nature’s annual awards dinner in March 2015 and interviewed or profiled in an upcoming issue of Bay Nature magazine. The winner of the Youth Engagement Award also receives a cash gift of $250.
Feel free to share this invitation with other colleagues who may know of worthy nominees. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, September 30, 2014. The final selection of the award winners will be made by the staff and board of the Bay Nature Institute.
Thanks for helping us bring deserved recognition to the great work being done by dedicated individuals around the Bay region on behalf of our natural heritage. We look forward to seeing who you’ll nominate! (See below for a list of previous awardees.)
David Loeb, Executive Director
Past Bay Nature Local Hero Awardees
2011 Local Hero Awards (for Lifetime Achievement)
• Conservation Action: Dr. Martin Griffin
• Environmental Journalism: Harold Gilliam
• Environmental Education: Dr. Doris Sloan
(Note: In 2012, we combined categories 2 and 3, and added the Youth category.)
2012 Local Hero Awards
• Conservation Action: Ellie Cohen, Executive Director, Point Blue Conservation Science
• Environmental Education: Robin Grossinger, Director, Historical Ecology Project, San Francisco Estuary Institute
• Youth Engagement: Sean FitzHoward, Founder, Protect the Bay Club, Lowell High School
2013 Local Hero Awards
• Conservation Action: Seth Adams, Director of Land Programs, Save Mount Diablo
• Environmental Education: Mia Monroe, park ranger/site supervisor, Golden Gate National Parks
• Youth Engagement: Cindy Moreno, Guadalupe River Park Conservancy; WattzOn; Full Circle Farm
2014 Local Hero Awards
• Conservation Action: Craig Anderson, Executive Director, LandPaths
• Environmental Education: Liam O’Brien, lepidopterist/illustrator/activist
• Youth Engagement: Cheyanna Washburn, Youth Programs Associate, John Muir National Historic Site
Bay Nature magazine and BayNature.org are projects of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Bay Nature Institute, which inspires people to explore, understand, and protect the natural world of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Margaret Goodale's update to the original post (see below):
"I telephoned the RWQCB representative dealing with Caltrans this morning. He emailed me the following information:
'I talked with Caltrans staff today after you and I talked on the phone and they are confident that there was not a fuel spill or any other type of construction related activity that would have caused an "oil slick" in the project area as noted on Pacifica Riptide. Caltrans is required to notify the Water Board of any construction related discharges to waters or wetlands within 24 hours for this project. Since there isn’t sufficient information or photos showing the 'oil slick' from the complainant, it seems any sheen in the water was likely naturally occurring. As we discussed, if you or anyone observing the project notices water quality or wildlife issues, please contact me via email or at the phone number below. If photos and documentation can be provided showing evidence of water quality or wildlife related problems, they greatly help in evaluating if the project is out of compliance with permits or regulations.'
Stan and I also went out to the creek and tracked down two young biological monitors this afternoon. They represent two different companies contracted by Caltrans to monitor and were happy to talk with us. Neither had seen any oil or other contaminant spilled, but independently spoke of biofilms with slimy surfaces that could easily be mistaken for oil, apparently a fairly common occurrence when wetlands are dredged. Both believed they would have been aware of any oil spill."
Original Post: Waterfowl Cry Foul!
At San Pedro Creek bridge in the past few days, in the midst of Caltrans' cleanup of the marshy area where the creek spills into the ocean, a huge oil slick can be seen from the pedestrian walkway. Disgusting. Thought you might be in a position to ruffle some feathers about this. I'm guessing the ducks and other waterfowl that made the marsh their home are pretty ruffled about now. (Eyewitness news reported by Riptide reader "Aich")
What's a BioBlitz? Watch the video below to find out. In this episode of Pacific Currents, host Steve Johnson interviews San Francisco State University Environmental Studies Professor Carlos Davidson about the National Geographic-sponsored 2014 BioBlitz that happened in the Golden Gate National Recreational Area (GGNRA), focusing on activities at Mori Point in Pacifica on March 28 and 29.
Watch the Video
Energy In California, September 15-16, San Francisco (Marriott Union Square Hotel)
Law Seminars International is pleased to announce this year's 16th annual "Energy in California" conference. The program explores a number of cutting-edge areas and brings both practical advice and up-to-date information on recent developments in emerging areas such as energy storage and integrating renewable resources through capacity markets.
Conference participants will hear from seasoned practitioners and senior agency staff and will receive the latest information on developments at the California Public Utilities Commission and California Air Resources Board.
The conference will also explore new trends in distributed generation and micro-grids. You will hear about climate change and California's water supply planning and learn about potential impacts on hydropower generation.
We are excited about the diverse array of excellent speakers and anticipate a lively and engaging discussion. We hope you will join us. Live webcasting will be available for this program.
H. Kate Johnson
Call us at (206) 567-4490.
Attorneys, industry executives, economists, consultants, and governmental officials involved with energy project development
Howard V. Golub, Esq. of Nixon Peabody LLP
Anne E. Mudge, Esq. of Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP
Live credits: Law Seminars International is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider. This program qualifies for 11.75 California MCLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.
By Samantha Weigel, Daily Journal
Projections that portions of San Mateo County could one day be submersed in three feet of water is prompting federal, state, and local policymakers to join in planning for the future of sea level rise.
San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine, Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park), and Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) continue to host a series of workshops on sea level rise for elected officials, city managers, city planners, and public works directors.
“San Mateo County is one of the most vulnerable counties in the state because we not only have a coastal zone, but we have a highly developed bay zone, both subject to sea level rise,” Gordon said. “It’s a very slow-moving crisis and sea level will continue to rise over the next decade, and we have an opportunity to plan and prepare so that we’re not in a reactive mode.”
Gordon said he proposed and has chaired the Assembly’s Select Committee on Sea Level Rise, which has evaluated at-risk areas that could suffer severe consequences.
“We’ve learned that there are a lot of different sections at risk around the state; everything from the Air Force (base) to wastewater treatment facilities, we’ve learned there’s a threat to coastal agriculture from saltwater intrusion. … So there’s a whole variety of issues that we’re going to need to pay attention to,” Gordon said.
Many scientists agree that the sea will rise at least three feet by 2100 and it’s critical that cities and governments begin to plan with it in mind, Pine said.
The conference series provides a platform for officials who lead in creating land use policies to share ideas, resources, and information. Attendees are asked to help make decisions on three key concepts.
The first will be to decide if San Mateo County should adopt a cohesive planning concept that assumes the 3 feet of sea level rise prediction, Pine said. Officials will also discuss preparing a countywide sea level rise vulnerability assessment and the third issue will to consider how to fund adaptations, Pine said.
The county’s bayfront is lined with developments such as residential communities and high-tech companies that are at direct risk of being affected by sea level rise. Gordon and Pine said cities and special districts must work together and create a comprehensive planning scheme to effect meaningful change.
“We need to understand that there’s some places where we should not develop. We need to understand there’s other places where we have to protect existing developments and, at the end of the day, there’s going to be costs related to protecting what’s in place and adapting in some way. So we’re going to need to figure out how we pay for these things over time,” Gordon said.
An important part of the discussion will involve evaluating which parts of the county face the most imminent danger from extreme storm events like king tides, Pine said.
Pine said he became increasingly concerned after speaking with an official from Genentech who noted if the South San Francisco pump station near its campus was to flood, it would shut down the entire facility and its operations.
Gordon noted “in our immediate area, probably the greatest economic risk would be if San Francisco International Airport was to not be able to function and at this point, it’s pretty difficult to move the airport.”
Some ideas Gordon said they’ve generated in the Assembly committee that he hopes will evolve are armoring certain zones with special sea walls, adding levees and restoring marshes.
Pine said another intent of the conferences is to create standing working groups or a joint powers board. One group would oversee the preparation of a countywide sea level rise vulnerability assessment and the other to consider funding options for addressing necessary plans.
Pine said he would like to consider creating financing or assessment districts and cited Santa Clara County’s related district as a possible model. Bringing together those who create county land use policies and are at the front lines of preparing for climate change is critical to ensure the county doesn’t become paralyzed when the seas eventually rise, Pine said.
“San Mateo County is known for having a very collaborative political environment and if there’s any place we need to collaborate, it is on the issue of sea level rise. Because it does not lend itself to a city-by-city solution,” Pine said. “So I really think that San Mateo County is the county most at risk to sea level rise in the state of California. And I think we are starting to take the initial steps to be a leader in not only California, but in the country, to addressing the challenges of sea level rise.”
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106
Excerpt from the full post at link above:
"The California coast is a panorama of open farm fields and hundreds of miles of undeveloped land. Highway 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway) follows the coast for almost the entire length of the state. The kind of road you see in car ads and movies, it looks like it was built to be driven in a sports car with the top down. The almost 400-mile coast drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco is one of the road trips you need to do before you die.
With 39 million people in the state, there’s no rational reason there aren’t condos, hotels, houses, shopping centers and freeways, wall-to-wall for most of the length of our state’s coast (instead of just in Southern California). The Coastal Act saved California from looking like the coast of New Jersey.
Almost 40 years ago the people of California passed Proposition 20 – the Coastal Initiative – and in 1976, the state legislature followed with the Coastal Act, which created the California Coastal Commission. Essentially the Coastal Commission acts as California’s planning commission of last resort for all 1,100 miles of the California coast.
Thanks to the Coastal Act and the Coastal Commission, generations of Californians and our visitors enjoy the most pristine and undeveloped coast in the country, with recreation and access for all. It’s an amazing accomplishment.
The downside is that the coastal zone has the strictest zoning and planning requirements in the country. As a new commissioner I learned quickly what developers would do to bypass those requirements."
San Mateo County Parks presents two pilot restoration projects to be conducted at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. The projects aim to address the health of a 13-acre cypress grove and erosion of the San Vicente Creek corridor.