environment

Assessing Indoor Air Quality

Aug 25, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Indoor air quality problems can be a serious health concern, but they are invisible, and often hard to detect or trace.  On today’s North Bay Report, Bruce Robinson tags along as an old and heavily used building gets checked out by specialized environmental inspectors.

Environment, Immigration Top Issues for Latinos

Aug 19, 2015
wasan gredpree/iStock

  Immigration is a top political concern for Latino voters in California, but a new poll finds that envcironmental issues are equally important to them. Suzanne Potter reports.

Health Costs of Environmental Hazards Specified

Jun 16, 2015
Cheryl Holt/Morguefile.

  Known environmental hazards carry high health costs. And, as Suzanne Potter reports, a new report is getting specific about how high those prices may be.

Filmmaker Probes the Russian River's Health

Jun 15, 2015

  From gravel to grapes, dredging to drought, the many forces that shape the health of the Russian River are examined in a new documentary by a local filmmaker.

Russian River: All Rivers  will get a special  encore screening Tuesday, June 16 at the Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol at 7 pm. See the trailer below.

Environmental Groups Challange Fracking in CA

Jun 11, 2015
Chris Jordan-Block/Earthjustice.

  A trio of major environmental organizations  are suing to block expasion of oil industry drilling and fracking on federal public lands in California. Suzanne Potter has the story.

Spreading the Word About Soil

Jun 4, 2015

  Dirt is ancient, alive, and essential to agriculture. But it is not necessarily eternal. And that can be a big problem.

North Bay Bountiful is a new focused programming initiative being introduced this month. As with our ongoing Health Connections reporting, it will include radio, television, web and community-based components to tell stories that are unique to our region, our food system, and our way of life. Learn more about it here.

Introducing the Waterboxx

Mar 31, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  A simple but carefully designed planter box allows newly planted trees to grow and flourish, using just the water naturally available in their environment.

  The Waterboxx is installed around a newly planted tree, and remains in place for a year or more, until the sapling is established. Caitlin Cornwall from the Sonoma Ecology Center explains what goes on during that time.

Creek restoration group celebrates 500th project

Mar 20, 2015
KRCB

Yesterday STRAW--Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed--celebrated their 500th project, with a day of planning trees at Tolay Ranch. Since Laurette Rogers, Program Director, began STRAW 23 years ago, she's seen 40,000 students help restore more than 35 miles of creek bed, plus uncounted wetlands. 

"We learned that to help animals we should plant trees to give them nice habitat," said Sam, 2nd grader at Loma Vista Elementary in Novato. 

  In the future, will there be enough water go around for humans and the environment? This week, salmon ecologists and restoration planners try to make it all work at the 33rd Annual Salmonid Restoration Conference.  

One of the conference highlights will be the screening of DamNation, an award-winning documentary covering the impact of dams on wildlife and the movement to remove them.  Watch the DamNation official trailer:

Locals heading for Oakland Climate March

Feb 4, 2015

 Thousands of people from all over California are preparing to converge in Oakland Saturday to show their support for more aggressive measures to combat global warming. And Sonoma County will be well represented among them.

    For Denny Rosatti, Executive Director of Sonoma County Conservation Action , the biggest worry--among many--about fracking is it's potential impact on California's groundwater reserves.

Environmental Groups Sue State Over Pesticide Plan

Jan 30, 2015

  A sweeping plan to give the California Department of Food Agriculture free rein in applying pesticides statewide is being contested by a broad coalition of food and environmental groups that contend it violates the state’s Environmental Quality Act.

   During the public comment period, before the environmental document was finalized, thousands of people offered thoughts, suggestions and feedback. Yet very little of that was acknowledged, says Nan Wishner of the California Environmental Health Imitative.

public domain

It’s good news for the bay. Scientists have spotted a steep decline in the levels of toxic flame-retardant chemicals. 

Researchers at the San Francisco Estuary Institute were pleased to recently announce [PDF] that levels of PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) have declined dramatically since a state-enacted ban.

Russian River Inspires Unconventional "Opera"

Dec 25, 2014

  The Russian River is the setting, the subject, and even a part of the soundtrack for an unusual “opera,” that is premiering this weekend outside of Healdsburg. Fittingly, it’s called “Stages of the Russian River.”

 You can get a feel of the flavor of the Stages of the Russian River opera from  the rehearsal video clip below.

Venture Capital Meets Conservation in New Coalition

Dec 18, 2014
Photo of Lake Berryessa courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Dept. of the Interior.

  A dozen heads of investment firms think the U.S. should be "investing" in more protections for public land. They've formed a new Conservation for Economic Growth Coalition, and are making the points that today's workforce wants an active, healthy lifestyle that the outdoors can provide – and employers want to keep them happy.

Scouring the Seas for Plastic

Dec 18, 2014
Carolynn Box, Five Gyres

Carolynn Box is a Sonoma County native and 1996 Analy High School grad who has spent much of the past four years at sea, trawling the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans for plastic particles with the activist non-profit, Five Gyres. And finding them virtually everywhere.

 It has been suggested that specially outfitted ships could scoop up plastic particles from the gyres and recycle them. But having seen the scale of the problem first-hand, Carolynn Box is skeptical.

Armstrong Grove Pipeline Project Stirs Controversy

Dec 8, 2014

  Plans to replace a 60 year old water pipeline that runs through Armstrong Grove are facing questions and opposition from defenders of the ancient redwoods there.

Sukovitzen is opposed to the current state parks plan to rebuild the water pipeline that runs the 1.1 mile length of Armstrong Grove. But he says an earlier proposal was even worse.

 

The History of the Hole at Bodega Head

Nov 3, 2014
Sonoma County Museum

  Today it looks like a placid pond, but 50 years ago the deep hole at the base of Bodega Head was the focus of a battle that helped galvanize modern environmentalism.

  The crucial moment in the fight against the nuclear facility came when noted seismologist, Pierre St. Amand  was able to visit the site and report back to the US Department of the Interior. Doris Sloan clearly remembers the day she escorted St. Amand to that pivotal visit.

 

Local Push for Medical Waste Disposal

Oct 29, 2014

  Just about everyone agrees that pharmaceutical manufacturers should pay for the collection and disposal of unused medicines—except for the pharmaceutical manufacturers.

As they expected, Alameda County was promptly sued to invalidate their ordinance requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to pay for the collection and disposal of unused prescription medicines. But after the local law was upheld twice, most recently by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Heidi Sanborn of the California Product Stewardship Council says the matter should be settled.

Filmmaker Plunges into Russian River's Health

Oct 24, 2014

  From gravel to grapes, dredging to drought, the many forces that shape the health of the Russian River are examined in a new documentary by a local filmmaker.

“Russian River: All Rivers” will get a special screening at the Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol on Monday, Oct. 27 at 7 pm. It will also be shown at the Rio Theater in Monte on Saturday, November 7th at 3 pm. See the trailer for the film below:

Closing the Waste Loop with Compost

Oct 22, 2014
KRCB

Farms in Sonoma County are part of an innovative program to close the waste loop. It’s “Farm to table, back to Farm.”

After bottles and cans are separated out for recycling, food scraps are the largest section of household waste that enters landfills. But as KRCB finds, several local cities like San Francisco and Oakland are working to change that and Sonoma County farms are cashing on the benefits. 

© The Marine Mammal Center

  Harmful algal blooms occur when certain types of algae grow out of control and release toxic substances that damage fish, shellfish, birds, marine mammals and humans. In California, sea lions are the most commonly affected and the problem, scientists say, is getting worse [PDF]. 

Sonoma County's Plastic Ban Ban Begins

Aug 28, 2014

Single use plastic shopping bags will complete their disappearance from Sonoma County retailers on Monday. It’s been a gradual transition so many shoppers may not even notice a difference. But for those who do, here’s what to expect.

Henry Mikus, the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency’s Executive Director, says that the biggest benefits from the plastic bag ban are expected to be less trash, in the landfills and the environment, and somewhat decreased use of fossil fuels and release of greenhouse gases. But it is also being embraced by the retail business world.

Developing Solar Power on Agricultural Lands

Aug 22, 2014
West County Union High School District

  Sonoma County has opened the door  for the construction of  new solar arrays that could feed Sonoma Clean Power, on agricultural lands and elsewhere. But local environmentalists are keeping a wary eye on where those developments might be located.

  Sonoma Clean Power’s new PRO-Fit program is open to 14 kinds of renewable energy generation projects, including biomass, tidal current, geothermal and small hydroelectric. But for now, says COE Geof Syphers, most proposals are expected to be solar installations.

Scientists Begin Unveiling Fog’s Secrets

Aug 8, 2014
Celeste Dodge.

Whether it’s pouring in from the ocean or rolling across hills, fog is no stranger to the North Coast. But as common as it may be, fog remains a scientific mystery. Now, a group of researchers are closely tracking and measuring these low clouds.

Coastal California Owes Much to its Famous Fog

Aug 7, 2014
image courtesy of Flickr user Volker Neumann

Rolling coastal fog is part of the fabric of life near the Pacific Ocean. These low, damp clouds cool the area, while supporting agriculture and wildlife. Researchers are now working on measuring the value of fog, even as climate change makes its future uncertain.  

 

Wildfires Cause Trouble for Sea Otters

Aug 1, 2014
courtesy Lizabeth Bowen/USGS

It's wildfire season, and the effects aren't limited to the land. As major fires rage around the state, researchers this week released a study indicating wildfires damage the health of marine mammals, such as sea otters. 

A New Invasive Plant Threatens the Russian River

Jul 16, 2014
Sonoma County Gazette

  Invasive plants along the Russian River are a fact of life in many areas--so thoroughly established they will never be eradicated. But now there is a new threat, red wisteria, which was spotted for the first time just last week. Only a handful of plants have been identified so far, raising hopes that this is one invader that might be successfully repelled.

The Sonoma Land Trust's Unspoiled Legacy

Jul 11, 2014
Sonoma Land Trust

Over the past 38 years, one local non-profit has helped preserve nearly 48,000 acres of open space in the North Bay. And the Sonoma Land Trust is continuing to add to that legacy.

  Sonoma Land Trust Executive Director Ralph Benson gets to spend a lot of time enjoying the properties his agency owns or  works with. He's reluctant to name his favorites, but admits there are a few spots he often visits.

Groups seek to return condors to the North Coast

Jun 18, 2014
All images courtesy C. West, Yurok Tribe.

For the Yurok Native Americans of the North Coast, few animals are as sacred as the California condor. Returning from the brink of extinction, California condors are expanding their range. The North Coast is poised to be next.  

"They haven’t really been seen in this area for 100 years," says Tiana Williams, a biologist and Yurok tribal member, "but they figure heavily in our stories and feature heavily in our world renewal ceremonies."

Building Community Through Shared Resilience

May 15, 2014

  When Daily Acts launched their 350 Home and Garden Challenge four years ago, their goal was to enlist 350 people or households in committing to take a specific action to help the environment and their community. The response has been so strong, they have now dropped the number (while increasing their goal tenfold) and changed the name to the Community Resilience Challenge. It’s coming up this weekend; here’s an update.

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