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.

Brook Haven Students Aim for Zero Waste

Apr 11, 2014

  All this week, students at a Sebastopol elementary school have been seeing how close they can get to generating zero waste. It’s part of a program sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with a big emphasis on cutting down the use of plastics. We hear today from the teacher who’s been guiding that effort.

Although many other schools observed Zero Waste Week last month, the actions students are encouraged to take remain the same:

Russian River Project Earns Restoration Award

Apr 8, 2014
Bioengineering Associates

Using structures of woven willow, rather than tons of rock, is a more natural—and less costly-- way to repair eroding riverbanks. One recent example on the lower Russian River just won a national award.

Even before they received the award, Oddfellows Recreation Club Executive Director Jack Davies says their alternative approach to the repair work had yielded multiple advantages.

  One of the many challenges in the restoration project, says project manager Cam Parry, involved working around the redwoods on the site, both standing and fallen.

Dutra Foes Seek Appeals Court Reversal

Mar 20, 2014

Plans for a new asphalt production facility alongside the Petaluma River on the south side of that city have been a hot button issue for more than five years now. After the Dutra plant was approved by county supervisors in late 2010, it was promptly challenged in court by the city of Petaluma and a group of local environmental groups. That case that was dismissed by the State Court of Appeal last week, but there’s still at least one more round of legal arguments being made, as we hear today.

Rainwater Catchment Systems

Mar 19, 2014

It’s fairly simple to capture and collect rainfall from rooftops, and use it for watering yards and gardens. But it’s a limited antidote to drought.

Graton Tribe Wins Wetland Grant

Mar 6, 2014

  The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria were one of ten recipients in a recent round of wetlands grants from the US Environmental Protection Agency. Today, Bruce Robinson talks with a pair of tribal representatives to find out how they’ll be using their share of the one and a half million dollars in grant funds.

Thinking Like A Naturalist

Feb 25, 2014

Part of the fun of being outdoors here in the North Bay is recognizing the birds, wildlife and flora that surround us. A trained naturalist will know more of the names and patterns all those things, but that’s not the only thing that separates him or her from us more casual observers. A program in Sonoma tomorrow night offers insights into those differences, and Bruce Robinson talks with the presenter for that event.

Drought Threatens Wildlife, Too

Feb 24, 2014

Drought affects far more than human endeavors—it also poses some severe consequences for wildlife in our region, which in turn can have impacts on us.

  WildCare maintains a clinic for wildlife, and they are getting ready for an extra busy season between April and August. This is the time each year, notes the Marin County non-profit’s Allison Hermance, when animal young are born and maturing—and when getting enough water is critical to their survival.

Global Student Embassy Expands Activities, Participants

Feb 20, 2014

  Global Student Embassy began five years ago as a senior project at Sebastopol’s Analy High school, launched by brothers Lucas and Jasper Oshun. Since then, it has grown impressively, expanding around the bay area, and into three countries in Latin America. With an update on their recent activities, here’s News Director Bruce Robinson.

Anderson Honored as ‘Conservation Hero’

Feb 13, 2014

Craig Anderson, Executive Director of the outdoor conservation non-profit, Landpaths, has been named Bay Nature’s “Conservation Hero” for this year. It’s an award that his colleagues are roundly applauding.

Sonoma County Plastic Bag Ban Advances

Jan 16, 2014

After years of discussion and a late procedural diversion, Sonoma County is finally poised to impose limitations on the use of free plastic bags by grocers and other retailers. But getting to this point wasn’t easy.

Find details about the new bag restrictions here. You can also review KRCB's coverage of the Febrary 2011 Public Forum on Single-Use Bags here.

Statewide Coastal Trail Group Forming

Jan 13, 2014

  California’s coastline spans 1200 miles and well over 100 local governments and other jurisdictions. A new initiative from Coastwalk in Sebastopol is trying to bring them all together in support of completing a single publicly accessible trail along the entire coast, and we learn more about that on today’s Exchange  segment.

Tribes to Join in North Coast Monitoring

Dec 17, 2013
Smith River Rancheria

  Tribal governments on the far north coast, for the first time, will join with scientists, fishermen, and citizen volunteers,  to develop a baseline of ocean conditions to monitor the North Coast marine protected areas (MPAs), thanks to a new ground of state grants. Lori Abbott reports.

Environmental Grades for Elected Officials

Dec 16, 2013

  Every year, Sonoma County Conservation issues a report card on local elected officials, grading them on both their environmental votes and their accessibility and responsiveness to constituents. The latest round of evaluations are now out, and are the subject of the Exchange today.

 You can see Conservation Action's full report card for all Sonoma County Supervisors and City Council  members, with comments, posted online here.

Ozone layer on a long slow road to recovery

Dec 11, 2013
NASA Earth Observatory

Twenty five years ago the ozone hole above the arctic was the hot environmental topic. While we don't hear as much about it any more, researchers are still making new discoveries and say it's a topic that needs to remain in the public eye. KRCB's reports on the latest findings from a meeting of the American Geophysical Union now in San Francisco.

Sea Star Wasting Disease Hits the West Coast

Nov 21, 2013
Danielle Venton/KRCB

From as far north as Alaska, and as far south as Orange County, sea stars are disappearing, decomposing in a matter of hours as they suffer from a mysterious illness known as 'sea star wasting disease.'



CEQA Faces Calls for Change

Aug 28, 2013

  Since Ronald Regan was governor, the California Environmental Quality Act has been giving citizens a voice in how development unfolds around them. But as the state legislature considers changes to the law, its supporters are watching carefully, and with some concern.

  Sierra Club of California Director Gary Patton will be in Santa Rosa Thursday evening  to talk about CEQA and the politics surrounding it.  He appears at 7 pm at the Environmental Center of Sonoma County, at 55 Ridgeway Avenue.

Environmental Education for Teachers

Aug 11, 2013
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  As natural science and environmental education is increasing folded into lesson plans for students of all ages, the North Bay’s STRAW Project creates an annual learning opportunity for teachers.

You can find out more about the STRAW Project, and see a video about it's origins ( also featured on KRCB'S Natural Heroes) on their website.

Pre-History Along the Laguna de Santa Rosa

Aug 6, 2013

Native people dwelt along the Laguna de Santa Rosa for thousands of years, but details about how they lived--and how long they’ve been there-- have only gradually emerged.

Studying Roadkill

Aug 4, 2013

The vehicles on California’s ever-expanding network of roadways are getting faster and more numerous, which is bad news for the birds and animals nearby. So the number and location of roadkill deaths are now being recorded and analyzed.

  The online roadkill reporting site was launched with no assurance that there would be enough citizen participation to make it work, admits Fraser Shiller, co-director of the Road Ecology Center at UC Davis. But the gamble has paid off.


Fracas in Lagunitas Creek

Jun 17, 2013

Homeowners and environmentalists in Marin are at odds over measures to protect endangered coho salmon. KRCB reports residents are worried about losing property rights, while some environmentalists say the proposed measures don't go far enough.  

The proposed stream conservation ordinance will be considered at the Marin County Supervisors meeting Tuesday, June 18. Access audio and video from supervisors meetings through the County of Marin's website.

Forestville Moves to Preseve Downtown Open Space

May 29, 2013
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  As the clock winds down on a matching grant to preserve a key piece of open space in the heart of Forestville, the small west county town is confident that the one-time subdivision site will instead be protected as a natural park.

The extension of the bicycle trail will follow the west and north sides of the open space land, as shown in red on the map below.

Baja Resort Approvals Challenged

Apr 12, 2013

A coalition of 11 conservation groups has submitted a petition to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation to investigate the Mexican government's approval of four massive tourism projects in Baja California. Lori Abbott reports.

Understanding Weeds

Apr 5, 2013
U.C. Davis

  Native plants that grow where we don’t want them are one sort of weed problem. Escaped exotics from other climates can be quite another. The University of California’s leading weed expert discusses both sorts with KRCB’s Bruce Robinson.

You can find links to a weed identification database here, and tips on home weed control techniques in the video below.

The Making of 'Rebels With a Cause'

Mar 15, 2013
Kelly-Yamamoto films

The thousands of acres of open space and shoreline now protected and accessible to the public might not be there but for the efforts of a handful of visionary conservationists just few generations ago. A new documentary by a couple of North Bay film-makers  tells their story. Bruce Robinson has theirs.

See below for upcoming screening dates, and a map showing the footprint of the proposed Marincello development.

Sonoma's Biochar Initiative

Mar 14, 2013

It cleans water, sequesters carbon underground, and boosts agricultural production. Yet the material known as biochar is just beginning to be appreciated and used in the 21st century. Bruce Robinson chats with an advocate.

More information  about the Sonoma Biochar Initiatve, including how to join, can be found here.

Peter Hirst of New England Biochar explains how the stuff is made in this video.

Trina Wood

At times during the winter and early spring it looks like a vast inland sea between Sacramento and Davis. This is the Yolo Bypass, which shunts Sacramento River floodwater around the state capital during high flows. You drive over the bypass on a three-mile-long elevated stretch of Interstate 80 known as “the Causeway” (the Blecher-Freeman Memorial Causeway). The bypass is also the site of a lot of innovative fish and wildlife work.

Appreciating Beavers

Feb 21, 2013
Occidental Arts & Ecology Center

Every schoolchild learns that beavers gnaw down trees, build dams, and keep… busy. Less widely known is just how useful all that activity can be. On today’s North Bay Report, Bruce Robinson takes a closer look.

For a close-up look at beavers in action, restoring a winter storm-damaged home, see the video at the bottom of this page.

Taylor Mt. Park to Open

Feb 20, 2013
Sonoma County Regional Parks

From  the slopes of Santa Rosa’s Taylor Mountain, hikers can see broad expanses of much of central Sonoma County. Beginning this weekend, they can also see the new park that offers those vistas. Bruce Robinson offers a preview.