Archive for the ‘Delta & Environment’ Category

New name. Same game: now labeled Delta Conveyance Project, the bypass tunnel diverting water south moves forward – Part 1 of 2

Friday, July 10th, 2020

Proposed Delta Conveyance Project Facility Corridor Options. From Scoping Summary Report.

This week’s DCP Environmental Planning Update includes:

  • Adoption of a Mitigated Negative Declaration and Approval of Soil Collection Activities
  • Announcement of Federal Environmental Review

Delta Conveyance Project Scoping Summary Report Now Available

By Allen Payton

Photo by Department of Water Resources.

What was planned as two tunnels beneath the California Delta to divert fresh water from north of the Delta to areas south including as far away as the Municipal Water District serving Los Angeles, is now a single tunnel plan that is referred to as the Delta Conveyance Project (DCP). The state previously referred to the two tunnel project as the WaterFix.

Although the state Department of Water Resources (DWR) rescinded all approvals of the WaterFix twin tunnel project last year, the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority continues engineering and geotechnical work on the single tunnel project under DWR’s supervision.

On May 2, 2019 the DWR announced it was taking formal steps to withdraw proposed permits for the WaterFix project and began a renewed environmental review and planning process for a smaller, single tunnel project that will protect a critical source of water supplies for California. Those actions implement Governor Gavin Newsom’s direction earlier in 2019, to modernize the state’s water delivery infrastructure by pursuing a smaller, single tunnel project through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The project will be designed to protect water supply reliability while limiting impacts on local Delta communities and fish. The actions also follow the governor’s executive order directing state agencies to develop a comprehensive statewide strategy to build a climate-resilient water system.

The purpose of the new DCP is “to develop new diversion and conveyance facilities in the Delta necessary to restore and protect the reliability of State Water Project (SWP) deliveries and, potentially, Central Valley Project (CVP) water deliveries south of the Delta, consistent with the State’s Water Resilience Portfolio [WRP].”

California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot describes it as “A smaller project, coordinated with a wide variety of actions to strengthen existing levee protections, protect Delta water quality, recharge depleted groundwater reserves, and strengthen local water supplies across the state” that “will build California’s water supply resilience.”

The tunnel will be drilled 150 feet underground.

No Participation by Contra Costa Water Agencies

So, the effort to move fresh Delta water south, continues. But none of the water agencies in Contra Costa County are part of the DCA. They all either oppose or have chosen to remain neutral on the proposed tunnel in the face of almost complete opposition by county residents.

Instead, Contra Costa County is part of the five-member Delta Counties Coalition, along with Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano and Yolo Counties all opposing the tunnel project.

However, there are four county residents who are members of the DCA’s Stakeholder Engagement Committee. Learn more about them, their opposition to the project and what they’re doing to limit and ensure the project mitigates any impact on county residents and businesses in Part 2 of this report.

The DCA participating state water contractors include the following agencies:

  • Alameda County Water District (At Large)
  • Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Zone 7 (At Large)
  • Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency (At Large)
  • Coachella Valley Water District (At Large)
  • Metropolitan Water District of  Southern California (2 Permanent Seats)
  • Mojave Water Agency (At Large)
  • San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (At Large)
  • San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency (At Large)
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District (Permanent Seat)

DCA officers serve two-year terms. The SWC At Large Director and Alternate Director represent all participating State Water Contractors without a permanent Board seat. Directors and Alternate Directors are determined by the participating State Water Contractors. In addition, the Joint Powers Agreement allocates a Board seat to Kern County Water Agency. This seat is currently unfilled as Kern County Water Agency has not joined the DCA

Photo by California Dep’t of Water Resources.

$11 Billion Price Tag Could Quadruple

According to Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, “the $11 billion figure quoted for construction of the Delta Conveyance Project is dated and incomplete. The $11 billion figure is in 2018 dollars. In 2018, Metropolitan Water District claimed inflation for construction should be calculated at 5% interest annually. That puts the project over $12 billion today without all the mitigation measures discussed by the Design Construction Authority in stakeholder meetings with Delta community members. These externalized mitigation costs will be absorbed by taxpayers.

Before bond interest, and with externalized mitigation costs, inflation roughly would put construction costs closer to $20 billion. Bond interest generally speaking would double the cost to $40 billion. And if the state is going to make Delta communities whole and leave the Delta ‘better off’ than it is presently, additional billions of dollars would need to be spent.”

Impact on Antioch

For Antioch, which has pre-1914 rights to water and can take as much from the river as it needs, and has the lowest intake in the entire Delta, the result will be greater saltwater intrusion, as there will be less pressure from the fresh water flowing through the Delta. In response, the City of Antioch has approved the construction of a $60 million desalination plant. (See related article)

Latest Updates & Reports

This week, the DWR issued an update and scoping report on environmental planning for the single tunnel project.

DWR Adopts Mitigated Negative Declaration and Approves Soil Collection Activities

Today, Thursday, July 9, 2020, consistent with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Department of Water Resources (DWR) adopted the Final Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) for soil investigations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). As part of the CEQA process, DWR also formally approved the action and adopted a Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Plan (MMRP). Soil investigations will include data collection, soil samples and surveys in support of DWR’s efforts to better understand the region’s geology to support the future evaluation of potential activities, including the proposed Delta Conveyance Project. As identified in the Final IS/MND, any potential significant impact will be avoided or otherwise mitigated with implementation of mitigation adopted as part of the project approval process. To access a copy of the Notice of Determination and Final IS/MND, which includes responses to comments and the adopted MMRP, visit the Delta Conveyance Environmental Planning page on DWR’s website.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement Under the National Environmental Policy Act

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has informed DWR that it will conduct federal environmental review of the proposed Delta Conveyance Project. USACE, which has regulatory authority over certain actions within specifically defined waters in the United States, will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Later this summer, USACE will issue a Notice of Intent officially announcing the start of preparation of the EIS. USACE’s letter to DWR can be found here.

The tunnel shaft will be drilled 150 feet below ground. From DCA SEC 2019-12-11-Delta Conveyance System Overview

Delta Conveyance Project Scoping Summary Report Now Available

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has published a Scoping Summary Report for the proposed Delta Conveyance Project. This scoping report is a summary of the public scoping period that concluded in April. It includes all public comments received. The information collected during scoping will help inform the ongoing environmental analysis.
The scoping report includes: project overview, the purpose of scoping, a description of scoping activities, meetings, and notifications; a summary of public comments received and copies of all public comments received, including public scoping meeting transcripts.

The purpose of scoping is for DWR to gather feedback from the public and agencies on what to consider when preparing the proposed Delta Conveyance Project Environmental Impact Report. Specifically, DWR was seeking input on the range of project alternatives and potential environmental impacts to study further.

DWR will continue environmental review and analysis of the proposed Delta Conveyance Project, which is intended to maintain reliability of the state’s water system in the decades to come. For more information about the status of the environmental planning work, click here.

Upcoming Meetings

The next meeting of the Delta Conveyance Design & Construction Authority (DCA) Board of Directors will be held next Thursday, July 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I Street in Sacramento (map). For details on watching and participating in the meeting online, click here.

Ways to Stay Informed

To stay informed of plans and progress on the Delta Conveyance Project visit https://water.ca.gov/Programs/State-Water-Project/Delta-Conveyance; Twitter @CA_DWR; email DeltaConveyance@water.ca.gov; or call the Project Hotline at 866.924.9955.

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Regional agencies seek input on the future of the Bay Area

Friday, July 10th, 2020

For transportation, housing, economy and environment for next three decades

Plan Bay Area 2050’s Draft Blueprint is available for public comment through August 10, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, July 10, 2020 . . . The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) are inviting the Bay Area public to provide input on the newly released Plan Bay Area 2050 Draft Blueprint, a 30-year regional vision that seeks to create a more affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant Bay Area for all. The Draft Blueprint is being released today for a public comment period that will run through August 10, 2020.

Given the myriad challenges the COVID-19 pandemic poses to the Bay Area, MTC and ABAG will hold virtual workshops and telephone town halls through August 7, 2020. Both organizations want to hear from all Bay Area residents in order to incorporate diverse voices from across our region. Input received by the agencies will be used to further refine the Final Blueprint to create a more resilient and equitable Bay Area for future generations. The Final Blueprint is slated for approval in late 2020 and will be integrated into Plan Bay Area 2050 prior to its adoption in 2021.

The Plan Bay Area 2050 Draft Blueprint weaves together transportation, housing, economic and environmental strategies, alongside an expanded set of growth geographies, to advance critical climate and equity goals. Designed to accommodate the 1.5 million new homes necessary to house future growth and address overcrowding, as well as 1.4 million new jobs, the Draft Blueprint integrates critical strategies to address our severe and longstanding housing crisis. With infrastructure investments in walking, biking and public transportation – as well as sea level protections designed to keep most Bay Area communities from flooding through 2050 – the Draft Blueprint makes meaningful steps towards the adopted Plan Bay Area 2050 Vision.

Plan Bay Area 2050 is a joint initiative of MTC and ABAG. For more information on Plan Bay Area 2050 or to provide comments on the Draft Blueprint, visit: www.planbayarea.org. The entire list of public events can be found here: www.planbayarea.org/meetings-and-events/upcoming-public-events.

See previous plans here – Plan 2040  Plan Bay Area

MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. ABAG’s mission is to strengthen cooperation and collaboration across local governments to build healthier, stronger communities.

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Contra Costa Sheriff’s Marine Patrol searching for missing Delta boater since Friday night

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Photos by CCCSheriff.

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

A marine search is continuing today in the Delta for a missing boater.

On Friday, June 26, 2020 at about 8:25 pm, the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Marine Patrol Unit was dispatched to a report of a missing boater on Indian Slough in Discovery Bay.

It is not known how the boater, a 29-year-old man, went into the water. He is not being identified at this time. Occupants on the boat, who said that he never resurfaced, immediately searched for him.

Marine patrol deputies searched the water while Deputies checked the levee shoreline. A sonar search was also conducted. Sheriff’s Office STARR 3 helicopter did an aerial search. The missing boater was not located.

The investigation and search are continuing. Anyone with any information on this incident is asked to contact the Office of the Sheriff at (925) 646-2441.

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County’s Sustainability Committee considers declaring climate emergency in Contra Costa

Friday, May 29th, 2020

“that threatens the long-term economic and social well-being, health, safety, and security of the County” – proposed language from resolution.

Commission asked for input before making recommendation to full Board of Supervisors later this year.

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Friday morning, May 29, 2020, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors’ Sustainability Committee, heard public input on the proposed Climate Emergency Resolution. Supervisor Federal Glover serves as committee Chair and Supervisor John Gioia, serves as Vice Chair.

“The committee didn’t actually vote on it,” said Jody London, Sustainability Coordinator for the county. “We received a lot of public comment on it. They wanted some modifications. There was argument that it wasn’t strong enough in some areas. The committee wasn’t in agreement with all the ideas but, we’re going to go back and work with the Sustainability Commission.”

“It’s a standing committee of the board that meets every other month,” she explained. “The commission, made up of members of the public appointed by the board, meets during the months in between. They usually happen at 5:00 p.m. on the fourth Monday of the month. It will be held online.”

The next meeting of the commission will be on June 23rd.

A revised resolution that includes input from the commission will return to the committee on July 27th, for final vote of recommendation to the full board, which can happen sometime in August or September depending on vacation schedules, London said.

According to the staff report, “On November 19, 2019, the Board of Supervisors (Board) received a proposal from the Contra Costa County Sustainability Commission that the Board adopt a Climate Emergency Resolution. The Board referred this item to the Sustainability Committee.
On December 9, 2019, the Sustainability Committee discussed options for structuring a climate emergency resolution. Supervisors expressed their opinion that resolutions have greater value when they identify tangible actions we can take. They cited to the recent State Executive Order N-19-19 on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating impacts of climate change in State government as an example. The Committee expressed interest in seeing the County take action on those issues where it can have the greatest impact. The Committee recognized that the County must balance priorities, it cannot invest in everything people might want at this time.

Community members offered many ideas for a climate emergency resolution. They stressed that this is an emergency and the County should provide bold leadership and action. Community members urged the Board include in any resolution deadlines or dates by which action can be expected. Community members expressed interest in the Board taxing the refineries located in Contra Costa County and determining how the County should plan for a situation where the refineries and other fossil-fuel based industries are not viable.

The Committee directed the Sustainability Coordinator to develop a draft climate emergency resolution in consultation with the Sustainability Commission and come back to the Committee.

The attached draft Climate Emergency Resolution was developed by staff, in consultation with the Sustainability Commission, which has discussed this at several meetings, most recently its February 24, 2020 meeting. The draft Resolution reflects the new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. It recommends three actions:

  1. The County Department of Conservation and Development is directed to work with the County Administrator and other departments to establish an interdepartmental task force of Department heads, or their immediate deputies, that will focus on implementing the County’s Climate Action Plan and identifying additional actions, policies, and programs the County can undertake to reduce and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.
  2. The County Sustainability Commission is directed to seek input from the community to help the County anticipate and plan for an economy that is less dependent on fossil fuel extraction and processing, helps plan for a transition from a fossil-fuel dependent economy, and considers how the County’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic can incorporate the County’s climate goals. As the State of California adopts policies and goals for reducing pollution and addressing climate change, the County will consider with the assistance of the Sustainabilty Commission what this will mean for County revenues, jobs, health, and infrastructure, including new opportunities and how frontline communities will realize economic and other benefits. The Commission will include this topic in its ongoing advice to the Board of Supervisors.
  3. Health, socio-economic, and racial equity considerations should be included in policymaking and climate solutions at all levels and across all sectors as the consequences of climate change have significant impacts on all County residents, but especially the young, the elderly, low-income or communities of color, and other vulnerable populations.”

The declaration portion of the draft resolution in its current form reads as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Supervisors of the County of Contra Costa declares a climate emergency that threatens the long-term economic and social well-being, health, safety, and security of the County.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the County Department of Conservation and Development work with the County Administrator and other departments to establish an interdepartmental task force of Department heads, or their immediate deputies, that will focus on implementing the County’s Climate Action Plan and identifying additional actions, policies, and programs the County can undertake to reduce and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the County Sustainability Commission seek input from the community to help the County anticipate and plan for an economy that is less dependent on fossil fuels, helps plan for a transition from a fossil-fuel dependent economy, and considers how the County’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic can incorporate the County’s climate goals. As the State of California adopts policies and goals for reducing pollution and addressing climate change, the County will consider with the assistance of the Sustainability Commission what this will mean for County revenues, jobs, health, and infrastructure including new opportunities and how frontline communities will realize economic and other benefits. The Commission will include this topic in its ongoing advice to the Board of Supervisors.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that health, socio-economic, and racial equity considerations should be included in policymaking and climate solutions at all levels and across all sectors as the consequences of climate change have significant impacts on all County residents, especially the young, the elderly, low-income or communities of color, and other vulnerable populations.

Read the entire draft resolution, here – 41815_DRAFT Climate Emergency Resolution

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Sheriff’s Marine Patrol continues search for Delta boater missing since Thursday morning

Friday, May 29th, 2020

Photo by CCCSheriff.

By Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs, Contra Costa County, Office of the Sheriff

A search for a missing boater is continuing this morning by the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff Marine Patrol Unit.

On Thursday, May 28, 2020, at about 10:30 in the morning, the Sheriff’s Office received a report of a missing boater who had gone into the waters in the San Joaquin River, north of Webb Tract.

The Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Unit responded and were assisted by Solano County, Sacramento County, San Joaquin County and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Umut Felik, a 27-year-old man from San Francisco, was swimming when he apparently had trouble staying above the water. At one point he went underwater and did not resurface. His friends on a boat went into the water to search for him but were not able to find him. They reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Office.

A search of the area with a sonar was suspended at 8 PM. Felik was not located.

Anyone with any information on this incident to asked to contact the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Unit at (925) 427-8507.

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Save Mt. Diablo expands efforts to protect the 150-mile long Diablo Range

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

View of the Diablo Range from the top of San Benito Mountain, at 5,241 feet the Diablo Range’s highest peak. The Diablo Range covers 12 counties and 5,400 square miles, but most people have never heard of it. Copyright Stephen Joseph; used with permission.

California’s next big conservation story, right in our backyards

Cover of the Spring 2020 issue of Bay Nature magazine. Credit Bay Nature.

By Laura Kindsvater, Communications Intern, Save Mount Diablo

Save Mount Diablo has launched a campaign to connect Mount Diablo to the whole of the Diablo Range, a 150-mile long mountain range and biodiversity refuge that’s next door to millions of people, but that most people know nothing about.

“The Diablo Range is the missing piece of the California conservation map,” says Save Mount Diablo Land Conservation Director Seth Adams. “It’s California’s next great conservation story.”

“Seventy-five percent of the ecologically important area around Mount Diablo has been preserved,” explains Edward “Ted” Sortwell Clement, Jr., Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director, “while in the full 150-mile range, only 24 percent of the landscape has any protection. We’re going to change that. Save Mount Diablo’s first step is defining the range as a whole for the conservation community and the public and educating them about its importance.”

Save Mount Diablo’s public educational efforts will include the full 150-mile Diablo Range. As part of this campaign, Save Mount Diablo helped to sponsor a newly published cover story and supplement about the Diablo Range in Bay Nature magazine, with the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. “The Spine of California,” by Bay Nature Digital Editor Eric Simons, explores the most rugged, plant-rich stretch of California you’ve never heard of.

The cover story is the first article ever published specifically about the Diablo Range, and it includes the first ever published map of the public and protected lands of the Diablo Range. “Our first effort is to put this place on the map,” notes Adams.

Panoche Valley and the Panoche Hills, part of the Diablo Range. The Diablo Range is threatened by both alternative and fossil-fuel based energy development, and in the Panoche Valley, large solar farms are beginning to pop up. Credit Al Johnson.

Also, as part of the campaign, Save Mount Diablo recently expanded the geographic area in which it now does its land use advocacy; it now includes the three northern counties of 12 crossed by the Diablo Range. The organization’s primary acquisition focus remains north of Highway 580 and around the main peaks of Mount Diablo. The organization recently announced two acquisition projects on the main peaks, the 154-acre Trail Ride Association conservation easement on North Peak for which it needs to raise a little over $1,040,000 and the $650,000 Smith Canyon project adjacent to Curry Canyon.

Map showing the northern Diablo Range. Save Mount Diablo recently expanded the area in which it works down to the Santa Clara County line. In addition to Contra Costa County between Highway 680 and the Byron Highway, Save Mount Diablo’s area of interest now encompasses portions of southeastern Alameda County and southwestern San Joaquin County, including a critical wildlife corridor linking Mount Diablo to the rest of the Diablo Range and a vulnerable region of spectacular biodiversity (Cedar Mountain, Corral Hollow, and the greater Mines Road area). Map prepared in collaboration by Save Mount Diablo and Nomad Ecology, LLC.

In addition to working in Contra Costa County between Highway 680 and the Byron Highway, Save Mount Diablo now also works in southeastern Alameda and southwestern San Joaquin Counties.

This area includes an essential, 10-mile-wide wildlife corridor (Altamont Pass is part of it) that connects Mount Diablo to the rest of the Diablo Range. It also includes one of the most important and vulnerable biodiversity hotspots in California.

Save Mount Diablo Executive Director Ted Clement and Land Conservation Director Seth Adams waving from on top of San Benito Mountain, at 5,241 feet the highest point in the Diablo Range. Credit Al Johnson.

According to Simons, “The 150-mile range of mountains from the Carquinez Strait to the oil fields of the southern San Joaquin Valley holds some of the largest remaining wild places in California. It is a rugged, remote, difficult realm, a biodiversity ark incised by the San Andreas Fault. It is a historic mixing place, where Central Valley Yokuts and coastal Ohlones traded and danced, where California’s ever-more-diverse future residents will seek escape and recreation. And it is nearly unparalleled in ecological significance.”

The Diablo Range stretches from the Carquinez Strait all the way to the Antelope Valley in Kern County and contains some of the largest remaining unprotected wild places in California. The mountain range is huge, rugged, and remote. Bounded by Highway 101 to the west and Interstate 5 to the east, the 150-mile long, 40- to 50-mile wide area is a blank spot on the map for the public focused on its outer grassland foothills. “Five miles in and 500 feet up,” Adams says, “oaks and chaparral appear, and it’s Mount Diablo multiplied.”

In the southern Diablo Range is a huge area of serpentine geology and associated soils. These soils are toxic to most plants, but home to many rare plant species that have evolved to handle the toxicity. Some of these plants are “serpentine endemics”—they can live nowhere else. Pictured here: the serpentine barrens at San Benito Mountain. Copyright Stephen Joseph; used with permission.

The Diablo Range covers 5,400 square miles and has many peaks, some of which are taller than Mount Diablo. The tallest one is San Benito Mountain at 5,241 feet. Mount Diablo measures at 3,849 feet.

The range is extremely important for wildlife, crossed only by two major highways at Altamont and Pacheco Passes. It serves as a reservoir of biodiversity, a core habitat for wildlife in California.

Although golden eagle populations are declining in western North America, they’re stable in California because of the Diablo Range.

Serpentine ecosystems at San Benito Mountain. Copyright Stephen Joseph; used with permission.

The northern Diablo Range supports the highest density of golden eagles on the planet. The Diablo Range could also be the source for replenishing the genetic diversity of mountain lion populations in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Tule elk, nearly hunted to extinction in the 1970s, have recovered quickly in the Diablo Range. Bay checkerspot butterflies have their last stronghold along Coyote Ridge just above San Jose. And the Diablo Range offers great habitat for California condors to expand into as they recover from the brink of extinction.

Headwaters of the San Benito River. Credit Al Johnson.

The Diablo Range is threatened by energy development (both alternative and fossil fuel-based energy), suburban sprawl, and proposed dams and reservoirs. Wind turbines endanger golden eagles and other birds. And the Panoche Valley, part of the Diablo Range, now has a 4,800-acre solar farm.

This mountain range harbors incredible biodiversity that supports many rare, endemic (plants or animals found nowhere else), or disjunct species (plants that are cut off from other populations and not expected to be there). It contains large swaths of land with serpentine soils, on which rare plant species that live nowhere else grow. And some of the soils are “vertic clays,” which also support rare and endemic plant species.

Save Mount Diablo Executive Director Ted Clement and the Diablo Range. Copyright Stephen Joseph; used with permission

Although the Diablo Range is right next to some large cities, large areas of it have limited to no cell phone coverage, light pollution, or major roads, an indication of its habitat connectivity.

Read more about the Diablo Range and Save Mount Diablo’s work to protect it in the Bay Nature cover story.

The Panoche Hills, part of the Diablo Range. Credit Al Johnson.

About Save Mount Diablo

Save Mount Diablo is a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources. Learn more at www.savemountdiablo.org.

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Contra Costa’s green future? Sierra Club to hold Green New Deal Town Hall Feb 21 in Antioch

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

The Green New Deal is a proposed package of legislation first introduced in Congress by freshman Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey. It has aroused support and controversy in equal measures.  The legislative proposal is their comprehensive approach to address claims of climate change and has become a central discussion point in the 2020 election. It is being championed by self-described democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the front runners in the Democratic presidential primary race.

The two bills that make up the package are House Resolution 109 and Senate Resolution 59. In the Senate, Markey introduced the bill and it was defeated with no votes in favor and 57 votes against, and 43 Senators voting present in protest to there not being any debate or expert testimony. The House bill has not yet received a vote. However, the House Select Committee on Climate Crisis was created to study the list of proposals contained in the legislation.

But what does it mean for Contra Costa County?

The Sierra Club, one of America’s leading environmental protection organizations, is hosting a Town Hall in Antioch to discuss the plan and how Contra Costa communities will benefit and be impacted.

The event will take place on Friday, February 21st from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm at the Antioch Community Center, 4703 Lone Tree Way, Antioch.

Featured speakers include Dr. Mark Stemen, professor of geography, planning, and civics from California State University, Chico. Stemen is a noted authority and a highly entertaining speaker who is much in demand.

Also speaking will be youth leaders from the Sunrise Movement of Northern California. The Sunrise Movement is at the vanguard of environmental activism, their tactics of organizing have demanded attention from both elected officials and the public.

In addition, Deirdre Des Jardins, principal with California Water Research, will discuss water challenges for the Delta Region. From the Sierra Club, Helen Fitzmaurice will speak about the importance and ways to educate schools and students on climate change. Public officials and candidates have also been invited.

In response to the proposed legislation it was announced on Wednesday, Feb. 12 that a new website was launched to expose the dangers of the Green New Deal by America Rising Squared, which, according to their website, is an organization “dedicated to promoting the principles of freedom, limited government, free enterprise, and a strong national security, and pushing back against big government liberal policies and the special interests that support them.”

The Green New Deal Town Hall in Antioch promises to be a stimulating and exciting discussion of Contra Costa County’s future.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

 

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Annual Coastal Cleanup Day at Antioch Marina Saturday, Sept. 21

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Volunteers are needed for the Annual Antioch Coastal Cleanup Day to be held Saturday, September 21 from 9:00 AM to Noon.

It’s part of the 35th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, which is the state’s largest volunteer event. This year, there will be one location for Antioch, the Antioch Marina.

We are doing another boat based (i.e. canoe and kayak) cleanup of the shoreline for the Friday before, September 20th, check-in at 8:30am, on the water from 9-11am. Space is limited for this event. You can bring your own kayak or canoe, or Delta Kayak Adventures will have some kayaks available for $10/person.

To volunteer, visit https://www.antiochca.gov/environmental-resources/coastal-cleanup-day/ and sign up using the form on the tab named “Volunteer Registration”. If you have more in your group than the form allows, email Julie Haas-Wajdowicz at jhaas-wajdowicz@ci.antioch.ca.us with the information on your group.

For questions regarding the event, contact the Environmental Resource Line at 925-779-6137 or email jhaas-wajdowicz@ci.antioch.ca.us.

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