Thursday, April 24, 2008

Encinitas EAC report

The newly formed Encinitas Environmental Advisory Committee met tonight, 4/24/08. They completed the drafting of their mission statement and then moved on to a brainstorming session. There was discussion of several topics of interest to Surfrider, including watershed restoration, expanding marine protected areas, and addressing stormwater runoff and marine debris. The committee members will each select their top priority items to discuss further at the next meeting. The EAC also decided to hear presentations from various city departments at future meetings regarding environmental matters of interest to the committee.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Forum: Water crisis can be solved

North County Times By TONY BOGAR - commentary | Thursday, April 17, 2008

California has enough water. Surprised?

We hear endlessly about the "water crisis." Politicians like Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. Dianne Feinstein are pushing to build more dams, at a cost of several billions dollars each. Even the Peripheral Canal has resurfaced as a solution to our crisis.

But do we really need to pile on to the state's debt and wait decades for these "solutions" to be built? Isn't there a quicker, cheaper, smarter answer to our problems?

Let's be clear. California certainly faces major water challenges like global warming and increased demand. So some people are rushing to build dams ---- expensive 19th-century solutions to 21st-century problems.

We don't need solutions that are expensive, destructive and useless. A little common sense shows us that the real answers to our problems are easy, efficient and smart....

Common sense can help to save water. Conservation really does work. California has cut its per capita water use by 50 percent during the past 40 years, even as the state has boomed.

Simply using the tools we already have (new appliances, drip irrigation), we can easily cut our water use another 20 percent and still support a growing population and a bigger economy.

Recycling water is efficient. Why spray clean, clear drinking water on our golf courses and median strips? We can use the rainwater than runs into our storm drains and recycle our wastewater. Through reclamation and recycling, we can save enough drinking water each year for 1.5 million households ---- roughly all of Los Angeles.

Click here for the entire article.

Water supply threats worsen in San Diego County

North County Times – 4/12/08. By Bradley J. Fikes, staff writer

San Diego County has long had to worry about drought. It imports nearly all of its water from sources hundreds of miles away. Now it's struggling with what has been called a "man-made drought," a cut of up to 30 percent from Northern California rivers.

Local water agencies have created numerous programs to encourage saving water. For example, the region's water wholesaler, the San Diego County Water Authority, is promoting a "20 Gallon Challenge" to cut household water use by 20 gallons a day. And the authority recently adopted a model drought conservation plan for its member agencies, who directly provide water to customers.

However, other water-deprived areas outside of California have done even more to conserve water. One of the most notable examples is the Las Vegas area, renowned for its creative management of a water supply that's far more limited than San Diego County's.

Las Vegas has managed to produce an economic boom despite drought, and even decreased its water use in the bargain. This has been done mostly through conservation. By contrast, most of San Diego County's efforts have focused on getting more water, particularly its landmark water transfer deal with the Imperial Irrigation District.

That supply, however, is contingent upon there being enough water to transfer, and Mother Nature has shown herself to be a fickle provider. Conservation and reclamation of already used water doesn't rely on the vagaries of the weather. So the Las Vegas area, a desert like San Diego County, provides an example for what can be done locally.

Total water consumption in the Las Vegas area dropped by 13 billion gallons from 2002 to 2007, said Doug Bennett, conservation manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the water wholesaler for the region. During the same period, the area's population has increased by 400,000.

Las Vegas has had no choice but to become more efficient in conserving and reusing water. The landlocked area doesn't even have the desalination option available to coastal San Diego County.

Click here for the whole article.

All that water, every drop to drink

'The SUV of water' By Mindy McIntyre

With all the growing limitations on freshwater, it is easy to see why people would look to the Pacific Ocean as a potentially unlimited new water supply. However, the reality is that despite the industry-fanned hopes, ocean water desalination remains largely impractical in California.

Many people mistakenly consider ocean desalination a harmless way to get water to growing cities without the effects associated with damming rivers and over-pumping groundwater. The truth is, desalination is one of the most harmful and expensive water options in California. When compared to other available strategies, ocean desalination just doesn't pencil out.

Consider that ocean desalination is the most energy intensive way to get water. That's right -- it requires more energy to desalinate a gallon of ocean water than it does to pump water rom Northern California over a mountain range all the way to Southern California. All of that energy means more greenhouse gases, which would cause more problems for our snowpack and groundwater, not to mention other resources.

Ocean desalination also requires that massive amounts of sea water, carrying millions of fish, plankton and other ocean life, must be sucked up and filtered everyday -- with 100% fish mortality. Those who care about the ocean know that these types of diversions can destroy miles of already stressed coastal habitats. In fact, people have been working for decades to stop power plants from this kind of water filtration.

Ocean desalination also fails the cost test. It is the most expensive source of new water for California, thanks to the very high energy requirements. Despite the claims that desalination will get less expensive as time goes on, you do not have to be an economist to understand that $4 gasoline means that all forms of energy will be much more expensive in the future, not cheaper.

We should also be aware that many of these desalination plants would be owned by private companies, including subsidiaries of multinational corporations. That raises concerns about transparency and accountability.

Locally controlled water conservation, water recycling and brackish water desalination are all far cheaper than ocean desalination. Coincidentally, these options are also less energy- and greenhouse-gas intensive, and less environmentally damaging.

Ocean desalination, quite frankly, is the SUV of water. We have better options. Communities need to decide whether they want their water sources to generate massive amount of greenhouse gas, cost a fortune and destroy the environment. I suspect that in most cases, Californians would reject that offer.

Mindy McIntyre is the Planning and Conservation League's water program manager.

From the LA Times.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Oceanside Robertson's Concrete Update

From super activist Marty Benson.....

I attended that meeting with a "No Robertson's" button and I am of the opinions that

- a full EIR should have been required;
- a site in the flood plain, right on an already impaired body of
water that feeds into a popular beach suffering from regular closures
is not the place for a concrete plant;
- a site located within a quarter mile of a new mass transit stop
(Sprinter) is better utilized as a mixed use property, and such a use
would create more jobs and benefit for the city and pollution in
- O'side city council should more closely abide by the Oceanside
Boulevard Corridor Vision on which it spent $600k; and
- a worthwhile council would listen to the preponderance of its
constituents when making a decision.

These points were hit by the resident and enviro group opponents who far outnumbered the project proponents. Unfortunately, Oceanside is run by a 3-2 majority of pro-development people masquerading as conservatives.

For more info, you can go to

Friday, April 4, 2008

Trestles Update

We need your help contacting the Secretary of Commerce by asking him to grant a public hearing regarding the TCA's recent appeal. We need to ensure the Secretary of Commerce comes out to California to hear concerns of the public. Thousands of Trestles supporters swayed the Coastal Commission in February--now, we need to make sure a hearing is granted and the Federal government upholds the Coastal Commission decision.

To sign the action alert and learn more about the appeal process: click here

As you may have heard, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has dismissed fellow actor Clint Eastwood and his own brother-in-law, Bobby Shriver, from the State Park and Recreation Commission. Eastwood and Shriver had spoken out publicly against a senseless plan, supported by the governor, to put a six-lane toll road through San Onofre State Beach--one of the state's most popular parks.

Thanks in large part to their courageous stand--and a powerful outcry from thousands of concerned California citizens like you-- this disastrous proposal was recently dealt a major blow when it was rejected by the California Coastal Commission. Now the Governor has sent a chilling political message by failing to reappoint Eastwood and Shriver.Gov. Schwarzenegger claims to be committed to environmental protection. But by backing the toll road scheme, he is endorsing the destruction of one of the last unspoiled stretches of California's coastline.

According to the Governor, this road "has to go through somewhere. We can't stop progress." Please express your outrage to Gov. Schwarzenegger (see letter template below). Tell him to reverse course and vigorously oppose any attempt to revive the toll road plan. Tell Governor Schwarzenegger to support his appointees-- even those who disagree with him--and to join the State Park and Recreation Commission and the California Coastal Commission in opposing the toll road.

To see recent new coverage: click here

You are welcome to use the below letter template:

To contact Governor: click here

On the drop down menu select:"Parks and Recreation".
Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

I am outraged by your decision to dismiss Clint Eastwood and Bobby Shriver as vice chair and chair, respectively, of the California State Park and Recreation Commission. Your reported justification for terminating their appointments--– to infuse the Commission with "fresh legs"-- rings hollow. They had the courage to oppose the San Onofre toll road, which violates numerous California coastal policies and is one of the most destructive infrastructure projects in our state today.

I vehemently oppose your decision to dismiss two state parks commissioners who have done exactly what they were appointed to do: weigh the facts and exercise their independent judgment in the best interest of California. Please reverse course and join the State Park and Recreation Commission and the California Coastal Commission in opposing the toll road. I count on you as governor to represent all Californians, just as you did when you stood up to the Bush Administration when it sought to build roads in wild national forests in California. But all too often you have chosen to silence voices that disagree with your own--whether they are on the Coastal Commission, the Fish and Game Commission, the Air Resources Board or the Reclamation Board.

This pattern of dismissing appointees who dare to disagree with you sets a dangerous precedent. Public officials shouldn't be constrained in their performance by fear of losing their positions. Our state parks face an onslaught of threats. When it comes to protecting our natural heritage, Californians deserve to be represented by stewards like Clint Eastwood and Bobby Shriver. They were right to oppose the toll road through San Onofre, and so was the California Coastal Commission. We need you to do the same.

Sincerely,[signature block]