Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The flooding of the San Pablo Bay


"Global Warming Effects on Wildlife and Habitat: Global Warming Impacts on Estuaries and Coastal Wetlands"
Global Warming Impacts on Estuaries and Coastal Wetlands -
Coastal areas around the United States support thousands of species of fish and wildlife, and they are crucial for the regional economy, culture and quality of life. Healthy coastal habitats also protect us from the effects of hurricanes and flooding. However, coastal habitats and wildlife are under pressure from human activities such as development and pollution. Now, sea-level rise and other climate changes due to global warming will create even greater challenges for our coasts.
We are facing an ecological crisis that could see wholesale loss of wildlife populations and profound changes in our outdoor way of life.

We can improve the ability of our coasts to withstand sea-level rise by
• Enhancing the natural defenses provided by wetlands, barrier islands and reefs.
• Supporting the natural replenishment of sediments from rivers and beaches.
• Protecting inland buffers to enable habitats to migrate.

Learn about the specific impacts in the:
• Pacific Northwest [http://www.nwf.org/Global-Warming/Effects-on-Wildlife-and-Habitat/Estuaries-and-Coastal-Wetlands/Pacific-Northwest.aspx]
• Chesapeake Bay [http://www.nwf.org/Global-Warming/Effects-on-Wildlife-and-Habitat/Estuaries-and-Coastal-Wetlands/Chesapeake-Bay.aspx]
• Florida

The Habitat -
The nation has more than 88,000 miles of tidal shoreline harboring vast areas of coastal wetlands and more than 100 estuaries where major rivers enter the sea. These habitats are transition zones between freshwater and saltwater, and among the most productive habitats on Earth.
The nation's largest estuary—Chesapeake Bay—exemplifies the economic and aesthetic values of estuaries, even though significantly degraded from its historic productivity. This estuary alone supports more than 3,600 species of plants, fish and animals.
Louisiana is home to about 40 percent of the nation's coastal wetlands, sheltering more than 120 plant species. Estuaries and coastal wetlands contain important nursery areas for many marine species and harbor large populations of wintering waterfowl, ospreys, bald eagles and a diversity of other wildlife.

Benefits for Humans and Wildlife -
Fishing, tourism and recreational boating associated with estuaries supports more than 28 million jobs in the U.S. In 2006, an estimated $491 million in fish and wildlife was extracted from Louisiana, with much of that dependent upon or from coastal wetlands. Chesapeake Bay waters alone produce some 500 million pounds of seafood for human consumption each year. Some 75 percent of commercial fisheries rely upon estuaries and coastal wetlands for habitat.
These areas improve water quality, provide flood control benefits, and dissipate storm surges, thereby helping to protect coastal areas. Important in rural economies, estuaries and coastal wetlands support both local subsistence needs and a strong recreational fishing industry.

Threats from Global Warming -
Global warming has the potential to completely alter the structure and function of the nation's estuaries and coastal wetlands. Sea level rise threatens to inundate many coastal wetlands, with little room to move inland because of coastal development. Already sharply reduced in acreage, coastal freshwater wetlands are especially vulnerable to rising sea levels. In the next 100 years, taking into account the ongoing sinking of land in some coastal areas, net sea-level rise could exceed six feet.
Warmer water from global warming will alter the species composition and contribute to worsening dead zones and harmful algal blooms, increased incidence of marine diseases, and expansion of harmful invasive species.
Floods, droughts and other extreme weather events will alter water flows, leading to more polluted runoff and lower water quality. Stronger hurricanes and storms threaten to damage coastal wetlands, as demonstrated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita which destroyed more than 100 square miles of Louisiana's coastal wetlands.

Conservation Investments to Minimize Global Warming Impacts -
Extensive restoration of coastal wetlands has great potential to minimize the impacts on coastal communities of stronger hurricanes associated with global warming. This is because storm surges and hurricane strength are dissipated by coastal wetlands--a lesson learned too late in Louisiana.
Needed actions for restoration include diverting freshwater and sediment from the Mississippi and its distributaries, replanting marsh vegetation and closing channels that allow saltwater to flow into freshwater marshes.
Wherever coastal wetlands exist it will be necessary to account for sea level rise if commercial and recreational fisheries are to be retained at even near current values. This will require protection of current upland areas where coastal wetlands can develop as the sea level rises. It will also be necessary to improve storm water management to minimize exacerbated storm flows and keep stream temperatures down.
Increased monitoring of fish populations will be necessary so that commercial and recreational fishing regulations can be adjusted as populations are affected by changing water temperatures and quality.

Related Resources:
* Swamping Louisiana - As the state's coastal wetlands disappear, at the rate of a football field every half hour, both wildlife and human lives are threatened. [http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/News-and-Views/Archives/2002/Swamping-Louisiana.aspx]
* Cypress Distress - The Gulf Coast's ancient cypress swamps have suffered through development, water diversion projects and Hurricane Katrina; now, there's another threat: the wood chipper. [http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Gardening/Archives/2006/Cypress-Distress.aspx]

Saturday, July 21, 2012

2012-07-25 "Sacramento Rally to Save the Delta"

Message from "Environmental Water Caucus" [ewccalifornia.org]:
 For those of you who oppose the Governor’s plan to build a Peripheral Canal to guarantee more water for San Joaquin farming billionaires – and kill the Bay Delta Estuary in the process – this coming Wednesday, July 25, will give you an opportunity to have your voices heard with a large rally at the Capitol.
 We understand that the Governor and Federal and State officials will make their announcement, probably in Sacramento on that same date, to start building the Peripheral Canal. We also understand that they will announce a new “process” to study how they can safely export more Delta water with their $15 billion project and still recover the Delta ecosystems and fisheries. They evidently will try their best to hide their real intention to go ahead and start construction of two huge tunnels under the Delta to drain the Sacramento River.
 How we got to this point is really strange: After years of development of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), the National Research Council of the National Academies, the Delta Independent Science Board, and the highly-regarded scientists from The Bay Institute weighed in on the required Effects Analysis document for the project. Their verdict: the plan would hasten extinction of species rather than restore species; the document failed to meet the minimum standards for credible science; it ignored negative impacts, and it “cherry picked” data. Faced with this overwhelming criticism of their “cooked” science, the BDCP project went back to the drawing boards and came forth with the desperate scheme to build it now and figure out how to operate it later.
 We have decided that it is critical to have a true grassroots citizens rally at the State Capitol on that day to both oppose this plan and at the same time to expose the public to the better alternatives that we advocate, which will truly protect the Delta and its fisheries.

 So we are asking that you do the following:
 1. Show up personally in Sacramento mid day on July 25 to join the rally. We will have a gathering point and provide information on the day’s events. Here’s your opportunity for some real grassroots advocacy.
 2. Share this email as soon as possible with all like-minded friends and associates who truly care about our ecosystems and fisheries and who will personally demonstrate those interests at the rally.
 3. Let us know by email if you will participate; we will send those who respond more detailed instruction as to timing and event coordination.

 We cannot emphasize how important it is to stop this enormous mistake that the Governor is planning. The Peripheral Tunnel is unnecessary and will increase urban water rates while San Joaquin corporate farms receive most of the water through the new tunnels. As presently planned, BDCP is not a path to restoration – it‘s a death sentence for one of the world’s great estuaries.
 Please plan to join us, and respond to this email to either Bill Jennings of CSPA/Restore the Delta (deltakeep@me. com) or Nick Di Croce of the Environmental Water Caucus (troutnk@aol. com). A copy of Restore the Delta's Press Release is attached.
 We thank you in advance for your support and look forward to your being a part of this important grassroots advocacy event.

 Nick Di Croce, Co-Facilitator
 Environmental Water Caucus
troutnk@aol. com
 www.ewccalifornia. org

The Richmond UC Synthetic Biology Laboratory, Labor Safety And The Environment - A Speakout and Discussion

July 21 (Saturday) 1:00 PM (Free) Richmond Main Public Library - 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond

What are the potential dangers of the new proposed lab in Richmond? These will be one of the issues discussed at a meeting on the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) & U. C.  Berkeley Synthetic Biology Institute (SBI) laboratory being brought to  Richmond.

 Speakers include:
 *Richard Brenneman, Research Journalist
 *Dr. Henry Clark, West Bay Toxic Coalition
 *Dr. Larry Rose M.D. Retired Ca OSHA Senior Public Health Medical Officer M.P.H. Occupational Environmental Medicine Assistant Professor at UCSF
 *Dr. Joany Chou, Injured Workers National Network IWNN and California BioSafety Alliance (for information only)
 *Jack Dwayne Thrasher, Ph.D., Toxicologist, Immunotoxicologist, Fetaltoxicologist
 *A speaker From California Coalition For Workers Memorial Day

 Hosted by California Coalition For Workers Memorial Day
 Endorsed by United Public Workers For Action

Friday, July 13, 2012

2012-07-13 "Leaked Docs Reveal 'Off the Charts' Damage at US Nuke Plant; San Onofre's steam generators in worst shape of all US nuclear plants"

from "Common Dreams" [http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/07/13-0]:
Problems with the steam generators and miles of tubing at the San Onofre nuclear plant are the most severe found in comparable generators in the US and much more severe than previously reported, according to a new report [http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2012/07/13].
The report by Fairewinds Associates (and commissioned by Friends of the Earth) also provides an analysis of leaked documents (pdf [http://libcloud.s3.amazonaws.com/93/a7/c/2277/Edison_San_Onofre_Generators_US_Worst_Fairewinds_report_July_2012.pdf] [http://libcloud.s3.amazonaws.com/93/3f/4/2278/Edison_Document_Tube_Wear.pdf]) by plant owner Southern California Edison that shows, despite assertions by the company and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, thousands of tubes inside both San Onofre reactors are severely damaged.
Friends of the Earth, along with other nuclear experts and many concerned local residents, say the reactors at San Onofre should remain shut down.
San Onofre, on the Pacific Coast between Los Angeles and San Diego, has been shut down since January, after a leak of radiation from one of the almost 20,000 thin, tightly-packed tubes that lead from the plant’s four steam generators to its turbines. In an attempt to stop further leaks, Edison has plugged 1,317 of the tubes that show wear. According to NRC data on 31 reactors with comparable replacement steam generators, San Onofre has more than three and a half times the number of steam tubes plugged as a safety measure than at all the other reactors combined.
In addition to the unprecedented scale of plugging at San Onofre, Fairewinds’ analysis of the leaked data from Edison shows that more than 4,000 tubes are showing significant wear, while only 1,317 have been plugged. Fairewinds concludes that plugging the tubes will not eliminate the cause of damage. In fact, operating the reactors with the remaining unplugged but worn tubes could create cascading tube failures, leading to domino-like catastrophic failure that would release significant radiation to a large area of Southern California.
“Edison and the NRC have admitted that the problems with San Onofre’s steam tubes are an anomaly, but they haven’t been forthcoming about just how historically off-the-charts the damage is in comparison to the rest of the nuclear industry,” said Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer at Fairewinds and co-author of the report.
"This reveals a far greater problem than has been previously disclosed, and raises serious questions about whether it is safe to restart either unit," said Daniel Hirsch, a nuclear expert at UC-Santa Cruz, to Agence France-Presse.
Meanwhile, local anti-nuclear activists are pressing government authorities to set up a watchdog group to oversee the San Onofre plant [http://www.scpr.org/news/2012/07/11/33213/group-calls-state-oversight-san-onofre-nuke-plant/].
The groups, including Residents Organized for a Safe Environment (ROSE), have launched a letter-writing campaign to the California attorney general, demanding that their voices have a seat at the table when it comes to nuclear safety [http://poway.patch.com/articles/state-may-launch-san-onofre-watchdog-panel].
“We are aware of what happened when a committee like this was formed at Diablo Canyon,” said Gene Stone, an organizer with ROSE. “It has taken a very long time for a very small amount of good to come out it. We will not tolerate a San Onofre safety committee filled with people from Southern California Edison or Pacific Gas and Electric and the nuclear industry. We demand true public participation.”

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Save the Otters!

'Do you think more people would stop using plastic shopping bags if they saw how it affects (marine) wildlife first hand? PHOTO: Sea otter pup encased in a single-use plastic bag. Fortunately mom was able to remove the bag before the pup suffocated.

 "It seems like such a harmless choice, one that’s far too easy to make. You’re driving along in your car and you get thirsty, but you’ve forgotten your trusty stainless steel water bottle. So you swing by a convenience store and buy a bottle of water. While you’re at it you get a snack. No big deal, right? After all, printed on the bottle is the little chasing arrows recycling symbol, and there’s another one on the plastic bag in which the clerk placed your bottle and chips. What that symbol doesn’t tell you is that the bag and bottle are each one of billions produced every year, and try as we might to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic containers, every scrap of plastic we humans have ever produced is still hanging around in the environment.'