Check out this week’s Weekly Roundup for breaking news affecting San Francisco Bay.
InsideBayArea: Oakland Tribune 7/16/13
Sixteen new park sites considered by East Bay Regional Parks
The East Bay Regional Park District is considering 16 potential park sites in a blueprint for expansion into new areas along the hills, valleys and shorelines of Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The park board will vote Tuesday afternoon on its master plan, a set of long-term goals and policies. The plan positions EBRPD to continue an aggressive land buying program fueled by voter-approved bond measures of $225 million in 1988 and $500 million in 2008.
National Geographic 7/14/13
New Map Shows Where Nature Protects U.S. Coast
Americans looking to buy seaside property would do well to study the first ever nationwide map showing how and where natural habitats like reefs and vegetation best protect coastal residents from rising seas and catastrophic storms like last year’s Hurricane Sandy. (See “Hurricane Sandy Pictures: Floods, Fire, Snow in the Aftermath.”)
Shoreline engineering like seawalls can be effective but also expensive, environmentally undesirable, and a detriment to tourism and seaside recreation. But conserving and restoring nature’s own coastal habitats can also help save lives.
Habitat loss doubles coastal flood impact, study says
Removing mangroves, marshes, reefs, forests, dunes and other natural defences doubles the risk for life and property from coastal floods, a US climate study said on Sunday. In the most detailed analysis of the risks facing Americans from rising seas, researchers led by Katie Arkema at Stanford University in California built a computer model of coasts in the continental United States.
“Today, 16 percent of the US coastline comprises ‘high hazard’ areas harbouring 1.3 million people, (including) 250,000 elderly (and) 30,000 families below the poverty line, and $300 billion (230 billion euros) in residential property value,” the study said.
Contra Costa Times 7/10/13
El Cerrito plan to ban plastic bag advances
The city’s citizen Environmental Quality Committee gave its blessing July 9 to a proposal that would ban single-use plastic bags and styrene containers for takeout food, as well as a plan for the city to buy 7.5 acres in the hills to connect two city-owned areas of open space. El Cerrito is in the midst of a public comment period on the bag and container ordinance that ends Monday, after which the City Council will consider a first draft when it meets Aug. 20.
Panetta: Don’t take oceans for granted
Oceans are a tremendous economic engine, providing jobs for millions of Americans, directly and indirectly, and a source of food and recreation for countless more. Yet, for much of U.S. history, the health of America’s oceans has been taken for granted, assuming its bounty was limitless and capacity to absorb waste without end. This is far from the truth.
High CO2 Spurs Wetlands to Absorb More Carbon
Under elevated carbon dioxide levels, wetland plants can absorb up to 32 percent more carbon than they do at current levels, according to a 19-year study published in Global Change Biology from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, Md. With atmospheric CO2 passing the 400 parts-per-million milestone this year, the findings offer hope that wetlands could help soften the blow of climate change.