Check out this week’s Weekly Roundup for breaking news affecting San Francisco Bay
San Mateo Daily Journal 12/7/13
Sea level rise focus of conference: Federal, state, local officials to highlight potential impact on San Mateo County
San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, and Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, are hosting a conference to address how San Mateo County can begin to prepare for the effects of sea level rise.
About 300 people have registered for Meeting the Challenge of Sea Level Rise in San Mateo County on Monday morning at the College of San Mateo. National, state and local officials and environmental experts will speak about the magnitude of the reported effects the county faces.
“San Mateo County is uniquely positioned to be impacted on two fronts by sea level rise; both along the coastal zone and along the Bayfront. So we need to be planning now for what will happen when our seas rise,” Gordon said.
San Jose Mercury News 12/9/13
Is Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels plan repeating the errors of high-speed rail?
Ever since he took office three years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown has been trying to build two landmark public works projects to reshape California: a $68 billion high-speed rail system and a $25 billion overhaul of the state’s water system, including two massive tunnels under the Delta.
Both have been debated separately so far, with most public attention going to the bullet train plan.
But on Monday, as state officials released a 25,000-page environmental study of the water tunnels plan, critics began to make comparisons between the two, noting that the administration is steaming ahead with both projects, even though neither has anywhere near the funding in place to complete the job.
Salmon come back to Marin County as lawsuit proceeds
Bay Area wildlife fans have long known that Marin County’s Lagunitas Creek is a great place to watch wild coho salmon. The creek, which runs from Tomales Bay to the slopes of Mount Tamalpais through undeveloped West Marin, has been home to one of California’s healthiest coho runs despite a century and a half of regional development in the Bay Area. The little Lagunitas Creek watershed held between 10 and 20 percent of all remaining coastal California coho.
That was until a few years back, when the Lagunitas Creek watershed’s coho numbers cratered. The fish have been steadily regaining ground since, but their protectors fear that sprawling residential development may undo the rebound. Three weeks ago, two environmental groups filed suit against Marin County to block a development plan they say threatens the county’s salmon habitat.
SF Gate 12/11/13
Tidal extremes help put on a wildlife show
The lunar forces will take hold this weekend. The moon cycle will phase into a full moon Tuesday, and in the process, launch a series of high tides and minus low tides.
The time has arrived, Friday through Tuesday, to beachcomb, tide-pool hop on the coast, bird-watch at bay wetlands and go fishing in the bay and off the coast.
In latest victory court of appeal upholds San Francisco plastic bag ban
A unanimous California Court of Appeal upheld San Francisco’s expanded plastic bag ban, marking the latest in a string of victories for local laws phasing out single-use plastic bags. The lawsuit, brought by the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, had disputed the procedures San Francisco used to expand its plastic bag ban in 2012 and the legality of banning plastic bags in restaurants. This is the first appellate court to consider the restaurant issue. Today’s ruling sets the stage for more cities to adopt and strengthen local laws phasing out plastic bags.
“This is a great victory for our oceans,” said Nathan Weaver with Environment California. “The court’s decision makes clear once again that our communities have the right to keep plastic out of the Pacific by banning plastic bags and encouraging reusable bag use. Phasing out plastic bags is the right policy to protect our beaches, our rivers, and the amazing animals that live in the Pacific Ocean.”
How plastic in the ocean is contaminating your seafood
We’ve long known that the fish we eat are exposed to toxic chemicals in the rivers, bays and oceans they inhabit. The substance that’s gotten the most attention — because it has shown up at disturbingly high levels in some fish — is mercury.
But mercury is just one of a slew of synthetic and organic pollutants that fish can ingest and absorb into their tissue. Sometimes it’s because we’re dumping chemicals right into the ocean. But as a study published recently in Nature, Scientific Reports helps illuminate, sometimes fish get chemicals from the plastic debris they ingest.