News of the Bay: January 31, 2014

Check out this edition of News of the Bay for breaking news affecting San Francisco Bay

San Francisco Chronicle 1/28/14
Kicking cigarette butts out of California is aim of bill
Walk along any beach or through any park and chances are they’ll be there by the dozens: the tan, discarded remains of a cigarette.
Cigarettes aren’t healthy for people. But when the butts, also known as filters, are thrown on the ground, they too are harmful – to humans, wildlife and the environment. Studies show that their non-biodegradable nature and toxic chemical makeup can contaminate waterways, poison fish and birds, and be a health danger to children who try to eat them.
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News of the Bay
San Francisco Chronicle 1/28/14
Snowy plovers a welcome surprise at Alameda beach
It’s not just joggers, dogs and kite-flyers who love the new sand at Crown Beach in Alameda.
A few surprise guests – of the nearly endangered variety – apparently love the new beach as well.
To the shock of naturalists and bird watchers, a flock of threatened western snowy plovers has taken up residence on one of the Bay Area’s busiest beaches. For the past few months, since the East Bay Regional Park District dumped 82,000 cubic yards of new sand on the beach, the fist-size shorebirds have been skittering across the dunes and pecking at bugs, oblivious to the frolicking hordes around them.
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Environmental Health News 1/30/14
Banned Scotchguard chemical still contaminating San Francisco seals
In a shallow arm of the bay, where Pacific tides cause hardly a ripple, hundreds of harbor seals lounge, mate and bear young. With placid expressions on bewhiskered faces and bulky bodies reclining on shorelines, the seals belie a disturbing burden they carry.
Living on the edge of a metropolitan hub, these seals are under scrutiny by scientists. There’s a mystery afoot in San Francisco Bay: A manmade chemical, pulled from production 12 years ago, is still turning up at high levels in the seals. Once the prime ingredient in Scotchgard, a chemical known as PFOS has remained elevated in these harbor seals even though it has declined in sea birds that share their fish diet.
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KCET 1/23/14
Fish and Wildlife Service drops $3 million on California wetlands
Four coastal wetlands in California will benefit from $3 million in grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will go toward preserving and restoring wildlife habitat, the agency announced Thursday. The grants will be added to another $2.3 million in matching funds from state and local governments, private land owners, and conservation groups.
The money will be used to buy unprotected wetlands and adjoining uplands, as well as working to heal damage to already protected land. Two of the wetland areas are in the southern end of San Francisco Bay, with the others in San Luis Obispo and Humboldt counties.
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Weekly Roundup | June 28, 2013

newspaperCheck out this week’s Weekly Roundup for breaking news affecting San Francisco Bay.

Rolling Stone 6/20/13
Rising Seas: A City-by-City Forecast
Depending on geology, vulnerability, ocean currents and political leadership, some regions will be hit harder than others. Researchers recently discovered that the Atlantic coast between North Carolina and Massachusetts is a particular hot spot, with the sea rising three to four times faster than the global average.
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The Sacramento Bee 6/24/13
Dan Walters: San Francisco basketball arena’s now a political football 
What is it about sports arenas that makes politicians bend over backward to exempt them from regulatory hurdles?
Two years ago, lawmakers passed and Gov. Jerry Brown signed a hastily drafted bill to give a proposed professional football stadium in downtown Los Angeles a fast track through the California Environmental Quality Act’s notoriously dense, time-consuming reviews.
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The Ukiah Daily Journal 6/25/13
Local residents collect cigarette butts 
According to Keep America Beautiful, 65 percent of all cigarette butts are disposed of improperly and cigarette waste accounts for 38 percent of all U.S. roadway litter. But Gail Wedding from Laytonville and Russell Minor from Potter Valley are doing their part to keep their cigarette waste out of the local landfill by sending it to recycling pioneer TerraCycle.  Russell Minor collects his cigarette butts at home and stores them in an old “oil rag” can until it is time to send them to TerraCycle.  To spread the word, he shows his friends how easy it is to collect at home.
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Marin Independent Journal 6/24/13
SMART seeks federal permit to do track work through Marin wetlands 
The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District is seeking a permit from a key federal agency to begin track work in September through sensitive wetlands in Marin.  Because the project involves building near and over waterways, such as Gallinas Creek in San Rafael, SMART must receive a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The federal agency has opened a public comment period that continues through July 7.
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San Jose Mercury News 6/24/13
Bike sharing program to include 700 bikes between San Francisco and San Jose 
Regional air quality and transit officials are planning a rental bike program that will launch later this year with 70 docking stations holding 700 Canadian-made bicycles stretching from San Francisco to San Jose.
The bike share program mirrors similar ones in Paris, London, Boston, Washington D.C., and one launched in New York City earlier this month, said Karen Schkolnick, grants program manager for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
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Bay Nature 6/26/13
Snowy Plovers nest at Stinson Beach for the first time in 30 years
This year, a tiny shorebird that lives on sandy beaches returned to some of its former breeding locales for the first time in decades – in one instance spawning a science mystery story.
The snowy plover is a year-round resident along our coast. Its western population has been federally listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1993. In Central California many scientists, resource managers, and trained volunteers monitor plovers and work to protect their nests from predation and disturbance.
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Press Democrat 6/25/13
Regional bag ordinance is the right approach
Local governments often tackle similar issues with different solutions. The result is usually a patchwork of laws in neighboring cities, increasing the difficulty and cost of compliance for businesses and confusing consumers. We applaud all 10 Sonoma County jurisdictions for addressing carryout bag regulation in unison.
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