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California Lawmakers Propose $3 Billion Parks Bond For November Ballot

California voters could have yet another decision to make on an already-packed November ballot. The state Assembly voted today to add a three billion dollar bond measure for state and local parks.

Democratic Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia said a lack of funding has caused parks to fall into disrepair. “It’s been close to 14 years since this body has last approved a substantial funding measure designed to improve and expand park and outdoor infrastructure in the state of California,” says Garcia.

Judge Bumped From OID Fallowing Lawsuit

Board member Gary Osmundson, sued along with the Oakdale Irrigation District, had a judge removed from the case after the judge sided against the district in a pretrial ruling.

In other action related to the lawsuit on OID’s stalled fallow-for-money program:

  • The board majority voted Tuesday to alter legal action against two of its own members, at least one of whom is the target of a leak investigation.
  • In an unusual move, the board publicly released a confidential memo that answers some nagging questions about the fallowing program.

Nuclear Plant Closure Will Benefit California Marine Species

The California State Lands Commission is scheduled next week to consider a joint proposal from Pacific Gas & Electric, NRDC, Friends of the Earth, and others to begin an orderly closure of the giant Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, located along California’s majestic central coast that also is home to abundant and unique sea life, marine plants, and animals.



Judge Throws Put Delta Plan, Twin Tunnels for Now

Barbara Vlamis, director of Chico-based, was dancing on the grave of the Delta Plan Thursday.

Her group was a among a coalition that challenged the environmental review of the plan, which includes plans for the hotly-contested twin tunnels. However, a judge’s decision in May, and a clarification this week, invalidated the plan because it did not meet the laws passed by the state legislature in 2009. Because the plan was invalidated, the questions about compliance with environmental review laws don’t apply, Judge Michael Kenny stated in a six-page document released Thursday.


Despite Recent Rains, California Faces Brutal Fire Season

Any hope of a wet winter dousing California’s fire season is quickly going up in flames.

It seems that California just can’t catch a break. Sure, the state got its highest precipitation in years – at a critical time. But “for the brush and trees,“ says CAL FIRE’s Daniel Berlant, “the amount of rain we received this winter was not enough to really make up for the now five years of lack of rainfall.”


Proposals Could Further Limit Water Flows

The Western Agricultural Processors Association held their annual meeting in Monterey. The Association had several speakers including California Farm Water Coalition President and CEO Mike Wade. Wade gave an update on the state’s water outlook which has been relatively bad news for the last five years.

Wade says on top of challenging water conditions, the coalition was shocked to see two new proposals that look to limit even more of the available water that could be moved south. “Yeah, unusual proposals we are seeing this year from the national fisheries agencies and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),”

BLOG: Bill to Aid Water Supply by Restoring Forests

It has been estimated that more than 60 percent of California’s freshwater comes from mountain storm runoff and snowmelt. Yet these mountain watersheds have never been officially recognized for their role in delivering and filtering this enormous share of the state’s vital water supply.

That may change soon. A bill in the state Legislature, AB 2480 (authored by Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica), would officially recognize five critical Sierra Nevada and Cascade watersheds as important pieces of the state’s water infrastructure.

San Diego May Loosen Reins On Drought Restrictions

The City Council’s Environment Committee gave tentative approval Thursday to a proposal to ratchet back water-use restrictions, following reports of ample local supply.

If the change from a Level Two Drought Alert response to a Level One Drought Watch is given final approval by the full San Diego City Council at a future meeting, water conservation efforts would become voluntary, though city officials will continue to urge efficient use.

US Giving $48 Million to Help West Deal With Drought

The Obama administration is awarding $48 million in grants in 13 states, mostly in the West, to help farmers and others conserve water and energy amid drought and climate change.

The money will pay for improvements to irrigation and water delivery systems as well as provide technical assistance for planning and engineering conservation measures. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the grants Thursday in Brighton, just outside Denver. He was in Colorado to speak at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen on Friday.


Plans to Make San Diego Water Restrictions Voluntary to be Reviewed

San Diego officials are considering ratcheting back water use restrictions and are scheduled to present their plans Thursday to the City Council’s Environment Committee. If the change from a Level Two Drought Alert response to a Level One Drought Watch is approved, water conservation efforts would be voluntary, allowing residents to water their lawns more than two days a week. City officials will still encourage residents to water no more than three days a week, and continue other conservation efforts.