Collaborative Rivals Look for Bird-Spotting Record 10-30-13
Orange County Register - Two talented birdwatchers are travelling all over Orange County to meet or beat the long-standing record for the number of bird species spotted in the County. So far the two birders are neck in neck 315 to 312. May the best birder win!
Fair Board Cooperates with DA Probe 10-28-13
Voice of OC - The Fair Board voted to waive attorney-client privilege. This waiver will allow the investigation by the District Attorney into the Fair Board privatization to continue.
Coyotes in Garden Grove to be Captured and Killed 10-25-13
Voice of OC -
Residents were upset in Garden Grove about the increasing number of coyotes in the city's western neighborhoods. A resolution to capture and kill the coyotes passed three to two.
The Future of Orange County's Outdoors 10-10-13
Voice of OC - Highlighting the recent Safe Trails Coalition Workshop, the Voice of OC outlines some of the issues trail users face and how land managers are dealing with these challenges.
Councilwoman Requests Rehearing on Fairview Park Turnaround 10-09-13
Daily Pilot - Native American sites may be at risk the Fairview Park turnaround. Councilwoman Sandy Genis brought the issue before the Costa Mesa City Council as the Council's Liaison to the Fairview Park Citizen's Advisory Committee.
Get Inspired to Save the Coast September 2013 Surfrider Foundation - Watch this inspiring video to see what you can do to help save the coast.
Martin's Beach is just one of Surfrider's many beach access battles.
Developer Appeals Ruling on Saddle Crest Housing Project 09-23-13
Voice of OC - Challenging Judge Perk's ruling from Superior Court, the developer of the controversial Saddle Crest project appealed the decision. Conservation organizations are fighting this poorly planned development which violates state law.
Jean Watt Recognized as Citizen of the Year 08-23-13
Daily Pilot - During a surprise luncheon, Jean Watt was awarded the 2013 Citizen of the Year for Newport Beach. She will be officially honored at a gala this fall. Congrats to our Board President.
Let's Stop Loving Our Parks To Death, OK? 08-20-13
Sierra Club Blog - FHBP Consultant Melanie Schlotterbeck writes about the formation of the Safe Trails Coalition and the need to find a balance between recreation and resource protection.
Climate Change Speeds Redwood Growth 08-14-13
Los Angeles Times - California's iconic trees (redwoods and sequoias) are in a growth spurt with the effects of climate change. Recent growth rates have shattered old records.
State Leaders Support Desalination Plant 08-02-03
Daily Pilot - Numerous state leaders unanimously support Poseidon Desalination Plant. These legislators asked the Coastal Commission to permit the project, which is highly contested by conservation groups.
PBS Highlights Saddle Crest Lawsuit Win 08-02-13
PBS SoCal - This week on PBS SoCaL, we delve into a judge's ruling that the county failed to follow when approving new housing in Trabuco Canyon: Saddle Crest.
Saddle Crest Development in Trabuco Canyon Overturned 07-31-13
OC Weekly -
Orange County Superior Court Judge Steven L. Perk ruled in favor a coalition of organizations that filed suit against the development of Saddle Crest in Trabuco Canyon. The Board of Supervisors approved development was found to be out of compliance with state law.
Promoting the Benefits of Planting Trees in Cities 07-29-13
Washington Post -
The number of trees reported in 17 of 20 major US cities is declining. A US Forest Service researcher is trying to reverse this trend. Through a new app, i-Tree, cities can get a better understanding of the health of their trees.
Judge: Supervisors Illegally Approved Trabuco Housing 07-29-13
Voice of OC -
A Superior Court judge has ruled that the County of Orange is in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act and should not have approved the development of the Saddle Crest project. Activists contested the project and won. It is unclear if the County will appeal this decision.
Climate Change Forces US Forest Service to Shift its Strategy on Larger Fires 07-17-13
Southern California Pacific Radio - US Forest Service has decided to be less aggressive with forest fires unless homes are threatened. This comes about due to the increasing cost to fight the fires. The Service's budget was 13% for fighting the fires and now it exceeds 50% in California. Most of that cost is spent trying to protect homes. Developments in the Southern California foothills complicates this strategy as homes reach ever deeper into the wildlands.
California Keeps its Energy Cool in Summer Scorcher 07-16-13
National Geographic -
Even with temperatures well above 110 degrees, the lights stayed on and so did the air conditioners thanks in part to a three-pronged approach: natural gas, renewable energy and conservation. Operators are watching to see if this formula keeps California cool during future heat waves.
Third Annual OC Parks Wilderness Celebration 07-13-13
OC Parks -
On Saturday, July 13 OC Parks and numerous groups will be celebrating the third annual OC Parks Wilderness Day. The event will introduce children, individuals and families to the great outdoors with numerous games, walks and hiking.
OC Supervisors Could Owe Sierra Club $1 Million in Legal Fees 07-09-13
Voice of OC - The County of Orange may have to pay Sierra Club $1 million in legal fees after losing a court case to the environmental group. The County was trying to protect its GIS database and the courts ruled the database files were public records. Attorneys for Sierra Club were working on contingency and it looks as though they may get paid now.
Facelift Coming for Canyons Wilderness Park 07-02-13
OC Register -
A state grant will cover $675,000 in fees for a new Visitor's Center, renovated entry and parking along the Laguna Coast. Directional and interpretive signage will also be a part of the project.
Costa Mesa Wins Two Awards For Government Innovation 07-01-13
City of Costa Mesa -
The City won two first place awards for city innovation. The first for the City's Fairview Park wetlands project and the second for the Neighborhood Improvement Task Force. The wetlands project has created 40 acres of habitat to the tune of $5.5 million that will treat runoff from the Santa Ana River in seven wetland ponds.
Community Editorial: Toll Road Agency is Waterboarding 07-01-13
Voice of OC -
A few words on stopping the latest move to build a toll road through one of the last coastal wildernesses left in Southern California, an Acjachemen/Juaneno sacred site called Panhe, and one of CA's most successful state parks called San Onofre, which includes the world-class surf break called Trestles.
OC Fire Officials Seek to Recover $55,000 From Rescued Hiker 06-27-13
Daily Pilot - Orange County emergency personnel are seeking $55,000 to reimburse them for rescue costs for two hikers lost in Trabuco Canyon. OC Supervisors supported this action when the participants showed wanton or reckless conduct.
Military Quietly Becoming A Major Environmental Steward
KPBS - Camp Pendleton is making tremendous progress protecting habitats in San Diego. They are working to ensure the marine base, which has numerous endangered species and sensitive habitats, thrives even as developments loom. They've purchased nearly a billion dollars worth of ecologically sensitive lands.
Council Pushes Back on User Fee - 06-25-13
Daily Pilot - California Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing a $4.32 fee for those that use the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve. The City of Newport Beach voted unanimously to send a letter opposing the fee.
Locked Gates Violate Law Court Says 06-21-13
Laguna Niguel-Dana Point Patch -
Surfrider Foundation had a victory in court when the judge ruled the City of Dana Point's Urgency Ordinance to lock gates, restricting access to Strands Beach, violated state law.
Legislators, Brown Backpedal on Public Records Bill 06-20-13
Los Angeles Times - On the Governor's desk is a bill
that would allow governments to "optionally" provide the public with access to public records. Hearing a huge outcry from the public, the Governor and Assembly have a replacement bill now.
Budget Could Limit Public's Access to Government Documents 06-18-13
Sacramento Bee - The budget approved by the Legislature and awaiting Governor Brown's signature includes legislation that reduces the public's access to government documents, reversing the trends and laws already set for transparent government and accountability.
Officials Expect This to Be Worst Fire Season Ever 06-17-13
CBS 2 News -
CalFire estimates that 94% of all fires are started by humans, which means 9 out of 10 fires can be prevented. Fire officials expect this year to be a terrible fire season due to a prolonged drought.
O.C. Tollway Refinancing Could Extend Tolls For Years - 06-13-13
Los Angeles Times - The Toll Road Agencies approved a $2.4 billion bond that would extend the length of time the roads will be "toll based." Tolls on these roadways are some of the highest in the nation.
San Onofre Power Plant to Shut Down - 06-07-13
CBS News - Southern California Edison plans to shut down the nuclear power plant after 40 years of operation.
Edison has been faced with mounting regulatory hurdles after a leak was discovered during a routine shut down.
KNX On Your Corner: West Coyote Hills 06-07-13
KNX - Chevron has plans to develop 510 acres of former oil fields into 760 houses. Activists are working towards preservation of the land. City of Fullerton voters rejected Chevron's plan in the November 2012 election. City officials are awaiting a revised plan from Chevron.
Council Tables Traffic Deal - 06-04-13
Daily Pilot - Faced with a decision on a traffic agreement with the developers of the Banning Ranch property along the coast, City Councilmembers from Costa Mesa voted to put off making a decision. This action elicited applause from the audience.
U.S. Sued Over Policy on Killing Endangered WIldlife - 05-29-13
Los Angeles Times -
A loophole in the Endangered Species Act states that in order to prosecute an individual for killing an endangered species, there must be proof certain that individual knew it was an endangered species. Environmental groups are working to close the loophole.
Fair Board Rejects Senate Bill - 05-23-13
Daily Pilot -
The OC Fair Preservation Society urged the OC Fair Board to oppose SB 741, which ultimately could lead to the privatization of publicly-owned fairs. The Fair Board opposed the bill.
Adapting to the New Reality of Increased Wildfire Danger - 05-13-13
Chaparral and fire expert Rick Halsey was interviewed during a KPBS radio show to discuss how our Southern California ecosystem is changing due to increased wildfires. He points out that generally where fires start are weedy patches of grass that have been overgrazed and lack native vegetation.
Don't Dilute CEQA, Improve It - 05-09-13
Los Angeles Times -
Former Attorney General John Van de Kamp writes an interesting op ed on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). He points out the poor air quality he experienced in the LA Basin as a child and how CEQA has actually improved numerous developments in the state.
Wild and Beautiful - 04-20-13
Laguna Wilderness Press - Wild and Beautiful is a celebration of Orange
County's wild lands. This book contains
descriptions of those areas that are accessible to
hikers, bikers, equestrians, birders, and naturelovers.
Loaded with photographs and descriptive
text, it also features a natural history of Orange
County's animals, plants, and plant communities.
Officials Hope to Discuss Fire Ring Ban with AQMD - 04-17-13
Daily Pilot -
The South Coast Air Quality Management District is postponing its decision to ban fire rings on SoCal beaches in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. Huntington Beach Mayor Connie Boardman plans to invite representatives from the AQMD to listen to public testimony at a future city council meeting.
Fair Board Hires Interim CEO - 04-17-13
Daily Pilot -
Doug Lofstrom was been appointed the interim CEO of the Orange County Fair. Lofstrom has experience with the LA County Fair, National Orange Show in San Bernardino and is the former president of the Western Fairs Association.
Dual-Serving Coastal Commissioner Resigns Under Fire - 04-17-13
Daily Pilot -
Amid pressures from two state legislators, William Burke, who served simultaneously on the South Coast Air Quality Management District board and as a Coastal Commissioner has resigned. Legislators, in a letter to Attorney General Kamala Harris, cited a conflict of interest in the duties for each board making it impossible to effective in both positions.
Details About New Plan for San Gabriel Mountains Raise Questions - 04-11-13
Los Angeles Times - The proposal outlines a joint venture between the cash-strapped U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service. Additionally, portions of the Puente-Chino Hills and portions of the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo river corridors would become part of the National Recreation Area.
New Teaching Standards Delve More Deeply Into Climate Change - 04-09-13
Los Angeles Times -
The Next Generation of Science Standards was released and includes an comprehensive update of the way students are taught science. Included in the update is an indepth look at climate change. Each state will decide if it will adopt the benchmarks.
Banning Ranch Conservancy Appeal Denied 03-28-13
Daily Pilot - The State Supreme Court refused to hear the Sunset Ridge Park case. The Conservancy claims the park will facilitate the development of the Banning Ranch property.
With O.C. Hills Deceptively Green, A Dry Spring Looms 03-17-13
Orange County Register - George Ewan of the Orange County Fire Authority says the lush green hills give people a false sense of security, because those green hills will go brown and dry out pretty fast. Dry brush is a huge risk during fire season in Southern California. In fact, Bill Patzert, a Jet Propulsion Laboratory researcher, says "people equal fire."
Great Park Officials Ponder Wisdom of Free Events 03-10-13
Los Angeles Times - Based on the number of visitors each week, the average estimated visitor costs $1.29 to visit the Great Park during free events. Proposals are now underway to start charging for some of the historically free activities such as the carousel ride or the balloon ride.
Canyon Groups Vie For Control of Emergency Radio Team 03-07-13
Orange County Register - The board of the Inter-Canyon League voted unanimously to keep control of the Canyon Watch radio team, which during emergencies provides radio communications between Silverado, Modjeska and Trabuco Canyons.
The other group under consideration for the radio team was the Fire Safe Council East Orange Canyons, a group under the umbrella of the Inter-Canyon League.
Chay Peterson: Angel of the Canyon 03-07-13
OC Weekly -
A self proclaimed free spirit, Chay Peterson has been a long-time advocate for social and environmental issues. From helping residents when the devastating Hurricane Katrina hit, to advancing the anti-nuke position in the USSR to more recently the working toward the preservation of the Holtz Ranch in Silverado Canyon, Chay has many great talents.
City May Acquire County Park 03-05-13
Daily Pilot - The City of Costa Mesa
voted 4-1 to acquire Talbert Park. The park is adjacent to the Santa Ana River and Fairview Park. Officials are unsure if the county is willing to give the land to Costa Mesa for management.
Fair Board Ponders Action on Private Bid 02-28-13
Voice of OC - Working with a group of activists the Fair Board is unraveling the scheme from 2011 to sell the 162 acre OC Fair. A series of forensic audits are being conducted to determine exactly how public funds were used.
Tidepool Lecture Scheduled for March 6 02-26-13
Corona Del Mar Today - The Orange County Natural History Lecture Series features a presentation by Melanie Schlotterbeck of Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks. She will present relevant and timely information on the Green Vision Project.
Wetlands Habitat Opens at Fairview Park 02-20-13
Daily Pilot -
Thirty-seven acres of riparian and wetland habitat received their latest phase of funding. Partners for this project included the Orange County Transportation Authority and Miocean, a local funder focused on water pollution.
OC Groups Join Largest Climate Rally 02-19-13
OC Weekly -
A growing chorus of organizations call on President Obama to take action on climate change. More than 100 organizations from Orange and LA Counties are advancing a Forward on Climate effort, linked with a rally in Washington DC, it will be the largest climate rally in history.
Former Fountain Valley Mayor Dies 02-14-13
Huntington Beach Independent - Gus Ayer, former Mayor of Fountain Valley, passed away on Wednesday, February 13th. Known for his wit, charm and enthusiasm, Gus brought many skill sets to the table. He was involved in local politics, elections and campaigning and environmental stewardship.
Santa Ana River Marsh Dredging Begins 02-12-13
Daily Pilot - A five million dredging project has begun on the Santa Ana River Marsh near Newport Beach. What is considered good quality sand
will be piped out 1000 feet offshore. This project has some residents concerned.
Homes Plan Worries Locals 02-07-13
Yorba Linda Star - Residents in Yorba Linda are concerned about two developments proposed in the hills of unincorporated Orange County.
Those that went throught the Freeway Complex Fire would never support adding additional homes in the path of oncoming flames in an area with existing traffic issues.
Council Members to Reconsider Madrona Housing Development- 02-06-13
Brea Star Progress - The current plans call for 162 houses on 367 acres using the guidelines from the 1986 General Plan and a Specific Plan that no longer exists--all this because of a lawsuit the developer filed when the City updated its documents.
2013 OCTA Looking Forward 01-28-13
OCTA Weekly Update -
Among 12 priorities for new OCTA Board Chair Greg Winterbottom in 2013, is to continue to support environmental stewardship and sustainability initiatives. This specific priority will advance the creation of the Natural Communities Conservation Plan and Habitat Conservation Plan for the Renewed Measure M Environmental Mitigation Program.
Wider I-405 Expansion May Get Another Look - 01-25-13
OC Register - Supervisor Moorlach is urging OCTA to reconsider the plans to add toll lanes and remove the carpool lanes from the 405 Freeway. Many of the OCTA Directors are new and the vote may be different.
Irvine City Council Overhauls Oversight, Spending on Great Park 01-10-13
Los Angeles Times -
At the end of an eight hour meeting, the Irvine City Council approved an audit of the $220 million that has been spent on the Great Park. The City also voted to eliminate the public member positions of the Orange County Great Park Corporation. The new Irvine City Council majority was victorious on both items, passing them 3-2.
Irvine Council Majority Takes Great Park in New Direction 01-09-13
Voice of OC -
The Irvine City Council voted 3-2 to eliminate the non-elected positions of the Orange County Great Park Corporation Board of Directors. This results in the immediate removal of long-time board members: Michael Pinto, Walkie Ray, Bill Kogerman and Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido.
Irvine Council Ok's Great Park Audit, Ends Contract, Cuts Board 01-09-13
Orange County Register -
In three different votes, the new majority of the Irvine City Council approved a forensic audit of the Great Park Corporations books, immediate termination of the Corporation's contract with Townsend Public Affairs, and eliminated of four independent members of the Corporation's board.
Great Park Board Warns of Proposals Costs 01-07-13
Orange County Register - The Orange County Great Park Corporation Board determined the future was bleak if the new majority of the Irvine City Council voted to remove the four independent board members. Those promoting the re-writing of the Corporation's founding documents did not attend the meeting.
Trestles: Historic Place? Historic Treasure? 01-04-13
Orange County Register -
Surfrider has worked with the State Historical Resources Commission to add Trestles to the National Registry of Historic Places. The decision to move the nomination to the federal government is February 8, 2013.
Butterfly Park Gets New Wings- 01-02-13
Huntington Beach Independent -
From Scary Park to Butterfly Park a little revitalization brings the butterflies back to a seven acre site in Huntington Beach.