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Rural California Communities Struggle To Provide Clean Drinking Water

in Environment

Mo Mohsin has been trying to bring clean drinking water to the residents of the Cobles Corner mobile home park ever since he bought the property back in 2003.

The struggle, however, has been all uphill.

The water system that serves the rural Stanislaus County community of 20 or so homes has violated state drinking water standards 25 times since 2012, mostly for arsenic and 1,2,3 trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP), a manufactured chemical found in industrial solvents and soil fumigants, according to data from the State Water Resources Control Board.

Long-term exposure to both contaminants has been linked to numerous types of cancer by the state of California and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Continue Reading on SF Gate

Big Trees State Park adjusts operations amidst ongoing pandemic

in Environment

In a year of dislocating pandemic and destructive wildfire, it’s nice to get out into nature and take a break from the news.

But even the ancient redwood groves of Calaveras Big Trees State Park have not been immune from the events of 2020.

For about two months beginning on March 26, the park was completely closed to vehicular traffic in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, though walking and biking into the park were still allowed.

“We did this mainly to reduce the visitation surges that we would normally see,” California State Parks Spokeswoman Adeline Yee said. “We had to reduce large crowds and destination travel, which is still not encouraged right now. Because of the stay-at-home order, we were asking people to stay local.”

Continue Reading on Calaveras Enterprise

Parks reopen as Stanislaus County remains in widespread COVID-19 tier

in Environment

The California Department of Public Health has given the greenlight for parks and playgrounds to reopen statewide, regardless of what tier the counties are in currently.

The authorization was granted Monday and is only for outdoor parks and playgrounds. It also comes with a lengthy list of rules designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Playgrounds that are allowed to open must be fully outdoors, free to enter and use, and publicly accessible.

Visitors to outdoor community playgrounds must comply with the following requirements:

  1. Face masks over the mouth and nose are required for everyone 2 years of age or older with caregiver supervision at all times to ensure face mask use.
  2. Do not use the playground when different households are unable to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or when the capacity limit has been reached.
  3. Caregivers must monitor to keep adults and children from different households at least 6 feet apart.
  4. Consider coming on different times or days to avoid wait times and potential crowded times.

Continue Reading on Turlock Journal

‘It’s almost a joke.’ In rural California, Newsom’s gas-powered car ban is a stretch

in Environment

It’s a long drive to just about anywhere Gary Wright needs to go. A rancher in the far northeastern corner of California, he sometimes has to drive nearly 100 miles, one-way, to get to where his cattle graze. It’s 36 miles to Klamath Falls, Ore., for a significant errand run.

There are only a few gas stations along the routes through the forests and high deserts in Modoc County — let alone electric vehicle charging stations. There are none near the rangeland where Wright’s cattle graze.

So he was baffled when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that California would require all new passenger cars and trucks to be electric or “zero-emission” by 2035 to combat climate change.

Continue Reading on The Sacramento Bee

California Wants Cars to Run on Electricity. It’s Going to Need a Much Bigger Grid

in Environment

Leaning on the hood of a shiny red electric Ford Mustang, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday to end the sale of new gas-burning cars in his state in 15 years.

Now comes the hard part.

Energy consultants and academics say converting all passenger cars and trucks to run on electricity in California could raise power demand by as much as 25%. That poses a major challenge for a state already facing periodic rolling blackouts as it rapidly transitions to renewable energy.

California will need to boost power generation, scale up its network of fast charging stations, enhance its electric grid to handle the added load and hope that battery technology continues to improve enough that millions in America’s most populous state can handle long freeway commutes to schools and offices without problems.

Continue Reading on WSJ

Stanislaus National Forest reopens after two-week closure

in Environment

The Stanislaus National Forest, closed two weeks ago by federal authorities due to the threat of wildfires, is open again for day use from dawn to sundown with no fires allowed anywhere in the 1,400-square-mile area, which includes 42 percent of the land in Tuolumne County and 11 percent of Calaveras County.

An updated closure order was issued Sunday morning by federal forest administrators in Vallejo, Solano County, in the north Bay Area.

Fire restrictions remain in effect at all elevations in the Stanislaus National Forest.

The restrictions “prohibit using any ignition sources, including campfires, propane or gel-fuel stoves and smoking materials,” Forest Service communications staff said.
Continue Reading on Union Democrat

Wildfires continue to burn in coastal range

in Environment

Wildfires continued to burn through the hills and canyons of the coastal mountain range overlooking the West Side earlier this week.

The SCU Lightning Complex, which includes the Canyon Zone fire that started in Del Puerto Canyon Aug. 16, has grown to be one of the largest wildfires in California history.

As of Tuesday morning, the complex had burned nearly 364,000 acres in Stanislaus, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Alameda, Merced and San Benito counties, according to Cal Fire, and was only 15 percent contained.

The Canyon Zone is the largest of the three fire zones which comprise the SCU Lightning Fire Complex.

Continue Reading on West Side Connect

Crews Making Progress On Northern California Mega Fires

in Environment

Stanislaus County, CA — Containment is growing on a trio of lightning complex fires, two of which have each burned over 350,000 acres.

The SCU Complex Fire is 365,772 acres and 25-percent contained. It is located in the Bay Area and Central Valley. The series of lightning fires, grouped as one incident, is burning throughout the counties of Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Merced, San Joaquin and Stanislaus.

To the north, the LNU Lightning Complex Fire has burned 357,046 acres and is 33-percent contained. It is burning in the counties of Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo and Solano.

The CZU Lightning Fire, burning in the Santa Cruz mountains and parts of San Mateo County is 79,640 acres and is 19-percent contained.

Continue Reading on My Mother Lode

River fires blamed on arsonist

in Environment

Several fires that scorched about 20 acres scenery along the Tuolumne River near the Mitchell Road bridge was started by an arsonist, said Ceres Fire Chief Kevin Wise.

Chief Wise said that an arsonist started lighting fires on the northeast side of the Mitchell Bridge and continued into Legion Park. Units from Ceres, Hughson, Modesto, Stanislaus Consolidated, Denair and Burbank Paradise worked over the next several hours to contain the fire. Through the local resource sharing agreement, Turlock City Fire Department sent a fire engine and a battalion chief to cover the Ceres station while all of Ceres Fire’s units were out.

“Unfortunately there were no arrests made,” said Dustin Bruley, supervisor of the Stanislaus Fire Investigation Unit. “Our investigators still have it as an open arson investigation. We believe that it was an arson; there were actually four separate fires along the river that were investigated that day. Multiple folks were stopped and field interrogated and unfortunately at this point we don’t have any suspect information.”

Continue Reading on Ceres Courier

Rare corpse lily blooms at Stanislaus State after near 10-year wait

in Environment

TURLOCK, Calif. — After nearly 10 years, the Stanislaus State University greenhouse finally smells of rotting vegetables, and, for biology professors on Tuesday, that was the smell of victory.

A near decade of work went into caring for and raising Stanislaus State's corpse lily, a flower best known for the horrendous odor it spreads when it blooms.

“Me, personally, this is the first one of these I’ve ever seen in bloom in my life," said Michael Fleming, Associate Professor of Biology. "It took me almost 50 years to get to enjoy this.”

The lily in bloom is a rare sight. Fleming says there's likely only eight to 10 blooms in the United States in a given year at university greenhouses or private collections.

Continue Reading on ABC 10

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