Good Introduction Video on the Clean Water Act

Hello,
My name is Olivia Day. I’m emailing concerning your website. One of my students, Emma, came across your site while searching for environmental science and conservation sites. I’m working on a revamp of our class portal website and I’m letting the students help out with adding some new and interesting content. We are currently working on the science section of the site and Emma has been busy finding researching environmental sites. She shared your page, http://ncriverwatch.org/legal/laws.php , with the class today. I just wanted to say thanks for making your site and its info available to us!

As part of the project the students are required to find and share some of their research with people that we have borrowed info from. Emma found this article about The Clean Water Act that she wanted to share: https://lawshelf.com/videos/entry/the-clean-water-act . I think the article can help people get a better understanding of the standards we have that help protect nature. Would you mind adding a link to the page on your page – http://ncriverwatch.org/legal/laws.php ? Feel free to shoot me an email if you do place it so I can let Emma know that she was able to help others out and so she can get credit for this part of the project.

Thanks again and have a great day!
Olivia Day

House Farm Bill Collapses Amid Republican Disarray

To All,

Thank you all for responding and sending in letters and comments in support of defeating the significantly egregious language and implications in the legislative attempt to pass a kind of Farm Bill. It may be coming back soon and not any better. Watch for it.

Here is a link to the article describing how it collapsed: “House Farm Bill Collapses Amid Republican Disarray”.

Larry

Action: Update on Farm Bill with Sample Letter

To All,

The farm bill is called H.R. 2: Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.

Really bad bills like this try to sneak in with good sounding names. There is no nutrition but instead contamination. Almost everything about this bill (and it is extensive) is a wish list from the industry.

We are hoping the worst can get filtered out. Anyway, the bill and its contents are in a pdf file below. Please pass it on.

By the way, there are dozens of amendments to this bill that are being attempted, some equally bad and some trying to correct the wrongs.

H.R. 2: BILLS-115hr2rh

Here is a sample letter for you to use and modify. Your representative may differ so you will need to at least change this:

Larry

May –, 2018

Washington D.C. Office
1406 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Huffman:

Re: Opposing Farm Bill

I am outraged at the egregious issues contained in the 2018 Farm Bill. The House version of the bill would gravely harm people in the farm community and public members and undermine the progress this country has made toward advancing more sustainable farming systems, addressing hunger, protecting the environment, and supporting our farmers.

I oppose benefitting agro-chemical corporations over the welfare of the public and farmworkers’ interests.

Some of the issues which I strongly oppose include:

• Weakening organic standards;
• Eliminating conservation programs;
• Eliminating nutrition assistance; gutting funding for rural support programs;
• Eliminating endangered species protections and weakening pesticide oversight;
• Eliminating any limits on mega-farms’ subsidies;
• Eliminating the rights of local and state governments to regulate pesticides or CAFOs.

In addition, there are amendments on the House floor that would add additional harm and need to be opposed. A notable one being considered is redefining “waters of the US” under the Clean Water Act. Here is the Heritage Foundation description:

“Define ‘Navigable Waters’ Under the Clean Water Act, Amendment No. 17. Sponsors: Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash.; Paul Gosar R-Ariz.; and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.
This amendment would help put an end to the federal government’s trying to regulate almost every body of water imaginable. The amendment would define “navigable waters” consistent with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in Rapanos v. United States in 2006. It would also expressly repeal the infamous Obama-era “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.”

However, protection of the waters of the US benefits the public and the environment. Otherwise big money via big agriculture, big industry, and the very rich will control and take water for themselves. The Clean Water Act was created for the protection of water so it could not be exploited by the few.

Please use your influence to ensure that such harmful provisions are NOT included in the Farm Bill, and VOTE NO.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

(name)

Action: Farm Bill Allows More Pesticide Exposure

To All,

The current Farm Bill allows pesticides to be sprayed on drinking water, little protections for endangered species including your children, uses chemicals banned in CA (methyl bromide), and PREMPTS ANY STATE TO MAKE THEIR OWN PESTICIDE LAWS.

5 Ways House Farm Bill Would Roll Back Protections from Pesticides

By Colin O’Neil, Legislative Director
April 17, 2018

The negative health and environmental impacts of pesticide use and exposure are well established: They range from increased cancer risk, to damage to children’s brains and nervous systems, to lower sperm counts, to acute effects like nausea, dizziness and vomiting. And these toxic pesticides, like the herbicide atrazine, routinely find their way into the drinking water of millions of Americans every year.

But a series of provisions in the House Agriculture Committee’s proposed farm bill would roll back vital safeguards intended to protect farmworkers, public health and the environment from toxic pesticides.

Here are five provisions in the House farm bill that would weaken pesticide protections:

1. Preempting Local Pesticide Restrictions – Section 9101 would prevent cities, counties and communities from restricting certain uses of pesticides even if they deem restrictions necessary for protecting children’s health or the environment. For example, this provision would prevent a city or county from restricting chlorpyrifos – an insecticide so dangerous it was slated to be banned by the Environmental Protection Agency – from being sprayed near schools or hospitals. ​
2. Reversing Course on Endangered Species Protections – Section 9111 would allow the EPA to approve pesticides without going through the current consultation process with expert wildlife agencies to assess to how they would impact hundreds of threatened or endangered species, as currently required under the Endangered Species Act.
3. Rolling Back Clean Water Act Protections – Sections 9117 and 9118 would allow farmers to spray pesticides into water – including drinking water sources – without obtaining a permit under the Clean Water Act, as currently required by law.
4. Allowing New Pesticide Approvals Without Finalizing Safety Rules – Section 9119 reauthorizes the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act, which provides funding for EPA pesticide reviews, without finalizing rules designed to protect farmers and farmworkers, as Sen. Tom Udall and others have rightly demanded.
5. Weakening Restrictions on Methyl Bromide – Section 9121 would weaken restrictions on methyl bromide, a highly toxic fumigant that is being phased out because it depletes the ozone layer.

Contact your U.S. House Representative by clicking on this link.

Please contact your U.S. representatives and senators and ask them to reject the King amendment. And while you’re at it, please encourage them to sustain a provision that Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., successfully included in the committee’s Farm Bill to prohibit the domestic slaughter, trade and import/export of dogs and cats for human consumption, and any other pro-animal amendments that may be offered on the floor. For this, sign on to a letter by the Humane Society.

Larry

 

The Farm Bill has been voted yes out of the ag committee and headed towards full vote in the next few weeks. Time is critical! I have a call into Jared Huffman’s office, he is working on this to get the particulars as to concerns and what he suggests to do. I am not sure as I have been reading that he is fully opposed. I’ll let you know and also write a letter for WWW. This is just beyond sick. I got it posted and sent it also out to many groups so we can fight this. Gratitude to getting this out.

HR2

The Invisible Poisons: Where are They?

To All,

Here is one of those serious issues that has not been adequately addressed due to the power of money in politics as well as being an invisible threat. It is past time that the issue of pesticides gets exposed, creates public outrage and forces the invisible poisons into containment.

What’s on those vines?
What’s on that schoolyard?
What’s in our groundwater?
What are our children exposed to?

ORGANIC vs PESTICIDES

Wine & Water Watch with Napa Vision 2050
present

PAM STRAYER, organic & Biodynamic wine researcher /writer
and MEDHA CHANDRA, Pesticide Action Network North America

on Saturday, May 12th, 1 – 3 PM
at Napa Valley Center for Spiritual Living
1249 Coombs St., Napa, CA 94559

This is a FREE event — Donations are welcome.
Reservations are suggested as space is limited to 100 persons.

RSVP to cdream@sonic.net

The Groundwater Resource Hub

To All,

The Nature Conservancy is pleased to announce the launch of the Groundwater Resource Hub, the go-to resource on Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems.
Please visit https://groundwaterresourcehub.org/ for information on GDEs and for tools that can help you save time and money as you develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans. This website features:

• The best available science in a straightforward format

• Interactive animations that tell the story of GDEs and their relationship to groundwater

• A step-by-step guidance document to efficiently identify and consider GDEs under SGMA

• Identification of all SGMA provisions related to GDEs

• Case studies providing real-world examples of processes, tools and techniques related to GDEs and sustainable groundwater management

• A library of links to additional papers, articles and reference materials related to GDEs and sustainable groundwater management

In the next few weeks, the Hub will be updated with:

A statewide mapping tool to identify vegetative indicators of GDEs in your local area. The Hub currently provides a sample map from Ventura County
A rooting depth database for common groundwater dependent plants to help identify thresholds necessary to sustain GDEs.

For more information, contact:
Gregg Werner
gwerner@tnc.org
(530) 941-4877

ACE: A California Department Of Fish And Wildlife Conservation Analysis Tool

Areas Of Conservation Emphasis (ACE) Version 3: A California Department Of Fish And Wildlife Conservation Analysis Tool

All of state’s salt marshes are at risk of vanishing. Natural protectors are threatened along coast. Blame rising seas and humans, study says. Hundreds of species would be threatened; floods would worsen.

By Rosanna Xia

On one side, there’s the rising ocean. On the other, rising buildings.

Squeezed between the two are California’s salt marshes, a unique ecosystem filled with pickleweed and cordgrass, shorebirds and many endangered species.

Coastal wetlands such as Bolinas Lagoon in Marin County, the marshes along Morro Bay and the ecological preserve in Newport Beach can purify the air, cleanse urban runoff before it flows into the sea and reduce flooding by absorbing storm surges like a sponge.

But there’s little room left for this ecosystem along the changing Pacific Coast, as the sea continues to rise and Californians continue to develop the shore. Southern California today has already lost three-quarters of its salt marshes.

The rest could be gone within 100 years. Salt marshes in California and Oregon could disappear entirely by 2110, according to a new study by a team of scientists led by the U.S. Geological Survey. Only a few might survive in Washington. The research quantifies for the first time the fate of this entire ecosystem on the West Coast, based on current projections of sea level rise.

“We’re essentially drowning the marshes,” said Glen MacDonald, a UCLA professor of geography and one of the authors of the study. “If we stay on the same carbon pathway that we are on now, and we take a look at conservative estimates of sea level rise, we would see California vegetated salt marshes we know today, Oregon vegetated salt marshes we know today, 100% gone by the first decade of the 22nd century.”

The study, published in Science Advances, examines 14 major estuaries along the West Coast, from the marshes of Port Susan Bay in northern Washington down to the Tijuana River Estuary.

Marsh by marsh, over many years, scientists measured elevation, tidal flooding, the distribution of vegetation and rates of sedimentation. Using sea level projections by the National Research Council, they designed a sophisticated model to project how each marsh would fare. By even the most conservative measures, the damage was significant — especially in California.

Coastal marshes naturally adapt to sea level rise by migrating inland through a process called transgression. But by building the Pacific Coast Highway and developing up to the edge of basically every marsh, Californians have drawn a line in the sand.

“Think about Seal Beach, think about Carpinteria,” MacDonald said. “You have expensive housing, you have commercial developments, you have our major coastal highways, the railroad, basically hemming in those marshes.”

ACE logo

PRESENTED BY MELANIE GOGOL-PROKURAT:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Areas of Conservation Emphasis (ACE) project is a non-regulatory tool that brings together the best available map-based data in California to depict biodiversity, significant habitats, connectivity, climate change resilience, and other datasets for use in conservation planning. ACE compiles and analyzes information from multiple CDFW data products, including the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB), California Wildlife Habitat Relationships Program (CWHR), the Survey of California Vegetation, as well as other mapped information found in the Biogeographic Information and Observation System (BIOS) to create products that can help inform landscape-scale conservation decisions. The terrestrial data is summarized and displayed in a standardized hexagon (2.5 mi2) grid, and the aquatic data is compiled by HUC12 watershed. All ACE datasets are available in an online map viewer or for download. CDFW has just completed ACE v3, a major revision and update.

ACE Biodiversity metrics are based on

1) species location information from CNDDB and other species survey datasets for 354 rare and/or endemic vertebrate species and subspecies, and 1672 rare and/or endemic plant taxa; and

2) species range or habitat distribution models for 791 common and rare native species of amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles, and 183 families of aquatic macroinvertebrates.

ACE combines information on species occurrence locations and species habitat distribution models in a standardized way to show the distribution of biodiversity, species richness, rarity, and endemism across the state and in each ecoregion. ACE Significant Habitats brings together information on important habitats such as rare vegetation types, oak woodlands, wetlands, and riparian areas based on vegetation maps and other landcover datasets, as well as information on focal species key habitat areas. ACE Connectivity brings together information on natural intact lands, habitat linkages, and wildlife corridors.

ACE Climate Change Resilience brings together information on locations expected to be relatively buffered by climate change impacts. These datasets provide an overview of the conservation elements potentially present at a given location based on best available data, and can be viewed together with State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) conservation targets, stressors, and juxtaposition to existing conserved lands in the ACE viewer to provide a broad overview of information important to conservation planning and ecological research. We will describe the data currently available in ACE v3, and will present example use-case scenarios.

For more information, go to https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Data/Analysis/ACE

Oppose California Bill AB 2545!

Riverine Concerned folks

Opposing these bills is critically important.

AB AB 2545 – a Bill that can have serious consequences to our rivers and streams. Please take action to oppose this Bill.

This Bill removes California Department of Fish and Wildlife authority to protect aquatic resources in Class III streams (streams with a bed and bank – but are ephemeral) Thus, Ag operations could fill or dam these streams at will. The changes made to Class III definitions in the Code eliminate CDFW authority in Class III streams.

This is exactly the same language in a bill we killed last year – AB 947.

I suggest that you contact you Assembly person and/or the appropriate committee (Assembly Committee on Natural Resources) – and any other party than can help stop this Bill.

AB 2545, authored by Assembly Member James Gallagher, would greatly reduce the protection and conservation of California’s rivers and streams by excluding many of our stream ecosystems from project review and oversight by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

The stream definition proposed by AB 2545 would limit CDFW’s protective oversight to only those streams that support aquatic life. By redefining streams as only those water bodies that support aquatic life, AB 2545 functionally eliminates protection of streams that lack fully aquatic life but that support semi-aquatic amphibians and reptiles, non-aquatic terrestrial species like birds or the desert tortoise, and many non-riparian native plant communities that depend on intermittent and ephemeral streams and stream processes for their habitat and continued survival.

Ephemeral and intermittent streams – regardless of whether they support fully aquatic life – are critical parts of the stream network and contribute to the ecological health and sustainability of the entire watershed. These streams are often source areas or major tributaries to perennial streams and contribute to the overall hydrological function and health of a watershed. They also provide a wide array of ecological functions including forage, cover, nesting, and movement corridors for terrestrial wildlife.

Alan

Harmful Forestry Bill: AB 2889

AB 2889

I have submitted a letter to the Natural Resources Committee (attached) and added sections from the Forest Practice Act (the proposed leg. language makes the review team (interagency review process noted in the Act and the Forest Practice Rules)) process + plus public comment and Calfire review impossible).

After re-reading #5 in the bill — the language completely subverts the intent of the Forest Practice Act and Rules – by not allowing the Review Team Process , as intended by the act. where the Team may assess and add information or request additional information to complete the review process, and add recommendations in compliance with the Act and/or other California Code.

The only reason THPs are returned or held up is that the Department has found failure of the document to be consistent with the FPA/FPRs and other California Code. Does the proponent of this Bill want plans processed or approved that are not in conformance with the Forest Practice Act, Forest Practice Rules, or other State Code?

All issues are noted to the RPF by Calfire Staff and the RPF is allowed time to respond (which sometimes takes forever – due to inability of the RPF to respond to the non-compliance issue.

Bill Language – with notes in RED

4592.5. (a) This section shall be known as the Timber Harvester’s Bill of Rights.

(b) The department shall implement a Timber Harvester’s Bill of Rights to ensure the uniform and efficient implementation of processes and procedures regulating the filing, review, approval, required modification, completion, and appeal of decisions relating to timber harvesting plans. The bill of rights shall comply with all of the following requirements:

(1) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan to the department shall have the right to assistance provided by the department and the board regarding the regulatory and permitting requirements applicable to timber harvest plans. The board shall make an ombudsperson available to work with and assist persons intending to file a plan at each location where the department accepts those plans for filing, review, and approval.                 Why do trained foresters need an ombudsperson to help them navigate what they should already know?  Cafire responds to Registered Professional Foresters who submit incomplete and inaccurate plans with a list of what needs to be fixed. They do not tell them how to fix it – as these are issues (subordinate to the Forest Practice Rules, Water Code, and Fish and Wildlife Code) that the RPF must assess and address in the plan (as per the requirements of the Forest Practice Rules). It is not Calfire’s job (or the State’s job) to write plans for an Registered Professional Forester or a landowner. There certainly are budget impacts.

(2) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to access all clearly written guidance documents prepared by the department that explain the regulatory process. In this connection, the department shall publish a list of all information required in a plan, using the rules of the board and an explanation of the criteria used to determine whether the information contained in a plan is adequate.                                                           This is currently in place. All information required in a plan is so stated in the Forest Practice Rules and Registered Professional Foresters are supposed to be experts and know the rules. The State should not be writing plans for RPFs.

(3) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to a timely determination under Section 4582.7 and any relevant administrative regulations. The department shall promptly notify a person submitting such a plan regarding whether it is accurate, complete, and in proper order. This is in place. However, negotiations and help for the Registered Professional Forester may take some time to resolve issues due to the nature of passing information back and forth between agencies and allowing time for response. Not allowing such time for communication and responses puts more pressure on all parties and may force Cal Fire to reject incompetent plans outright.

(4) The department shall provide information to explain the meaning of the terms “accurate,” “complete,” and “in proper order” when used in connection with any determination regarding the completeness or sufficiency of a timber harvesting plan.                                                                         Do those words not have accepted meanings? Maybe the Board of Forestry should clarify definitions in the Forest Practice Rules. However, the rules are clear on the need for completeness and accuracy of plan submission. Cal Fire only returns, or holds up plans, for clarification of issues of missing and inaccurate information.

(5) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to know the basis for any determination that a plan is deficient and to understand what further information is needed to make a plan complete. After a plan is accepted as complete, the department and any other public agency that participates in the review of a plan shall not request any new or additional information that was not specified prior to the filing of an accepted plan.                                                                                                                         Not allowing Review Team agencies is a huge problem and subverts the intent of the Forest Practice Act, California Water Code, and California Fish and Wildlife Code to address resource issues (forest productivity, water quality, species protection, etc) with information is the basis of the ACT. Limiting this is contrary to the intent of the Forest Practice Act and managing the State’s Forests and Water Quality values. Also – the Review Team may need new and or additional information in the performance of their responsibility or in compliance with other State Codes.

(6) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to a timely decision on the approval of the plan, and the department shall comply with any time periods set forth for the review and approval of any plan as prescribed in statute or any relevant administrative regulations.  The department can just reject plans that are not in conformance. Is that what they want?

(7) If a timber harvesting plan is returned to a person without a determination that it is accurate, complete, and in proper order, the director shall provide the ombudsperson and the person submitting the plan with information about what is needed to make the plan complete, and the ombudsperson shall assist the person in completing the plan.               Back to ombudsperson – RPFs are supposed to be trained in how to assess THPs in conformance to the rules.

(8) The department shall provide a person submitting a timber harvesting plan with information on the designated lead agency that the person shall work with to comply with any plan requirements prescribed in this division or any relevant administrative regulations.                                                            This is confusing as to the intent or to actual desired outcome. Cal Fire is the lead agency – then there is the Review Team which includes Cal Fire and participating agencies (RB, CDFW, Coastal Commission – if in The Coastal Zone, Geologic Survey).

(9) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to know who will be reviewing the plan and to be provided with information on the estimated time for completion of the full plan review process.          Cal Fire provides this information – and it is noted on the PHI – all external agency/Review Team participants – when an RPF calls or writes Cal Fire on issues – the responsible parties at Cal Fire are evident and noted.

Alan

Areas of Conservation Emphasis (ACE), Mapping Tool by CDF&W

Areas of Conservation Emphasis (ACE)

What is ACE?

ACE is a CDFW effort to analyze large amounts of map-based data in a targeted, strategic way, and expressed visually, so decisions can be informed around important goals like conservation of biodiversity, habitat connectivity, and climate change resiliency. The ACE maps provide a coarse level view of information for conservation planning purposes, ranging from ecological research and modeling to local land-use planning and conservation decision-making. However, they do not replace the need for site-specific evaluation of biological resources and should not be used for regulatory purposes.

All ACE data layers are limited by the accuracy, scale, extent of coverage, and completeness of the input data at the time they were run. We highly recommend reviewing available metadata and ACE Factsheets (found in the folders below) prior to interpreting these data. The ACE data are dynamic and will be updated periodically as new data warrant. A new and improved version, ACE 3.0, was released in February 2018, and we welcome feedback on this latest version.

terrestrial habitats icon  aquatic habitats icon

The Significant Habitat datasets provide a variety of information on aquatic and terrestrial habitats to help determine the likelihood of the presence of habitat or vegetation that are the focus of state, national, or locally legislated conservation laws, as well as significant habitat areas essential to the survival of specific species of conservation concern. Habitat data are synthesized from information on vegetation and land cover, and species-specific habitat information. The attribute tables in the viewer for the Significant Terrestrial Habitat Summary and Significant Aquatic Habitat Summary provide the number of significant habitats in a hexagon or watershed, respectively, as well as references to the original datasets where each significant habitat element is mapped.

The Significant Habitats datasets are expected to be used along with other ACE datasets to provide a robust assessment of the presence and relative importance of elements important for biodiversity conservation.