Health Warning from Homeless Camping

The deadly situation in Riverside County, as reported by the California Globe, is similar to what is happening in the American River Parkway due to homeless camping,

An excerpt.

“Fear of the deadly Shigella bacteria has prompted health officials in Riverside County to close off Downey Park and all access to the Santa Ana River Trails and Recreation areas.

“The order was made under the direction of the Riverside County Environmental Health and Disease Control Department after multiple reports were made of people infected with the Shigella Bacteria.

“This bacteria is responsible for an estimated 600,000 deaths worldwide. Riverside County’s Director for Disease Control, Barbara Cole reported they are testing to confirm if Shigella is in the 96-mile long Santa Ana River.

“The river begins in the San Bernardino mountains and ends its journey west when it dumps into the Pacific Ocean. Most of the river winds through urban areas known to be inhabited by homeless encampments.

“Park Rangers posted placards in Spanish and English to notify the public of the possible dangerous conditions while they continue to test the river for the deadly bacteria. County officials reported up to six patients have tested positive for Shigella. According to a press release from Jurupa Valley city officials, two of the people infected are Orange County residents who were in the riverbed.

“The public’s safety is always paramount. We advise the public to obey all posted signage closing access trails and entrances to the affected portion of the Santa Ana River,” said Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser.

“The Riverside County Department of Environmental Health has also reached out to state agencies to assist with the investigation.

“According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Shigellosis is an illness caused by bacteria called Shigella that cause diarrhea in humans. Symptoms of Shigellosis can also include, fever, and abdominal cramps which usually occur within four days after exposure to Shigella, and last five to seven days. Most people with Shigellosis recover completely. Anyone with concerns about illness should contact their healthcare provider.

“The spread of Shigella can be stopped by frequent and careful hand washing with soap and water.

“The unofficial name of the area that offers access to the Santa Ana River in Jurupa is called “Pedley Beach”. This access point is frequented by local residents and has also been the site for homeless. A history of fecal contamination in the river and concerns with transients prompted the EPA to test the river’s water a few months ago.

“In the spring two environmental groups, the Inland Empire Water Keeper and Rivers and Land Conservancy combined to form the Clean Camp Coalition to determine if the homeless encampments are the cause of the dangerous bacteria’s being found in various sections of the riverbed.

“Diseases that once plagued the medieval era or todays third world countries are now cropping up in communities all throughout California where the homeless and transient population set up camp. Diseases like hepatitis A, typhus and shigella are once again threats to the general public.

“The growing homeless population is the root cause of the resurgence in bacterial infections. In Riverside County those living in the streets have increased according to a 2019 survey by 22%. In January, volunteers counted 2,811 person homeless and only 766 of those were staying in shelters.”

Retrieved August 16, 2019 from https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/riverside-county-officials-warn-public-about-deadly-bacteria-in-santa-ana-river/

Posted in Homelessness, Public Safety

Technology Helping Farmers

Not to mention reducing the backbreaking labor now required harvesting most crops by hand, this new technology reported by AG Alert is wonderful.

An excerpt.

“Amid employee shortages, groundwater issues and other challenges, farmers in Monterey County and elsewhere are looking to the tech sector to help them bring their crops to market.

“Parker Jones is one of those seeking to help farmers do more with less. Two months ago, he launched a custom-farming operation, Hermanos Automated Services, renting out a weeding machine that largely replaces hand labor in lettuce fields. It’s made by British-based Garford Farm Machinery.

“It’s all about the software,” Jones said. “The plant spacing is different from plant to plant or line to line. We just enter the measurements in the computer, click ‘Go’ and run the machine. Really, it’s not much to it besides that.”

“The weeder uses a camera mounted 65 to 68 inches above the ground to read the field and guide the weeder’s wheels accordingly, Jones said as he prepared the machine to weed a field of romaine in Soledad. The weeder is towed behind a tractor.

“As it sees the plotline move, the tractor obviously can’t move,” Jones explained. “It has to stay straight. So if the plant lines tend to move, whether it’s a direct-seeded field or if it’s a transplanted field, the lines usually move at the same rate going left to right. The camera actually detects that and guides itself, so these wheels will turn when needed or stay straight.”

“As the weeder moves, its knives work between the plant lines and the disks work around the plants to get the weeds, Jones added.

“The toughest crop to work with so far, he said, has been red lettuce.

“The difficult part about the red lettuce is that it’s just a couple shades off of the soil,” Jones said. “When the red lettuce starts to grow, it actually gets like a pale, light brown color, so it kind of looks like the soil. That’s a difficult part for the camera—is it soil or is it a plant?”

“The tracking technology has rapidly advanced, he said, noting that a year ago the controls in the tractor cab would have used a USB port and a keyboard. The latest version uses a touchscreen.

“Eventually, this will just be an iPad,” he said. “You’ll be able to just control it from the truck or preprogram into it, and your driver won’t have to even touch this. You can do it from your house. That’s where I see the tech going.”

“Jones said he tried selling the weeders at first but was unsuccessful, as buyers were put off by the six-figure price tag. A couple of friends suggested he start a service company instead.

“And it caught on like wildfire,” he said. “We’re getting calls from Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, all throughout California.”

“Tractor automation is the focus for Bear Flag Robotics of Sunnyvale, where Igino Cafiero, the company’s founder and chief executive, works on self-driving technology. He exhibited his prototype, a standard tractor fitted with perception sensors and actuators, at a recent ag-tech event hosted by Merrill Farms in Salinas.

“We’re really excited about ultimately answering, how can we grow more food on fewer acres at a lower cost?” Cafiero said. “That’s what we’re focused on, and that’s really the pull from the growers. Having reliable autonomous machines to aid in that effort really, really does move the needle for the growers that we work with.”

“Bear Flag said it envisions being able to program tractor fleets remotely with routes and jobs in row-crop fields, orchards and vineyards, with the tractors capable of pulling plows or spray rigs. Cafiero said he’s working on secondary-tillage operations in Salinas and has also run postharvest disking trials.

“We keep them dirty, man,” Cafiero said of his prototypes. “Doesn’t really do much good to have them sitting in the shops. Every time we can get out and be useful and be helpful, we do.”

“Farm technology also takes to the sky, with drones already used to conduct survey flights and deliver beneficial insects. One builder in Massachusetts, Kiwi Technology, is looking at aerial applications and brought its own oversized quadcopter drone designed for that purpose to the Merrill Farms event.”

Retrieved August 14, 2019 from http://www.agalert.com/story/?id=13199

Posted in Technology

Why Dams are hard to Build

A perfect example in this round and round debate about raising Shasta Dam 18 feet—it was engineered to be 200 feet higher than it now is—is reported in the San Joaquin Sun.

An excerpt.

“Westlands Water District isn’t giving up on raising Shasta Dam, or at least exploring the possibility of raising it.

“The district, stopped in late July by a Shasta County judge from conducting an environmental study on the impact of raising Shasta Dam, filed a petition with the Sacramento-based Third District California Court of Appeal on Monday to vacate the trial court’s injunction.

“Westlands was seeking to prepare an environmental impact report on raising the Dam by up to 18.5 feet in an effort as part of procedure to determine if the district would contribute its own funds to the Federal project.

“In order to complete a raise of the Dam, Westlands or other similar agencies would need to share half the cost of construction with the Federal government.

“The Shasta Dam enlargement project was awarded $20 million by Congress in 2018 via the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, a key bill authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) in 2016.

“California Attorney General Xavier Becerra intervened in the district’s move to study the project, arguing that the $1 million environmental study would violate California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

“The act prohibits state agencies from planning or constructing any dam with the Federal government that “could have an adverse effect on the free-flowing condition of the McCloud River, or on its wild trout fishery.” Lake Shasta is fed by the McCloud River.

“In a statement Monday, Westlands’ general manager, Tom Birmingham, argued that Becerra’s move to shut down the district’s environmental study leaves a major question unresolved.

“To date, no agency of the state has conducted any study to evaluate whether enlarging Shasta Dam by up to 18.5 feet, which Reclamation is proposing, would have adverse effects on the McCloud River,” Birmingham said.

“In argument, Becerra and the Attorney General’s office relied on a 2015 environmental scoping report from Reclamation that Becerra claimed demonstrated negative impact on the McCloud River.

“However, as Birmingham noted, no state agency has ever undertaken its own environmental review.

“Birmingham also took aim at Becerra’s characterization of what would constitute a lawful method of studying the Shasta Dam raise.

“In arguments to the Shasta County Superior Court, the California Attorney General said Westlands could study the effects of a dam raise “in the abstract” but could not conduct a study as sanctioned by CEQA, California’s marquee environmental law.

“The Attorney General obtained this injunction against Westlands for the express purpose of excluding the public and other agencies from the District’s analytical process,” Birmingham said. “In more than 35 years of experience working on issues related to CEQA, I am unaware of any court ever enjoining the preparation of an environmental impact report.”

Retrieved August 13, 2019 from http://sjvsun.com/ag/westlands-strikes-back-at-ag-becerra-over-studying-shasta-dam-raise/

Posted in Environmentalism, Shasta Auburn Dam

Ranking City Livability

Nice story from WalletHub and Sacramento comes in at 28 of 62.

An excerpt.

“Many Americans prefer to live in rural areas, but far more call cities their homes. Though urban settings are less than 3 percent of the U.S. landmass, they contain around 80 percent of the total population.

“There are many factors that make highly-populated areas great to live in. Big cities represent opportunity, economic and otherwise, which appeals to people of all walks of life – especially young professionals seeking advancement in their careers and social lives. Another main draw is easy access to diverse dining and entertainment options that are comparatively scarce in more rural settings.

“But big-city life requires tradeoffs, too. Higher cost of living is a concern, along with pollution, traffic delays and limited living space. Each major U.S. city has a unique set of issues, to go along with its own character and charm. However, some big cities tackle their problems and emphasize their strengths more efficiently than others.

“To help readers find the best big city to call home, WalletHub compared the 62 largest U.S. cities based on 56 key indicators of attractiveness. Our data set ranges from the quality of public schools and life expectancy to job opportunities and property taxes. Read on for our findings, insight from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.”

Retrieved August 12, 2019 from https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-large-cities-to-live-in/14358/?utm_

Posted in demographics

New Dam Planned In California

Good news—in a currently dam adverse state—from the San Jose Mercury News.

An excerpt.

“A plan to build a huge new $1.1 billion dam and reservoir near Pacheco Pass in southeastern Santa Clara County is taking a significant step forward with the release of hundreds of pages of environmental studies.

“The project, which would be the first new large dam built anywhere in the Bay Area since Los Vaqueros Reservoir in Contra Costa County in 1998, grew out of California’s recent five-year drought.

“Environmentalists have raised concerns about the project’s costs, and the fact that it would submerge 1,245 acres of oak woodlands on the north side of Highway 152 near Casa de Fruta — an area equal to about 943 football fields.

“But the Santa Clara Valley Water District, a San Jose government agency that provides water to 1.9 million Silicon Valley residents, says the reservoir is needed to store more water as insurance against California’s next drought.

“It will improve our water supply reliability,” said Linda LeZotte, chairwoman of the water district, which is proposing the project. “One of the things I heard most from people during the drought was ‘why don’t you have more storage capacity?’”

“Two weeks ago, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released a 327-page draft environmental impact study that includes details of the Pacheco project. The agency, along with the Santa Clara Valley Water District, has scheduled a public meeting to discuss the project and the environmental study at 6 p.m. Monday at the Gilroy Library, 350 W. Sixth Street, in Gilroy.

“The water district hopes to begin construction in 2024. It would take 475 construction workers five years to complete the project working 24 hours, 7 days a week, according to the new environmental study.

“Under the proposal, the water district would replace a small, existing dam and reservoir on the site.

“The existing reservoir was built on the North Fork of Pacheco Creek in 1939 behind a 100-foot earthen dam now badly in need of costly repairs. It holds only 5,500 acre-feet of water, while the new reservoir would hold more than 23 times as much — or 140,000 acre feet. By comparison, the largest reservoir now in Santa Clara County, Anderson Reservoir, has a maximum capacity of 90,000 acre feet. An acre foot is 325,851 gallons, or an acre of land a foot deep in water, roughly the amount that an average California family of five uses in a year.

“The new dam would be 319 feet tall. The district would take water it now stores in nearby San Luis Reservoir and pipe it into the new reservoir, filling it during wet years.

“District officials say that the project also would have environmental benefits. It would provide a more regular supply of water downstream for endangered steel head trout, they note. And, they say, it would offer better flood protection to people living along Pacheco Creek and the Pajaro River.

“It also would allow the agency to store more water in wet years to reduce shortage in dry years. Specifically, district officials say, the project would help fix a long-running problem at nearby San Luis Reservoir, the massive inland sea in Merced County where the Santa Clara Valley Water District stores some water that comes from the Delta.”

Retrieved August 12, 2019 from https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/08/09/environment-report-out-on-new-1-billion-dam-proposed-for-santa-clara-county/

 

Posted in Shasta Auburn Dam, Water

Environmentalist’s Add to Homelessness?

That is the argument—a pretty good one I think—made in this article from New Geography, titled The Unintended Consequence Of The Green Movement Is The Creation Of More Homeless.

An excerpt.

“The green movement has done a great job of stymying the growth of nuclear power generation. That in itself creates an oxymoron. Nuclear is the only known technology to generate zero emission electricity on a continuous uninterruptable basis.

“With the success the green movement has had on nuclear, it’s now attracting big oil companies to invest huge sums into renewables – wind and solar. There are three main reasons for that kind of investment from “big oil” into renewables. First, it’s a great public relation move. Second, it’s also a fantastic business investment, as every wind and solar site generating intermittent electricity needs a fossil fuel backup generating plant to provide electricity when the wind is not blowing, and the sun is not shinning. Third, if they fail, the government incentives are “no take back” guarantees and the loss is a tax write off. So, they basically get to dabble for free.

“The cliché “can’t see the forest for the trees” is the reality of life for California agencies and government lawmakers. The growing populations of homeless and families falling below the poverty line. is obvious proof that California plans to go green, at any cost. They are successfully driving up the populations of the homeless and poverty stricken. And those leading the green parade are blind to this either by force or by choice. Too many trees. The numbers are out, yet, blah, blah, blah.

“Wind and solar obsessed Germany, Australia, and Denmark fight it out for the honor of paying the world’s highest power prices. California is following, not leading as they would like you to believe, into known disastrous territory. Just like Germany, Australia, and Denmark before trudging into the green morass, our leaders cannot “see’ the direct correlation between energy costs for electricity and fuels, and homelessness and poverty.

“Efficient energy systems affect everything, not only from transportation, but the cost of groceries and food and cleaning products. For the working class, after fuel and electricity costs, what’s left in the purse, if there is anything left, goes toward the other living expenses. Lately, there’s been less and less left.

High cost of electricity: California’s electricity is already fifty percent higher than the national average for residents, and double the national averages for commercial, and are projected to go even higher. The inability to replace the closure of continuously uninterruptable electricity from nuclear and natural gas with renewables of wind and solar is causing the state to import more and more of its electricity. The numbers are in for 2018 and they say California imported up to 29 percent last year. The good news is that we’ve had no brown outs. But the bad news is the imported electricity comes at higher costs and are being borne by residents and businesses alike. Without the huge land requirements for wind and solar renewable electricity, the need to import more will escalate every year.

“California’s love of foreign crude oil is obvious as California increased crude oil imports from foreign countries from 5% in 1992 to 57% in 2018, costing California more than $32 Billion dollars a year (Yes, that’s a “B”). That money is being paid to oil rich foreign countries, thereby depriving Californians of jobs and business opportunities. Without those tax paying jobs and businesses, the State’s coiffures are growing thin as it is struggling to pay its welfare and social responsibilities debts.

“The California Delusion YouTube video by Mark Mathis of the Clear Energy Alliance that’s gone viral with more than 56 thousands views discusses California’s love for imported crude oil to meet the state’s energy needs for military, airlines, cruise ships and merchant ships, trucking and automobiles that’s putting America at a national security risk.

“Adding insult to injury Sacramento Democrats are seriously considering Assembly Bill AB-345 (Muratsuchi) “Oil and gas: operations: location restrictions” which would require, commencing January 1, 2020, that all new oil and gas development that is not on federal land, to be located at least 2,500 feet from a residence, school, childcare facility, playground, hospital, or health clinic. For these purposes, the bill would require the re-drilling of a previously plugged and abandoned oil or gas well or other rework operations, as defined, to be considered new oil and gas development.

“The effect of this “2,500” clear space around production wells would virtually destroy California’s in-state oil production by half. That will result in California sending another $16 Billion, on top of the current $32 Billion every year (again, Yes, that’s a “B”), to those oil rich foreign countries that have the audacity to not even send California a thank you note.

“And now, starting July 1st another 6 cents is being added to the posted price at the pump for infrastructure repair and maintenance. With residents already paying as much as an extra dollar for fuel, we should already have the best roads.”

Retrieved August 7, 2019 from http://www.newgeography.com/content/006376-the-unintended-consequence-of-the-green-movement-is-the-creation-of-more-homeless

Posted in Environmentalism, Homelessness

Rivers Same Rights as Humans?

While I understand the extreme environmentalist’s logic, the result is suspect, but…here is an article from National Public Radio about it.

An excerpt.

“In early July, Bangladesh became the first country to grant all of its rivers the same legal status as humans. From now on, its rivers will be treated as living entities in a court of law. The landmark ruling by the Bangladeshi Supreme Court is meant to protect the world’s largest delta from further degradation from pollution, illegal dredging and human intrusion.

“In Bangladesh, the river is considered as our mother,” says Mohammad Abdul Matin, general secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, a Dhaka-based environmental group. As Bangladesh sits where three major rivers converge and empty into the Bay of Bengal, nearly 100% of its land is delta land, he tells NPR.

“Following the ruling, anyone accused of harming the rivers can be taken to court by the new, government-appointed National River Conservation Commission. They may be tried and delivered a verdict as if they had harmed their own mother, Matin says.

“The river is now considered by law, by code, a living entity, so you’ll have to face the consequence by law if you do anything that kills the river,” Matin says.

“What is environmental personhood?

“The river is now considered by law, by code, a living entity, so you’ll have to face the consequence by law if you do anything that kills the river.”Mohammad Abdul Matin, general secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon

“Bangladesh follows a handful of countries that have subscribed to an idea known as environmental personhood. It was first highlighted in essays by University of Southern California law professor Christopher D. Stone, collected into a 1974 book titled Should Trees Have Standing? Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects. Stone argued that if an environmental entity is given “legal personality,” it cannot be owned and has the right to appear in court.

“Traditionally, nature has been subject to a Western-conceived legal regime of property-based ownership, says Monti Aguirre with the environmental group International Rivers.

“That means … an owner has the right to modify their features, their natural features, or to destroy them all at will,” Aguirre says.

“The idea of environmental personhood turns that paradigm on its head by recognizing that nature has rights and that those rights should be enforced by a court of law. It’s a philosophical idea, says Aguirre, with indigenous communities leading the charge.

“Many indigenous communities recognize nature as a subject with personhood deserving of protection and respect, rather than looking at it as a merchandise or commodity over which are property rights should be exercised,” she says.

“And the movement is growing, she says, though with variations.”

Retrieved August 5, 2019 from https://www.npr.org/2019/08/03/740604142/should-rivers-have-same-legal-rights-as-humans-a-growing-number-of-voices-say-ye

Posted in Environmentalism