Parkway’s Governing Agency Makes Grants

The Wildlife Conservation Board, the Parkway’s new governing agency, makes some grants, as this report from Maven’s Notebook reveals.

The report.

At its May 24 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $13 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 12 approved projects will benefit fish and wildlife—including some endangered species—while others will provide public access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, landowners and the local community.

Funding for these projects comes from a combination of sources including the Habitat Conservation Fund and bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources.

Funded projects include:

  • $186,250 in two grants to the Mojave Desert Land Trust to acquire approximately 367 acres of land from two separate owners for the protection of desert habitat corridors in the Morongo Basin, near the community of Joshua Tree in San Bernardino County.
  • A $600,000 grant to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) for a cooperative project with the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to implement a large scale Nutria eradication project in riparian corridors and associated wetland habitats located in various Central Valley counties of the San Joaquin Valley and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
  • A $610,000 grant to the Pacific Forest Trust for a cooperative project with the California Department of Transportation and CDFW to acquire a forest conservation easement over approximately 1,346 acres of land for protection of working forest lands, forest reserve areas, watersheds, fisheries and habitat linkages near the town of McCloud in Siskiyou County.
  • A $2,440,000 in-fee acquisition of approximately 5,849 acres of land by CDFW for the protection of critical cold water aquatic habitat for a variety of anadromous fish species, including the state and federally listed coho salmon, the protection of migration corridors vital to many plant, bird and mammal species, and to provide ongoing dryland grazing and future wildlife-oriented public use opportunities near Montague in Siskiyou County.
  • A $4.4 million grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with CalFire, the State Coastal Conservancy and the California Natural Resources Agency to acquire a conservation easement on approximately 23,681 acres of native forest habitats, including redwood, Douglas fir and Grand fir in the upland zones, and mature red alder forests within the riparian zone along the Ten Mile River. The easement is needed to preserve wildlife area linkages, provide habitat to numerous wildlife species, and reduce soil erosion and sustain water quality near Fort Bragg in Mendocino County.
  • A $950,000 grant to the National Forest Foundation for a cooperative project with U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to thin approximately 230 acres of forest, five miles southwest of Tahoe City in Placer County.
  • A $511,000 grant to the California Waterfowl Association for a cooperative project with the City of Woodland and Explorit to enhance and restore approximately 20 acres of wetlands at the Woodland Regional Park, approximately five miles southeast of the City of Woodland.
  • A $1.6 million grant to the Trust for Public Land for a cooperative project with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to acquire approximately 51 acres of land for the protection of threatened and endangered species, riparian and floodplain habitat along the Santa Clara River and to provide the potential for wildlife-oriented public use opportunities near Acton in Los Angeles County.  Retrieved May 25, 2018 from
  • For more information about the WCB please visit
Posted in Government

Cleaning up Clear Lake

Anyone who has been to Clear Lake has seen the plant growth clogging the water over the years—many many years—but it appears technology has finally arrived that is addressing the problem effectively, as reported by the Press Democrat.

Clear Lake will be clear again.

An excerpt.

A bright blue machine that resembles a cross between a bulldozer and side-wheel paddleboat is busy cleaning up a big mess Mother Nature left this year at Spring Lake.

The 32-foot-long aquatic harvester operated by a Windsor company is traversing the lake, collecting more than a ton of a floating weed called Azolla in its 8-foot-wide steel mouth on each foray over the 72-acre recreational lake.

At the Spring Lake boat dock, the harvester’s stern transfers the soggy plant mass onto an up-tilted conveyor belt that drops it into a red trailer for delivery to county property at Los Guilicos, where the weed will be mixed with other organic material to make compost.

It’s a new approach to a familiar problem on the lake managed by the Sonoma County Regional Parks, as an unprecedented bloom of Azolla spread a harmless but unsightly reddish-brown carpet over large portions of the lake, popular with boaters and anglers.

“We’ve never seen it like this,” parks manager David Robinson said. “We haven’t had Azolla this bad.”

With the upcoming busy Memorial Day weekend, officials decided on a new type of cleanup, calling on the harvester from Windsor-based Waterworks Industries, a statewide firm whose services include mechanical vegetation removal.

In past years, parks officials resorted to herbicide spraying to get rid of invasive weeds, Robinson said. The drawback is that dead plants sink to the bottom, adding to the lake’s nutrient load that can nourish blue-green algae, which can release harmful toxins.

The diesel-powered harvester, which started work Monday and could continue through next week, is more like a vacuum cleaner leaving little behind in its wake.

The county is paying Waterworks Industries about $3,000 a day for the cleanup, with a total cost not to exceed $32,000, Robinson said.

“It looks leaps and bounds better than it did on Monday,” Robinson said. “We really feel comfortable this is the right method.”

Retrieved May 23, 2018 from


Posted in Technology, Water

New Suburban Development in Folsom

This is very good news, more homes in the suburban communities where a majority of Americans want to live, as reported by the Sacramento Bee.

An excerpt.

The most anticipated new housing community in the Sacramento region goes “vertical” next week south of Highway 50 in Folsom with the construction of model homes, followed by homes for sale.

Early buyers could be living on the oak-studded hillside by the end of the year, builders say.

The project site is massive at 3,300 acres, just south of the freeway and north of White Rock Road, between Prairie City Road and the El Dorado County line. It will contain nearly 11,000 homes and apartments, three public schools, two fire stations, a police station and 82 acres of office and commercial buildings.

Folsom Mayor Steve Miklos, serving his last term on the council, says he stuck around partly just to see this day.

“We took our time and did something very unique,” he said.

The community ultimately will house 25,000 residents, enlarging the city of Folsom by one-third. It will bring new home-buying opportunities, but also growth pains.

Here’s an early look at what the project means for home buyers, east county residents and Highway 50 commuters.

How much will homes cost?

Folsom has built a reputation as a desirable place to live. New homes are in short supply in the region. The result: Buyers will pay a premium to live in the new community, which is divided into Folsom Ranch and Russell Ranch.

The price range is wide, with some of the first homes for sale this year in the high $400,000s to $600,000s. By comparison, the median price for a new home sold in February in Sacramento County was $419,000. And the median for a resale home was $330,000.

Taylor Morrison home builder division chief Aren Bazzocco said his company will begin selling homes the first week of June. He said he feels like a pioneer but expects his company’s houses to sell well. Taylor Morrison has 1,000 people on its interest list for 206 homes. Square footage is roughly between 1,800 and 3,100, and prices start in the high $400,000s.

Retrieved May 21, 2018 from


Posted in demographics

Infinite Suburbia Excerpt

Another excerpt from this tremendous book I wrote about in an earlier post,

The excerpt.

Suburban residential landscapes are popularly understood to be socially and environmentally homogeneous places where expanses of mown lawn appear in an alternating rhythm of driveways and predictably similar houses. Much has been made of suburban social pressure to have a perfect lawn: even, green and weed-free. More recently, the environmentally detrimental effects of lawn irrigation, pesticides, fertilizers, leaf blowing, and mowing have been widely discussed. Beyond these immediate and environmental impacts of lawn culture, the more insidious societal costs associated with car-dependent suburban transportation systems are of growing concern. Social and health effects of sedentary lifestyles and long commuting times, social equity effects of jobs beyond the reach of public transportation, as well as climate effects of greenhouse gases emitted by cars—all continue to arguments for adopting more dense urban settlement patterns as alternatives to suburbia.

Yet suburban development is massive and growing. In the United States, large-lot residential development covered a total area fifteen times larger than did dense urban settlement in 2000, and suburbs have continued to grow more quickly than cities. The market for suburban development remains a vital driver of metropolitan landscape patterns. Even if market demand for new suburban development were to disappear today, the legacy effects of the more than 5 percent of the US land area in suburban development would remain. This reality suggests that, rather than only critiquing suburbia, we should consider how low-density suburban development patterns can provide broader societal benefits.

Viewed through another lens, the lawn culture landscape of suburban “sprawl” looks like “greening.” In city neighborhoods, greening means bringing maintained turf, trees, and gardens back into largely paved landscape. In contrast, suburban neighborhoods, typified by expansive lawns, canopy trees, and flowers and shrubs, are green. But suburban landscapes could provide far more substantial ecosystem services related to human health, biodiversity, stormwater management, and carbon storage to contribute to climate change mitigation. (p. 507)

Infinite Suburbia. (2017). (Alan M. Berger, Joel Kotkin with Celina Balderas Guzman Ed.) Greening Sprawl: Lawn Culture and Carbon Storage in the Suburban landscape (pp. 606-516). Princeton Architectural Press: New York.

Available at Amazon at

Posted in demographics

Save Don’t Pave, Two Rivers Trail

The folks at Save Don’t Pave , who want to save their River Park neighborhood natural Parkway trail from paving and becoming a bike speedway, have put together a brief and clear slide show explaining their position and it is a must see, at

And, it appears the planned Two River Trail violates the Parkway Plan in the Paradise Beach area, who knew.

Posted in Environmentalism, River Development

Cover Cropping

According to News Deeply, this ancient practice is slowly being revived, which is good for farmers and our food supply.

An excerpt.

This spring in California several orchards around Solano and nearby counties sported a new look: lush carpets of mixed grasses growing as tall as 3ft beneath the trees’ bare branches. By summer the scene will change as farmers grow and harvest their nut crops, but the work of the grasses will continue unseen.

Cover cropping, an agricultural technique as old as dirt, is taking root in California. Used to enhance soil nutrition and improve the growth of plants, it fell out of favor after World War II when the practice was replaced by the use of chemical fertilizers.

Today just 5 percent of California growers are using cover crops – and 3 percent nationwide – but that’s likely to change.

Farmers have used off-season plantings for millennia to build soil and keep it from blowing or washing away. Like their predecessors, walnut and almond growers are using these seasonal noncash crops to hold in moisture and provide habitat.

Farmers are also returning to the practice to curb the effects of a changing climate. As hotter and drier conditions hit most of the state, Central Valley growers are planting grasses and legumes under their trees to increase the carbon and nitrogen in their soils. And as implementation of the state’s new drought-driven groundwater regulation approaches, they are testing the ability of cover crops to increase the amount of water stored in the ground that grows their nuts and vegetables.

“Folks are really thinking hard about where their water comes from, and they’re thinking about carbon, too – things that are new in terms of farming systems in relationship to the world,” said Wendy Rash, a district conservationist with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

She is part of a loose coalition of growers, scientists and conservationists working to expand the use of cover crops and identify the places where they can provide the greatest ecological benefit at the lowest cost to the farmer. Some are weighing the economic advantages and risks, some the potential for effecting agricultural policies.

Among these efforts is an ambitious project aimed at a seemingly incongruous goal: river restoration. The Freshwater Trust, a Portland-based conservation group, is designing a tool that will help monitor and track efforts to increase the health of water and soil at a landscape scale. It is based on the premise that cover crops help boost the water that goes into the ground, recharging the aquifer. Maximizing these groundwater reserves lessens the demand for surface water, which leaves more water for rivers. And more water in streams benefits fish and riparian species, said Erik Ringelberg, the Freshwater Trust’s California director.

“From a conservation perspective, that’s a win for us,” he said.

Retrieved May 15, 2018 from


Posted in Environmentalism, History

Bike Lanes & Cars

Reducing space for cars to add space for bikes—as Sacramento is planning to do once again—can cause problems, as this article from City Lab explains, with hat tip to Urbanexus Update – Issue #8, .

An excerpt.

On a rainy March evening in Pasadena, California, about 350 people packed the auditorium of Pasadena City College for a standing-room-only public meeting. The issue of the hour: Reducing the number of travel lanes of Orange Grove Boulevard. Authorities wanted to put the lightly used four-lane thoroughfare on a “road diet.” Two of its lanes would be repurposed; one would be used for a center-left turn lane, the other would become a bike lane.

When staff flipped to a slide that showed how the redesign would only increase travel time along the 2.9-mile stretch of Orange Grove from 45 to 100 seconds, a woman screamed out: “You’re manipulating the data! NOBODY WANTS THIS.”

Moments later, another interruption: “What about the surrounding streets? Where are all the cars going to go? Cut-through traffic will make them into freeways!”

For several hours, opponents voiced their objections into the auditorium’s sound system. Shedding lanes, one said, would be an “unmitigated traffic disaster.” Not only would residents who live along the road never again be able to back out of their driveways, bicycle accidents would increase (because the new lanes would attract more riders). At one point, a city councilmember decided to hold a “voice vote” on the issue. Though several dozen shouted their support for the reconfiguration, their cries were drowned out by hundreds who bellowed their opposition.

The next day, the City of Pasadena announced that a second scheduled meeting on the issue was cancelled. And so ended the road diet of Orange Grove Boulevard.

Pasadena is hardly the only American city having a hard time sticking to its road diets. Nationwide, proposals to shed car lanes in the name of improving traffic safety or adding bike and pedestrian access are often met by fierce resistance.

Such redesigns may be popular with traffic safety advocates—lane reductions have been shown to reduce the total number of crashes by up to 47 percent, according to the Federal Highway Administration. But even though traffic experts and city planners are well aware of the benefits, the process to remake America’s streets from car-dominated to more multimodal “complete” streets is getting backed-up.

Retrieved May 14, 2018 from

Posted in Transportation