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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus

October 2011

Help otters recover
Believe it or not there is a "No Otter Zone" on the California Coast south of Point Conception. Only trouble is otters can't read. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is reconsidering the No Otter Zone policy. They are receiving comments until October 24. To learn more or make a
comment visit

State ban deferred
The bill to ban Styrofoam take-out containers statewide failed to achieve the required votes to pass this year, however supporters are not discouraged. They plan to introduce it again in 2012.

Ball's in their court
Signature gathering for a referendum slated for next summer to overturn the Monterey County Board of Supervisors vote to cut down up to 4400 native oak trees at the former Fort Ord for the ironically named Whispering Oaks project was successful. The next move belongs to the Supervisors who could listen to the people and reverse their vote and save the citizens of Monterey County a costly special election.

How many species?
Researchers from Canada and Hawaii have estimated that 86% of species on land and 91% of species in the ocean have not yet been described by science. It seems we have only scratched the surface of diversity of life.

Go for non-poison solutions
After three years of working with companies to develop new products, the EPA has banned most household rat and mouse poisons. Professional applicators and agricultural operations will still be able to use rodenticides, and stores can use up existing stocks. The action will not only reduce the thousands of accidental poisonings of children, but will also reduce the poisoning of hawks, owls, and other wildlife that eat poisoned rodents.

Do you have a mouse or gopher problem? Use a trap or humane relocator device instead of poison.

Siting solar
Can the Sierra Club, the utility company, a water district, and development boosters agree on a project? They all support a solar-farm near Fresno which will be built on polluted land instead of on vibrant desert habitat. The Westlands Solar Park is near existing utility lines and will be built on degraded, salty land that is unsuitable for farming.

New director
Dr. Charles Lester has assumed the position of Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission, taking the helm from retiring director, Peter Douglas.

Logging in Yosemite
By the time you read this, thousands of trees in Yosemite National Park will have been cut down in order to preserve historical views. The Scenic Vista Management Plan, approved in July, called for the removal of trees blocking views of classic scenes such as Yosemite and Bridalveil Falls. No trees over 130 years old were scheduled to be felled. The planning document compared views of Yosemite from early photographs to current views. "We are creating space for visitors to see the park," said historical architect Kevin McCardle who headed up the scenic vista team.


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chapter chair's column