Sheila in June 2008 in Sitka, Alaska.
Photo Cecelia de Giere
Sheila Dunniway loved to hike
Sheila Dunniway, a long time Sierra Club hike leader, died in October. She loved leading hikes in Pogonip and Fall Creek. She also enjoyed the Sierra Club slide shows. She was a teacher, librarian, and a docent at Henry Cowell. In addition Sheila delivered The Ventana to stores and coffee shops.
Sheila will be remembered for her vivacious personality and her quick wit. She is deeply missed by her countless friends and her family.
Lawsuit looms over fish-killing water diversions
The Center for Biological Diversity and others warned the State Water Resources Control Board of intent to sue if it doesn’t stop authorizing water diversions that are killing imperiled salmon and steelhead in the Russian River and Gualala River watersheds. Water diversions and pumping from streams for vineyards in the area deplete rivers and creeks of water needed by fish. Coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, which are protected under the Endangered Species Act, need adequate water for spawning.
When freezing temperatures hit California’s coast, vineyards pumping water for grape “frost protection” can dry up rivers and their tributaries, stranding and killing young fish. The Center asserts the Water Board is violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing these water diversions.
Two bills supported by Club are passed
Governor Schwarzenegger signed only two of the twelve bills supported by Sierra Club in the last legislative session. The signed bills were AB 975, which requires corporations with more than 500 service connections to install water meters, and AB 920, which requires utilities to pay owners of solar and other renewable energy systems for surplus electricity generated.
Vetoed bills included SB 372, which would have prohibited disposition of state park lands unless approved by the Legislature; AB 1173, which would have continued the phase-down of mercury in lighting and provided incentives for recycling of fluorescents; and SB 406, which would have added one or two dollars to vehicle registration to be used to reduce greenhouse gasses.
NOAA researchers have discovered huge amounts of trash under the waters of the Central Coast. Most of the rubbish revealed by the underwater survey was recreational fishing gear. Dana Watters of NOAA’s Fisheries Service in Santa Cruz estimates that there are 7000 pieces of trash per square kilometer. Now that’s disgusting.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has removed the brown pelican from the Endangered Species list due to its recovery. The pelican is still protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, but is no longer deemed likely to become extinct in the foreseeable future. The brown pelican was decimated by the use of the pesticide DDT which was banned in 1972.
Richardson Grove threatened
Caltrans wants to widen Highway 101 at Richardson Grove State Park just north of the Humboldt County line. These huge trees provide crucial habitat for endangered birds like the marbled murrelet and threatened salmon and steelhead.
The cathedral groves by this State Park are too important to cut down to enable even bigger trucks to rush through. To sign a petition, visit the website of the Center for Biological Diversity, www.biologicaldiversity.org/ and click under “Action” at the top of the site.
When trees fall into a creek and eventually find their way to the ocean, they not only provide habitat for salmon and steelhead, they also provide food for deep-sea, tree-eating crustaceans. These wood munchers, Munidopsis andamanica, look rather like lobsters and, despite living in the deep sea, eat trees. To learn more, google Munidopsis andamanica.
Proximity saves $
A new study concludes Californians could save money and cut greenhouse gas emissions by living near transit and shopping. The study found the 1.8 million Sacramento area residents living close to transit and shopping spend $2 billion less/year on cars and related costs than those living in less convenient areas. To learn more visit http://transformca.org. Residents of other urban areas saved even more.
Florida panther in trouble
The endangered Florida panther will need migration corridors and additional protected habitat to adapt to predicted sea level rise from global warming. The Sierra Club has petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service for a critical habitat designation for land that will help the panther migrate to new ground. Loss of habitat is the greatest threat to the survival of the estimated 90-120 remaining panthers.
End mountaintop removal
A new report, “Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining, Too Costly to Appalachia’s Economies,” highlights the benefits for Appalachia from ending mountain top removal mining and developing clean, renewable energy sources. Read the report at www.sierraclub.org/coal/factsheets.aspx.
Want your phone to sound like the cry of a Mexican gray wolf or a beluga whale? Download free endangered species ringtones at www.rareearthtones.org/ringtones.
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