“The dusty, dirt-filled overflow parking area at the far north end of Rodeo Beach will undergo a transformation beginning next month that will turn it into a lush wetland filled with flora and fauna. … The site will be graded and contoured to create a freshwater marsh fed by rainwater and other sources.
“The Sonoma County Water Agency is in the final days of building a $10 million, 3.4-mile pipeline to bring recycled water from the nearby Sonoma Valley sewage treatment plant to the former salt plant, now owned by the state and known as the Napa-Sonoma Salt Marsh.
“The agency plans to hold a ceremony Friday to mark the completion of the pipeline, including elected officials and representatives from the local, state, and federal agencies involved in the long-term salt marsh restoration effort.”
“The project was proudly unveiled in this Mendocino County lumber town in the mid-1950s, when the car was king and the future looked bright.
“Instead of channeling Highway 101 traffic right down Main Street, a four-lane bypass dubbed the Willits Freeway would route vacationing motorists and commercial trucks around the community’s periphery.
“The tiny delta smelt has wielded enormous political clout in California’s water wars because its health as a species is the legal measure of the environmental health of the bay-delta, the lynchpin of the state’s water system. As of last week however, the sandhill crane has usurped the limelight.”
“Recreational activities, classes and tours have been relocated from a Torrance preserve after the marsh was temporarily closed amid heightening concerns over the West Nile Virus and the first confirmed death this year in Southern California due to the disease.
“UC Davis researchers are finding large numbers of leopard sharks — some as big as 6 feet long — benefiting from five years of work to restore thousands of acres of industrial salt ponds ringing the bay’s shoreline from Hayward to San Jose to Redwood City.
“Stanford environmental scientist Katie Arkema and her colleagues published a national map on Monday, showing where coastal reefs and wetlands are keeping communities safe, and which areas may need more preservation.”
From the California Water Quality Monitoring Council, formed in 2007 by a cooperative agreement between the California Environmental Protection Agency and Natural Resources Agency:
Two new web-based tools, released by the Wetland Monitoring Workgroup of the California Water Quality Monitoring Council, are designed to make information about the location, extent and condition of wetlands more readily available.
“State and local governments widely condition permit approvals on some kind of ‘mitigation’ – changing the design, enhancing some other piece of land or paying a mitigation fee.
“But in a narrow 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has now made such negotiations much less likely, making it easier for landowners to challenge these kinds of conditions and fees and leading to more litigation.”
“In a victory for advocates of private property rights, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that governments may owe compensation to property owners who are denied permits to develop their land. … The case is Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 1447.”
“The use of pesticides and other farming practices are causing a dramatic decline in the population of what was once one of the state’s most populous bird species: the tricolored blackbird. … One solution may be found in a plan currently being implemented by six dairy and wheat farmers in Kern County, the Audubon Society and the National Resources Conservation Service.”