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Abstract Art in the Central Valley

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I find the great Central Valley of California endlessly fascinating. From the air the irrigated farmland becomes an abstract painting worthy of any gallery of modern art.

At one time it was a vast grassland punctuated by reed beds and marshlands. No doubt home to countless animals. Over the past century it’s been tamed. It’s water captured and diverted. It’s grassland replaced by millions of…

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146 votes

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Do you know 146 people? That was the margin by which Measure AA passed in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This open space initiative will raise  $300 million to build trails, protect open space and protect the scenic beauty of the San Mateo coast.  It needed 66.7% and got 66.9% Talk about close!

It’s also a great reminder that your vote does count. That is, if you vote.   I just don’t understand why…

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Drought bites at 11,050 feet

#Drought bites at 11,050 feet #CalParks

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The Siberian Outpost, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

High up in the backcountry of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park and the Golden Trout Wilderness the drought is taking hold. I spent most of Memorial Day weekend above 10,000 feet.  The snow has largely gone, the wild flowers are almost non existent and the barren bones of the Sierra Nevada are laid bare.

The Big Whitney Meadow and…

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Dodging a Bullet in Atwater Village

Dodging a Bullet in Atwater Village #oilspill

In the early hours of Thursday morning, a pipeline carrying oil from Texas to Los Angeles ruptured in the Atwater Village neighborhood of Los Angeles. Over the course of about 45 minutes 10,000 gallons of oil spilled into the streets creating a noxious lake a half-mile long and knee-deep in places.

It appears that the nearby Los Angeles River was saved by the alert response and quick thinking of…

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Survey for marine debris draws connection with Japan

Survey for #MarineDebris draws connection with Japan

Marine Debris Survey at Carbon Beach

Earlier this week, as the mercury hit 90 degrees by the beach, I headed out to Carbon Beach with another Heal the Bay staffer to conduct a marine debris survey – part of a west-coast wide effort by NOAA to monitor for debris from the devastating Japanese tsunami of March 11, 2011 . Spoiler alert: I didn’t find any soccer balls with Japanese script.  But I did find an interesting connection to…

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It looks like Shrek

It looks like Shrek. Taking kids to the creek #GetOutside

Spot the High School Class

“It looks like Shrek!” That’s what one of the Compton high schoolers said as he looked down into a rare soft bottom section of Compton Creek.  [and it wasn’t just because the teacher for the day was called Eddie Murphy, although he was]

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The thin ribbon of green, dotted with trees, is pretty rare around here.  As the students studied the map to assess the neighborhood of the creek they noted that…

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Spring in the Mountains

 

It might all look green and rocky right now, but look closely and spring is peeking through.   Spring in the Santa Monica Mountains is beautiful!
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Nothin’ but sand

Nothin’ but sand

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For two hours on saturday morning Santa Monica State Beach was a frenzy of activity.  It was my first time helping out by giving Beach Talks to the 1900 volunteers who came to clean up the beach for Earth Day.   I joined dozens of Heal the Bay volunteers to get folks orientated.

Every 10 minutes another group would be shuttled over and my job was to tell them a little bit about how the trash came…

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Reining in the Rain

Reining in the Rain in a time of #drought

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[This is from a guest-blog I wrote for the LA Stormwater Program’s web-site, published April 22, 2014].

I’d been living in Los Angeles for about six months when a three-day storm hit back in February. I had begun to wonder what all the fuss was about stormwater. Could it really be that bad? Now I know the answer is yes—but not just for the pollution it causes.

I was delighted by the waterfalls…

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On Earth Day lets hear it for the Ocean.

On Earth Day lets hear it for the Ocean.

The Pacific Ocean stretches to the horizon from the shore of Santa Monica Bay.

My six-year old son asked one day, why do they call it Earth when it’s mostly covered with water? He has a point. 71 percent of the Earth is covered by water. Of all the water on Earth, the ocean’s hold 96.5 percent.  Take one thing we can’t live without: oxygen. Did you know that between 50 and 85 percent of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere comes from phytoplankton and algae in the ocean?

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