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Santa Cruz County Environment Digest

PG&E Hit With $225-Million Lawsuit for 2021 Dixie Fire Damages


A coalition of timber businesses filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the embattled Pacific Gas & Electric Co., alleging $225 million in damages caused by the 2021 Dixie Fire.

Ride Free on Earth Day


All fixed-route rides on Santa Cruz METRO are free on Earth Day, April 22.

California Requires New Homes to Have Solar Panels. Should Wildfire Victims Get a Break?


A California Republican’s bill would exempt low and middle income wildfire victims from solar panels requirements on rebuilt homes that didn’t have them when they burned down.

California's Largest Reservoir Is Close to Full


California's reservoirs are brimming with water, and even Shasta Lake could fill up.

Sempervirens Fund Welcomes New Members to Board


Marimo Berk and Brad Lewis joined the Board of Directors of Sempervirens Fund, the oldest land trust in California.

Part of Highway 1 Near Big Sur Crumbles as New Landslide Closes More of Historic Roadway


Highway 1 is closed indefinitely from Palo Colorado Road to Rocky Creek Bridge, the California Department of Transportation said on social media after a new landslide eroded part of the roadway.

Salmon Populations Are Struggling, Bringing Economic Woes for California's Fishing Fleet


Captains of fishing boats on the California coast are bracing for salmon fishing to be severely restricted — or possibly canceled for a second year.

Feds Propose Killing Nearly 500,000 'Invasive' Owls to Save Calif. Native Owls


The goal is to eliminate habitat competition between "invasive" owls and native owls.

Opposition to Proposed Expansion of Marine Protections


Local opposition is growing in response to a petition before the California Fish and Game Commission to establish a new marine reserve off Pleasure Point and expand an existing reserve next to Natural Bridges State Beach.

CEQA Lawsuit Targets Caltrans Highway 1 Project


Suit claims deficiencies in Environmental Impact Report for Highway 1 widening and Coastal Rail Trail Segment 12 construction.

Alan G. Sieroty, Former State Senator Who Helped Create the Coastal Commission, Dies at 93


Sieroty, of Beverly Hills, served as a state Assembly member and senator, championing disability rights and efforts to protect California's coast.

California Unlikely to Meet Landmark Goals for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions


California will miss its goals unless it can increase emission reductions threefold, according to a new study.

Large Redwood on Walnut Avenue in Santa Cruz Removed


A crew from Lewis Tree Service removed the large redwood, which was causing extensive damage to the sidewalk and was threatening an adjacent apartment building.

California Sea Otters Slow Coastal Erosion


Elkhorn Slough’s resident otters were singled out when a team of scientists published a cover story in the prestigious journal Nature describing how they protect against erosion in coastal estuaries by eating burrowing crabs.

Gray Whale Population In Decline


Whale experts are anxiously awaiting the annual 2024 count of gray whales migrating through Monterey Bay, following a sharp decline in last year’s gray whale survey.

Wildfires Are Killing California’s Ancient Giants. Can Seedlings Save the Species?


Ecologists estimate that up to 14,000 sequoias have been killed in recent wildfires. The National Park Service for the first time has begun replanting some severely burned areas.

California’s Polluted Communities Could Miss Out on Billions Under Flawed System


The state’s environmental tool skews which communities are designated as disadvantaged, researchers say. Some immigrant neighborhoods could be left out, while other groups are overrepresented.

After Heavy Storms, Death Valley Is Now Open to Kayakers


A temporary lake in Death Valley National Park doubled after recent rains and is now deep enough to launch a kayak. Prior to August, ghostly Lake Manly hadn’t appeared in 19 years.

Eager Crowds Are Threatening a Bay Area Beach Ecosystem, Scientists Warn


Foragers at the beaches in Half Moon Bay might be damaging the area’s reef.

Some Experts Are Proposing a Category 6 Storm Rating


A handful of super powerful tropical storms in the last decade and the prospect of more to come has a couple of experts proposing a new category of whopper hurricanes: Category 6.

The Terrifying Forces That Created a California Monster Storm


The storm fed off of unusually warm waters as it grew. It also reached “bomb cyclone” status as it neared California.

Western Monarch Butterflies Overwintering in California Dropped by 30%, Researchers Say


The number of western monarch butterflies overwintering in California dropped by 30% last year, likely due to how wet it was.

A Fire Burning Inside an L.A. County Landfill is Raising Alarms Over Toxic Air


As an underground fire burns deep within Chiquita Canyon Landfill, air regulators are raising alarms over the possible spread of toxic vapors.

Scientists Debunk California Biblical-Storm Hysteria Swirling on Internet


What is an ARkStorm and why is everyone talking about it on social media right now?

‘Hot Droughts’ Are Becoming More Common in the Arid West, New Study Finds


Take a period of limited rainfall. Add heat. And you have what scientists call a “hot drought”—dry conditions made more intense by the evaporative power of hotter temperatures.

Winners and Wonder From a Wild Big Sur Fungus Face-Off


Rain romped. Mushrooms rose. Delirium descended. So it went for the first in-person edition of the Fungus Face-Off in several years, as part of Big Sur Foragers Fest.

Students Make Waves to Protect Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary


Students throughout the nation have been engaging in environmental stewardship projects, as part of NOAA’s Ocean Guardian School program.

Fungus Fair Celebrates 50 Years


After a years-long, pandemic-related hiatus, the Santa Cruz Fungus Fair will return to the London Nelson Community Center next weekend.

Climate Change Might Lessen Bay Area Fog


The Bay Area’s fog is iconic. But the latest episode of KQED podcast “Bay Curious” looks at how climate change could reduce the number of foggy days in the area.

WWII-Era Dump Site Found Off LA Coast


Munition boxes, depth charges and smoke floats have been found 3,000 feet underwater off the coast of Los Angeles. More than 100 square miles of ocean might be contaminated.

Snow Shortage Followed by Potential Whiteout in Sierras


Heavy snow is projected in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Previously, warmer storms had been bringing precipitation mainly to higher elevations in the Sierras.

The Chickadee in the Snowbank


Research shows that a mountain chickadee facing deep snow is like a canary in a coal mine—its survivability tells us about the challenges ahead.

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