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Santa Cruz County Environment Overview

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Santa Cruz County Climate Action Plan Meeting Scheduled


The Santa Cruz County Climate Action Plan will be the focus of a public meeting scheduled for July 31.

California Has Just Approved a New Blueprint for Offshore Wind. The Massive Projects Will Cost Billions


Harnessing clean energy is a venture of unprecedented scope in California, bringing big changes to Humboldt and the Central Coast, and requiring 26 ports along the coast.

California Local Pin Marker Recent Articles

Good Times logo LOCAL NEWS
Santa Cruz County to Mull Ban on Filtered Tobacco Products

In the decade between 2013-23, volunteers and nonprofits picked up 439,358 cigarette butts from Santa Cruz County’s beaches and natural areas, accounting for a quarter of all litter found here.

Santa Cruz Local logo LOCAL NEWS
Santa Cruz County Voters Asked to Fund More Forest Management, Environmental Projects

Santa Cruz County voters on Nov. 5 will consider a parcel tax for county, city and nonprofit projects to help reduce the risks of wildfires, floods and other catastrophes fueled by climate change. Charred hills are shown near Davenport after …

The Pajaronian logo LOCAL NEWS
County to Mull Ban on Filtered Cigarettes

In the decade between 2013-23, volunteers and nonprofits picked up 439,358 cigarette butts from Santa Cruz County’s beaches and natural areas, accounting for a quarter of all litter found here.

The Pajaronian logo LOCAL NEWS
Going Forth for Beach Cleanup

The Fourth of July has long been a time of celebration in Santa Cruz County, a height-of-summer fete that draws hordes of people to local beaches to indulge in picnics, swim in the ocean and soak up the sun.

Press Banner logo LOCAL NEWS
First-Ever Pitch in All Santa Cruz Cleanup Event Removes 1,500 Pounds of Litter

The May 11 first-ever Pitch In All Santa Cruz Cleanup Event had a significant community impact, with more than 30 organizations and 431 individuals holding cleanups from Davenport to the Pajaro Valley, including the cities of Scotts Valley, Capitola, Santa …

How to Save a Pelican

Hundreds of dead and dying pelicans have washed up on beaches in recent weeks all up and down the California Coast. The staff at the Santa Cruz Native Animal Rescue center have been swamped with underfed and hypothermic animals. In …

Hilltromper Silicon Valley logo LOCAL NEWS
Exhibit: The National Monument on Santa Cruz’s North Coast

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History presents ‘Cotoni-Coast Dairies: Monumental Steps,’ celebrating a unique piece of land and the folks who protected it.

The Pajaronian logo LOCAL NEWS
Group Calls on Driscoll’s, Reiter, Others to Cease Pesticide Use Near Schools

Several community leaders and community members gathered at MacQuiddy Elementary School Tuesday evening to call on Driscoll’s, Reiter and other companies to stop using toxic pesticides around schools.

San Jose Inside logo LOCAL NEWS
California Climate Programs Would Lose Billions in Newsom’s Budget

As funds for climate change programs are cut, Democrats and environmentalists are pushing for a bond measure on the ballot to restore some funding.


A smoky blanket of particulate matter hovers over San Francisco’s skyline.
Getting Acquainted With AQI
Learn what's getting into Californians’ lungs and why it matters.
Lighthouse Field in Santa Cruz, which might be a huge resort if not for the Coastal Commission.
The Public Shore Protectors
Born amid controversy, this public agency is responsible for managing some of the most precious real estate in the world.
A Pyrocumulus cloud generated by the Dixie Fire in July, 2021.
What is Fire 'Containment?' That and Other Terms, Explained
What does it mean when firefighters call a fire "contained?" Here's a brief guide to commonly used fire prevention terminology.
Water is a human right under California law, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
Agriculture and Water Shortages in the State’s Breadbasket, Explained
There are many causes contributing to this crisis. And as you may already know, this situation really is nuts.
RCDs look after the land, whether it’s used for grazing, growing, or getting out into nature.
California Dirt
RCDs were created to avoid a repeat of the Dust Bowl. Now they work with landowners to preserve the air, water and natural habitats that sustain us all.
Mosquitos kill about 725,000 people every year, worldwide.
Taking a Bite Out of the Mosquito Population
How local government tries to control the world’s deadliest wild animal—the mosquito.
Supercell storms are just one of many weather phenomena in the era of climate change.
The New Vocabulary of the Climate Change Era
As climate change causes more extreme and unusual weather, we need a new set of terms to describe the various phenomena
Over two weekends last October, residents of Santa Cruz and Watsonville  participated in demonstration rides aboard an electric streetcar on rails.
The ‘Rail Trail’ Movement, Explained
The heated controversy over what to do with abandoned railroad tracks
From the coast to the mountains, Santa Cruz County’s landscape has given way to human development. But residents can make all parts of the region more hospitable to native species.
Backyard Ecology
No matter where you live, you can help native flora and fauna.
Moss Landing in Monterey Bay is the world’s largest battery storage facility for solar and other renewable energy.
Solar Power and California’s Clean Energy Goals
How the sun is helping push the state toward 100 percent renewable energy.
Just because record rains have been falling, the state’s water crisis remains.
What Is Drought? Probably Not What You Think
Recent torrential rains have helped, but California's drought is a long way from over.
From nitrates to arsenic to “forever chemicals,” California’s water supply faces a serious pollution threat.
Dirty Water: California Faces a Water Contamination Crisis
In a state that declares water a “human right,” more than 2 percent of its residents have no drinkable water.
They help feed the whole country, but life for California’s farm workers remains a struggle.
How California Feeds the Country
California, a state known for high-tech and show business glitz, is also America’s farming powerhouse.
How California reclamation districts turned millions of acres of wetlands into fertile agricultural land, starting in the earliest days of the Gold Rush.
Reclamation Districts: Turning ‘Swamps’ Into Farmland
From its earliest days as a state, California has been trying to turn marshes into productive land.
Kerry Wood, CEO of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, says the organization researches areas of need to help donors direct their contributions.
What Is a Community Foundation?
By channeling funds to a number of nonprofits working on various issues in a given region, community foundations help solve big problems throughout California.
Since the Gold Rush era, land reclamation has cost California 90 percent of its wetlands.
How Land Reclamation Hurts California’s Environment
The hidden price tag of “reclaiming” swamps and marshes as usable land.
The Pajaro River levee broke during the 2023 atmospheric river storms, flooding the town of Pajaro.
Is California Ready for More Extreme Weather Driven by Climate Change?
Increasingly extreme weather events are already testing California’s preparedness.
Since 1972, the California Coastal Commission has ruled over the state’s shoreline.
California Coastal Commission: Where It Comes From, What It Does
How a nuclear plant, a real estate development and an oil spill led to a landmark law.
Long-duration energy storage, such as this thermal energy storage facility, allows renewable energy sources to operate at full capacity without overloading the power grid.
How California Leads the Race For Long Duration Energy Storage
For renewable energy sources such as solar and wind to be viable, ways to store the power they create are essential.
The Baldwin Hills area in South Los Angeles is one region where a state conservancy would keep open land accessible to the public.
California’s 10 State Conservancies: How They Protect Parks and Open Land
Starting in 1976, the legislature began creating agencies to buy up open land, and keep it open.
California has a goal of 6 million heat pumps cooling and heating buildings by 2030.
6 Million New Heat Pumps: Essential to California's Climate Future
Installing 6 million heat pumps by 2030 is essential if California is to reach its goal of net zero carbon emissions.
Does California’s signature environmental law protect the state’s scenic beauty, or cause more problems than it solves?
CEQA: The Surprising Story of CA’s Key Environmental Law
54-year-old environmental law is often blamed for causing the state’s housing crisis. Is it getting a bad rap?
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