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Santa Cruz County Sustainability Digest

Downtown Streets Program Expands to Boulder Creek


The Downtown Streets Program is growing to 8 teams in the County with the start of a new 6 month pilot program in Boulder Creek on the Highway 9 commercial corridor.

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.

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.

Californians Face Higher Costs for Goods and Services Than Before the Pandemic Despite Inflation Slowing


The consumer price index shows services are mostly responsible for persistent inflation, but prices for food and other goods in California remain high.

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.

Scientists Warn That a Crucial Ocean Current Could Collapse, Altering Global Weather


New research warns of a possible collapse in Atlantic Ocean currents due to climate change. That could fundamentally alter global weather patterns.

Awaiting the Count—Gray Whales Population Has Been Declining


There was a time not so long ago when trained observers were overwhelmed by the number of whales migrating through Monterey Bay.

Central Coast Ranch That Is Home to Endangered Species to Be Preserved


The Wildlife Conservation Board voted to award $10.3 million to the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County to preserve the 27,000-acre Camatta Ranch in Santa Margarita.

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.

Capitola to Host Meeting on Wharf Building Demolition Plans


A pair of structures near the tip of Capitola’s embattled wharf must be torn down and city officials are seeking the public’s assistance in charting a vision for the locations moving forward.

California EV Sales Are Falling. Is It Just Temporary, or a Threat to State Climate Goals?


California electric vehicle sales dropped significantly in the last half of 2023, raising questions about the state’s ability to phase out gas-powered cars.

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.

E-bike Program readies for Midcounty Expansion


The next phase of an electric bicycle program is preparing for launch next month and community members may see supporting infrastructure begin to pop up in the coming weeks.

With State Mandating Zero Emissions; Transit Agencies Split on Hydrogen vs. Electric


In September, Santa Cruz Metro made a big bet on the future of green public transit when it approved the purchase of 57 buses fueled by hydrogen—the largest order of hydrogen-fueled buses made so far in the U.S.

Sea Otters Help Hold Up California’s Kelp Forest


Within the last century, the recovery of southern sea otters has contributed to the health of California’s underwater forests, according to a new research paper from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Why CA Legislators Want to Ban More Plastic Bags


State Senators Ben Allen and Catherine Blakespear announced a new measure to ban plastic bags statewide—particularly the thicker ones billed as “reusable.”

Legislators Unveil Measure to Ask Voters for $1 billion Offshore Wind Bond


The funds would help California ports expand to handle giant wind turbines and other equipment. California’s first offshore wind farms are on a fast track off Humboldt County and Morro Bay.

As Climate Hazards Converge, More Californians Are Living in Harm’s Way


When wildfire smoke and extreme heat combine, they create “a synergistic effect” or an “additional burden” on people’s health, researchers say.

Californians Bought Record Numbers of Electric Cars as Industry Eyes Slowdown


Some automakers are reducing production of electric cars and Tesla sales have dropped. Can California sustain its record pace and meet the state mandate?

Back From COP28, California Climate Leaders Talk Health Impacts of Warming


As Californians increasingly feel the health effects of climate change, state leaders are adopting sweeping policies they hope will fend off the worst impacts.

Saving Salmon: Newsom Unveils Blueprint for Ending Decades-Long Decline


Chinook and other salmon runs are collapsing. Conservation groups call it too little, too late. Plan includes dam removals and restoring river flows.

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.

Should State Protect Mountain Lions?


Mountain lions are provisionally protected and a final decision to offer them permanent protections is expected this year by the California Fish & Game Commission.

California Earns an A in Surfrider’s Annual State of the Beach Report


When it comes to managing its coast, California is far ahead of other states in preparing for climate change, at least one environmental advocacy group says.

Wetsuits Get New Life Through Rip Curl’s Recycle Program


The invention of the wetsuit in the 1950s allowed surfers to brave chilly water year-round, but it came with an environmental cost: the neoprene material takes decades to decompose.

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.

‘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.

Since California Cut Home Solar Payments, Demand Has Plunged 80%


Experts worry that the steep decline could stall the state’s battle against climate change. Solar power is critical to meeting California’s ambitious requirement to switch to carbon-free electricity.

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.

Dungeness Crab Fishery to Reopen Jan. 18


After the commercial Dungeness crab season was delayed due to the presence of humpback whales, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced it will reopen next week with some restrictions.

The World’s Next Big Carbon Capture Challenge? Figuring Out How to Use It


Carbon capture is having a moment. Companies such as Chevron Corp. are building technology to capture carbon dioxide from smokestacks while others are working to yank the greenhouse gas out of the air.

Newsom Pitches Spending $22M to Fight Fruit Flies


California farmers face challenges posed by multiple types of fruit flies. Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed spending just over $22 million to combat the spread of these flies.

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