Statewide Region Local News: Environment


All Local Environment News articles contributed by our local media allies and other local newsrooms.

Image caption: Incorporated communities in California must manage local resources and your tax dollars according to a plan.
The Central Role of Planning in California Government

General Plans, mandated by the state and carried out by local counties, cities, and other municipalities, serve as a locality’s ‘constitution'.

Image caption: 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

Heat pumps, an energy-efficient way to both heat and cool homes, are a necessary element of California's climate goal of net zero carbon emissions. Here's what they are, how they work, and how to get one.

Image caption: 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

The California Environmental Quality Act, CEQA, is both the state’s signature environmental legislation, and is also often named as the villain in the state’s housing shortage. But the story may not be that simple.

Image caption: 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

How California’s 10 state conservancies buy up open land and shield it from developers to preserve the natural environment for public use.

Image caption: 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

Long-duration energy storage is essential if renewables are to become the basis for a future, carbon-neutral power grid. Here's how California is leading the race to store energy from solar, wind, and other clean sources for use whenever it's needed.

Image caption: Since 1972, the California Coastal Commission has ruled over the state’s shoreline.
California Coastal Commission: Where It Comes From, What It Does

What is the California Coastal Commission? How one of the state’s most powerful agency protects public access to the state’s scenic coast from Mexico to Oregon.

Image caption: Peninsula Open Space Trust worked with landowners to preserve Estrada Ranch, one of the last large properties under family ownership in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
What Is a Land Trust?

There’s one good way to save open space from development, and that’s to buy property outright. Land trusts are key to that solution.

Image caption: 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?

This year, a series of extreme events in California and around the country have wreaked havoc, driven by climate change. How prepared are we for things to get worse?

Image caption: Since the Gold Rush era, land reclamation has cost California 90 percent of its wetlands.
How Land Reclamation Hurts California’s Environment

Since the Gold Rush era, land reclamation projects have helped to build California, but they are also damaging the state’s environment for people, plants and animals by eliminating essential wetlands.

Image caption: 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

California has used reclamation districts to turn millions of acres of unusable swamps into fertile agricultural land, starting in the earliest days of the Gold Rush. Here’s how it happened.

Image caption: 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.

Image caption: They help feed the whole country, but life for California’s farm workers remains a struggle.
How California Feeds the Country

California stands as America’s agricultural powerhouse, growing half of its fruits and vegetables. Here’s how California farming has shaped the state, from the early missions to today’s “factories in the field.”

Image caption: From nitrates to arsenic to “forever chemicals,” California’s water supply faces a serious pollution threat.
Dirty Water: California Faces a Water Contamination Crisis

Almost one million California residents are forced to drink from contaminated water supplies, or pay for bottled water. Economic inequality makes the crisis worse. What is the state doing to fix it?

Image caption: Just because record rains have been falling, the state’s water crisis remains.
What Is Drought? Probably Not What You Think

2023’s torrential rainstorms have eased California's drought conditions. But there’s a lot more to drought than the amount of rain, and this drought isn't over yet.

Image caption: 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

Solar power, and a network of giant battery storage facilities, are playing an essential role in moving California toward its goal of exclusive reliance on renewable energy sources.

Image caption: 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

Thousands of miles of railroad track, including some in Santa Cruz County, now sit idle. The fate of those largely abandoned tracks has become a burning controversy.

Image caption: Supercell storms are just one of many weather phenomena in the era of climate change.
The New Vocabulary of the Climate Change Era

The climate change era has created a whole new set of terms for a wide variety of storms and other weather phenomena. Here are some of the most important.

Image caption: Mosquitos kill about 725,000 people every year, worldwide.
Taking a Bite Out of the Mosquito Population

The pesky mosquito can be deadly as well as annoying. Here’s how local governments in California have been waging war on mosquitoes for more than a century.

Image caption: RCDs look after the land, whether it’s used for grazing, growing, or getting out into nature.
California Dirt

What do resource conservation districts protect? Pretty much everything that’s worth saving.

Image caption: 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

Residential wells are drying up in the state’s main agricultural region at the same time that agricultural businesses consume almost 90 percent of the water there.

Image caption: 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.

Image caption: 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.

California Local Pin Marker From CalMatters...

05/27/2024
California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, flew more 6,000 miles to Rome this month to deliver a brief speech on climate change at a Vatican-sponsored conference.

California Local Pin Marker From CalMatters...

05/22/2024
As funds for climate change programs are cut, Democrats and environmentalists are pushing for a bond measure on the ballot to restore some funding.

California Local Pin Marker From California Local...

05/05/2024
Image for display with article titled California Forever: Building a New Community From the Ground Up

We take a closer look at ambitious plans to build a new community of up to 400,000 residents in Solano County.

California Local Pin Marker From California Local...

05/05/2024
Image for display with article titled California Forever CEO on Democracy and City Planning

Jan Sramek disavows techno-libertarian 'Network State,' explains why master-planned cities are All-American, and talks of his love for walkable communities.

California Local Pin Marker From California Local...

04/28/2024
Image for display with article titled The Making of ‘The Unseen Peninsula’

A celebrated photographer reflects on the life that led to his first book, which captures a secret paradise in the heart of the San Francisco Peninsula.

California Local Pin Marker From Los Angeles Times...

04/27/2024
Indigenous Californians want President Biden to establish a national monument in a stretch of desert that is both an ecological wonder and a window into their cultures.

California Local Pin Marker From CalMatters...

04/26/2024
A bill to rein in a proposed monthly fee on California electric bills would let California’s largest for-profit utility companies charge customers $24 per month — with fees as low as $6 for lower-income customers — as a kind of membership fee for the power grid.

California Local Pin Marker From Los Angeles Times...

04/20/2024
California has released 500,000 salmon into the Klamath River. As dams are removed, the fish will be some of the first to return to a free-flowing river.

California Local Pin Marker From CalMatters...

04/18/2024
The California Public Utilities Commission will consider on May 9 a new proposal that would change how Californians pay for electricity.

California Local Pin Marker From CalMatters...

04/17/2024
Water suppliers say the costs will be massive, with rates increasing for many consumers. Known as the “Erin Brockovich” chemical, hexavalent chromium is found statewide.

California Local Pin Marker From California Local...

04/15/2024
Image for display with article titled How California Helped Clean China’s Bad Air

A Tesla lobbyist, an LA-based environmental group, and Gov. Jerry Brown brought a rule minted in Sacramento to Beijing, and helped launch China’s EV industry.

California Local Pin Marker From Los Angeles Times...

04/14/2024
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.

California Local Pin Marker From SF Gate...

04/11/2024
California's reservoirs are brimming with water, and even Shasta Lake could fill up.

California Local Pin Marker From CalMatters...

04/11/2024
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 Local Pin Marker From California Local...

04/06/2024
Image for display with article titled A Native-Plant Garden Helps Transform a Neighborhood

On Hilltromper, a conversation with Felicia Van Stolk of the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History about her Garden Learning Center.

California Local Pin Marker From Los Angeles Times...

03/30/2024
Captains of fishing boats on the California coast are bracing for salmon fishing to be severely restricted — or possibly canceled for a second year.

California Local Pin Marker From Los Angeles Times...

03/30/2024
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.

California Local Pin Marker From SF Gate...

03/27/2024
The goal is to eliminate habitat competition between "invasive" owls and native owls.

California Local Pin Marker From California Local...

03/26/2024
Image for display with article titled Yes, Beavers Can Help Stop Wildfires. And More Places in California Are Embracing Them

Beavers create unburned islands where plants and animals can shelter from megafires, research has confirmed. A movement is afoot to reintroduce the rodents to the state's waterways.

California Local Pin Marker From California Local...

03/24/2024
Image for display with article titled BloomTracker: Wildflower Finder & Protector from Hilltromper

Over at Hilltromper, “The Nature-worshiping, Fun-Loving Adventure Guide” that serves the South Bay Area, Santa Cruz County, and anyone who visits these beautiful places, our friend Mike Kahn has just launched a new product he named BloomTracker—“an online resource that helps you find the best places to see wildflowers, in real time, and helps reduce impacts on parks and other open spaces.”

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