Are you breathing clean air at a state or national park? – Orange County Register

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A car leaves the Cottonwood Entrance near the Desert Center in Joshua Tree National Park on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022. A new study ranks the park among the top four most polluted in the nation. (Photo credit: Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Welcome to The Compost, a weekly newsletter featuring major environmental news affecting Southern California. Subscribe now to receive it in your inbox! In today’s issue…


Residents of Los Angeles and the Inland Empire, who live in some of the worst air quality in the nation, may hope they can escape the dangers by sheltering in places like Joshua Tree National Park. Unless there are wildfires or other disasters happening nearby, he never worries about air pollution when he visits eight of California’s nine national parks. (Lassen, I’ll come get you!)

So when I looked at the National Park Conservation Association’s latest Contaminated Parks Report, 97% of 399 sites in major national parks have “significant” or “inadequate” levels of human-caused ozone pollution. and says four of the most contaminated sites are in California. , I had to write a story. Click here to read that article. This article contains steps we can all take to reverse the problem and stay safe when visiting these sacred sites.

Of course, California’s state parks are also affected by climate change.

Two days after my National Parks story was published, the California State Parks Foundation announced how rising sea levels, rising temperatures, increased wildfire risk, and other side effects of climate change are negatively impacting state parks today. This is the first report examining whether there is a risk of serious damage downstream. road. These parks cover nearly a quarter of California’s coastline and include everything from coastal redwoods to wetlands and deserts.

“We are seeing firsthand the growing effects of the climate crisis in our state parks,” said Claire Schlotterbeck, executive director of Hills for Everyone, a partner organization working at Chino Hills State Park. ” he said. “In our region, too many fires occur within parks, allowing opportunistic non-native species to occupy fire areas and displace local wildlife.”

But Schlotterbeck said the seven recommendations in the foundation’s 70-page report could help. Most of these recommendations require funding, including proposals to add protected state park space or support programs that help existing programs adapt to risks and climate-friendly practices. . But the state parks department faces funding cuts, including to the popular library park pass program, as the state’s budget deficit looms.

“California State Parks can effectively use limited resources to increase climate resilience and build a climate-resilient state park system,” said Rachel Norton, executive director of the California State Parks Foundation. “We have developed a strategy for this, but more needs to be done.” “We need policies that prioritize state parks. We need full-time staff and adequate, sustainable funding to implement these policies. We need to embed climate resilience into every aspect of park management, from support to education.”

The report notes that protecting these places not only protects visitors, indigenous communities, and all the flora and fauna associated with them, but also helps fight climate change. Undisturbed forests are huge carbon sinks, but healthy ecosystems are less likely to suffer from catastrophic wildfires that exacerbate climate change.

“State parks can be a powerful tool in fighting the climate crisis, but we need to make them happen,” Norton said.

— Brooke Staggs, Environmental Reporter


⚡ give energy

Oil slick remains a mystery: A two-mile-long oil sheen was discovered off the coast of Huntington Beach late last week, raising concerns that a new spill was in the works. However, Raylan Connelly reports that the cause of the sheen is still under investigation, but authorities say the problem appears to be contained and sufficient cleanup has been completed to halt emergency response operations. said. …read more…

Hydrogen testing still on the hot seat: In response to the protests I’ve been covering since late 2022, SoCalGas has scaled back plans to replace up to 20% of the natural gas in some UC Irvine pipelines with low-carbon hydrogen. The utility now hopes to conduct California’s first “real-world” hydrogen blending experiment in a small, low-income, Latino farming town near Fresno. The controversy surrounding the project is part of a larger debate about the role hydrogen should play in a clean energy future. …read more…

  • What the proponents say: “Achieving greenhouse gas neutrality will require all the tools in the toolbox.”
  • In the words of a protester: “The hydrogen blending experiment at UCI was an expensive and ill-conceived proposal, and this new iteration is even worse.”

Creative spot for solar power generation:Forget the rooftop vs. vacant lot debate. As demand for solar energy soars, developers are getting creative with where it’s installed. From landfills to art installations, Bloomberg News’ Jessica Nix highlighted her five unexpected places where you can find solar power plants, or at least strategically placed panels. …read more…

Focus on San Onofre: “Gary Headrick walked along the wet sea wall between the nuclear power plant and the rolling waters of the spring tide. From where millions of pounds of nuclear waste, encased in steel and concrete, had been abandoned. , violent waves crashed just a few yards away. It was scary,” Terry Sforza said of rising king tides and how groundwater levels could affect the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant. We are investigating whether there is. …read more…


🖋 regulate

No controversial landfill expansion: The Chiquita Canyon Landfill in Castaic, which has been plagued by odor complaints for years, cannot be expanded because the state water board denied it the necessary permits. My colleague Steve Scougillo reports that regulators are concerned about the possibility of toxic leachate flowing down the slopes of the landfill and contaminating underground drinking water supplies. …read more…

PFAS bill in tampons is back: A new bill could ban the sale of tampons and other menstrual products containing potentially toxic chemicals in California, reports Mackenzie Mays of the Los Angeles Times. Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a similar effort last year that had strong support from lawmakers. …read more…


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💧 hydration

Colorado River controversy intensifies: As we near the end of a second wet winter, the lack of resources from the Colorado River may not be a top priority for many. But debate among Western countries over long-term plans to conserve its vital resources remains intense. Ian James of the Los Angeles Times has an update on the situation. …read more…


🚆 transportation

A $200 million amendment is proposed.: In San Clemente, construction continues on a 200-foot wall to prevent the railroad tracks from sliding down the hillside, but Orange County Transportation Authority planners say they want to protect the long-suffering rail line. Raylan Connelly reports that the company is proposing to spend an additional $200 million to do so. closure. …read more…

Good news and bad news for Rivian: Irvine-based Rivian is canceling plans to build a new multibillion-dollar factory in Georgia while celebrating the debut of its low-cost R2 and R3 prototypes. Bloomberg’s Ed Ludlow has more details on the upcoming model. …read more…

This small (electric) engine is: The nation’s first all-electric tugboat has entered the Port of San Diego and is expected to begin zero-emission operations in about a month, reports Rob Nikolewski of our sister San Diego Union-Tribune. …read more…


🎉 celebrate

please study again: An unfinished study to restore the Arroyo Seco River in the western San Gabriel Valley is back, Steve says, after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors asked the utility to complete an analysis abandoned by the Army Corps of Engineers seven years ago.・Reported by Scougillo. This shows that efforts to return native fish, remove concrete barriers and add bike paths along riverbanks may be possible. …read more…

run for the earth: In the lead-up to Saturday’s Catalina Marathon, I talked about how organizers made California’s oldest trail event sustainable, their efforts to become certified by the Council for Responsible Sports, and other events. I wrote about how organizers and participants can also be environmentally friendly. …read more…

  • P.S. The first runner I interviewed, Jacob Pletcher, did indeed finish this difficult course in 189th place out of 425 runners.

Grunion season, which begins on March 10, 2024, is your chance to see the rare sight of fish spawning along the shoreline. This phenomenon occurs twice in the month of new moon and full moon until August.  (AP Photo/Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Gary Florin)
Grunion season, which begins on March 10, 2024, is your chance to see the rare sight of fish spawning along the shoreline. This phenomenon occurs twice in the month of new moon and full moon until August. (AP Photo/Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Gary Florin)

🐟 explore

Grunion Run 2024 is underway: Grunion season has officially begun. If you have never seen this spectacle, it is held twice a month until August. But before you head out with your flashlight, there are new rules and regulations you should know about, Raylan Connelly reports. She also has tips on where to go and how best to find them in the darkness of night. …read more…


💪 pitch

Help us clean up Riverside Creek: This week’s tip on how Southern Californians can help the environment… Volunteers are needed to help clean up Sunnyslope Creek in Louis Robidoux Parkland and Pecan Grove in Riverside on Saturday, March 16th. The cleanup will take place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., followed by light refreshments and free classes from master gardeners. Click here to RSVP and learn more.


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