Environment

Environment
5:28 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Slower ships could help save whales and improve South Coast air quality

A humpback whale in the Santa Barbara Channel.
Credit Flickr member Anita Ritenour

A pilot program in underway in the Santa Barbara Channel aimed at reducing air pollution and saving migrating whales. The plan calls for large container ships passing through the area to significantly slow down. 

Only a small fraction of the annual shipping traffic through the channel—some 2,500 ships—will be affected by this program initially, but organizers are hoping it will still make a measurable difference.

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Environment
10:26 am
Wed August 6, 2014

California's giant sea bass making a comeback after near extinction

Giant sea bass caught using nets at Pismo Beach.
Credit Bill Bookout

UC Santa Barbara researchers are asking recreational divers to participate in a giant sea bass census this week. According to researchers these fish can grow to more than 600 pounds and are making a comeback from the brink of extinction.

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Environment
2:34 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Stewardship Travel

Morro Bay Harbor
Credit Wine Coast Country Facebook Page

Travel Correspondent Tom Wilmer explores the world of ecotourism with a local company that encourages appreciation for places, culture, and adventure, but goes one step further by also providing clear opportunities to participate in regional conservation and preservation.

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Environment
6:15 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

UPDATE: Coastal Commission rules unanimously against McCarthy's Ontario Ridge Trail fencing

Barbed wire fencing along the Ontario Ridge hiking trail in San Luis Obispo County.
Credit Tarren Collins

UPDATE: July 11, 2014 at 10:49 a.m.  

The California Coast Commission ruled unanimously Friday morning in favor of a Cease and Desist Order, demanding Robert and Judith McCarthy remove fencing and signage restricting access to San Luis Obispo County's Ontario Ridge Trail.

Original Story:

The Ontario Ridge Trail is located between Shell Beach and Avila and has seen a steady stream of hikers for nearly 50 years.

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Environment
1:45 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Badges, Bears and Eagles

Travel Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with author Steve Callan, whose new book Badges, Bears and Eagles recounts his longtime career as a California State Fish and Game warden.  Tom also chats with Ryan Hansen, a young game warden out of Morro Bay who is inspired by Callan in his own career locally.

Environment
6:54 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

VIDEO: Delta II launch success at Vandenberg AFB Wednesday morning

A Delta II rocket launches successfully from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Wednesday morning.
Credit Video still from NASA

UPDATE: Tuesday, July 2, 2014 at 7:36 a.m. 

A NASA satellite that will study Earth's carbon dioxide levels and their relationship to climate change was launched into space early Wednesday morning onboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) is the second of NASA's five Earth science missions to launch this year. It's the organization's first mission dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide, the leading human- produced greenhouse gas.

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Environment
6:56 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Surf Beach closed at Vandenberg AFB through September

A group of volunteer Vandenberg Airmen hike Surf Beach as they sweep for trash during Beach Cleanup Day here Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013
Credit U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson

Santa Barbara County's Surf Beach will be closed from June 27 to Sept. 30 because the maximum number of violations tolerated to protect the nests of the federally-listed Snowy Plover was exceeded.

Beach restrictions are enforced yearly on Wall, Minuteman and Surf beaches during the snowy plover's nesting season. If a pre-determined number of violations are detected, the beaches are closed for the remainder of the nesting season.

This week there were 11 violations reported, putting the number at Surf Beach more than 50, the pre-determined limit.

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building
4:27 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Explosion Green

Explosion Green: When David Gottfried came up with an idea for green environmental building 20 years ago, he ran into a number of hurdles.  The building industry had been doing what they did for decades.  Why change?  It’s taken another two decades, but changes have been made.

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Environment
6:33 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Electric motorcycle tested as possible San Luis Obispo Police vehicle

Credit SLO PD

An electric motorcycle is being tested on the streets of San Luis Obispo as a possible addition to the police department's fleet of vehicles. 

Sergeant Steven Mickel says it goes 130 miles on a single charge and only costs about one cent per mile in electricity fees.

The electric police motorcycle is rated with a top speed of 95 miles per hour, fast enough for around town, and comes fully equipped with pursuit emergency lighting and sirens, safety components and patrol items.

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Environment
6:14 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Troubling numbers for California's brown pelican population

California brown pelicans diving into the water near Moss Landing, Monterey County.
Credit Flickr member Britta Heise

California's brown pelican population is in danger once again, as a new survey shows breeding numbers are in a drastic decline.

The birds mate in Mexico's Gulf of California typically numbering offspring in the thousands. However, this year the number of young totaled just 16.

One theory regarding the low nesting rates is that they indicate a sooner-than-expected El Niño event. Low breeding numbers are often associated with El Niño conditions, however, this year, the pelicans began showing signs of trouble well ahead of this summer.

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Water Resources
1:22 am
Thu May 22, 2014

The Role of Watershed Restoration in Water Management

Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. In the US, there are more than 2,267 watersheds. We all live in a watershed. Experts believe using a watershed approach will protect our water’s resources, and safeguard our communities from flood and drought. The ACTION report found in 2012 eight out of the 19 communities in San Luis Obispo County reported their water demand exceeded their supply, or their water delivery system had reached its capacity. How can these communities benefit by watershed restoration?

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Environment
5:51 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Anti-fracking initiative headed to Santa Barbara County supervisors

The Santa Barbara County Clerk says a local group has collected enough signatures to qualify a proposed ban on fracking for a public vote.

Santa Barbara County Water Guardians has been working on the issue for the last couple of months.

The county's board of supervisors now has the option of either vote the initiative into law directly or bring it to voters on the November ballot.

Members may also decide to order a report on the impact of the initiative.

Environment
4:58 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Santa Barbara plastic bag ban starts Wednesday

A pile of plastic shopping bags.
Credit Flickr member Taber Andrew Bain

Don't forget your reusable shopping bag, if you're headed into a Santa Barbara grocery store or pharmacy later this week.

Single-use plastic carryout bags will no longer be available and paper bags can be purchased for 10 cents each at all large stores as of Wednesday. Small stores have until mid-November to comply.

Lorraine Cruz Carpenter is an environmental specialist with the City of Santa Barbara and says she's heard very little push-back regarding the ban.

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Drought
1:57 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Water Revolution

California is going dry.  Professor Wade Graham laments that it’s not just the availability of water, it’s the wasteful way we use it.

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Environment
1:24 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Arbor Day, born in Nebraska

National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April.  Travel correspondent Tom Wilmer takes us to the home of the Arbor Day Foundation in Nebraska City to learn about this annual celebration of trees, which was born in Nebraska back in the 1870s

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