6:16 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Several Central Coast Costco stores part of EPA settlement

Costco stores in Oxnard, Goleta, Santa Maria, and Salinas will be updating their refrigeration systems under a new settlement with the EPA.
Credit Flickr member Chris Potter

Several Costco stores along the Central Coast will soon need to update their refrigerator systems under a company settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Costco will pay $335 million in penalties for federal Clean Air Act violations and will fix refrigerant leaks, among other improvements, the agency said in a media release.

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6:20 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

San Luis Obispo moves forward with possible Styrofoam ban

San Luis Obispo City Council members are considering a ban on food containers like this, as well as other forms of polystyrene.
Credit Flickr member playerx

San Luis Obispo city staff will move forward with plans on how to implement a Styrofoam use ban, should the council vote to approve one down the road.

A special one hour public meeting of the City Council was held Wednesday afternoon. Several members of the public spoke in favor of banning Styrofoam—or polystyrene—at the meeting.

City leaders described it as a "study session." Four out of the five city council members agreed to direct staff to continue working on the issue.

Councilman John Ashbaugh supports the strongest possible version of a ban.

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4:33 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Quagga and zebra mussels a concern for boaters this holiday weekend

Credit U.S. Geological Survey, July 24, 2014

Officials in California are hoping Labor Day boaters will help keep invasive quagga and zebra mussels in check this Labor Day holiday weekend.

“Californians have a unique opportunity to enjoy numerous natural resources,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham. “Doing your part to clean, drain and dry before heading out to recreate will help keep them free of quagga and zebra mussels, as well as other invasive species.”

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6:51 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Mystery of Death Valley's slithering stones solved by Santa Barbara-based team

If you look closely at the stone, you can see the embedded GPS unit placed on top to monitor movement.
Credit PLOS ONE - Richard D. Norris, James M. Norris, Ralph D. Lorenz, Jib Ray, Brian Jackson

California's Death Valley is probably best known for its soaring temperatures, which are among the hottest recorded on the planet. But another natural phenomenon has puzzled scientists for decades; rocks that appear to slide on their own across a dry lake bed.

A Central Coast man says the mystery is now solved. His research was published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.

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6:52 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Pesticide bill aimed at protecting honey bees awaits Governor Brown's signature

A honey bee lands on an orange blossom in San Luis Obispo County.
Credit Randol White

Santa Barbara County Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) says he hopes Governor Jerry Brown will sign his bill involving the use of a controversial class of pesticides.

Neonicotinoids are the most widely used, and possibly among the most harmful for honey bees according to Williams. His bill, (AB) 1789, has passed the legislature and is now awaiting the governor's signature. It would create a timeline for the Department of Pesticide Regulation to complete its current reevaluation of those compounds.

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6:19 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Central Coast beaches seeing increase of velella velella jellyfish

A velella velella jellyfish washed ashore in Dana Point, Calif.
Credit Twitter feed for Carrie Kelly ‏@CarrieHKelly

Increased numbers of blue jelly fish—known as velella velellas—are washing up on Central Coast beaches according to scientists with California State Parks. Reports out of Southern California show a similar situation.

This summer the large colonies have been spotted at several state beaches in Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties.

"The numbers have been large enough over the past several weeks to get people’s attention," said Vicky Waters, Deputy Director for Public Affairs with California State Parks.

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Central Coast
4:00 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Paso Robles Groundwater Basin

Broadcast date: 8/20/14

KCBX News Director Randol White discusses the highly contentious issue of managing the Paso Robles Groundwater basin with San Luis Obispo Tribune Reporter David Sneed.  The issue is full of political twists and turns… with all sides looking for a stake in controlling this highly valuable commodity for the area. 

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3:52 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Outward Bound

Broadcast date: 8/13/14

For nearly 75 years Outward Bound has been teaching wilderness survival skills to young people, and promoting personal transformation through challenge and discovery.  Molly Blaisdell talks with Outward Bound California's executive director, an alumna and an instructor about their experiences with and passion for the organization.

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5:40 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Eel grass decline affecting ecosystem of California's coastal habitat

Volunteers hold up eel grass bundles Saturday morning at the Morro Bay State Park marina.
Credit Kathryn Winfrey

At nearly 66 degrees, the Morro Bay estuary water is warm say the divers zipping up their wet suits on this Saturday morning in mid August. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the average Morro Bay water temp for August at 58 degrees, nearly 8 degrees cooler than its current temperature.

Scientists believe warmer water is among the main culprits behind the decline of the area's eel grass, a plant that grows along the bottom of the estuary.

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Sustainable Design and Green Building
5:42 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Better Design for a Better Environment

Broadcast date: 8/14/2014

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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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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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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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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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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.