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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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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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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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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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.

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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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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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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1:15 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Earthquake Country

A recent uptick in seismic activity in California-and around the Pacific Rim-raises questions about the next "big one" along the San Andreas Fault.  KCBX News Director Randol White speaks with a top USGS scientist about the potential warning signs for those of us living here in earthquake country.

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5:54 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

City of Paso Robles moving toward recycled water

Pam Ouellette with the City of San Luis Obispo runs her hand through recycled water at the end of the process.
Credit KCBX News

The City of Paso Robles is moving forward with plans to create a recycled water system with approval this week from the city council of $795,000 for the first step in the process.

The system, when complete, will send water through a "purple pipe" system to the city's big irrigation users like parks, golf courses, and even vineyards.

The recycled water delivery would be similar to what the City of San Luis Obispo already has in place. Several parks and the municipal golf course are irrigated with water that's been treated at the facility off of Prado Road.

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5:39 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

UC Santa Barbara makes Green College Honor Roll

Storke Tower on the UCSB campus.
Credit Flickr user Ricardo Diaz

The Princeton Review is out with its top picks for the nation's most environmentally friendly schools, and the University of California, Santa Barbara is among the top picks.

The 2014 version of the publications Green Colleges Guide includes 330 institutions of higher education in the United States and two in Canada that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation. In addition, just 22 schools are chosen for the so-called Green College Honor Roll.

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7:41 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Possible unauthorized chemical use by oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel

A Santa Barbara Channel oil platform
Credit Flickr member Mike Baird

The Mission and State article The Student who took on Venoco raises questions about the notion of unauthorized acid use and disposal in oil extraction.

We interviewed the article's author, Natalie Cherot about the story and where the legal issues stand now. 

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6:54 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Momentum building for push to ban new forms of oil production in Santa Barbara County

The sun sets over platform Holly off the coast of Goleta.
Credit Flickr member DieselDemon

An effort to ban new forms of petroleum production in the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County is gaining momentum and getting support from at least one other organization.

Santa Barbara County Water Guardians is working to collect 13,200 signatures by May 7 to qualify The Healthy Air and Water Initiative to Ban Fracking for the November 4, 2014 ballot.

If passed by voters, the initiative would target newer forms of oil and gas extraction, including fracking. 

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1:27 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Flying Blind

This is more than a story of saving endangered species.  By studying the Indiana bat, author Don Williams discovers his relationship with wildlife, the land, and himself.

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