TCEC members receive the Eco-Logic Newsletter, which is published monthly except for July/August and November/December issues. Each issue is full of local environmental news, events and activities, and ways you can get involved in environmental issues. Review a sample (past) issue.
Online, we feature the Closer Look column, written for our newsletter by TCEC Publications Chairperson, Donna Olsen.
Closer Look — November/December 2018
Alameda County Watershed Confluence Conference
The ecology center was ably represented by Caroline Harris and Janis Stob at the Conference. Please read their summary of the very interesting and informative event. It may become a biannual event. See below.
Alameda County Watershed Confluence Conference, Sept. 17th 2018
By TCEC Members Caroline Harris and Janis Stob
The first ever conference of its kind in Alameda, lavishly hosted at Oakland Scottish Rite Center Ballroom, to bring together an array of parties to share ideas for creek restoration and maintenance with the objective of keeping citizens safe and water clean.
The host was Alameda County Flood Control & Water Conservation District (ACFCD) along with Alameda County Resource Conservation District (ACRCD). Alameda County has many creeks bringing water from the East Bay hills to San Francisco Bay, each with its own unique geography, geology, flow and wildlife. In common they all have the need to safely deliver storm water to the bay, passing through urban centers while retaining habitat for wildlife, flora and fauna. Our own creek is the largest of all East Bay creeks; the county is named for it, head waters in the Diablo Range pass through Arroyo de la Laguna, where Pleasanton is now, through Niles Canyon to the bay via the Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel, an 11-mile-long channel built in the early 1970s replacing the natural creek.
The ACRDC, our local partner with the USDA for science based projects in agriculture, working lands and urban communities, convened this conference to recognize there are many factors and agencies that need to work in partnership to keep the creeks healthy. Sponsors included big players such as East Bay Parks District, Zone 7 Water Agency, City of Fremont (CoF), ACWD, and environmental groups including Friends of Sausal Creek (Oakland), Friends of San Lorenzo Creek and Tri-City Ecology Center.
Presentations were fascinating, informative, scientific, moving and inspiring. The work to remove dangers to creeks are long term, green planning in our cities to replace hardscape with permeable surfaces, day lighting creeks once buried in concrete culverts, planting native trees for bird habitat and cooling the water. We heard the work done by the administrations has long term success when partnering with environmental groups to provide on-going protection and maintenance. Volunteer hours are eagerly counted as equivalent to Full Time Employee as cost savings, younger volunteers are needed to learn and carry on the work already started.
Janis Stob and Caroline Harris were fortunate to be TCEC’s delegates to this conference. W were proud to witness Alameda Creek Alliance (Jeff Miller accepting) receive the Watershed leadership Visionary Award, hear Val Blakely (City of Fremont) present how we are coping with debris in creeks caused by unfortunate people in a homeless experience, see the posters by Joyce Blueford and Debbie Davidson (MSN) on restoration and use of Tyson Lagoon. We are inspired by everyone attending the conference and thank all the committee members, including Barbara Silva (CoF), who have worked over the past year to put it together. We will incorporate lessons learn and foster partner-ships to continue TCECs mission of education and advocacy to maintain clean air, water and high quality of life.
Earth Day 2020 in the Planning Stages
Believe it or not, Earth Day will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in April 2020. Almost nine months later (January 2021), the Tri-City Ecology Center will also celebrate its 50th! For this reason, we have eagerly signed to the preparation of this momentous event.
Considering the unsettled state of environmental affairs in the US, Earth Day 2020 presents a unique opportunity to unite people in a new era of environmental progress. The Earth Day Network (EDN) is, “putting together an action plan to bring people, businesses and institutions to build a new narrative for the planet and to shift global consciousness. The plan has four pillars: Science, Action, Volunteerism and Education (S.A.V.E.)”. As time goes on, we will keep you up-to-date on activities and ways you can participate.
Shreya Appointed to Commission
We are happy to announce that Shreya Ramachandran has been appointed to Fremont’s Environmental Sustainability Commission as Student Representative. She will join two other TCEC members (Dan O’Donnell and Rich Godfrey) on the commission. Last month we reported that Shreya was one of the winners of the prestigious Gloria Barron Award.
This young lady (age 14) is going places! Shreya is a student at American High School. For information about her Grey Water Project, go to www.thegreywaterproject.org.
Coal Terminal Terminated for Now
The City of Oakland has canceled a project at the former Oakland Army Base that featured a coal terminal. Bay Area cities, counties and environmentalists (including the BayKeeper) have fought the plan which also included a casino, convention center and more. Oakland voted to ban coal transports, but was sued by project owner Phil Tagami. The case is pending. Now another case appears to be in the offing; one that is over the terminated lease. The termination is over business practices, not environmental issues. Keep tuned.
From Republic Services…..
Holiday Waste Collection Schedule
- There will be no Republic Collection Service on Tuesday, December 25, 2018 and Tuesday, January 1, 2019.
- Collection will be provided one day later during holiday weeks.
- Regular collection schedules for all customers will resume the week of January 7, 2019
Holiday Tree Curbside Collection by City
- ALL Cities: Please remove all ornaments, tinsel, other decorations, and stands before placing your tree at the curb.
- Trees will be picked up curbside on your regular collection day
- Fremont Residents: December 31, 2018 – January 11, 2019
- Newark Residents: January 14-25, 2019
- Union City Residents: December 26, 2018- January 31, 2019
- Collection provided by Tri-CED in Union City
- Happy Holidays from Republic Services of Alameda County, 510-657-3500
Fremont Gets on the “Straws on Request” Bandwagon
As you know, Gov. Brown recently signed a law attempting to reduce the use of plastic (petroleum) straws. It applies to full-service restaurants, and will go into effect on January 1, 2019. The Tri-City Ecology Center submitted a “straw on request” proposal to Fremont City Council in June, 2018.
Fremont’s ordinance will possibly regulate other plastics such as drink stirrers and eating utensils. It might also impose a complete ban on all eating places. If the customer does ask for a straw, it could be bio-compostable. All these ideas will be presented in a new ordinance which will come to council for approval in about 5 months. We’ll wait and see.
Remember: The word “plastic” has to do with malleability, not what it is made of! Most plastics are made from petroleum (the bad guys!). Bi-compostable plastic comes from plants or cellulose (the good guys). Even rubber is considered to be a plastic!
Fremont among Greenest American Cities
In October, WalletHub (a personal finance site) ranked Fremont 7th in the nation with regard to environmental friendliness and sustainability. We owe much of this success to Fremont’s Sustainability Division headed up by Rachel DiFranco. Under her guidance, Fremont has reduced green-house gas emissions and introduced a number of smart energy policies and initiatives. Said Rachel, “Generally, we have a population that’s supportive of making Fremont a green and healthy place to live.”
Three Bay Area Cities made the top 10 list (Fremont, San Francisco and San Jose). San Diego tops it at No. 1. California had a total of 7.
High School Students Seek Advice
High schools are doing a lot to make students aware of environmental issues. For many years now, the ecology center has received request for ideas and projects from mostly ninth graders in the Fremont Unified School District. Many goals can be achieved by contacting local agencies such as the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge or local groups such as LEAF and the ecology center. TCEC has a list of a dozen sources for exploration that it e-mails to the students upon request. To receive this list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year, so far, we have received 17 requests from Irvington High School and 4 from American. It’s always a pleasure to hear from these students.
A letter from TCEC Member Susan Moss
“Just a note….. referencing the Ecologic article: “An Easy Way to End Traffic Congestion” by Rich Godfrey. I gave up owning a vehicle (personal car) February 2006. I have learned to use my bike daily, combined with buses, train, and walking to get to wherever I need to go.
It’s quite a lifestyle change…requiring a good deal more patience, planning and persistence to get around by bike and transit. There are no regrets.” Signed, Susan Moss. Editor says, “Way to go, Susan!”