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 — January 2019
A Tribute to Our Friend Phil Holmes…
It was in the middle 1970’s when I visited my first Tri-City Ecology Center Board Meeting. I was a stranger to many of the members and to Phil Holmes, who was Chair. Phil welcomed me as if I was a long lost friend and included me in the details of the meeting. I felt like I belonged.
Phil was a gentleman and a gentle man. He had a rare gift of including all of us in the discussion and treating us as if we were all special. I was soon asked to be on the board and I have never left.
Phil was committed to the environment and to the ecology center and he made us a better organization. (Note: Phil was Education Chairman from January 1972 to March 1974 and Chair from April 1974 to March 1976). As life moved on, he began to collect and write the history of our region in a variety of books. I enrolled in his class offered by Ohlone – Washington Township Institutions – where he and Doctor Bob Fisher taught the history of our area. It was important to me, as a candidate and council-member, because it provided a foundation to understand how we got to where we were as a community. I thought the class should be a prerequisite for people to serve on a city council. There is a saying “If you don’t know where you came from, you probably won’t know where you are going,” a good reminder for any elected official.
We lost Phil last month at 92 years old, 92 years of contributing and giving of his time, his talent, and his treasure. We will miss him, but his legacy is there for us to use as a resource or an inspiration. The ecology center continues to prosper and his contributions to our local history and the museum will serve the community forever.
Thank you, Phil, for a life well lived. Gus Morrison, TCEC Chair
It’s a Tradition…Supporting Our Northern California Neighbors
It is an annual tradition. Since January 1978, the ecology center has donated to (mostly) Northern California environ-mental groups. This year is no different. These exceptional groups for 2018 are: Alameda Creek Alliance ($250), Bay Area Ridge Trail Council ($100), California Oak Foundation ($100), Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge ($100), Marine Mammal Center ($100), LEAF ($300), Ohlone Audubon Society (Shinn Park Garden $200), SF Bay Bird Observatory ($100), San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society ($100), Baykeepers of No. Cal ($100), Save the Redwoods League ($100), Ohlone Humane Society Wildlife Rehab Center ($300), AC Beekeepers ($100), Restore Hetch Hetchy ($100), River Otter Ecology Project ($100), and the Museum of Local History ($200). Congratulations to you all!
And many thanks to those of you have worked at the Lemonade Booth, bought Ducks for Bucks, or made donations. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Where to Park – When There’s Nowhere to Park… Written by Richard Godfrey
New Year’s 2019 – there were thousands of hikers headed up Mission Peak on a windy, chilly, but beautiful day to see crystalline views of San Francisco, Mt. Diablo, and the Sierra Nevada’s. I hiked with Dennis Waespi, Ward 3 director and current President of the Board for East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). Our group met a friend who came on horseback from Milpitas, carrying two thermoses with hot buttered rum and cider. The peak was filled with local and distant visitors and everyone shared food and photos. Hard to determine exactly how many hikers were there – cars were parked tightly as far back as half a mile, although wiser visitors went to the Ohlone trail where parking is easier and the back side of Mission Peak is protected by Oak and Laurel glades and canyons from wind in winter and sun in summer.
East Bay Regional Park District dates back to depression time (1934), when active supporters followed the EBMUD process and bought 2,162 acres for $656,000. It now oversees more than 120,000 acres of parkland, still growing, and is the largest regional park system in the United States. Those of us in the Tri City Area have a vast and wonderful choice for walks and hiking, including Garin and Dry Creek Park, Quarry Lakes, Ardenwood, Coyote Hills, Pleasanton Ridge, and most recently Vargas Plateau. For the young and adventurous one can continue from Mission Peak and travel another 23 miles across the pristine Sunol-Ohlone trail to Lake Del Valle.
How lucky we are to have such open space, thanks largely to voter approval of Measures AA, CC, WW, and most recently Measure FF. In November Measure FF, passed with 85.6% voter approval and through a continued parcel tax will provide 66 million dollars over 20 years to work on wildfire protection, public safety, water quality, and restoration of natural areas.
EBRPD reaches out to 2.5 million residents of every age through programs such as the Trail Challenge, Healthy Parks Healthy People (that includes prescriptions from medical providers to encourage hiking and exercise in natural settings), and a dynamic menu of outdoor activities. It can be explored by foot, bicycle, horseback, by dogs pulling you on a leash, by wheelchairs, even by a tablet or computer – www.ebparks.org! William Yragi leads night walks with the Sierra Club.
Getting back to the parking issue, try riding a bike (Lime Bike will begin services in Fremont in February) to visit some wonderful open areas of the East Bay. But remember, you can still park at the park! I have served on the Park Advisory Committee since 2010 and was reappointed by Dennis Waespi for Ward 3. Questions? Email me at email@example.com.
Historic Vote Aids Northern CA Rivers
In late December, the State Water Resources Control Board voted 4-1 to adopt Phase 1 of its Bay-Delta Plan. The historic vote, taken at the end of a 10-hour public hearing and coming after years of study, hearings and negotiations, was perhaps the boldest action ever taken by the State Water Board.
Under Phase 1, flows in the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus Rivers will substantially increase. The Tuolumne River is currently required to retain about 12% of its natural flow. If the Bay-Delta Plan is fully implemented, the requirement would roughly triple to about 37%. (These standards call for 30-50% of unimpaired flow between February and June starting at 40%). Some at the hearing opined that the Board’s adoption of the Plan would stymie negotiations and simply lead to the aforementioned lawsuits. Others countered that adoption would stimulate negotiations, noting it was commonplace for parties to litigate and negotiate at the same time.
It is way too early to tell what plan will go into in effect on the Tuolumne, or other rivers for that matter, or what San Francisco will do to ensure it can deliver reliable supplies to its customers. But it is helpful if the City is forced to look at alternatives beyond the Tuolumne watershed, which currently provides about 85% of its supply. Source: Restore Hetch Hetchy and Tuolumne River Trust Note: TCEC has been working with both groups on this issue.
Farm Bill Includes Hemp Production
On December 17, lawmakers reached an agreement on the farm bill, a mammoth package that will fund key safety net programs for the next five years. The conference report signed by members of the House and Senate is the result of months of negotiations. The bill has a price tag of $867 billion over a decade. On December 20, the President signed.
The legislation reauthorizes crop insurance, conservation/sustainable programs and legalizes the cultivation of industrial hemp. It does not make significant changes to the food stamp program that serves nearly 40 million low-income Americans. Source: Pesticide Action Network
What’s A Rothy?
These shoes are made sustainabley from plastic bottles: twenty million bottles since inception in 2015. Fibers from the re-purposed bottles are made by a 3D computer program into knitted tops attached with environmentally friendly glue to recycled rubber soles. Headquarters are in San Francisco, and shoes that come in all colors of the rainbow are made in China. Rothy’s bylaws include sustainability. Use of a carbon fund exchange to counteract their transportation carbon emissions offers credits to benefit the Amazon Rainforest and conversion of biofuels in the US. Shoes can be washed and even recycled at their recycling facility, with materials destined to make more Rothys! More interesting information at their website: Rothys.com. Source: Adrienne Roth Stephens
Electric Scooters and Bikes Coming to Fremont
Lime electric scooter and bike company is launching a one-year pilot program in Fremont beginning early this year. Approved by Fremont City Council in November, the program will provide shared bikes as well as electric-powered bikes and scooters for Fremont residents, workers, and visitors taking short trips around Fremont. These new e-mobility options are perfect for traveling to and from BART or bus stations, the grocery store, gym, or restaurants. Lime scooters and bikes are “dockless”, meaning devices can be picked up and dropped off at any location. This makes alternative transportation more accessible, flexible, and cost-effective for many potential riders. Plus, the new mode of transit will shift the balance away from cars and toward carbon-free options!
The City will strongly encourage responsible use and maintenance of the Lime devices with an age minimum of 18, education of helmet laws and on-the-road safety, and preferred parking zones around Fremont.