Saturday, November 12, 2011

Somethin' Smells Funny .... an I'm not laughin'

I love open space. I love the wild. We understand so little of how our world works and yet ....there are folks who think all they have to do is put up a building and parking lot and "VoilĂ ! Look at our Nature Displays - Aren't you learning?" .... (!??!) You'd think the Pharos came back and stacked some more rocks! (How about another sphinx?)

Speaking of old things.... Because of new techniques in analyzing data, we are now, NOW! seeing life on this small rock in space in new light. Phylogenetics and technology and programming languages, together are allowing us to see where you, me, my cat, and the bug on my plant, connect to each other and to our ancient ancestors through time. ISN'T THAT COOL?!  

OH!!! The Jepson Manual (the book that botanists use to find out stuff on higher plants) has been changed and many of the plants have had their Genus and/or Family changed. How did they do that? By analyzing all of the DNA in the plants in the Jepson Manual. Imagine that!  Though, as much fun as PCR is to do, it takes TOOO LONG TO DOOO. Look how long the Human Genome Project took!  Many other organisms have MUCH BIGGER genomes then humans have. Now a-days, folks grind up their organism, add some special restriction enzymes and then input what they get into BLAST.

Why would I talk about phylogenetics? Because that is what is changing how we see biology and ecology, now, and into the future. And anything (books, college classes, biologists) that describes Nature will have to include bioinfomatics. And our laws, like the laws that protect our Natural Resources were poorly written and now, they are seriously out of date. It is well understood that the Army Corps of Engineers do not have all of the data on the ecosystems in the West (California in particular) because of the lack of basic information as to how our ecosystem works. It is more then just a Mediterranean Climate! It has been an understood truism, since I worked protecting wetlands in Ohio in the 1990s, that what powered the ecosystems/water of the West, was not understood. 

Now the REAL crux of this diary....

The Whittier Narrows Natural Area may be in for something from Washington D.C..  And when you look at their maps, you will realize it is the entire watershed that may be "altered". We need to learn a lot about this and if we see danger.... We will need to speak up!!!!!

You see, the National Park Service has been considering to envelop the San Gabriel Mountains, River - really the entire watershed. Now, on the outset, it sounds nice. Like, maybe the open space might be protected from people who need to put concrete everywhere. 

I think we need to look at what the National Park System could do to our watershed.... understanding that the people most likely to carve it up via the water (ACOE) has little knowledge of how things are put together in the west. They have lots of manuals for the East Coast...

I have been trying to find what the pros and cons are for the NPS to take over our watershed. Then I remembered what someone said in an interview I did for a documentary. In 2002 I interviewed many people on the problems of water in southern California for this film (EPA, MWD. USFS, Sanitation Districts, UCLA Professors - lots of people).  I showed it, and then put it up on the web so people could learn. This is a tiny cut but, if you want to see more just Google, 'Ya Don't Miss The Water'.

In this clip, the Forest Serviceman (about 1:40 minutes) says that people would no longer be able to sit in the streams or live in the forest. Almost sounds like a good thing....

Then I found this.... from Courthouse News Service.
"Five environmental groups say the National Park Service illegally approved more than 130 miles of off-road vehicle trails in an addition to the Big Cypress National Preserve, "one of the few remaining sizeable and contiguous tracts of relatively pristine and significantly undisturbed landscape in the eastern United States, and particularly in Florida"
...and there is more...

 "Moreover, despite acknowledging in the EIS [environmental impact statement] that unknown levels of adverse impacts would inevitably result to diverse resources in the addition, including to surface water flows and the spread of invasive species, NPS failed to gather pertinent information on which to fully analyze the environmental impacts or to apprise the public of the extent of such impacts. NPS similarly failed to investigate and analyze the inevitable impacts to resources with respect to several listed species, including Florida panthers, for which vital research is lacking concerning the expected impacts of ORV use and ORV-assisted hunting on panthers and their prey."     The environmentalists sued Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Director Daniel Ashe. They seek declaratory judgment and an injunction."  
There's a fire in the shed, Misses O'Leary!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

When you pay your water bill, do you think, "PORK!"

Well, maybe you should! Here are some articles pointing to some water pork... You did not know that Pigs... er, pork swim? Well, have we got news for YOU! Right HERE at Relief we have a story about  the "what and how" some folks, in some circles, use your hard earned money! (I bolded a few important words, below.)

That's where it stands today. And little has changed. The economy still is stagnant. More state services are due to be slashed. The pork is smelly.
Pork like this: Bike trails, when local governments lack enough money to fill street potholes. Open-space purchases, while public parks are being closed. "Watershed education centers," as schools are being whacked and tuitions are soaring.

The bond is really larded up: $10 million for "climate change planning," $50 million for river parkways, $75 million for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

Remember, this is supposed to be a water bond — strategically titled by the Legislature: "Safe, Clean and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act."

There must be at least $2 billion worth of fatback. Add to that $455 million for "drought relief." Save the money. The drought's long over. 

BUT WAIT!!!! The Water DUDES from Central Basin thought that maybe...just maybe if they got wonderful articles written about them they could show the public that they were doing their jobs.... and not just taking the money for silly projects. But, if you thought that, Honey, you were wrong... check this out...

There seemed to be no doubt that Mike Adams was a productive journalist, even if his beat was a bit obscure: the Central Basin Municipal Water District.
In recent months, he churned out more than 20 stories on the water wholesaler based in southeast Los Angeles. He wrote about recycled water that kept the grass green on street medians and parks. About the computer system a college used to irrigate its landscaping. About a water-saving youth soccer field.

  • Areas serviced by the Central Basin Municipal Water District
    Areas serviced by the Central Basin Municipal Water District 
The only mystery, really, was Adams himself. The Times could not find evidence he exists.
Adams' stories were published on the website News Hawks Review after Central Basin agreed to pay up to nearly $200,000 in taxpayer money to public relations consultant Ed Coghlan.
Under the deal, Coghlan said he would produce promotional stories about the district that would be indexed on Google News.
The district, which sells water to cities and water companies in Southeast Los Angeles County and serves a total of more than 2 million residents, has come under criticism for the unusual arrangement.
Central Basin staffers, in recommending the agreement with Coghlan to the board of directors, said the stories would enhance the district's image and would be written by experienced journalists.
And on paper, Adams fit that bill.

Doesn't it just do your little heart good to see such insane corruption get exposed? Let's do some more!!!