2014-10-29

I'm voting no on Proposition 1, California's $7+ billion water bond

Some good might come of the bond, but I'm willing to wait until policy makers have it right, or at least better, before I say yes.  Here's the reasons that resonate with me to say no, based on my reading:

Using general obligation funds rather than ratepayer funds to pay for water supply is inherently a subsidy and often sends the wrong cost signal to consumers. Paying the full cost of water supply through one's utility bill provides a better incentive for conservation and efficient use. There are exceptions to this statement, and the one I would have liked to see addressed is the the Delta Conveyance, but that is explicitly prohibited from being funded by the terms of the bond (probably because it is so controversial in N Ca.  Voters at some remove can see that the way the state currently gets water from the Delta ought to be fixed, somehow.)

No one knows how the California Water Commission would evaluate proposals to spend the 2.7 billion dollars allocated for the "public benefits" of new storage (surface or groundwater). While there is significant political pressure to allocate the funds for certain proposed (and controversial) surface storage projects, including Sites and Temperance Flat reservoirs, many believe those projects cannot pass any reasonable economic hurdles. 

Requirements of the bond can be read to favor improvement of or new surface water storage facilities rather than ground water storage, desalination, or waste water reuse.  This is an area in which the bond is not very clear and we will only learn the criteria against which proposed facilities are ranked after the bond is approved, if ever.

The bond doesn't do enough for conservation of water, arguably the most effective approach to the current drought.

The bond doesn't address our current drought in any other meaningful way.


2014-10-10

New bent and twisted series

I have a recent interest in the odd shapes of some of the plants I come across. I plan on putting my observations into the category of bent and twisted.


bent and twisted pine tree with Dan and David Gutierrez

A recent hike in the San Gabriels with my buddy Dan and his brother David.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

2014-10-09

Urinate in the shower to save a wee bit of water

This is not my personal recommendation; the BBC is reporting this water saving approach.

University students are being urged to urinate in the shower in a bid to save water.
The Go with the Flow campaign is the brainchild of students Debs Torr and Chris Dobson, from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich.
They want the university's 15,000 students to take their first wee of the day while having their morning shower.
Mr Dobson, 20, said the idea could "save enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool 26 times".
The pair want those taking part to pledge their allegiance on Facebook and Twitter and have offered gift vouchers to the first people to join the challenge.

2014-10-04

Hedge Nettle (Stachys ajudgoides)

I picked up Hedge Nettle (Stachys ajugoides) at the monthly White Point Nature Preserve native plant sale. I've been twice and it seems the sale is usually quite small - perhaps they are selections left over from plants grown for restoration. People tend to hover and swoop in for the few that they want. Still, there's some interesting possibilities even after the swooping is done.


I got it in the ground right away on the small north-facing slope next to my driveway. My hope is that it will fill in between the Iris 'Canyon Snow' with which I am gradually replacing the agapanthus.




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

2014-09-29

"...endangered by climate change and manly and shit"


On The Public Record is back with a three part commentary on California water issues.  Recommended reading.
Are farmers in the SJV more deserving of my sympathy than the failing restaurateur down the street being squeezed by food prices? He and his family work 14 hour days too. Do they deserve my sympathy more than Syrians drawn into a civil war started when Syrian farms started failing from drought? Do SJV farmers deserve my sympathy more than migrating birds that are starved of food and resting places as they migrate this fall?

...You could [write about] rugged resource extractors on boats that their grandfathers built, idled by drought, pulling up to some nostalgic ice cream parlor in the Delta. The story could be the exact same, only with mournful ship bells clanging for atmosphere. That group is the direct competition for water with growers, equally picturesque and endangered by climate change and manly and shit. Why care about one and not the other?

2014-09-25

Artemisia douglasiana

I planted the very smallest bit of Artemisia douglasiana (California Mugwort)on this slope adjaent to my driveway earlier this year.  It's gone crazy.  Here it is towering over the two year old Cercis occidentalis (Western Redbud) and the Agapanthus (slated for removal).  Mexican sage in the background.

The brown flowers in this photo are all A. douglaisiana.
Up close they look like this. 

2014-09-24

Grasshopper on Arctostaphylos refugioensis

This grasshopper looks like he's sleeping on a young Arctostaphylos refugioensis (Refugio Manzanita).

2014-09-18

Fox and coyote?

While camping with the Scouts I camera trapped these two critters.  I thought they were the same animal, but one of my leaders pointed out the time difference in the photos and suggested one was a coyote and the other a fox.  The motion in the second photo makes it so blurry that it's hard to tell.  I'm leaning towards thinking it's the same animal both times.

Fox: (?)
 Coyote: (?)

A skunk, a raccoon, and about 60 cats

I set up my new game camera in the side yard and I was gratified to find that it works! I had about 100 photos over the course of more than a month, but only 1 skunk and 1 raccoon in that time.

Here's the skunk's tail
A good shot of Ricky Raccoon (aren't they all named Ricky?)
Just one representative cat photo (of the tens in the camera):

2014-09-09

0.10" rainfall; New weather year and a tropical storm gives us an early start

Sept 1 is when the "weather year" starts for the upcoming (2014-2015) season and we had an early rainfall on 9/8/2014 to kick off the year. This is the earliest that I've recorded rainfall since I've been keeping records. The next earliest was 2007-08 rainy season when I started on 22 Sep. All others have been in October. 8-Sep 0.10" Update: An earlier report of 0.07" in this blog post was taken from a nearby weather station. Actual accumulation in my back yard was greater. Just shy of 0.10" was what was left in my rain gauge a couple days after this storm came through so that's the total that I'm using in my updated report.

2014-08-28

Backwards Beekeepers will relocate hives in Los Angeles

Backwards Bee Keepers might remove your hive themselves (if a member needs a brood) or, if not, then they have a list of companies that do live removal for a fee. I've always liked the idea of a back yard beehive. I recommend exploring their web site for more information. Nice.
(moments later) Oh wait. It looks like they are defunct. Still, there seems to be some useful links and contacts there. For example, http://honeylove.org/rescuebees/

2014-08-20

Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the CNPS videos

Everyone must either know this or be able to search for it by now, but in case there is one person who doesn't, the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society has a web page where they host a number of pertinent videos.

http://cnps-scv.org/index.php/education/presentations

That's all.

2014-08-18

Pete Veilleux - native plant gardens on Pinterest

Follow Pete's garden pins at http://www.pinterest.com/ho2cultcha/california-native-gardens/.

I guess that many of the photos are his own.  This one jumped out at me because it seemed a signature container style of his. see https://flic.kr/p/o5Gw7v



Pete is the owner of east bay wilds.

My pins (not of Ca native plants, yet) are located at http://www.pinterest.com/brentamorgan/