Thursday, October 23, 2014

LETTER FROM SACRAMENTO: Watch Out for this Ballot Measure Petition

Subject: LETTER FROM SACRAMENTO: Watch Out for this Ballot Measure Petition

Sierra Club California

I suspect you heard some of the same well-meaning warnings as a child that I did: Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t run with scissors. Don’t sign ballot measure petitions. 

What? You didn’t hear that last one?  Well, I’m here to share it with you now because there’s a new ballot measure petition circulating that you should not sign.  It’s designed to overturn one of the boldest environmental bills the California legislature has passed in a long time.  That legislation, Senate Bill 270, was signed into law in September and establishes the first statewide ban on distribution by grocery stores of the ubiquitous plastic grocery bag. The ban phases in over a couple of years and includes some special funding to make sure a single-use plastic bag manufacturing company in Southern California is able to transition to making other products.
The petition to place a referendum on the 2016 ballot to overturn the new law is pushed by the American Progressive Bag Alliance, a group that’s part of the plastics industry trade association called SPI. Both groups are based in Washington, DC. Both groups represent plastic bag  manufacturers based outside of California who are apparently offended by Californians’ desire to live in a place that’s not polluted with plastic bags.

Are Californians being too harsh when we decide to stop bag pollution? Well, as I write this at my desk in a second-floor office in downtown Sacramento, I can look out my window and see a plastic grocery bag hanging from the high branches of an old oak tree. Right now I feel rightly hostile toward plastic bags. Plastic grocery bags haven’t always been the norm. They started becoming a regular part of the grocery shopping experience in the 1980s, when major grocery store chains started shifting from paper bags to plastic. Since then, they have also grown as a consumer of oil (in their manufacture) and a source of non-biodegradable ocean pollution and everyday street litter (in their end use).

Our friends at Californians Against Waste note that plastic bags create between $37 million and $107 million in litter cleanup costs in California’s cities and counties. And that’s just one of the easier costs to count. Plastic grocery bags have also been found trashing nearly every corner of the globe, and have been found in the stomachs of a variety of dead wildlife. Those costs are harder to put into dollar figures.

The senate bill establishing the plastic bag ban wasn’t created on a whim. It was the result of many years of work and had been preceded by other ban bills that failed. The bill had also been preceded by adoption of local plastic bag bans in more than 100 California cities. And, significantly, the bill was supported by a diverse coalition that included the California Grocers Association and the California Retailers Association.

So now we have a situation that we’ve seen before in California. State lawmakers create policies that protect the environment and have broad support. Then out-of-state special interests move in and try to stop the policies from taking hold.

The plastics makers who want to kill the ban bill have just over two months left to collect more than 500,000 signatures to put the referendum to overturn the bag ban on the ballot in 2016. They will be hiring signature gatherers who are paid per signature to assertively obtain your John Hancock.

If you are approached by anyone in the next couple of months asking that you sign a petition to put a bag measure on the ballot, just say no.

There are times when well-meaning warnings are worthwhile. This is one of them. Pass it on.
Kathryn Phillips
Kathryn Phillips

Sierra Club California is the Sacramento-based legislative and regulatory advocacy arm of the 13 California chapters of the Sierra Club.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chico State Herbarium Fall Photo Context

Celebrate California╩╝s Flora!

4 th Annual Friends of the Chico State Herbarium

Fall Photo Contest

1st prize --‐ $100 or free FOH workshop

2nd prize --‐$50 and FOH t--‐shirt

3rd prize --‐ $25 and FOH t--‐shirt
Specifications: The photographs must be of California native plants. There is a $10 fee for submission. This fee allows two entries per participant. All entries must be received by Oct. 16th, 2014. Submit photos in either 8” x 10” or 8” x 12” format as both a hardcopy and as a digital file. Include a note listing the title or subject, your name and contact information. Submit prints in person to the Gateway Science Museum ticket office OR by mail to: 2014 Plant Photo Contest, Chico State Herbarium, CSU Chico, Chico CA 95929-0515. Submit the digital file and any

questions to John at Photos will be on display at the Annual Meeting of Friends of the Herbarium (FOH) on Nov. 8, 2014.. Photos will not be returned. For more information on the, photo contest or FOH and upcoming workshops visit

Monday, May 12, 2014

Butte County’s Ground and Surface Water Forum


Chico, May 12, 2014 – Butte County, the City of Chico, and AquAlliance will host a forum to provide the public with an update on state local ground water monitoring, surface water supplies, and the challenges and opportunities to sustain our water resources. The main feature of the program will be the current ground water conditions compiled from over 100 wells monitored on a quarterly basis. Speakers will provide some historical, political, and policy perspectives from the vantage point of local government, agricultural surface water districts, ground water dependent farmers, and non-governmental organizations.

Speakers include:

Paul Gosselin, Director of the Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation

Christina Buck, PhD., Water Resource Scientist for Butte County

Bryce Lundberg, Lundberg Family Farms and Thad Bettner, Glenn Colusa Irrigation District

Barbara Vlamis, AquAlliance

Ed McLaughlin, former Butte County Supervisor and Durham farmer

With the continuing dry conditions in 2014, we want our residents to have the most current information on

the status of Butte County ground and surface water and how our communities, economy, and the

environment may be impacted,” stated Butte County Supervisor Maureen Kirk.

What: Butte County Ground Water Forum

When: Thursday, May 22, 2014 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Chico City Council Chambers, 411 Main Street in Chico

Who: Butte County, City of Chico, AquAlliance



Barbara Vlamis, Executive Director

(530) 895-9420

Butte County Department of Water and

Resource Conservation

Paul Gosselin, Director

(530) 538-4343



Information about Butte County’s Ground Water Monitoring can be found at:

Data for all Butte County monitored wells are available online from the state at:

Friday, March 28, 2014

Climate Adaptation

Wall Street Journal  Mar 19, 2014

Fighting Climate Change, and Living With It Too


The Obama administration is launching a new effort to highlight a climate change policy that usually doesn't get much attention: adaptation.

The administration Wednesday is unveiling a new website,, and a series of other related initiatives, to coincide with an event the White House is hosting to highlight efforts to help the country become more prepared for and resilient toward climate change.

Climate adaptation-the notion that we need to find ways to adjust to climate changes-is another side to climate policy. It gets less attention than the more controversial mitigation side, finding ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The adaptation approach is gaining ground, especially in light of extreme-weather events.

But the issue can be tricky. While advocates and experts in the climate community say adaptation and mitigation measures are complementary and work in tandem, the two approaches can be seen as competing for precious resources and attention, so those who want both are careful not to pit them against one another.

In some cases adaptation policies are not linked to climate change. For example, in legislation to maintain the nation's waterways, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.), inserted a title on extreme weather, but she was careful to avoid using the words "climate change." That bill easily passed the Senate, but it must still be reconciled with a House-passed measure.

In the event Wednesday, senior administration officials say they are seeking to implement policies in tandem that both help the country adapt to climate change and also mitigate it by cutting carbon emissions. Examples of climate adaptation measures include stricter building code requirements so that infrastructure can stand up to more extreme weather, and the construction of structures that can withstand sea-level rise and separate buildings from potential flooding.

"While no single weather event can be attributed to climate change, we know that our changing climate is making many kinds of extreme events more frequent and more severe," write John Podesta and John Holdren, two senior advisers to President Barack Obama, in a blog post on the White House website. "Rising seas threaten our coastlines. Dry regions are at higher risk of destructive wildfires. Heat waves impact health and agriculture. Heavier downpours can lead to damaging floods." Mr. Podesta is counselor to Mr. Obama and Mr. Holdren is director of the White House Office of Science and Technology. They say that in 2012 alone, extreme-weather events caused more than $110 billion in damages and claimed more than 300 lives.

The website, which will initially focus on coastal flooding and sea-level rise, will include data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, Defense Department and other federal agencies. The administration has also secured commitments from private companies, including Google Inc. and Intel Corp.INTC +1.35%, on new corporate initiatives aimed at providing more and better data related to preparing for climate change.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Don't Frack California rally in Sacramento March 15

Join thousands of Californians in Sacramento on March 15
for the largest mobilization against fracking the Golden State has ever seen!

Charter Bus Location: Butte College Chico Center, 2320 Forest Ave, Chico, next to Lowe' parking lot.

Bus leaves at 10am, back at 630pm. Tickets $20/ limited free seats

Contact Dave Garcia, 530-218-5133,

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Help Us Keep Your Local Roadways Clean

The Butte County Resource Conservation District (BCRCD) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have an upcoming volunteer work day on Thursday, February 13th, 2014 (depending on the weather) for our Adopt-A-Highway program.
For more information please feel free to contact Sam Rossi at...
Sam Rossi, Conservation Associate
Butte County Resource Conservation District &
Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership
150 Chuck Yeager Way Suite A
Oroville, CA 95965
(530) 534-0112 x 125

Keystone XL: Set to Reject

From: "Michael Brune, Sierra Club"

Subscribe to the Insider

February 4, 2014

All across America, people are gathering to draw attention to the threat that the Keystone XL pipeline poses to clean air, clean water, public health, and the stability of our climate. Last night alone, thousands attended nearly 300 vigils in 49 states. This outpouring of hope and frustration came together in just a few days, in response to the release of a deeply flawed report by the State Department that underestimates the consequences of building this pipeline across the heart of the United States.
People are hopeful because the decision to reject the Keystone pipeline is in the hands of President Obama, who has stated his firm commitment to fight climate disruption. He will be advised by Secretary of State John Kerry, a long-standing champion in the effort to solve the climate crisis that is already upon us, already stirring extreme weather like Superstorm Sandy, the polar vortex, droughts, and wildfires. These leaders know that Americans have embraced clean energy and have no interest in retreating to dependence on the dirty fossil fuels of centuries past. So I'm cautiously confident that the president and secretary of state will do the right thing and stop this pipeline in its tracks.
People are frustrated, however, because the report released last Friday was largely written by a contractor that stands to profit if the pipeline is built. Not surprisingly, it gives the pipeline a passing grade, while virtually every credible expert has already given the project a big fat "Fail."
Biased as it is, though, the report sets the stage for President Obama to reject this dirty, dangerous manifestation of Big Oil's greed, by abandoning the contention in earlier drafts that KXL would have no significant impact on climate. Instead, it concludes that the pipeline would contribute the equivalent of an additional 6 million cars on the road to annual greenhouse gas emissions.
The president is on record that he will not allow Keystone XL to be built if it would "significantly exacerbate" carbon pollution. The pollution from six million cars is anything but insignificant. And a more credible independent analysis estimates that carbon pollution from the pipeline would be equivalent to more than 37 million gas-guzzling cars -- or 51 coal-fired power plants. How does that make sense at a moment when we are making progress against climate disruption by retiring dirty coal plants and building more and more wind turbines and solar panels to create the energy that is already powering Teslas, Leafs, and Smart cars?
There are plenty of reasons to reject Keystone. Here are a few reasons to reject last week's report:
  1. The report was too narrow in scope.  Federal law requires government agencies to consider the cumulative impact of proposed federal actions such as permits for pipelines that cross international boundaries. Last week, the Sierra Club and its coalition partners alerted the State Department that it had failed to consider the climate impacts of Keystone XL combined with other tar sands pipeline decisions, including the proposed Alberta Clipper pipeline expansion.

  2. The report has a serious conflict of interest. ERM -- a member organization of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry's lobbying group -- was handpicked for the job by TransCanada, the company seeking to build the KXL pipeline. The State Department's Inspector General is currently investigating this contract for mismanagement and bias.

  3. The contention that the pollution is inevitable is false: The review assumes that tar sands expansion will happen with or without Keystone XL. But that's not what industry experts, financial analysts, and Canadian government officials are saying. And if you follow the money, it's clear that the delay already caused by the campaign opposing Keystone XL has led to both reduced foreign investment in the tar sands and reduced projections of tar sands crude production. In short, this pipeline is the linchpin for tar sands development.

  4. The tar sands cannot economically or safely be carried by rail: The review also assumes that, without a pipeline, tar sands crude would be shipped by rail. But moving tar sands by rail is both difficult and expensive, and will become even more so once new federal safety requirements come into effect. Since last July, when an oil train disaster killed 47 in Quebec, we've seen oil train accidents in Edmonton (Oct.), Alabama (Nov.), North Dakota (Dec), and New Brunswick and Pennsylvania (Jan). Just last Friday, while all eyes were on the rollout of the State Department's report, yet another crude-oil rail train derailed and spilled in Mississippi.
The next step in the Keystone XL decision is for Secretary Kerry to make a recommendation to the president about whether the pipeline is in our "national interest." We welcome Secretary Kerry to the fray. Kerry said in October that "energy policy is the solution to global climate change." He realizes that  climate-driven extreme weather is making life perilous in all 50 states, weakening our economy, and threatening our national security. If we invest in tar sands pipelines, we can expect only poisoned air and water in return. Investing in clean energy, on the other hand, creates jobs, lowers energy costs, builds energy security, and reduces carbon pollution. It's time to go "all in" on clean energy.
Ultimately, though, this is President Obama's decision. Although he has struggled with the paradox of reducing carbon pollution while promoting a dirty "all of the above" energy policy, the president already has more than enough evidence to reject this pipeline based solely on its effect on climate disruption. But even though this debate has centered on climate, that is only part of what's at stake. When considering the "national interest," the president will also need to consider how this pipeline would affect the health and safety of American families, farmers and ranchers along the pipeline route, and fence-line refinery communities.
Finally, after weighing all the facts, the president must reject Keystone XL and send the world a clear message: Our nation is committed to clean energy and climate solutions.  

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Adopt-A-Highway Cleanup Day

We here at the Butte County Resource Conservation District and Natural Resources Conservation Service have a volunteer work day on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 (depending on the weather). You are more than welcome to join us if you wish. For more information please feel free to contact Sam Rossi at...

Sam Rossi, Conservation Associate
Butte County Resource Conservation District &
Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership
150 Chuck Yeager Way Suite A
Oroville, CA 95965
(530) 534-0112 x 125

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN for the 15th Annual Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway


December 12, 2013. CHICO, CA.  Experience the wonders of the Pacific Flyway at the 15th Annual Snow Goose Festival on January 22-26 in Chico, CA. This five-day event celebrates the local and migratory waterfowl of the Northern Sacramento Valley and offers over 70 field trips, workshops and activities for birding and nature enthusiasts of all ages.

Admission is free to the festival headquarters and various events on Saturday and Sunday, January 25-26, located at the Masonic Family Center, 1110 W. East Ave. in Chico. Bring the entire family and enjoy exhibits and a variety of free presentations and activities including All about Bats, Raptors and Rehab, Wetlands� Wildlife, the ever-popular Junior Naturalist Activity Center, and much, much more.

Online registration is now open for all events including field trips, workshops and Saturday evening�s Gathering of Wings Banquet & Silent Auction. This year�s banquet will feature a keynote address from pelagic birding pioneer, Debi Shearwater, who has been leading boat trips to view seabirds out of Monterey since 1975. Event fees range from $5 to $45.

Please visit for online registration and complete event details, or call the Snow Goose Festival office at (530) 345-1865.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fracking Regulations Released

The state has released its draft regulations governing fracking and well stimulation. There will be a 60-day comment period. Sierra Club California will submit comments, working with our national staff lawyer and our allies. But I want to encourage individuals to also submit comments. Michael Thornton, our organizer on fracking, will provide some guidance in a few weeks. Comments are due January 14. Here's the link to the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources page dedicated to the regulations:
There will also be public comment hearings. Michael will be in touch in the future about organizing folks to be there.
You can also find the press statement on the regulations on our website: It's linked in the news box on the lower left corner of the home page.....

Kathryn Phillips
Sierra Club California
(Note Our New Street Address)
909 12th Street, Suite 202
Sacramento, CA 95814
Ph: 916-557-1100 x 102
Mobile: 916-893-8494

Vernal Pools in Changing Landscapes: From Shasta to Baja

AquAlliance proudly presents a 2014 conference: Vernal Pools in Changing Landscapes: From Shasta to Baja. The conference will be held on Thursday, April 10, 2014 at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico with field-trips on Friday, April11th.

The keynote address will be delivered by Robert Holland. Early sponsors include the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

Registration material will be on the AquAlliance web site in late December:

Barbara Vlamis
Executive Director
P.O. Box 4024
Chico, CA 95927
(530) 895-9420

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Butte County’s Ground Water

PRESS RELEASE: For Immediate Release

Butte County’s Ground Water
What do we know and how are we trying to protect it?

Chico, October 21, 2013 – Butte County, the City of Chico, and AquAlliance will host a forum to provide the public with an update on local ground water monitoring, the County’s current and past efforts to protect ground water, and the current and pending threats to this life-sustaining resource. After the 1994 Drought Water Bank, many farmers, residents, and policy makers became aware of the intense interest in Northstate ground water by state and federal water agencies. The resulting local response created a foundation for protecting the regional aquifer through County ordinances, legal challenges, and increased awareness.

Speakers will provide a historical, political, and policy perspective from 1994 to the present. The emphasis of the program will be on the current status of groundwater conditions, trends and future research areas. The program will highlight current groundwater conditions compiled from over 100 wells monitored on a quarterly basis. Finally, a discussion of the emerging threats to the region’s ground water will be presented.

Speakers include:

 Christina Buck, PhD., Water Resource Scientist for Butte County

 Paul Gosselin, Director of the Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation

 Ed McLaughlin, former Butte County Supervisor and Durham farmer

 Barbara Vlamis and Jim Brobeck of AquAlliance

"We want our residents to have the opportunity to understand how essential ground water is to Butte County’s communities, economy, and the environment and what are the opportunities to protect it," stated Butte County Supervisor Maureen Kirk.

What: Butte County Ground Water Forum

When: Thursday, November 14, 2013 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: Chico City Council Chambers, 411 Main Street in Chico

Who: Butte County, City of Chico, AquAlliance

Barbara Vlamis, Executive Director
(530) 895-9420
Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation
Paul Gosselin, Director
(530) 538-4343

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Public Lands, Potential Wild & Scenic Rivers, Endangered Wildlife All Threatened By Shasta Reservoir Expansion.

 The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public comments on a proposed raise of Shasta Dam and expansion of its reservoir that would flood segments of the McCloud and upper Sacramento Rivers. The agency has released for public review and comment the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation (SLWRI) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The public has until Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 to submit comments via email or in writing. Overall, the proposed project will seriously impact thousands of acres of public land that provide outstanding recreational opportunities and support sensitive, threatened, and endangered wildlife.

 The Bureau is examining up to an 18.5-foot raise of Shasta Dam that would periodically flood nearly 1.5 miles of the McCloud and upper Sacramento Rivers. Both streams were identified by the Forest Service as potential National Wild & Scenic Rivers and the McCloud is protected under state law from dams and reservoirs. At stake are the rivers’ nationally significant wild trout fisheries, as well as outstandingly remarkable scenic, geological, and Native American cultural values (particularly for the McCloud).  

 The project will drown thousands of acres of the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area, which is managed by the Forest Service for public recreation and wildlife. These public lands harbor dozens of sensitive, threatened, and endangered wildlife species. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the proposed expanded reservoir will “result in the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of habitat” for eight threatened and endangered species, including the Shasta salamander.

 Raising the dam will also modify flows downstream in the lower Sacramento River, with potentially significant impacts on the river’s public lands, riparian ecosystem, and wildlife. Modified flows could harm a 20-mile segment of the waterway upstream of Red Bluff determined eligible for Wild & Scenic River protection by the BLM. These BLM lands have been proposed for National Recreation Area designation in previous sessions of Congress. Flow modifications could also harm the 10,000 acre Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge and more than 3,700 acres of State Wildlife Areas along the river between Red Bluff and Colusa. The project will also further reduce fresh water flows into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, increasing the mortality of the Delta’s endangered fish.

 In a brazen and cynical attempt to justify this destructive and expensive project, the Bureau claims that the dam raise and expanded reservoir, which will cost taxpayers more than a billion dollars, will provide needed cold water for endangered salmon spawning downstream of the dam. But according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the benefits to salmon provided by the dam raise are “negligible.” And the Bureau admits in the DEIS that every drop of additional water stored behind the raised dam will be sold to water contractors.

 Your email is needed TODAY to convince the Bureau and our Senators that this project should be eliminated from any further consideration. The deadline for public comments is Monday, Sep. 30, 2013


Ms. Katrina Chow

SLWRI Project Manager

Bureau of Reclamation Planning Division

2800 Cottage Way

Sacramento, CA 95825-1893

Fax: (916) 978-5094


Dear Ms. Chow:

 Thank you for soliciting public comments in response to the Bureau’s proposed raise and enlargement of the Shasta Dam and Reservoir.

 I oppose raising the dam and enlarging the reservoir, primarily because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that the proposal will have “negligible benefits” for threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead in the Sacramento River.

 In addition, enlarging the reservoir will harm thousands of acres of public land managed for outdoor recreation and for wildlife habitat. The enlarged reservoir will drown segments of the McCloud and upper Sacramento Rivers identified by the U.S. Forest Service as eligible for National Wild & Scenic Rivers. Further, the enlargement will violate state law requiring the protection of the McCloud’s free flowing character and extraordinary wild trout values.

 I am also concerned that enlarging the reservoir will further modify flows downstream in the Sacramento River, to the detriment of river’s riparian and aquatic habitats and the many threatened and endangered fish and wildlife species that depend on these habitats. These flow modifications will adversely affect a segment of the Sacramento River upstream of Red Bluff identified by the BLM as eligible for Wild & Scenic protection and that has been proposed for National Recreation Area designation in previous sessions of Congress. It will also harm the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge and State Wildlife Areas along the river between Red Bluff and Colusa. The dam raise will increase the risk of endangered fish being killed by state and federal water diversions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

 The expanded reservoir will destroy and degrade habitat for several sensitive, threatened, and endangered plants and animals, including the Shasta salamander. In addition, the dam raise will require the expensive removal or relocation of dozens of bridges, roads, and other structures, and will likely cost taxpayers more than billion dollars. It will also drown the remaining homeland of Winnemen Wintu Tribe, including traditional cultural sites on the McCloud River still in use today.

 To truly benefit fish and other wildlife in and along the Sacramento River, the Bureau should adopt a “no-dam raise” alternative that restores salmon spawning and rearing habitat, improves fish passage, increases minimum flows, screens existing water diversions, and modifies the current operation of the reservoir to increase cold water storage for fisheries, as recommended by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Of course, this would require the Bureau to modify existing water contracts.

 The proposed raise and enlargement of Shasta Dam and Reservoir will benefit water contractors more than it does endangered fish, public trust values, or U.S. taxpayers. Please discontinue this unwise project and take steps immediately to better operate the dam to benefit fish and the public lands and sensitive ecosystems along the Sacramento River.

Thank you.


(name, address)
It’s crucial that our Senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, know of our concern about this project. You can send a copy of your Bureau comment to our Senators by following these instructions:
1.      Copy the Sample Email in this alert.

2.      Visit and simply paste your copied Bureau email into the box provided, with a short cover sentence explaining that this is your comment on the Shasta Dam project.

3.      Visit and again paste your copied Bureau email into the box provided with a short cover sentence.

4.      Be sure to fill out your name and contact information so that the Senators may receive and respond to your message.

You can review the DEIS online at You can also download a fact sheet concerning the dam raise at 

For more information concerning this issue, please contact Steve Evans, Wild Rivers Consultant for the California Wilderness Coalition and Friends of the River, phone: (916) 442-3155 x221, email:


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Power Shift 2013

Catastrophic climate change threatens our future unlike any other generation.
So it’s no surprise that nearly one million of us spoke up this summer to send messages to President Obama thanking him for laying out a bold and practical vision for confronting the climate crisis.

After all, we are the generation who elected him twice and we are the generation who will lead
the fight with him. We are the generation who worked hard to transition 21 of the 60 coal plants
 on U.S. campuses to cleaner fuel. We have the power, we have the people, and we have a movement.

Next month, over 10,000 youth activists will gather in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania for Power Shift.
Leaders from across the country will host over 200 panels, trainings, and workshops to engage
and train the next generation of leaders that will change the world. Power Shift will be a spark
 point for thousands of young climate activists who will return home eager to take action and
make a difference.
Together we can build a stronger and more vibrant climate movement to fight fracking,
divest from fossil fuels, demand climate justice, and build a clean energy economy that
works for everyone.
See you in October,

Jennifer Edwards
National Online Organizer
Sierra Student Coalition

Monday, September 2, 2013

7th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival

For Immediate Release:
Friends of Butte Creek host the

7th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Saturday, September 14th

Sierra Nevada Brewery Big Room

Doors Open at 5:30 p.m.

We are living in a "Climate of Change", as shown in the theme of this year's films.  These short, award winning, independently made movies show success and life changing impacts brought about by smart and creative innovations.
Friends of  Butte Creek is excited to offer Chico a great selection of films that were showcased in Nevada City this January.  Now is your opportunity to enjoy the best in the comfort of the Sierra Nevada Big Room!   Included in the Festival is the award winning RETURN TO THE FOREST:  The heartfelt story of the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation and its mission to return captive Asian elephants back to the wild in Thailand; saving them from abuse, exploitation, and extinction.  For your convenience, we’ve attached a flyer with ticket pricing and more details.

Again, it's a pleasure to partner up with Sierra Nevada Brewery to be able to bring the Friends of Butte Creek’s 7th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival.  Doors open at 5:30 PM and films start at 6:30 PM.  Music will be provided by COOPERS BLUFF, Butte Creek Canyon’s own Bluegrass duo. A Buffet Dinner will be available, and a great selection of items in the Silent Auction round out the evening.

Tickets are available at our website, at Brown Paper, and may also be purchased in Chico at Pure Skin on 3rd Street, or at Chico Natural Foods Co-op on Main Street.   See you at the Festival!

Contact: Pamela

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dioxin Meeting a Success

On Wednesday, July 17, BEC staff met with members of the Community Advisory Board (CAB), a group of people that live and/or work in Oroville and have expertise or capacity to contribute to the upcoming Public Forum on Dioxin and research project.

The CAB so far consists of members from 
  • Butte County Air Quality Management District,
  • Butte County Environmental Health,
  • the California Health Collaborative,
  • Oroville Boys and Girls Club,
  • and the Oroville Democratic Club.
The Forum is scheduled for Wednesday, July 31 at the Public Library in Oroville, 1820 Mitchell Ave. We've got an event onFacebook with more details.

Board discussions covered potential test strategies and the need to be very clear on known and potential dioxin sources, both industrial and domestic (the latter being primarily barrel burning, a significant source of dioxin). 

Advisory Board members identified what they could contribute to the Forum, and outreach to the community in general. Everybody learned something as we shared our specific expertise relating to the larger issue of dioxin in Oroville. Huge BEC thanks to all of the CAB members who attended the meeting; your generosity and your time is a real gift.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Raising Shasta Dam: Great For Water Contractors Not Good For Fish

Attend a hearing

Download the factsheet

The United States Bureau of Reclamation has released for public review the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SLWRI DEIS).  It’s a long name for a simple but incredibly expensive and destructive idea – raising one of the tallest dams in California to expand what is already the largest reservoir in the state, supposedly to improve downstream river conditions for salmon and steelhead.

If the bizarre concept of a dam helping fish made your head spin, you’re not the only one confused by this oxymoron.

The Bureau claims that spending more than a billion dollars to raise Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet will provide additional water that will be used to provide cold water downstream for threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. Apparently, no one at the Bureau realizes that Sacramento River salmon began their downward spiral towards extinction when Shasta Dam was completed in 1945, thereby blocking the river’s historic spawning grounds for salmon and steelhead and modifying downstream flows to the extent that the river no longer provides suitable fish habitat, particularly in drought years.

Here’s the real kicker – the Bureau hopes that you won’t find in the DEIS’ thousands of pages of analysis, general verbiage, and complex appendices a report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that states unequivocally that raising the dam will have negligible benefits for endangered fish. According to the USFWS, the raised dam will provide no fishery benefits 90% of the time. That’s because dams don’t produce water, they simply capture it when rain falls from the sky and flows downhill. If the rain doesn’t fall (as often happens during California’s chronic drought periods), there will be little or no additional water stored behind the raised dam to benefit salmon.

Also hidden in this massive document is the real reason for the dam raise – every extra drop of water stored behind the raised dam will be sold to federal water contractors downstream, with 77% of the water sold for export south of the Delta. Which means the Shasta Dam raise is directly tied the proposal by water contractors and Governor Jerry Brown to build enormous twin tunnels under the Delta, which will divert large amounts of fresh water from the Sacramento River (much of it stored upstream behind Shasta Dam) for export to large corporate farms in the San Joaquin Valley and Tulare Basin.

Friends of the River is still reviewing the current version of the DEIS. But our analysis of the preliminary DEIS last spring identified many more problems with this proposal, in addition to lack of fishery benefits, cost, and true purpose.

The dam raise and reservoir expansion will drown thousands of acres of National Forest land managed for recreation, fish, and wildlife. The expanded reservoir will drown the remaining homeland of Winnemen Wintu Tribe, who lost much of their tribal territory when Shasta Dam was constructed more than 65 years ago. Reservoir expansion will also destroy and degrade habitat for dozens of sensitive, threatened, and endangered plants and animals. The raised dam will further modify downstream flows, to the possible detriment of aquatic and riparian ecosystems along the Sacramento River important to fish and wildlife. The expansion itself violates state law protecting the free flowing condition and extraordinary values of the McCloud River. It also violates federal law that requires consideration of possible National Wild & Scenic River protection for segments of the McCloud, upper Sacramento, and Pit Rivers, as an alternative to expanding the dam.

Because of the size of the DEIS, we’re not yet prepared to ask people to send official comments in response to the documents. But the deadline for public comments is September 26, so there is plenty of time. Meanwhile, the Bureau’s will hold three public workshops next week, which will provide an ideal opportunity for activists and the general public to learn more about this project and ask piercing questions. The workshops are:

  • Tuesday, July 16, 6-8PM in the Holiday Inn Palomino Room, 1900 Hilltop Drive, Redding, CA.
  • Wednesday, July 17, 1-3PM at the Cal Expo Quality Inn Hotel & Suites, 1413 Howe Avenue, Sacramento, CA.
  • Thursday, July 18, 6-8PM, Merced County Fairgrounds Geronimo Building, 403 F Street, Los Banos, CA.

The Bureau will also hold public hearings in the same cities on September 10-12. Look for a detailed alert from Friends of the River before then.

You can review the DEIS online at You can also download Friends of the River’s fact sheet concerning the dam raise by visiting The fact sheet is based on our review of the preliminary Feasibility Report and DEIS last spring. Please note that some of these issues and concerns may change based on our upcoming analysis of the most recently released DEIS.

For more information concerning this issue, please contact Steve Evans, Wild Rivers Consultant for Friends of the River, phone: (916) 442-3155 x221, email:

Friday, March 22, 2013

March 29th Webinar: Fracking in California

You've heard of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," as a process used to extract gas and oil from rock on the East Coast. Fracking also happens in California and oil and gas companies are hoping to frack even more; however, fracking has been connected to a range of public health and environmental impacts.
Join us for a March 29th webinar as we provide an overview of oil and gas extraction in California, discuss fracking and its impacts on public health and the environment, and lay out the various regulatory and legislative efforts underway to address the quickly expanding use of fracking in California.

Fracking in California: Oil company efforts to gag doctors and public health researchers about its impactsFriday, March 29, 2013
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM PDT

We'll focus on the regulatory and legislative efforts to keep the startling list of chemicals injected into the environment during fracking secret from the public, to require doctors and other health professionals sign a confidentiality agreement before being able to access information about chemicals to which a patient has been exposed, and to prohibit gathering data about impacts of exposure to those chemicals.
At the end of this hour, we hope you'll be ready to work to ensure that protection of public health is front and center in the discussion of fracking, chemical policy, and stopping gag rules on doctors. Space is limited, so please register today! 
Contact Angela Johnson Meszaros at PSR-LA to discover other opportunities for engaging in our efforts to ensure that fracking does not threaten public health. Angela can be reached via e-mail or phone at 213-689-9170.