Thursday, May 8, 2003
On May 17, citizen-monitoring groups will sample the water of California''s coastal rivers and streams in the first state-wide Snapshot Day. This year''s event is funded by the State Water Resources Control Board and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Rachel Saunders, public relations coordinator for the Sanctuary, is happy to see the program grow.
"The Snapshot focuses on testing creeks, streams, rivers, sloughs and estuaries that lead into the ocean," Saunders says. "The idea is to get a glimpse, or ''Snapshot,'' of what''s flowing into the ocean from coastal tributaries on one particular day.
"We''re really pleased and proud that this monitoring event, which began in the Sanctuary, is being expanded statewide."
The Snapshot is one of a number of events that are used to monitor the health of tributaries that flow into the Pacific.
"In general, the [local] streams have been pretty healthy," Saunders says. "However, there have been reports of areas of higher concentrations of bacteria and nutrients attributed to fecal matter and detergents."
According to Saunders, the benefits of the Snapshot program are two-fold: "Its a fantastic public-education opportunity, as well as a great way to collect information for resource management authorities," she says. "It really underscores the importance of volunteer citizen monitoring programs."
More than 150 sites on 110 different bodies of water will be sampled on the Central Coast alone this year.
Training for Monterey County''s Snapshot will be held on Saturday, May 10 from 10am to 1:30pm at the Watershed Institute at CSUMB for individuals or groups interested in participating. For more information, contact Bridget Hoover at 883-9303, or by e-mail at email@example.com [PMcK]
Two Wheels To Work
Last year, hundreds of local motorists left their cars in the garage and pedaled to work for Bike Week, an event cosponsored by Monterey County''s Transportation Agency and Commute Alternatives (which is affiliated with the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, or AMBAG).
Event coordinator Kyrrha Sevco hopes that this May 11-17, even more self-propelling commuters will take advantage of incentives like free breakfast on May 15, and a raffle for $1000 in cash and a free bike.
In addition, free bicycle licensing and registration will be offered all week in most Monterey County cities. Sevco, who''s going to be riding into Monterey from her home in Santa Cruz, says that going to work on foot or by bike takes a bit of planning, but is doable.
"It''s not as hard as it seems," she says. "Leave a change of clothes at work the night before, leave early, and you get your exercise in before work."
The events begins Tuesday in Salinas at 7:45am with a race between car and cycle to see which can navigate rush hour traffic the quickest. The race starts at Alvin Shopping Center and ends at Star Market. Call 424-5542 for details.
At 3:30pm, the public is invited to bike to the Salinas City Council Meeting at the Steinbeck Library. Call 758-7195.
Thursday''s free breakfast is offered from 7-9am at sites throughout Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties, for anyone riding a bike to work. Locations include Embassy Suites in Seaside, Haute Enchilada at Moss Landing, Joselyn''s Bicycles in Monterey, and Starbucks in Del Rey Oaks, among others. Call 775-0903 for sites.
Monterey, Salinas and Pacific Grove schools are also offering free breakfasts to students who are riding their bikes to school Thursday. Also, to join Sevco on the Santa Cruz to Monterey commute, call 883-3750.
On Friday, a film festival thematically wrapped around the biking theme will be held at the Monterey Institute''s Irvine Auditorium, 499 Pierce St., from 12 noon to 10pm. Call 601-2387.
Saturday''s events include a 10am Velo Club bike ride from Griffith Plaza in Monterey to Carmel Valley: call 372-1314; and a Marina Bicycle Rodeo for children to learn about safety at Los Arboles Sports Complex: call 884-1263.
On Sunday, participants can either bike to church in Salinas (call 769-0577) or check out Monterey''s Bicycle Expo, and test ride vintage and new bicycles, from10am-2pm at Alvarado Mall, Monterey. Call 656-4448. [BW]
Supes Plan Plan Workshops
At their May 6 meeting, County Supervisors scheduled a series of General Plan workshops beginning May 20 intended to discuss various sections of the 20-year growth document.
The Supes workshop schedule comes a week after the release of the latest draft of the county''s general plan, which was met with criticism by several environmentalist groups who say the new version allows too much development in outlying areas. Critics also accuse the Supes of stalling the process, which has already cost nearly $4 million and three years in the making.
Once the Board okays the new draft plan, county planners will begin working on the environmental impact report and scheduling the next round of public hearings.
"Board members have already invested significant time and effort," says Carolyn Anderson, who sits on the North County Citizen''s Oversight Coalition. "After three years and a nearly $4 million investment, its time now to begin the final hearings with the community and engage in environmental review as soon as possible."
The draft General Plan is available at www.co.monterey.ca.us/gpu. Free copies on CD-ROM are also available. For more information call 755-5352. [JL]
New Green Schoolhouse
The unveiling of a new "green" science building at York School on May 2 marked a breakthrough in sustainable development, according to school officials.
"It will be the first building in Monterey County to be certified by the United States Green Building Council," said Michael Reid, director of development at the school. "That''s an achievement we are really proud of."
The building, which won''t be ready for classes until the fall, boasts over thirty ''sustainable'' components, including a 31 kilowatt photovoltaic power system, made possible through a donation from the Hayward Lumber Family Foundation. Building materials include recycled steel and glass, cotton insulation from used clothing, and low volatile organic compound paints.
"We wanted to have a building that would not only be environmentally responsible, but that would teach our students how to become good scientists and good citizens; the building itself is a teaching tool," Reid said.
"We want to have a very significant environmental science program that the entire community will be a part of," Reid said, noting that the school will also incorporate a nature reserve on Fort Ord into its curriculum.
"It cost a bit more initially than it would have otherwise," Reid says. "But you can''t put a price on what the students will learn." [PMcK]