California Update

cabo_pumoIt's a fish tale even the experts are finding hard to believe. A recent study of Mexico's Cabo Pulmo marine reserve by Scripps Institution of Oceanography has found an astonishing 463-percent increase in the number of fish over the last decade. The results are encouraging for California as the state continues to expand its network of underwater parks, called marine protected areas (MPAs), established to protect marine life, habitat and ecosystems.

Dr. Liz Whiteman, program director with the MPA Monitoring Enterprise, says ecologists who work in both tropical and temperate waters are amazed at how fast these results were seen. She says the Baja study goes to show how powerful ocean science can be.

"This will provide a benchmark for us to be able to look forward 10, 15, 20 years and begin to identify the local successes that may occur in MPAs in California."

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Red-leggedHelp is on the way for the California red-legged frog, made famous in Mark Twain's short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." A San Francisco supervisor is introducing legislation to restore Sharp Park, which is home to the federally protected red-legged frog as well as the San Francisco garter snake. The ordinance would transfer management of the park and a golf course, located in Pacifica, from the city to the National Park Service.

Brent Plater, president of the Wild Equity Institute, says the park is plagued by crumbling infrastructure and ongoing flooding problems, and the golf course is not profitable and is in violation of the Endangered Species Act. He sees the ordinance as a great opportunity.

"We can rethink how we use our scarce open space to provide recreational benefits that are actually being demanded by modern residents, save a little money for San Francisco through this partnership with the National Park Service, and recover endangered species - all at the same time."

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hemp-crop-photo-269x300SACRAMENTO – Legislation that would allow the cultivation of industrial hemp in four California counties has passed the Assembly  with a bipartisan, 46-19 vote. Senate Bill 676, authored by Senator Mark Leno, allows California farmers to grow industrial hemp for the legal sale of seed, oil and fiber to manufacturers. The bill creates a four-county pilot program in Imperial, Kern, Kings and San Joaquin, giving California the opportunity to start a successful hemp industry in the Central Valley.

“Hundreds of consumer products containing hemp are made in California, but the manufacturers of these goods are forced to import hemp seed, oil and fiber from growers in Canada, Europe and China,” said Sen. Leno (D-SF). “Family farmers are missing out on a golden opportunity to grow hemp, which can help expand their businesses, create jobs and stimulate the economy,” he said. “In addition, hemp requires little to no pesticides and herbicides, is a great rotational crop, and grows quickly with less water, making it an ideal commodity for our state.”

SB 676 is co-sponsored by Hemp Industries Association and Vote Hemp. It is also supported by the Kern and Kings County Sheriffs, Kings County Board of Supervisors, Imperial County Farm Bureau, California Certified Organic Farmers, California State Grange and numerous labor and business groups.

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