North Bay Voice

Teakettle FireFrom California’s Ponderosa fire to Colorado’s record-breaking Waldo Canyon fire and other blazes burning across the West, the summer of 2012 -- like many recent summers -- has been marked by a long, intense wildfire season. It has claimed thousands of acres, hundreds of homes, and in some cases, lives.

Malcolm North, professor in the Department of Forest Ecology at UC Davis and U.S. Forest Service research scientist, studies the effects of fire on Sierra Nevada coniferous forests. In this video, North explains how climate change and a history of fuel suppression in the forest mean wildfires will burn hotter, faster, longer and more often -- indefinitely.

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“I believe very strongly we’re going to have more fires, larger fires, and those fires are going to be of higher severity,” he says. “We do need to figure out a means of making the forest more resilient.”

North is principal investigator on the Teakettle Ecosystem Experiment, which is looking at the effects of fires and forest thinning on a forest ecosystem.

how-to-make-money-with-ebooksBeginning on September 6,  Sonoma County Library cardholders who own Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and other electronic reading devices will be able to download more than 1,000 e-book titles through the Library website. Borrowers can choose the loan period for most books: 7, 14, or 21 days. After the due date, the e-book will simply disappear from the cardholder's e-reader device (no late fees!). If no one has put a hold on the title, the e-book can be immediately checked out again. Borrowers may check out up to five titles at a time, and may place a hold on up to five titles.

The Sonoma County Library Foundation has given $35,000 to the Sonoma County Library to help build its e-book collection, which includes many new bestsellers. E-books represent the fastest growing sector of the publishing industry. Two-thirds of the public libraries in the U.S. have added electronic books to their collections, and the demand for e-books is increasing.

Library logoTo borrow an electronic copy of a book, simply find the e-book title in the catalog, click on it, and follow the downloading directions on the next screen. If you are having trouble downloading a title to your e-reader or computer, you can view online tutorials and get answers to frequently asked questions. If you still have questions, consult your local librarian.

The Sonoma County Library's e-book collection will include many popular titles, as well as digital versions of about a million books through openlibrary.org, a division of the San Francisco-based nonprofit Internet Archive. Sonoma County Library's Community, a local author website, will also provide e-books for checkout.

Bay estuaryThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released an Action Plan that proposes seven measures for improving water quality, restoring aquatic habitat, and improving the management of the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary.  The release of the Action Plan follows the agency’s analysis concluding that existing federal and state water quality programs are not adequately safeguarding the ecosystem. 

California’s economic security depends on a healthy Bay Delta,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “By upholding the goals of the Clean Water Act, we can ensure that our water is fit for drinking, farming, recreation, and for fish and wildlife.”

EPA-LogoThe Action Plan responds to findings and recommendations made following EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2011 that sought public input on the effectiveness of existing federal and state water quality protection programs.  The Action Plan prioritizes the following seven actions to be pursued in partnership with the State Water Resources Control Board, the Regional Water Boards for the Central Valley and San Francisco Bay, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and numerous other state and federal agencies: 

  • By 2013, propose a standard to curb selenium discharges from cities, farms, and oil refineries;
  • By 2013, achieve organophosphate pesticide water quality goals in Sacramento County urban streams; 
  • By 2014, set new estuarine habitat standards, including salinity, to improve conditions for aquatic life;
  • By 2017 establish a monitoring and assessment program for water quality in the Delta;
  • Ensure that EPA’s pesticide regulation program more fully considers the effects that pesticides have on aquatic life;
  • Restore and rebuild wetlands and floodplains to sequester drinking water contaminants, methylmercury, and greenhouse gases and make the Delta more resilient to floods, earthquakes, and climate change;
  • Support the development and implementation of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

Read more...

SeedlingIn the many forested areas where wildfires are currently burning, the question will soon arise: What should be done after the fire goes out? That depends on the severity of the burn and land owner goals.

Angora100% tree mortality caused by the August, 2007 Angora Fire near Lake TahoeFor high severity burns where very few or no live trees remain to provide seed for the next generation, forest recovery can take a very long time. Typically forest landowners want to restore their lands to a forested condition as quickly as possible. In that case, an active approach can help them reach their goal sooner.

The California Tahoe Conservancy has just released a report on the outcomes of active restoration of 40 acres of Conservancy lands where all trees were killed by the 2007 Angora fire in South Lake Tahoe. That fire burned 3,100 forested acres as well as 250 homes.

Read more...

EscobedoSanta Rosa Junior College student Christian Escobedo has been elected as the Northern California Puente Representative. His duties will include representing the Puente program at Northern California outreach events and advocating for the program at the state level in Sacramento.

The SRJC Puente program is designed to facilitate the academic success of educationally underserved students. The program offers English and counseling courses and mentoring opportunities matching students with local professionals.

Escobedo, 19, was born in Nayarit, Mexico and lives in Calistoga. This will be his second year as an SRJC student; he is pursuing an associate degree in Latin American Studies. As a Puente participant, Escobedo serves as the club secretary as well as an alumni-mentor. He also is treasurer for the SRJC Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) club.

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