Author: Ariel Rubissow Okamoto

Tears for Trees

I’ve watched an army of white trucks topped with cranes and chippers remove the oaks, redwoods, bays and manzanitas from around the power lines on our mountain in Napa. PG&E is felling a million trees per year and spending over a billion to do it.

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Power Down, Safety Up for Christmas Hill

“We’re still in the process of analyzing our other fire-prone areas of town, but based on what we already know about Christmas Tree Hill’s vulnerabilities to fire and its limited access routes, we felt it was prudent to initiate this project right away,” says Ron Suokko, Corte Madera’s director of public works.

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Overheards

“We have to practice radical imagination. We can no longer put band aids on things, we have to throw out the band aid package.”

– Jaqui Patterson

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Purple Air Warnings Not Enough

If late fall fires start up again after the October deluge, Alameda County will already have smoke alert protocols in place. The county developed specific thresholds and delivery systems for alerts over the past two years. “Our geography…

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Bi-Coastal Experiment with Oysters & Infrastructure

While the weather is top of mind for many, others are riveted to congressional antics over the long-awaited massive spending bill designed to fix the nation’s roads, bridges, and broadband as September evaporates. We’ve rarely heard the word “infrastructure” bandied about so much. But for those devoted to designing all things climate-ready and habitat-friendly, infrastructure brings to mind oysters, marshes and willow-topped levees, not potholes.

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Coalescing as a Region Around Sea Level Rise Response

Regional leaders approved a joint platform of nine actions and 21 tasks this June aimed at galvanizing the Bay Area into collaboration on sea level rise adaptation. Actions range from rooting planning in communities to raising more money for resilience and making the best local science and technical support accessible to all. The platform also “centers the most vulnerable” – 28,000 disadvantaged people in the future flood zone and wildlife in drowning wetlands. Leaders approving the platform commended the effort to address so many governance challenges and channel so many diverse opinions

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Rocky Drought & Short Supply

What do rock walls across Delta water channels, brown lawns, bans on hoses, and red flag fire warnings have in common? California’s deepening drought. Up in the Delta, the state is once again piling up rocks in False River to prevent salty ocean tides from intruding too far inland, and too close to intakes for the state’s water supply pumps (there’s no enough pushback from snowmelt and river outflow this year to keep things fresh!) Meanwhile, many water districts around the Bay Area have already called on their customers to reduce their water use by 10-25%, with Marin going first in April.

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Enough Mud to Fill 670 Skyscrapers?

How much mud do we need to save Bay Area marshes from rising seas and how will we move it into position? If the future is drier there’s one answer, and if it’s wetter another (see chart), but the ballpark is 477,000,000 cubic yards. That’s the amount of sediment needed to sustain the ring of wetlands now protecting shoreline communities and infrastructure from a rising Bay, according to a new SF Estuary Institute report.

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10 Ways to Field a Flood in Marin City

Ten future reconfigurations of a Marin City lagoon, park and highway site subject to flooding came from UC Berkeley students last fall. The students from Dr. Kristina Hill’s class shared their plans with the community and entered a national competition. “Marin City residents want access to nature for their kids, protection from flooding and safe travel in and out of their community. Communities like Marin City should get resilience investments first, because they’ve been underserved historically,” said Hill.

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