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Contents contributed and discussions participated by rdifalco


Butte County Fish and Game Commission talks stocking, salmon count - 0 views

  • The Butte County Fish and Game Commission held its quarterly meeting Tuesday in Chico. CDFW biologist Tracy McReynolds reported that only 129 steelhead have returned so far to the Feather River Hatchery. This low number means that there will likely not be any excess eggs to continue the popular steelhead planting project into the Thermalito Afterbay.
  • The commissioners also finalized the 2017 financial grants: Butte Environmental Council-$1,000;

Oroville marks anniversary of tree removal from in front of cemetery - 0 views

  • Oroville >> Marking the one-year anniversary of the removal of trees from in front of Oroville Cemetery, community members lamented the loss of the elder trees but celebrated coming together.Pastor Kevin Thompson told the group of 65 people that had gathered on the Feather River Boulevard sidewalk that the trees didn’t have to come down.“When you look at the before and after photos, our hearts truly break at what took place,” Thompson said.The last of 13 elder sycamore and elm trees were removed on Feb. 5, 2015, ending more than two months of protests against the removal led by the community group Save Oroville Trees. Efforts included protests, occupying the site and seeking relief from court, but PG&E ultimately prevailed.
  • Robyn DiFalco, the outgoing executive director of the Butte Environmental Council, said she was proud that Oroville residents mobilized in the face of the tree removal. She said their actions led to few trees being removed in Chico and along the Midway north of Durham and PG&E agreed to help pay to maintain replacement trees.

Rain, rain and more rain needed to refill local groundwater - 0 views

  • Oroville >> People are wearing raincoats and watching water run down the gutter. However, the recent rains do not mean the end of California’s four-year drought.Butte County’s water resources scientist Christina Buck said the local rainfall is still only at about 89 percent of average for this time of year. That’s based on rain through last week and beginning Oct. 1, which is the start of the “water year.”
  • Carol Perkins, a water advocate for Butte Environmental Council, told the members of the Water Commission that she hopes when those groundwater jurisdictions are established, they will consider watersheds, rather than existing water use boundaries. Some examples of watersheds are Butte Creek, Big Chico Creek and the Feather River, she said. “This might give groundwater dependent farmers a more prominent voice in this process,” Perkins said.“As it stands right now, our only voice is the county for those areas.”

Row on the creek - 0 views

    Critics blast environmental review of proposed waste conversion facility along Glenn County waterway The watchdogs at Butte Environmental Council usually keep guard close to home, but occasionally they'll look beyond Chico's backyard. "Environmental issues don't stop at the county line," said Executive Director Robyn DiFalco. "We tend to look beyond our borders at least a little bit to see if our community will be affected." She believes that's the case with the proposed Glenn County Solid Waste Conversion Facility about 3 miles west of Hamilton City, which would sort and recycle up to 200 tons of material a day and convert biodegradable substances into biogas. According to the project's Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the goal is to divert and recycle up to 70 percent of the county's municipal solid waste from the landfill. And that's been a problem; the county's landfill near Artois has been pushing capacity for years and is set to close in December. What's caught BEC's attention? It's mostly a matter of location. The facility would be constructed along the northern bank of Stony Creek, which feeds into the Sacramento River and the Tuscan Aquifer, the vast underground reservoir that provides drinking water for residents in Glenn County and nearby communities-including Chico.

'Block Parties with a Purpose' target Chico waterways - 0 views

  • CHICO, Calif. - Volunteers in Chico started the new year by cleaning up Chico waterways. January 2 was the first "Block Party with a Purpose" in 2016.
  • The Butte Environmental Council last held a "party" in 2014. But waterways around the city are littered with trash so volunteers are back at it.
  • "It is really a satisfying experience," Shelly Rogers, a volunteer, said. "We get an unbelievable amount of trash."
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  • Saturday focused on Big Chico Creek but the volunteers will cover Little Chico Creek and the Lindo Channel throughout the year.

More trees in Chico's Bidwell Park thanks to BEC acorn project - 0 views

  • Chico >> Fifty years from now there should be more shade at the parking lot at Horseshoe Lake.Volunteers had their hands covered with mud Saturday while planting blue oak acorns.Normally this might be a job for squirrels. However, new seedlings have a tough time at Horseshoe Lake with people and dogs are running and walking over the area year-round.Saturday, a group organized by the Butte Environmental Council did all that they could to give the new acorns a great chance at survival.
  • Danielle Baxter, project coordinator for the Oak Restoration Project.
  • Saturday was the fourth planting day this year, with a total of 120 holes dug and filled.
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  • To increase the chances of these acorns living a long, long life, volunteers will revisit the area many times to add water. They bring in a big water container and literally set up a bucket brigade.Baxter explained that a $30,000 grant from the California Wildlife Foundation is funding the project for three years. The goal is to plant new trees, of course, but also to involve the public in the process.
  • The locations included the North Rim Trail parking lot, Bidwell Park Golf Course, Chico Rod and Gun Club, Five-Mile Recreation Area and the Equestrian Association horse arena. Valley oaks were planted at the Five-Mile and the horse arena, Baxter said. The city of Chico’s park manager helped as a consultant.

Butte County Planning Commission backs smaller setbacks between houses and orchards - 0 views

  • Oroville >> The Butte County Planning Commission has recommended changes to how close new houses may get to orchards and vineyards within residentially zoned areas.
  • The commission voted 4-1 last week to approve clarifying that a 300-foot buffer between agriculture and houses applies to agriculturally zoned lands. In residential areas, the commission backed a minimum 25-foot setback between houses and orchards or vineyards, although the policy calls for houses to located as far away as practicable.
  • Robin DiFalco of the Butte Environmental Council said she generally supported the final revisions. She backed having public hearings and making setbacks be as great as is practicable, which may reduce land use conflicts and was good land use policy.

Letter: Volunteers help clean up Chico's creeks - 0 views

  • The 25th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.Even though Chico doesn’t have any “coasts” per se, we do have a number of waterways traversing our city (albeit several of them are currently bone dry due to the severe California drought).Chico’s contribution to the Coastal Cleanup effort is the annual Butte Environmental Council Chico Bidwell Park and Chico Creeks Cleanup. During last year’s event, we pulled 20 to 30 tons of trash and debris from Chico waterways.
  • We thank a large number of local community-minded Chico businesses and organizations for their help in co-sponsoring this event. (See for the names of these awesome co-sponsors.)— Mark Gailey, Chico

On the chopping block - 0 views

    PG&E meets the public, offers to replace trees slated for removal along pipeline Last February, tree advocates' attempts to save several century-old sycamores from PG&E chainsaws ended in a tense, days-long standoff, police intervention and the eventual removal of the stately giants from where they stood outside of the Oroville Cemetery. It also caused a public relations nightmare for PG&E and its Pipeline Pathways project, the energy company's effort to remove trees, vegetation and structures along 6,750 miles of natural gas pipelines throughout the state for safety, maintenance and access purposes. With similar work planned to remove 33 trees from a mile-long swath in south Chico near Comanche Creek, PG&E is hoping to avoid troubles like those in Oroville, and sent a representative to the city's Bidwell Park and Playground Commission meeting on Monday (Aug. 31) to hear public comment and make an offer to mitigate the loss of the trees. BEC Executive Director Robyn DiFalco was the first person to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting. She lauded the power company for reaching out and offering to plant replacements, but also urged caution as the city moves forward.

No changes anticipated for Bidwell Ranch - 0 views

  • Acknowledging there are unanswered questions, the council agreed to let the 756 acres adjacent to Bidwell Park continue in its mostly off-limit state, waiting for an anticipated Butte Regional Conservation Plan to be completed next year. At that point, the council will look at whether it wants to sell Bidwell Ranch to the conservation plan creators, the Butte County Association of Governments.
  • Several speakers stressed the biological value of the area, calling it a gem, in part, because of the area’s characteristics and because of Butte County Meadowfoam’s presence. Environmental advocate John Merz said he wasn’t confident that the conservation plan was the answer. “This is not about making money, but about preserving the property,” Merz said.
  • Butte Environmental Council Executive Director Robyn DiFalco noted her organization has provided docent-led tours of the property, which helps with public access and understanding of the property’s value.
    Chico >> The public may notice no difference, but there was the slightest tremor of movement regarding Bidwell Ranch by the City Council on Tuesday.

Butte County supervisors postpone zoning decision along Chico's green line - 0 views

  • Oroville >> The Butte County Board of Supervisors has postponed action on possibly rezoning residential property in Chico’s Bell-Muir neighborhood.The board was considering whether to keep the 33 parcels north of Bell Road and west of Muir Avenue at very low density residential with a 2½-acre minimum lots or revert it back to 5-acre rural residential. The properties lie on the agricultural side of the green line, the 33-year-old boundary between urban development and farm use in the Chico area. The neighborhood may be viewed as a buffer because it is between ag land and residential properties with a 1-acre minimum size.
  • Robyn DiFalco of the Butte Environmental Council said very low density residential zoning is a development zoning. “It’s a direct contradiction of the principles of the green line,” DiFalco said. She raised concerns about water quality in the area and indicated smaller lots increases the probability of the land being annexed into Chico.

PG&E proposes removal of 33 trees in Chico - 0 views

  • Chico >> PG&E intends to remove 33 trees, all on private property, as a safety measure in south Chico, but questioning by the public and the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission shed light on the process and reasoning. At a Monday forum held at the Park Commission’s meeting, PG&E representatives explained why the removals were necessary
  • PG&E shared a list of about 86 trees that were near the pipeline, but after a tree-by-tree inspection including city staff, nearby residents and representatives of Butte Environmental Council, acknowledged that all but 33 trees could stay but be watched.
  • Robyn DiFalco of BEC asked the Park Commission to “... make sure that every tree removed is justified and asked for another meeting on PG&E’s replacement plan. Commissioners wanted to know about incidences of pipe leaks in Chico, but Wilson and other PG&E representatives there Monday did not have that information. They also wanted to know more about what the access actually meant, and could there be negotiations on the list of trees to be removed.
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  • Attorney Richard Harriman of Chico said everything should be written into an agreement, and Emily Alma asked the Park Commission to advocate for the trees.

Water group vows to file lawsuit to stop well drilling - Appeal-Democrat: Glenn County ... - 0 views

  • AquAlliance, a water advocacy group in Butte County, has vowed to file a lawsuit to try and stop Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District's plan to drill five new wells in eastern Glenn County. Speakers at a public forum last week in Ord Bend called GCID's plans to pump more groundwater in times of drought "excessively greedy" and potentially harmful to area groundwater levels already taxed to the point that residential wells are running dry.
  • "Glenn County needs to enact an emergency ordinance just as Colusa County did," said Orland farmer Sharron Ellis, of Save our Water Resources. "Oversight of our resources is the responsibility of our county to protect the public trust."
  • The project calls for five additional deep-water wells to be drilled along the Glenn-Colusa canal on sites east of Orland and Artois, which would yield 28,500 acre-feet of water taken over approximately eight months during critically dry years, GCID officials said.
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  • "In a drought like this, do we really need 10 production wells to pull down more water?" asked Robyn DiFalco, director of the Butte Environmental Council. "I don't think so."
  • DiFalco said the biggest concern with the project's environmental impact report is that it assumes the area's groundwater levels would largely recover during the next wet period.
  • "Based on what?" she said. "Data shows that the groundwater has not recovered in recent years. It's has recovered a little bit, but it is, overall, declining steadily."
  • Water advocates said it is hard to trust GCID given its long history of promoting and endorsing conjunctive use of water, which means groundwater substitution, and that there is no reason to doubt that intent has changed. DiFalco said since GCID had enough "surplus" water this year to sell 70,000 acre-feet of commingled water, of which 45,000 acre-feet flowed south this year to the Delta, she doubts that an emergency exists.
  • "If you have surplus water, where is the emergency for you to pump this water during a drought?" she said. "How do you claim to have surplus and also claim to have a deficit at the same time?"

Crowd rallies against new wells planned for Glenn County ag land - 0 views

  • he crowd at the Ord Community Hall Wednesday night was decidedly against the idea of five new wells for Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District. The agency provides water to about 1,000 farmers in four counties, and plans the new wells for use when surface water supplies are tight.
  • Ord Bend >> The consistent and clear message Wednesday night was that people do not like Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District’s plans to drill five new wells. Members of the crowd were also not fans of five existing wells the district drilled previously and is including in the current environmental review.Speakers at a public comment meeting called the plans greedy, unnecessary and potentially harmful to groundwater levels in the area.
  • Some citizens in Glenn County have started a petition calling for a moratorium on new production wells. Sharron Ellis, who passed a clipboard through the crowds, said a moratorium could stop new wells including those being discussed Wednesday night. So many wells are currently being drilled in the county that a moratorium would only slow down drilling, she said.
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  • One of the predictions in the environmental review is that once the drought is over, groundwater levels will recover. However, Robyn DiFalco, director of the Butte Environmental Council said this is not likely.
  • Groundwater has not recovered in recent years, and is in a decline, she said.

What's happening Sunday in the north valley - 0 views

  • Volunteer tree watering in Upper Bidwell Park: 8:15-11 a.m. Resources, including buckets, hose and water provided. Meet at North Rim Trail parking lot. Wear sturdy shoes and be able to carry a gallon of water from a truck to seedlings (5-10 yards). Butte Environmental Council planted 100 blue oak acorns last fall, and help watering is needed to assure their survival. For information or to schedule a group, Becky Holden, Weekly through August.

Chico Bicycle Music Festival to mark 7th Year Saturday | Action News Now - 0 views

  • It's a perfect way to celebrate National Bike Month ... the 7th Annual Chico Bicycle Music Festival. It takes place Saturday, June 13th, 2015. The Free, non-profit event was created by Founder Samantha Zangrilli to promote human-scale transportation and local musical talent.
  • Food and drinks, including beer, will be for sale along with a free hydration station by Klean Kanteen, a face painting booth and vendors with jewelry and clothing. For more information visit

City of Chico sees progress, setbacks in meeting 2020 targets for greenhouse gas emission - 0 views

  • Chico >> With 5 1/2 years left to meet greenhouse gas emission targets, the city of Chico continues to struggle in certain sectors.
  • The draft greenhouse gas emissions inventory, which is expected to be highlighted during the sustainability indicators report at the Chico City Council today, summarizes results of a high-level community-wide inventory that addresses emissions from the transportation, energy and waste sectors within city boundaries from 2005-12. Many external factors, including the economy and government regulations, are to be credited for reductions, and it remains to be seen how well the city is on track to meet its goals, said Principal Planner Brendan Vieg.
  • some of these reductions could be reversed, said Mark Stemen, a member of the Sustainability Task Force, which has been tasked with leading implementation of the Climate Action Plan.
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  • “How do we keep people from getting back into their cars?” he said. “We need to remind people, hey, drive less. It’s good for pollution. It’s good for the planet.”Other areas of success included emissions from commercial electricity, which fell 10.6 percent, and waste to landfill, which dropped by 15.2 percent.
  • “Watching the struggles with water has made me feel a little bit better about our inability to cut back on electricity,” he said. “People are now seeing the effects of the drought and they are acting. It’s important for people to understand they have to do the same thing when it comes to climate change.”

Chico News & Review - State of the ranch - News - Local Stories - May 21, 2015 - 0 views

    Environmental groups want to see Bidwell Ranch become part of Bidwell Park Seasonal cattle-grazing makes up the bulk of the activity at Bidwell Ranch, an expansive reserve downslope of Upper Bidwell Park. But that could change if the Chico City Council gets behind the request of a coalition of heavy-hitting local environmental groups. As John Merz put it in a recent city meeting, the request is straightforward: that "Bidwell Ranch become a formal part of Bidwell Park." But that plan has hit snags over the past decade, and Merz says local environmental groups-Friends of Bidwell Park, Butte Environmental Council, Altacal Audubon Society, the Sierra Club Yahi Group, the California Native Plant Society's Mount Lassen chapter and the Bidwell Ranch Committee-have come to the conclusion that the best option for the 750-acre property is adding it to the city's largest park.

Veterans plant giveaway is Monday in Chico - 0 views

  • The fourth annual veterans plant giveaway is planned 9 a.m. to noon Monday by the Veterans Garden Project at Butte Environmental Council’s Humboldt Community Garden, Humboldt and El Monte roads. Hundreds of plant starts have been grown in the Butte Creek Canyon greenhouse and will be given away free to any veteran and their families who stop by the garden. Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, lettuce and many more starts will be available for veterans to take home for gardening.
  • The plant giveaway is offered twice a year, on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Butte County supervisors vote 4-1 to ban fracking waste disposal in county - 0 views

  • Oroville >> After a relatively brief public hearing Tuesday, the Butte County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that would ban the storage or disposal of fracking waste within the county.The vote regarding the waste generated by injecting fluids into the ground to stimulate oil and natural gas production was 4-1.
  • The ordinance defines key fracking terms, creates a land-use category about storing or disposing fracking waste or byproduct and then bans such storage and disposal within the county.
  • Six of the seven members of the public that commented on the proposal openly supported the ordinance. Members of the Butte Environmental Council and Frack-Free Butte County spoke.
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