California Waterkeepers Announce Plan to Tackle State’s Biggest Water Quality Threat
Today, California Coastkeeper Alliance (CCKA), which represents 12 California Waterkeeper organizations throughout the state, announces the appointment of Sara Aminzadeh as executive director. Promoted from her role as acting executive director, Aminzadeh assumes the role simultaneously as she launches a two-year campaign to tackle California’s biggest—yet largely unknown—water quality problem: polluted runoff.
“We’ve made huge strides in controlling pollution from pipes, but toxic runoff from agriculture operations, the urban landscape and industrial facilities still plagues our coasts, bays and rivers,” said Aminzadeh. “It is a low profile, high-impact problem that degrades the California way of life and our state’s ocean and tourist-based economy.”
According to CCKA, polluted runoff is often considered an issue too complicated to solve, but left ignored, the problem has serious economic and public health implications. Research shows that contamination from polluted runoff at Southern California beaches sickens approximately one million swimmers every year, resulting in public health costs of up to $50 million.
The two-year campaign enables CCKA to organize its locally based Waterkeeper organizations under a single focus, helps Californians understand the problem, mobilizes citizens and engages businesses in new ways. To begin, Aminzadeh will seek statewide permits that effectively regulate runoff to California waters as required by federal and state pollution laws, and enable citizen action to improve local water quality.
“Citizen monitoring and investigation by local Waterkeeper organizations of industrial and municipal facilities helps highlight pollution hotspots, spurs immediate improvements to water quality, and can inform the development of better policies and regulations,” said Aminzadeh.
Aminzadeh’s experience includes advocacy before state decision makers as policy director for CCKA and as a policy analyst with San Francisco Baykeeper. In 2010, she helped launch CCKA’s climate change adaptation programs including work to address sea level rise and ocean acidification. Aminzadeh serves as the public representative on California’s Water Quality Monitoring Council, working to communicate water quality data and information to the public in an easily understood manner. She received a juris doctorate from University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a bachelors of science in Environmental Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara, where she graduated with honors.
Visit EcoWatch’s WATER page for more related news on this topic.
California Coastkeeper Alliance is a state-local partnership with California’s 12 Waterkeeper organizations to ensure that Californians enjoy clean water and a healthy coast. CCKA is a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, a movement with almost 200 programs around the world.
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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