Op-Ed | Mike Pasner: Poison in the Water?

By Mike Pasner

poisoned_waterPENN VALLEY, Calif. June 26, 2017 – NID is registered with Nevada County agricultural department for use of 23 chemicals. That is 216.18 pounds and 4,665.01 gallons of materials in 2016. Since there are 62 delivery points, I am worried that the concentration at these delivery points is toxic to livestock, fish and wild animals.

There’s no way a mountain lion should be drinking aquatic algaecides once a month. No one wants to eat beef that drank aquatic algaecides once a month.

Cutrine and Nautique are the aquatic herbicides applied above my farm. Many of these algaecides are high in elemental copper. This mix can be hazardous to humans, domestic and wild animals and fish. I used to see fish and newts in our ditch, yet I haven’t for many years.

Roundup Custom is sprayed on the banks, berms, and water. This substance is labeled a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization and now by the EPA.

Nine of NID’s domestic water treatment plants are supplied by these conveyances.

None of these toxins makes it into my organic farm’s irrigation system! I’ve farmed in Penn Valley for 31 years. This treatment to kill algae occurs once a month for the six month irrigation season, April 15th – October 15th. For the first 28 years Nevada Irrigation District (NID) ditch tenders turned off my ditch box without fail on poison day. The last 3 years the liability to shut it off has been shifted wholly onto me.

The terrestrial herbicide used to kill weeds is sprayed on the banks, berms, and water. This treatment is done before and after irrigation season.

Nevada Irrigation District maintains 450 miles of raw water conveyance systems. 350 miles of this system is treated with aquatic and terrestrial herbicides.

I’m still in the process of assembling maps obtained by the public records act. It appears that approximately 50 miles of this 450 mile conveyance system are what NID calls “Randoms”. A Random is a natural creek.

Question: Is it legal to dump liquid herbicide into a natural creek?
Question: Are there enough weed blockages in a free flowing stream to mandate herbicides?

 

NID’s Mission Statement:

“The District will provide a dependable, quality water supply; continue to be good stewards of the watersheds, while conserving the available resources in our care.”

At a recent Maintenance and Resources meeting, I asked, “Wouldn’t a reduction in herbicide use be part of achieving this mission?” The answer was yes. In the 31 years I have farmed here I have not seen a reduction.

After attending these meetings for years I have come up with a workable fix. Resume cleaning the ditches with small excavators as needed. This was done annually for many years and only stopped 3 years ago. If the banks and berms need vegetation removal, goats are a good way to do it. I have presented this theory to NID management and employees for many years. The only response I have received is, “It isn’t financially viable.” I believe it is! When you eliminate, application equipment, human applicators, training, licensing, registrations, legal testing requirements, herbicides and liability, it becomes a viable option. The liability aspect of this plan has not been analyzed. This represents a huge tab never itemized by NID. The use of these highly toxic substances in water and on land has to have a large liability.

To wean NID off their herbicide use may take years. Like live streaming, it will only happen when a sufficient number of concerned rate and taxpayers make themselves heard.

Please lend support and stay in touch with this effort at safeditches@gmail.com.

The BOD meeting is Wednesday, June 28th, at 9:00 AM at NID’s main office. Live streaming video will finally be allowed on the agenda after a 4 month, very well publicized battle. Thank you Nevada Irrigation District, for hearing your constituency! Later, in this same BOD meeting, NID will adopt their new Vegetation Management Plan. Now is a good time to tell them your concerns.

People are 96% water. Shouldn’t we find alternatives to putting poison in water that is used by people, animals, and crops?

I am a local organic farmer, having lived here for 31 years. I’m not a chemist, a journalist, or a cartographer. When something is wrong, it’s wrong to not fix it!


Mike Pasner
Indian Springs Organic Farm

 


Help Fiber Come to Your Neighborhood By Taking A Simple Survey

By Don Pelton

If you are interested in Spiral Internet’s fiber deployment and — like me — you are in the “Comcast Challenged” zone, take the following survey:

https://spiral.servicezones.net/ServiceAreaA/ComcastChallenged

In this zone, Comcast claims that residents are already well served by them, so the Calif Public Utilities Commission has made this zone off limits for Spiral’s fiber service.

However, if enough of us take the survey and explain our need for better service, it may turn the CPUC around and help us get fiber

If you are unsure whether you are in this zone, click on the above link to see the map.


The Massive Clearcutting Above Lake Oroville Can’t Help

By Don Pelton

After sending a few friends a link to a good SacBee article today about the stressed reservoirs in the Feather River watershed above Lake Oroville, one of my friends called my attention to the extensive clearcutting in lands surrounding some of Lake Oroville’s feeder streams up to the southeast of Lake Oroville, all visible in Google Earth (see snapshot below).

Here’s the very informative SacBee article:

Reservoirs feeding Lake Oroville are filled to brim as more rain rolls in

And here’s a snapshot I took a few minutes ago, using Google Earth, showing some of these same areas of the watershed to the east of Lake Oroville, including feeder streams into the Lake.

Clearcutting prevents sequestration of the rainwater and accelerates the runoff, carrying precious soil with it. All of which adds to the already considerable burden on Lake Oroville.

In this snapshot, the light-colored speckled patches upstream from Lake Oroville (clearcut areas) are conspicuous:

Massive_Clearcutting_Above_Lake_Oroville

 


Talk: “Implementing Youth-Led Citizen Science Through Plant Phenology”

Sierrs_Science_February_21__2017

Event Details

The Sierra Science Lecture Series at the Nevada County Campus welcomes Kelly Santos in a presentation titled, Implementing Youth-Led Citizen Science Through Plant Phenology. The presentation will be held on Tuesday evening, February 21, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm, in the Multipurpose Center, building, N-12. Come early and enjoy a meet-and-greet and refreshments at 6:00 pm.

Kelly will discuss phenology, the study of when things appear in nature and the influence of seasonal changes and climate change. She will present a citizen science plant phenology project led by the Sierra Streams Institute Education Program that they implemented in two local high schools. Students contributed as citizen-scientists to a national phenological dataset and analyzed and interpreted data to discern long term trends. Come learn about this amazing project, the available curriculum, and find out the many ways to become a citizen scientist!

About our presenter:

Kelly Santos works as an education program Co-Director for Sierra StreamsSierrs_Science_February_21__2017_Kelly_Santos Institute. Kelly was raised in Irvine, CA, and graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Marine Biology. She brings extensive laboratory, field, and teaching experience to Sierra Streams Institute. In the past, she has worked and volunteered with the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, UC Santa Cruz, Michigan State University, Tahoe Resource Conservation District, as well as Pretoma and Centro de Educación Creativa in Costa Rica. These various positions have taken her from the depths of the kelp forest to lakes in the high sierra and allowed her the opportunity to work among scientists, teachers, environmental managers, and students. In her free time she enjoys exploring the Sierra, cooking, and making photographs.


This presentation is free, and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend. The Nevada County Campus is located at 250 Sierra College Drive, Grass Valley, CA 95945. Parking is $3 on campus and permits can be purchased at the kiosk machine at the main entrance to the campus. For more information about this presentation and others in this series, contact the series coordinator, Jason Giuliani at: jgiuliani@sierracollege.edu.

Sponsored by: NCC Sierra Science Series, Sierra Streams Institute


How to Help Evacuees Who Have Come to Nevada County

By Hayley Yount Severe
(Reprinted from Facebook with permission of the author)

Volunteer_thumbWhen we first heard of the evacuation last week, we began to imagine what we would do in the same situation. Where would our dog go? How would we meet up with our children and grandchildren? What important items would we take with us, leave or simply forget amidst the chaos? Would we stay together; where would we go and who could we trust in a strange area we’re not familiar with? Would we have enough gas to get there? Will we have a home to return to? Imagine being given 30 minutes to leave your home, how would you respond?

I would like to share a story about Donna and Todd. We had many, many pets staying in cars last week, many suffering from extreme anxiety, diarrhea, vomiting. One of our volunteers helped an 88 yr old woman clean her car when both her cats, after day 2, became ill. She was trying to clean her cats with wet ones in the dark car, her clothes were covered in feces and urine. And no shower for 3 days. She had just had surgery a week before, she and her handicapped husband grabbed the cats, their canes and photos of the grandkids and eventually found their way to the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

The husband, age 89, had been sitting up in a chair for 2 days with no sleep, while his wife tended to the cats in their car. On top of that, in the haste to leave Marysville, they forgot their medicine. Our volunteer had to beg the husband not to leave to retrieve the medicines they so badly needed. We found them a lovely home to stay at ( #FriendlyHomesNC) with a wonderful couple who had been giving convalescent care to Mother in their home for 6 years.

The family drove to the Fairgrounds, picked up our elderly couple, took them to their home for hot showers, hot coffee, warm beds, fresh bandages for the wife’s surgical wound, and began the process of getting their meds filled here locally. Oh yes, lots and lots of hugs. Those kitties sure were happy to be out of that car and into a warm blanket that morning.

Stories like this compel us to be vigilant of the coming rains, and very prepared for the next possible evacuation. We have 32 screened homes that are ready to take in evacuees. We will match the evacuees to the appropriate home and assist them in the most urgent needs they may have. We’ve received calls from every corner of our beautiful county offering homes, ranches, Yurts, treehouses, Air B&B’s, condos, RV’s, and several kennels and farm properties suitable for pets. Dog food, toys, kennels and vet checkups too. So many families offered their children’s bedrooms, toys and videos to young families with small children. Toys, diapers, formula, all available for the asking from great service organizations in our county.

I could tell you all many stories such as this, so many people in our community simply could not do enough for these poor people. I heard time and again “There but for the Grace of God”. If you are interested in being added to our list of #FriendlyHomesNC please PM me. We are ready to go if this weekend’s rains exceed the forecast.

Be proud Nevada County, you shine brilliantly in a moment of crisis. Blessings to you all.


Hayley Yount Severe, Associate Publisher/Editor at 101 Things To Do in Wine Country, lives in Lake Wildwood. She says, “We are in the process of setting up a website for people to go where we can match evacuees to Friendly Home folks.” In the meantime, if you wish to volunteer, you may contact her on Facebook by Private Message. 


In Trump Country, the Bucolic Sounds of Honey-Lab Explosions

Only in a surrealistic election year such as this could an otherwise ironic remark like the following — by Sherry Turkle — be read as straight-up un-ironic truth:

” … that this man who stood against democratic institutions is also a misogynist is a stroke of good fortune. The next time we may not be so lucky.”

(From “We Need to Talk about Donald“)

We live in Trump-country, a red county in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, near — but oh so far politically — from the coast. In a recent “President’s Day Parade,” our guests from the Bay Area got depressed when a pro-Trump display passed by.

It’s mostly peaceful here, save for the occasional wintertime flock of shrieking geese flying overhead and the bucolic sounds of butane honey-lab houses exploding.

Trump-love makes no sense to me, except as a sort derangement. We have some family further up the West Coast, a group of devout Christians, one of whom (Facebook informs me) recently joined “Prophets for Trump.” I’m still trying to parse the morality of that.

Meantime, what will happen to the children?

 


Sacramento’s CBS13 News Live Interviews Grass Valley Opponent of Brewery Proposal

By Don Pelton

As I understand it, Sacramento’s CBS13 News Live Reporter Kelly Ryan this morning had “mixed results” when attempting to find someone in the City of Grass Valley willing to be interviewed  about the Whispering Pines Brewery proposal.

Here, however, is the CBS13 brief report (snipped from their 10pm broadcast) that includes an interview with Dan Ketcham of CARD (Citizens Advocating Responsible Development), the local citizens’ group that initiated a lawsuit over the issue:


Local Citizens’ Group Takes Legal Action Against City of Grass Valley

By Don Pelton

Attorney Michael W. Graf, representing local citizens’ group, Citizens Advocating Responsible Development (CARD), yesterday filed a petition in Nevada County Superior Court challenging the City of Grass Valley’s “actions on May 10, 2016 and May 24, 2016 approving Text Amendments of the Whispering Pines Specific Plan SP-1A Corporate Business Park designation.” Graf, in his notice to the City, added that “petitioner’s actions will include claims under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).”

The complete “Petition for Writ of Mandate” plus associated documents filed yesterday (including Graf’s notice to the City) can be read in their entirety here.

As I reported on May 11th (see “Grass Valley City Council Ignores CEQA Guidelines in Last Night’s Whispering Pines Decision“), the “Grass valley City Council last night voted 3 (Jason Fouyer, Howard Levine, Ben Aguilar) to 2 (Jan Arbuckle, Lisa Swarthout) to adopt an ordinance that includes (1) amendments to the Whispering Pines Business Park Specific Plan and (2) the adoption of a Negative Declaration as ‘the appropriate level of environmental review’ of these amendments.”

Now that the City is facing legal action over this issue, it has scheduled a closed meeting next Tuesday the 14th (prior to the regular City Council meeting) in order to discuss the matter, although there are no items concerning Whispering Pines in the regular open agenda for Tuesday. The following notice describing the reason for the closed meeting appears in the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting:

closed_meetingThe “copy available for public inspection in Clerk’s Office” (referred to above) is most likely the same Petition and associated documents that I’ve made available here.

Attorney Michael Graf’s filing is a model of clarity, and leaves little doubt that — in approving the zoning changes — both Planning staff and the three Council members who approved the zoning changes failed to adequately consider CEQA’s requirements in the broadest sense (as they apply to potential environmental impacts) and in the narrowest details (the City’s failure to recirculate the revised Negative Declaration for further public comment).

The formal Petition for Writ of Mandate concludes with this request:

petition_prayer

 


Sixty local women needed for Community Health Impacts of Mining Exposure (CHIME 2) Study

Press ReleaseSierra_Streams

Sierra Streams Institute
431 Uren Street, Suite C
Nevada City, ca 95959
530-265-6090

Sixty local women needed for Community Health Impacts of Mining Exposure (CHIME 2) Study

Nevada City-based non-profit Sierra Streams Institute is partnering with the Cancer Prevention Institute of California to launch an important new study on the health consequences of living in a mining-impacted community.

Sierra Streams Institute is currently seeking women over the age of 18 years, with a history of breast cancer and currently living in western Nevada County to participate in this exciting research project.  Participants will be asked to provide a urine sample, toenail clippings, and complete a brief questionnaire.  They are also planning a subsequent study involving in-home environmental sampling and are waiting for final approval of the study protocols.

This study, funded by state tobacco taxes through the California Breast Cancer Research Program, will focus on the amount of cadmium and arsenic in the bodies of women with and without breast cancer residing in historical Gold Country.

These two metals are of interest because they are found at high levels throughout Gold Country, are known carcinogens and may play a role in developing breast cancer.  The three most populous counties in Gold Country, including Nevada County, have breast cancer rates that rank in the top ten counties in California.

To volunteer for the CHIME (Community Health Impacts of Mining Exposure) study or to learn more about this ground-breaking study, please visit Sierra Streams Institute website at:  http://www.sierrastreamsinstitute.org/CHIME.html, or contact Joanne Hild joanne@sierrastreams.org or Katy Janes katy@sierrastreams.org at phone (530) 265-6090 x200 or x202. Given our small community, all personal information and research data will be collected by Cancer Prevention Institute of California in order to protect your privacy.  No personal information will be shared with Sierra Streams Institute staff or anyone else.

Cancer_Prevention_Institute


Power Outage @ 1:45 pm (est fix = 4:45 pm)

Our power went out at 1:45 pm. We got an automated PG&E call just now that said the outage is affecting 1400+ customers. They estimate resolution by 4:45 pm.

Capture

 


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