The City Let Wetlands Take Root and Complains It Can’t Remove Wetlands to Prevent Floods
Voice of San Diego » Environment
by MacKenzie Elmer
1w ago
Wetlands, a muddy, weedy and endangered ecosystem, protect coasts from storm surge and sea-level rise. They provide habitat for countless threatened species and they clean rainwater from storms before it flows to the surf.  But they also clog up channelized creeks designed to send flood water into the ocean before it destroys homes and businesses. To prevent devastating floods in the future, the city of San Diego will have to figure out how to better balance its responsibilities to protect them while protecting people and their property.  It is not doing either very well. The city g ..read more
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San Diego Could Have Cleaned Chollas Creek Before Storm, State Says
Voice of San Diego » Environment
by MacKenzie Elmer
3w ago
Even if the city of San Diego regularly cleaned urban creeks, last Monday’s historic rain still would have flooded parts of southeastern San Diego. But, a good dredging of the sand, trash and trees clogging up Chollas Creek could have minimized the devastation.  Residents in the Shelltown neighborhood along Beta Street were quick to blame the city for failing to keep the channel clean before an atmospheric river hit. Many count the clogged channel as another example of neglect these residents feel by their city government.    But the city can’t just dredge or deep clean a chann ..read more
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How a San Diego Spearfisherman Saved His Block from the Flood
Voice of San Diego » Environment
by MacKenzie Elmer
1M ago
Footage from a security cameras outside Jesse Preciado’s home show him swimming into floodwaters wearing a wetsuit on Jan. 22, 2024. Some superheroes wear wetsuits.   Jesse Preciado is a spearfisherman who can hold his breath “long enough to get a lobster,” skills he employed on Monday when he dove beneath rising floodwaters to unclog a street drain and save his block from further peril.   On Monday, an atmospheric river dropped more than three inches of rain in just a few hours on San Diego. Preciado’s community called Shelltown, an area that’s part of Southcrest neighborhood ..read more
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San Diego Community Power Undercuts SDG&E’s Electricity Prices, For Now
Voice of San Diego » Environment
by MacKenzie Elmer
1M ago
This post first appeared in the Morning Report. That’s our free newsletter of all things you need to know to start your day. Subscribe here. San Diego Community Power was able to beat its investor-owned competitors’ energy prices this winter, but summer may be a different story.  The public power company’s governing board OK’d electricity rates on Thursday that are 1.5 percent lower than its investor-owned competitor, San Diego Gas & Electric. But San Diego Community Power’s summer electric rates will be 15 percent higher than its competitor, if SDG&E’s prices don’t change this y ..read more
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San Diego Could Be First to Float Solar on Drinking Water
Voice of San Diego » Environment
by MacKenzie Elmer
1M ago
A south San Diego water district is thinking about powering itself with energy from the sun.  Leaders at Sweetwater Authority, which serves National City, western Chula Vista and Bonita, hired a contractor to study how floating solar panels on its namesake reservoir could reduce its budget. If successful, Sweetwater could be the first drinking water reservoir in the United States to host renewable energy of this kind.   Sweetwater’s board hired Noria Energy on June 28 to design a 3.75 megawatt solar array atop 10 acres of the reservoir. Noria has built floating solar arrays on ..read more
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Mexican Military Takes Over Broken Tijuana Sewage Plant Rehab
Voice of San Diego » Environment
by MacKenzie Elmer and Vicente Calderón
1M ago
The Mexican military is taking over reconstruction of a broken wastewater treatment plant in Tijuana that pollutes southern San Diego beaches in summertime.  It’s the latest infrastructure project Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is entrusting to the military to complete, like Tren Maya, a new massive railway looping the Yucatan peninsula and a new airport in Mexico City. Now that list of projects includes Punta Bandera, a Tijuana wastewater plant that has been broken since at least 2014, which spews untreated sewage into the Pacific Ocean just six miles south of the U.S. bo ..read more
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Environment Report: It’s Really Hard to Sink a Whale
Voice of San Diego » Environment
by MacKenzie Elmer
1M ago
As it turns out, a whale, even in death, can still travel quite a distance.  The dead, female fin whale that washed ashore at Pacific Beach on Dec. 10 has since drifted 100 miles northward to San Nicolas Island, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of Los Angeles. And it’s still moving, last known south past the U.S.-Mexico land border.  That information comes from a GPS tracker the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, attached to the carcass the second time it was towed offshore from San Diego.   You can see the fin whale’s path on this Google Map with ..read more
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San Diego, Your Food Doesn’t Belong in the Trash
Voice of San Diego » Environment
by MacKenzie Elmer
2M ago
What We Learned This Year is a reporting series about some of the biggest stories of 2023. Read more here. This year, many California cities began the monumental task of rolling green plastic bins to every door within their boundaries. Except, they started too late.   The state now requires that the amount of organic food waste being thrown into landfills drop by half come 2020. Most California cities would get there by convincing residents to separate and dispose banana peels, meat bones and coffee grinds into food waste recycling bins.   Rotting organics trapped in landf ..read more
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Suspects Named in San Diego’s Dead Fin Whale Case: Killer Whales
Voice of San Diego » Environment
by MacKenzie Elmer
2M ago
Scientists believe the dead teenage fin whale that washed up on a popular San Diego beach last week was fleeing its greater foe, the killer whale.  First responders presumed the teeth marks that raked across the whale’s iconic shrunken dorsal and sides were the dirty work of sharks. Whale experts revealed the wounds match the jawline of the ocean’s tuxedoed top predator – the fin whales’ only real predator aside from humans.   Marks on dead fin whale that washed ashore on a San Diego beach on Dec. 10, 2023. / Courtesy of NOAA. Note: Photos taken under stranding network perm ..read more
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San Diego’s Most Polluted Beaches in Three Charts
Voice of San Diego » Environment
by MacKenzie Elmer and Alexander Pourfard  
2M ago
Last May, the San Diego County Public Health Department started using more sensitive technology to detect how much and how often sewage is spilling from Tijuana onto southern San Diego’s beaches.   The answer: It’s spilling most of the time, making the water way more polluted than we knew it to be.  After more sensitive water quality tests rolled out last May, the rate at which South Bay failed it skyrocketed.   MacKenzie Elmer / Voice of San Diego At first, the county started closing beaches that failed the new test, which counts poo bacteria by its DNA. That trigge ..read more
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