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Posts Tagged ‘san francisco’

Spreck Rosekrans came to us August 21st, 2014 to make the case for restoring Hetch Hetchy from reservoir to valley. The dam just passed its 100th anniversary in 2013, but what was hugely controversial at that time (more than 200 newspapers opposed, and John Muir famously broken-hearted by the decision) is now something of which most San Franciscans are proud.

Spreck spent only a little of his time on the “why” of making the effort. We lost this special place, and many people regretted the choice to dam it at the time, and today we have a chance to correct that mistake and restore an iconic place. To do that would show not just values, but also show that we can make meaningful water reform (not something that seems to come easily to Californians). The arguments (which Spreck also layed out) against it are many — people feel that the water is SF’s birthright, that Hetch Hetchy was a swamp, that we are actually protecting the valley, and there’s hydro power from the dam, the cost of removing it, and that we need more storage not less.

The main thrust of the talk was on the practical question of: if we removed the dam, how would we actually supply the water coming into the pipes of the 2.4 million people? It is not a pie-in-the-sky, wishy-washy notion as one might first think. EDF hired 2 mainstream engineering firms, and one law firm to look into what it would take (this resulted in a publication called Paradise Regained — the summary on this page gives a pretty good idea of what is proposed).

The amount of water involved is not the biggest. Of 5 big water projects over the last 22 years, Hetch Hetchy would involve less water than 4 (Delta ESA work, Central Valley wetlands, Trinity River, and rivers in the Central Valley). It would mean juggling water from various sources, doing what is known as “water banking”, taking more from the Cherry reservoir. Looking at the dry years, that kind of work (with the removal of the dam) would get is to around 80%.

The last 20% would take working to be more efficient with the water we have, from farming practices, to recycling, to just plain using less. These are things that of course are not easy, but they are things that we can do — and given current state of our reservoirs maybe things we will have to do anyway. At the end of the day though, we could have our cake and eat it too.

Hetch Hetchy left alone will be with us a long time – unlike other dams, silt does not seem to be a great problem there. Choosing to restore the valley to its former glory would no doubt have its complications and difficulties, but that choice is not just a fantasy.

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Glenn Lym has released the video that covers the same ground as his lecture on June 21st.

You can subscribe and download this video and its companions through the free iTunes Video Podcast Store.

You can also view the video streaming on Glenn’s website.

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The Development of the Two Ends of the Great San Francisco Dune Fields
In Search of Eradicated Landscapes
Guest Speaker: Glenn Lym
7:30pm, Thursday, June 21st, 2012
FREE at the Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 

The Development of the Two Ends of the Great San Francisco Dune Fields: geographic histories of Golden Gate Park and South of the Slot

Architect Glenn Lym will speak and show off parts of the 3D CAD model he’s been working on of early SF topography, roughly 1850 through 1890. Talk includes short video of the history of GG Park.

Glenn will begin with a look at the history of Golden Gate Park through a 20 minute video, and will move on to a live presentation of material related to the development of Market Street — how the the flatlands of SoMa, Union Square and the Tenderloin and were created.  Materials include period photography, current and CAD based videos.

More about Glenn on his website.

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The lecture below originally scheduled for May 17th, 2012, has been postponed. The speaker, Ariel Rubissow Okamoto, is not able to come speak this month due to unforeseen circumstances.  We hope to have her later in the year. 

The UNnatural History of San Francisco Bay
Guest Speaker:  Ariel Rubissow Okamoto

Date TBD

Journalist and author Ariel Rubissow Okamoto will answer a few burning questions from her new book Natural History of San Francisco Bay: How do you “make” a wetland if you’re not Mother Nature? If you throw a dead body of the GG Bridge where will it end up? Why splashing in the surf off Crown Beach might you give something like poison oak?

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto is a freelance writer living in San Francisco, who has been writing about environmental issues for 25 years, more recently specializing in California water issues. You can find out more about Natural History of San Francisco Bay here.

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picture from Golden Gate Cetacean

Return of the Harbor Porpoises
Guest Speaker:  Bill Keener
7:30pm, Thursday, March 15th, 2012
FREE at the Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 

Bill Keener, cofounder of Golden Gate Cetacean Research, created to study the porpoise, will tell us of their disappearance by the 1940′s, the mystery of their unexpected return in recent years, and how you can help by reporting your porpoise sightings.

Bill’s experience includes work as a field observer for the harbor porpoise population study in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary from 1987-1989.  He is an environmental lawyer and the former Executive Director of the Marine Mammal Center.

Read more about Bill and porpoises in Bay Nature magazine, Jul-Sep 2011, Safe Harbor, Welcoming Porpoises Back to San Francisco Bay.

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White Sturgeon in San Francisco Bay

The Sturgeon in San Francisco Bay:
How critical can a 10,000 year old Bay be for a 100 million year old fish?

Guest Speaker:  Michael McGowan
7:30pm, Thursday, February 16th, 2012
FREE at the Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 

Michael McGowan, fisheries oceanographer and aquatic ecologist, will discuss his research on how the ecology of the green and white sturgeon differ in their life history and in how they use the Bay.

White sturgeon are the largest fresh water fish in North America that can live over a hundred years and can grow to 20 feet long, and weigh 1500lbs. (more info)

Green sturgeon, up  to 7 feet long and 350lbs, seem to be a little more mysterious on the web, they are probably migratory salt water fish that probably spawn in fresh water. (more info)

Michael will fill in the details for us.

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The Golden Age of Mesopredators
Guest Speaker:  Glen Martin
7:30pm, Thursday, January 19th, 2012
FREE at the Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 

"intruder alert! intruder alert!" by slworking2

Glen Martin, former environmental reporter for the Chronicle, will recount how mid-level predators are thriving in the Bay Area.

You can get an intro to the subject through his Bay Nature article from July 1st of 2011, the Middle Way.

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