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California Water Atlas

Seasons Greetings,

We at RRI wish we could offer a hopeful message of environmental progress, but the recent U.S. presidential election has changed all that. We do not have the luxury to sit back and weep as leadership positions are filled with climate change deniers and fossil fuel executives. We invite you to stay vigilant, offer your time and energy, and support as much environmental and climate-change advocacy as you can. If not now, when?

To keep California’s Resource Agency in a powerful position in the early 1980’s, RRI’s Founder and Chairperson, Huey Johnson, hired a “Watt Watcher” to keep tabs on President Reagan’s Interior Secretary James Watt. Pressure from environmental groups forced Watt’s removal in less than two years.

It’s just this attitude that this new challenging moment requires of each of us: reaffirm your values, watch the opposition, and be prepared to respond. We hope you and your family can take advantage of this challenging time to reacquaint yourselves with nature and borrow some of its wisdom and wildness as we brace for a long, hard fight for the environment. May your New Year be healthy, wise – and fierce.

From all of us at RRI

RRI

Highlights of our 2016 Work

Fish in the Fields and California Carbon Ponds Initiative
The global promise of RRI’s twin projects stretches the imagination. Picture vast expanses of California’s flooded rice fields producing a new source of protein while capturing carbon. These projects are the beginning of a new industrial phenomenon as dynamic as the invention of the computer or the steam engine. Tiny natural organisms found in watery ecosystems are the key, and, we believe, hold huge promise to solve global problems, be it in human heath, food or alternative energy. The discovery of plankton as a protein source that also sequesters carbon at a rate 20-50% times that of carbon captured by plants and trees, while creating oxygen, is for us an entry into the microorganism revolution. More recently, we’ve found that the introduction of small fish accelerates carbon capture and methane mitigation processes. In the coming year we will expand our fish-growing operations in Marysville rice fields and will  partner with scientists to study the effects of fish on carbon capture.



Initiative to Improve the Management of Public Lands
The Pt. Reyes National Seashore litigation, widely publicized by Huey’s columns and news coverage, is the launch of RRI’s initiative to improve the management of public lands. The litigation seeks to protect Point Reyes National Seashore from a special interest ranching plan that bypasses required NPS management policies, disregards public input, and threatens wildlife. Together with our co-plaintiffs, Western Watersheds Project and Center for Biological Diversity, and our legal council, Advocates for the West and Keker and Van Nest LLP, we anticipate NPS will be compelled to produce a long overdue General Management Plan based on environmental review as required by law. A precedent-setting legal victory provides an opening to correct similar management deficiencies at more than 70 of our beloved National Parks from the Grand Canyon to Great Smokey Mountains. RRI will extend this effort by speaking on behalf of the public trust interest to protect wildlife (such as Pt. Reyes Tule Elk) and habitat on public lands for future generations.
Forces of Nature: Environmental Elders Speak
Launched in 2013 our video interview series showcases over 150 inspiring individuals whose long careers have made a positive impact on our environment. Our growing collection presents personal stories, case studies and gems of wisdom to inform and inspire a new generation of environmental advocates. We are proud to announce that the project’s reach has surpassed our expectations. A whopping 455,503 people from over 140 countries have visited FON website with hundreds of “likes,” “shares” and “comments.”  There is still much to accomplish as we expand current themes, such as environmental justice and climate change, and select new interviewees who reflect and encourage the broadest coalition of voices for the protection and conservation of our natural resources.



Explore Climate Resilience ProjectField Notes Blog
Steven Steinhour presents his well-respected analyses of national and global responses to a changing climate within his much-viewed Extreme Weather Community Resilience Project series at RRI.org. Mr. Steinhour  reviews the documented transformations besetting our natural world —from dying forests to shrinking ice caps, suffocating drought and rising oceans — and  also  presents  strategies to meet consequences of  immediate and gradual climatic extremes.  The solutions to “sunny-day” floods, failed crops, life-threatening storms, community-engulfing Western fires and more demand a united resolve by all.  And now more than ever.



Explore Defense of PlaceDefense of Place
Resource Renewal and conservation organizations nationwide will soon observe the 20th anniversary of Huey’s founding Defense of Place, launched in early 1997 to defeat schemes to develop Northern California’s ecologically magnificent Pepperwood Preserve in breach of  the Preserve’s protective deed.  However, unreserved celebration can only come when all charters and statutes that shield public lands from sale or predatory changes are forever secure..  Until then Defense of Place continues its watchdog, activist and advisory mission to impede for-profit and government agencies that flout promised protections of public parklands, coastal areas and nature preserves.  Long-fought preservation battles endure in the Ballona Wetlands on the Los Angeles Coast; Washoe Meadows State Park in South Lake Tahoe; irreplaceable Ione Valley rangeland in California’s Amador County; and Jean Klock Park on the shores of Lake Michigan.  Recent focus has turned to the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area for those agencies’ lack of accountability while reversing legislatively mandated public access and recreation.  Defense of Place applauds the work of Marin County DOG (along with SFDOG and Coastside DOG) for successful court challenges that compel the NPS to produce long-requested documents related to the agencies’ rule-making process.



RRI is honored to support and sponsor the work of the following organizations:

Protect Granite Chief, Daniel Heagarty, Executive Director. 

Protect Granite Chief, https://protectgranitechief.wordpress.com, is a citizen activist campaign to defend the Granite Chief Wilderness Area from private development interests. Congress designated Granite Chief as “Wilderness” in 1984; the highest level of conservation provided for Federal lands. Now, this pristine area is threatened with the construction of a gondola and related development within the area along the Five Lakes Boundary. If allowed to proceed this proposal would substantively degrade the Granite Chief Wilderness Area, harming and diminishing this national Public Trust resource. A full-scale citizen effort calling attention to the environmental and public safety consequences of the development is underway.   


Public Trust Alliance, Michael Warburton, Executive Director

The Public Trust Alliance, www.publictrustalliance.org, uses the legal framework provided by the Public Trust Doctrine to protect and defend our natural resources for future generations. The Alliance works with communities to assert their right to ecologically sustainable and socially just management of resources, while holding public agencies accountable as trustees of the public’s land, air and water.  The Alliance focuses on long-term commitments to larger projects, such as the Monterey County effort to develop and implement infrastructure for an alternative, regional water supply to stop dewatering regional rivers & streams, as well as providing immediate assistance & information to community groups at various stages of their advocacy.


Californians for Western Wilderness, Michael Painter, Executive Director

“CalUWild”, www.caluwild.org, is a citizens group founded to secure protection for the remaining wilderness areas and other public lands in the western United States. The organization works to facilitate citizen participation in administrative and legislative actions, creating a constituency in California for wilderness across the West. A current strategy seeks to protect public lands through National Monument designation. In partnership with the Greater Canyons Lands Coalition and Native American tribal leaders, CalUWild is working to permanently protect these regions from oil and gas development, and for the creation of Bears Ears National Monument.


Washoe Meadows Community, Lynne Paulson, Chair

The Community’s decade-long fight to thwart California State Parks’ stripping  Washoe Meadows State Park’s legislative protection in order to expand a golf course into its ecologically fragile parkland exemplifies the tenacity essential to Defense of Place campaigns.   The Community most recently prevailed in an April 2015 lawsuit when the Alameda Superior Court ordered the State’s Environmental Impact Report to be vacated.  The State has appealed that decision. The Community is proceeding with positive proposals that could bring Upper Truckee River restoration; an innovative golf course by a world-renowned designer;  and recreational opportunities to spare the park’s rare fens, meadows, forests,  cultural sites, and streams that support  Rainbow, Eastern Brook, and Brown trout.

     
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