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Upcoming Events

12
Apr

Join in for an upstream migration along Big Chico Creek, from the confluence with the Sacramento River to the forested spring headwaters.

12
Apr

Join us for a delicious Mexican feast to celebrate and support community gardens!

22
Apr

What will you do for Earth Day this year?  Join BEC at the Sierra Nevada Big Room for the local premier of a new film, 'The Little Things'! This night is full of fun, film, and connecting back to nature.

02
May

Join us for the environmental event of the year; with children's parade, live music, eco-activities, good food, a rescued animal show, hands-on lessons for kids, and the chance to celebrate the earth with your community.

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BEC Protects

The Butte Environmental Council (BEC) is a non-profit environmental organization based in Chico, California. Our mission is to preserve and conserve the Earth’s natural resources, with particular attention to environmental issues in Northern California. BEC was formed in 1975 and throughout its 37 years, BEC has had a significant voice in shaping the environment and policies of Butte County and beyond.

BEC in the News

March 23, 2015

Highlights and Sticky Notes:Nestled underground, below a mix of trees and brush, lies a 10-inch natural gas pipeline, installed in 1954. Little has been done to maintain it in recent decades, but Pacific Gas & Electric is trying to remedy that with an aggressive plan to remove trees and vegetation around the line and others throughout the state, said spokesperson Shaun Maccoun.“You look at this little valley oak right now and it doesn’t look like much, but it’s very ominous,” said Joey Perez, senior land consultant. “And it’s going to get bigger ... When I consider the safety risk, these trees were doomed from the start.”Robyn Difalco, executive director of Butte Environmental Council, said being able to see the actual project gave her perspective and context, and she retains hope for saving some of the larger trees.“It’s a really beautiful area with thriving oaks of all ages and I was left with a sense that this is a place that can continue to thrive, but it’s a shame for so many oaks to be affected,” she said. “I also felt that PG&E seems willing to work with the community and put together some decent plans to remediate and mitigate for the impact that their project will have.”PG&E doubts most people will be affected by the removed vegetation and it will be replanting in other appropriate areas, with one or perhaps two new trees for every one removed, Perez said.PG&E’s focus on the visual impact of the trees is not enough, DiFalco said. Carbon sequestration, habitat and other factors are also critical, especially in an area where oaks are naturally regenerating.“It’s not surprising that PG&E as a corporation doesn’t entirely recognize the full ecological value of these trees,” she said. “That is what concerns us.”Tags: BEC, chico, tree, removals, pipelineby: rdifalco

March 10, 2015

Highlights and Sticky Notes:Flowers placed on a stump of a tree removed by PG&E at the Oroville Cemetery as part of the utility’s Pathways Pipeline Project. As the tree-removal work continues in Butte County, efforts are be made to avoid or ease the controversy that happened in Oroville.Chico >> No one wants another Oroville tree fiasco.Butte County, PG&E and other stakeholders are working together to try to prevent another controversy surrounding tree removals planned to take place around Chico as part of the Pathways Pipeline Project. Final tree removal numbers and locations have not been established but both the county and PG&E pledge that communication is a critical factor.“We are very hopeful we can have a collaborative process and the public can be very informed,” said Paul Hahn, Butte County’s chief administrative officer. “There will be no quick decisions and trees are not going to just start disappearing.”The eventual removal of about 15 trees on Feather River Boulevard in front of the Oroville Cemetery was the subject of months of protests by citizens. The protest began in late November, with PG&E insisting the project was necessary for safety and access to its high-pressure gas-transmission line, and protesters arguing the trees were not a risk and strapping themselves to trees to protect them.In all, 240 trees were removed in Oroville as part of the Pipeline Pathways Project. Tree removals in Paradise are next on the list for the Butte County area, although some trees in and near Chico have also been identified.Conversations about planned tree removals have included Butte County supervisors, Sheriff Kory Honea and Public Works Director Mike Crump, as well as representatives from Butte Environmental Council, which is particularly concerned with the tree replacement plan.On Friday, BEC members met with PG&E and discussed 62 trees to be removed in the Comanche Creek greenway, including some sizeable oaks. PG&E agreed to follow Chico tree protection and mitigation guidelines, which could involve planting 150 trees to replace those to be removed, said BEC board member Mark Stemen.“We stated in no uncertain terms that we are not issuing any permits for tree removal within the county until we have had a robust public process, including some of the neighbors’ involvement and the Board of Supervisors, possibly,” Hahn said.“We will be open to listening. I think none of us want a repeat of what happened in Oroville.”Tags: BEC, tree, Butte County, Oroville, chicoby: rdifalco

March 5, 2015

Highlights and Sticky Notes:A clean-up of Little Chico Creek from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday is being touted as a “block party with a purpose.”After gathering near the windchime sculpture at the park on Humboldt Avenue near Willow Street, volunteers and community members will remove garbage from the creek and park, according to an event flier. Invasive weeds will also be cleared.Volunteers are asked to wear closed-toe shoes, long pants and long-sleeve shirts and to bring gloves and a reusable water bottle, if available. Organizers will provide tools, waste bins and water. They will also provide lunch and lemonade to volunteers.

The event is sponsored by the city of Chico, Butte Environmental Council, Waste Management and the Mount Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.Tags: BEC, chico, water, cleanup, creekby: rdifalco

BEC News Interests

March 23, 2015

Highlights and Sticky Notes:New mandated water regulations will soon be mandated in Butte County, but many in the area already adhere to the new state standards.Local officials say the big one for local water providers is the limitation on days you can water per weekCal Water Chico District acting manager Peter Bonacich said the challenge is implementing the restriction to twice a week. It’s likely the water will be split among customers, allowing watering only on certain days for different areas, he said.

As for those who over-water, the utility company has few options, except cutting them off.“Cal Water can’t really enforce waste of water,” Bonacich said.Chico has reduced water usage by about 16 percent, which is shy of the goal set by Governor Jerry Brown.Tags: california, water, chico, Oroville, Butte Countyby: rdifalco

March 23, 2015

Highlights and Sticky Notes:(March 20, 2015) With a fourth year of severe drought conditions looming, state water regulators this week expanded emergency water rules and the Governor and legislative leaders announced a $1 billion emergency drought package.The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which provides water as it melts in the spring and early summer, is well below historical averages.
“Since we can’t make it rain, we have to manage our resources more efficiently today and in the future. That includes adequate storage and conveyance facilities, plus approving desalination, recycling and reuse operations,” said California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Allan Zaremberg.

    New water use restrictions adopted by the State Water Board on March 17 include:
    • Irrigating turf or ornamental landscapes during and 48 hours after measurable precipitation is prohibited.
    • Restaurants and other food service establishments can serve water to customers only on request.
    • Hotel and motel operators must give guests the option to choose not to have towels and linens laundered daily and prominently display a notice of this option.
    • Urban water suppliers must limit to no more than two days per week the number of days that customers can irrigate outdoors.

Monthly reporting requirements are expanded to include the limit on days for outdoor irrigation and a description of compliance and enforcement efforts.
Local agencies can fine property owners up to $500 a day for failing to implement conservation requirements and the State Water Board can issue cease-and-desist orders against water agencies that don’t impose mandatory conservation measures on retail customers.The emergency regulation adopted by the water board on March 17 will be submitted to the Office of Administrative Law, which has 10 days to approve or deny it. If approved, the regulation will take effect immediately and remain in effect for 270 days,
Tags: california, water, droughtby: rdifalco

March 23, 2015

Highlights and Sticky Notes:Oroville >> On the premise that children learn better through things they can see, feel and touch, a nonprofit organization and several Butte County groups provided outdoor education Thursday to elementary students at Stanford Avenue School in Oroville.A group called Outdoor Education for All coordinated the event with participants from The Stream Team, Chico Creek Nature Center, Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve, California State Parks, Altacal Audubon Society, UC Cooperative Extension and Butte County Resource Conservation District.At the stations, the children learned how to take care of water, diving for water, mapping watersheds, discovering nature, the relationship between a stream and the environment and the importance of water to health.Outdoor Education for All currently includes 140 organizations and schools in an open network, according to Leicester. The group hopes to eventually take the program to other schools and get more Butte College and Chico State University students involved as interns.Tags: environmental, educationby: rdifalco

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