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Upcoming Events


The Butte Environmental council is proud to announce the Grand Opening of the new Oak Way Community Garden at the corner of Nord Ave and Oak Way in Chico.


Join us from 9 AM-12:30 PM Saturday, September 20th, 2014 for the annual Bidwell Park Clean-Up. It's time to clean our beloved park and creeks again!

Celebrate BEC's 39th Anniversary at our annual Gala & Awards Dinner at the Arc Pavilion in Chico.

Saturday, October 18th the Arc Pavilion, 2020 Park St in Chico. 


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Newsletter Archive

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

July 14, 2014

Highlights and Sticky Notes:The northern Sacramento Valley faces a serious threat. Gov. Jerry Brown continues to push his twin tunnels project, under the guise of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The plan proposes a pair of massive tunnels with design capacity sufficient to drain the Sacramento River in a dry year.As Butte Environmental Council’s (BEC) water policy analyst representing North State communities, I reviewed and analyzed more than 40,000 pages of the plan’s description and environmental review documents. An increased, uncompromised water supply for south of Delta interests is the desire. Big Ag and Big Oil will get more water, you get the bill.Proponents failed to disclose the true source of water (the Sacramento Valley), but water transfers are written all over this plan. In fact, 34 separate documents reference water transfers. Proponents failed to acknowledge the potential for environmental and social impacts to the areas of origin, but removing up to 1 million acre-feet of water surely would have significant impacts. And, proponents failed to disclose the amount of groundwater that will increase water flow through the tunnels.Tags: BEC, water, peripheral canal, Twin Tunnels, BDCPby: rdifalco

July 1, 2014

Highlights and Sticky Notes:Chico Tree Advocates were on the job last Arbor Day, April 25. Thanks to more than 10 sponsors and our five volunteers, we received a great seminar about tree planting from Dave Bettencourt, city street tree supervisor.

Thanks also to the Butte Environmental Council for their encouragement and help as our fiscal agency and providing the bright orange vests for our volunteers. Thanks also to Grub and Rental Guys.

Our goal was to plant 10 trees. I bought eight, but when the day came, we had just five sites OK’d for planting. So we planted five trees and we’re still looking for homes for the other three. Since this was our first foray planting city street trees, and because the sky was threatening, I was OK with a short day. As it turned out, minutes after we finished, there was a downpour.

Discussing the day, we agreed that you feel something wonderful, powerful, almost spiritual, about planting trees. It felt good. We look forward to getting these last three planted and for an even larger tree planting event in the fall.Tags: BEC, trees, chicoby: rdifalco

June 18, 2014

June 1 - Chico: Butte Environmental Council Workshop "Lawns to Native Landscapes" with Garden Designer John Whittlesey 9 am - 2 pm. Dig-in for this hands-on Lawn Conversion workshop to conserve water, and create bird habitat. In Chico, water use goes up 60% in the summertime when we start watering our landscaping, so being mindful of what we plant can add up to huge water savings. During this event participants will join-in for a demonstration of lawn conversion, learn about appropriate native plants, get advice on their own yards, have soil samples analyzed, enjoy a lunch with friends, and take home a plant to get started. During the day we will also be learning about The Audubon Society's new Bird Friendly Yard Certification Program. This is a Free Event and limited to 20 people. For more info: (530) 891-6424 or

Tags: BEC, garden

BEC News Interests

July 18, 2014

Highlights and Sticky Notes:A Sacramento Superior Court judge issued a ruling Tuesday requiring regulation of groundwater pumping to protect a river in Siskiyou County.Attorneys on both sides say it's the first time a California court has ruled the "public trust doctrine" applies to groundwater. The doctrine says the State of California holds all waterways for the benefit of the people.The lawsuit claimed groundwater pumping in the Scott River Basin is partly responsible for decreased river flows - limiting the public's use of the river and harming fish habitat.
J"Because California is famously the only western state that has no regulation of groundwater pumping at all. And so this decision for the first time is going to say that well at least where that groundwater pumping affects surface waters, you've got to regulate it and control it so you don't do harm,” said Wheaton."By requiring, not allowing or permitting, but rather requiring counties to regulate groundwater by application of public trust principle,” said Walston.” He said the trial court ruling will likely be appealed and the final decision may be made by the California Supreme Court.Tags: water, groundwaterby: rdifalco

July 9, 2014

Highlights and Sticky Notes:A journey to the southern part of the state reveals water propagandaThis article was published on 07.03.14.
Somewhere in the armpit of California, south of Stockton and north of Coalinga, I started seeing signs like “No water = higher food costs” and “Water = jobs!” and my personal favorite: “Stop the Congress-created Dust Bowl.” This all relates to the restrictions on pumping water to this arid part of the state. A few months ago, the State Water Resources Control Board imposed restrictions on junior water rights holders. Those users have largely ignored the no-pumping notices, so the board this week is attempting to put some teeth behind their orders. A few options include fines of $500 per day and requiring that users acknowledge, under penalty of perjury, that they have stopped pumping.

The signs weren’t in direct response to the state water board’s recent efforts to put penalties into place. Some have been there for years, put there during previous years when water was scarce. Yet all around them for miles and miles are orchards, many of them newly planted. That means farmers in this parched region, despite the inherent risk of planting trees—rather than row crops in fields that can be fallowed in dry years—have only themselves, and perhaps Mother Nature, to blame for their bad fortune. I can’t muster sympathy for them, although I do feel badly for the farm workers they employ—people who had no part in choosing the crop.

Tags: california, water, deltaby: rdifalco

July 8, 2014

Highlights and Sticky Notes:Logging companies in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere in California will now be required to report how much water they extract from streams for dust control.The California Board of Forestry adopted the emergency regulations in response to the drought. The action arose from concerns that very low water flows in many mountain streams could be further depleted by water extractions related to logging.Tags: logging, water, california, droughtby: rdifalco

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