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Monitor Notes: State of the Estuary, Self-Driving Shuttles, Endangered Species, Particulate Series

Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.


Report Card Time

The 2019 State of the San Francisco Estuary Conference wrapped up this week in Oakland, providing the first update report on estuary health since 2015. The report covers the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary, noting positives like urban water conservation. But there’s room to address flooding susceptibility, lack of green space access, and declining fish populations, concerns the Monitor has covered in one form or another. “We need more investment in creative ways to use and restore flows for environmental health, to expand and build resilient shorelines by raising land elevations, and to weave considerations of social equity more strongly into efforts to improve environmental health,” said Letitia Grenier, the report’s lead scientist. Click here for more takeaways.


Put to Test

Concord’s GoMentum Station was recently selected as a test site for autonomous shuttles. Carmaker Local Motors is working with the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and AAA Northern California to test its electric, 3D-printed AV shuttle, Olli. Designed to help solve first-and-last-mile commute challenges, Olli operates with cognitive response technology and sensors, and an obstacle avoidance system. Testing will continue for a year, with future deployment plans near transit stations around Northern California, according to a press release. It’ll be interesting to see which transit hubs will be tapped. About two years ago, CCTA tested EasyMile AV shuttles at Bishop Ranch, a San Ramon business park. Zoom into the Monitor’s AV coverage for more about GoMentum Station.


Endangered Species

Citizens Climate Lobby and several other groups are organizing a November 5 evening panel discussion “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” to share the latest about the effects of climate changes on Bay Area wildlife. The event, co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of California, will highlight efforts to help species adapt and show how people can get involved locally. Peruse the panel and evening agenda, which includes a photo exhibition and “Edge of Extinction” video by Berkeleyside. Buy tickets for the November 5 event here. Then read about how endangered species and climate change are examples of issues ripe for regional approaches, according to reporting from the Monitor’s Aleta George.


Heart of the Matter

The Air District is holding the first of a four-part series on particulate matter (PM) on Monday, October 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s intended to encourage discussion among scientists and others about this public health challenge, as well as share information and tools to inform future policy decisions. The health impacts from PM, which can occur well below the current national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), are important to reassess due to a changing climate. Register here and see a list of discussion topics and speakers, including former EPA Administrator and current Harvard professor Gina McCarthy (pictured), who will deliver the keynote. Need a PM refresher? Check recent Monitor articles on air quality assessment  and coal and petcoke PM regulation.


Public Hearing Update

The October 2 Notes reported on an Air District public hearing about amendments to its Wildfire Air Quality Response Program. The hearing is rescheduled for November 20 at 9:30 a.m. at the Air District headquarters in San Francisco’s Bay Area Metro Center. The October 23 comment deadline remains unchanged.


Monitor Notes is produced by Cecily O’Connor. To receive it by email, scroll to the bottom of this page, enter your email address in the box under “RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES,” and click the red “SIGN UP” button.


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