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Monitor Notes: Street Safety, River Otters, Conservation Corps, Rooftop Solar

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


Word on the Street

Is there an interchange by your house that you feel interrupts safety? Take this Street Story survey and explain to Caltrans officials why this area near the highway is dangerous. It’s updating the Pedestrian Plan for Caltrans District 4, the section of the state’s transportation department that represents the Bay Area. The pedestrian effort is intended to complement the 2018 District 4 Bike Plan, which the Monitor reported on before to see how it would address bike safety and integrated network needs.


River Otter Review

Head to Santa Rosa on Thursday, January 9 for a “River Otters on the Rise” presentation by the River Otter Ecology Project from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The organization, which the Monitor’s Robin Meadows interviewed last summer, has monitored and researched river otter recovery for seven years. Its community science-based approach uses camera trapping and scat collection for genetic and bacterial analysis. This helps determine where otters are and how they’re doing. The presentation will include details about “Otter Spotter,” a citizen science program for reporting river otter sightings in the Bay Area, as well as information about otters’ role in wetland restoration and watershed conservation. Tickets are $14.


Maintaining a Career Path

A Marin County Parks survey earlier this year showing support for trail maintenance and upgrades helped contribute to the creation of a six-month pilot program providing work experience for young people. The department has partnered with Conservation Corps North Bay, a nonprofit preparing young people to enter the workforce, to provide four-person crews for trail maintenance. Most of the work focuses on tread improvements, drainage, vegetation management, and stair maintenance. On wet winter days, the crew will work with department staff on flood prevention efforts. Marin County Parks officials would like to improve opportunities for corps members to find full-time, part-time, or seasonal employment.


Bundle of Energy

The state of California recently hit a goal set in 2006 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger when he signed the Million Solar Roofs Initiative (Senate Bill 1, Murray) to build a million solar energy systems on homes, schools, farms, and businesses. One million solar roofs translate into the creation of over 10 billion kWh of electricity per year, equal to the output from six large natural gas-fired power plants, according to the California Solar Storage Association. It also helps avoid 5 million metric tons of CO2 per year, the same as taking a million cars off the road. The report showed Central Valley cities and the Sacramento and San Diego regions were strong markets for solar power. Read the report here. Monitor coverage also radiates information about solar installations. Guess which Bay Area city was the first in the U.S. to require roof space to have solar panels and/or vegetation on most new construction?


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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