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Monitor Notes: Green Ag, Park Survey, Electric Ferry, Virus Detectives

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

 

Tending to the Climate

The League of Women Voters of Palo Alto is among organizations supporting an August 12 virtual lecture with the nonprofit Acterra about “The Role of Agriculture in Climate Change: Livestock, Diets and Soil Carbon Sequestration.” The speaker for this 10:30 a.m. event is Pete Smith (pictured), a professor at the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences. He’ll talk about the role of food production and distribution in contributing to global greenhouse gases, as well as food choice changes he thinks might be better for the climate. Register here and then revisit the Monitor for more details on carbon farming in the Bay Area.

 

Blaze the Trail Survey

The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) is gathering community input about park and trail use during the pandemic through an online survey. The feedback will help it develop strategies to handle the virus’ short- and long-term impacts. The survey asks about trail usage and how important park access is to quality of life. It also asks for views about park employees and their expanded role in helping keep parks safe and clean. A July 20 EBRPD Twitter post noted that initial survey results show some residents consider regional parks an essential service. What do you think? Click here to share your thoughts.

 

Floating a Loan

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is helping SWITCH Maritime in the form of a loan guarantee. The loan is the first project under the Air District’s Climate Tech Finance program, which aims to lower transportation emissions by accelerating emerging climate technologies. SWITCH is building the first fleet of zero-emission vessels in North America, including an 84-passenger, fuel cell electric “e-ferry” expected to sail between Oakland and San Francisco later this year. The loan guarantee helped SWITCH secure a $5 million loan with a commercial bank. There could be more activity to come, too, that would affect residents’ travel choices. “Our hope is that this is the first collaborative effort of many between SWITCH and the Air District to help deploy zero-emissions vessels in the Bay Area,” said Pace Ralli, CEO of SWITCH, in a news release.

 

Wastewater Detectives

Monitor Notes covered COVID-19 research efforts this spring, with details about the work going into wastewater data gathering. Now, Eileen White (pictured), director of wastewater at the East Bay Municipal Utility District, is flushing out more details about the agency’s role in tracking the virus’ spread. In an interview with the Public Policy Institute of California, White explained that she and her team have been monitoring COVID-19 ever since the Grand Princess cruise ship reached the Port of Oakland with the virus in its wastewater. Testing wastewater is a cost-effective way to watch trends related to community presence and infection rates that help guide health departments, White said.

 

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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