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Monitor Notes: Veterans Outdoors, King Tides, Wildfires Toll, Vehicle Upgrades

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


Healing Outdoors

The Monitor’s Aleta George recently reported on the ways nature offers military veterans facing service-related trauma an important place for health and mental healing. Many more are now likely to find a path toward help after the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors (AVRO) Act that Aleta wrote about was recently signed into law. AVRO is part of the Veterans COMPACT Act, a package of bills addressing healthcare and suicide prevention for veterans. It directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to create a task force that will identify and remove barriers for veterans to use public lands as a form of medical therapy. “The outdoors can be a powerful place for healing and respite, and we have high hopes for the task force’s recommendations,” said Robert Vessels (pictured), campaign manager for the Sierra Club Military Outdoors program, in a December 6 press release. Vessels, a veteran himself, shared additional perspective on AVRO’s far-reaching importance in Aleta’s latest article.


A Word to the Sea-Level Rise

Our October/November edition of the Monitor magazine featured several ways the Bay Area is preparing for sea-level rise, from troubleshooting its effect on islands and roadways to coordinated adaptation efforts. Stay current on local activity by joining a live-stream event, “Getting Wise to Sea-Level Rise,” on December 14 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. You’ll learn how king tides, expected to make a splash between December 13 and 15, can predict the impacts of rising seas along our coastlines. California State Parks and the California King Tides Project are hosting the event. Click here for more information, including key speakers and which Bay Area coastal parks will be presented. 


Wildfire Planning

Many residents are all too familiar with the destructive toll of wildfires. Their cumulative effect, aggravated by climate change and land development in high-risk areas, will continue impacting urban environments, including transportation. To learn more, join a 12 p.m. webinar on December 10 with the UC Institute of Transportation in which researchers will address critical issues related to wildfires and transportation via two research projects on evacuations and post-wildfire debris flow. They’ll offer transportation, communication, and infrastructure strategies that government and planning agencies can use to prepare and respond to wildfires. The research projects will also be put into the current COVID-19 pandemic context. Register.


Clean Air Support

Air District grant funding is available and might be just what your school district — or other local organization reliant on heavy equipment — needs. About $40 million is available for projects to upgrade or replace on-road vehicles, school buses, off-road and agricultural equipment, marine equipment, and locomotives. Think projects that help improve community health by reducing toxic air emissions and ozone-forming pollutants from older, polluting diesel engines. The Air District will explain more during an informational webinar on December 17 at 3 p.m. Think you know a group that would benefit? Click here for more information, including which communities the Air District will prioritize for project applications.


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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