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Monitor Notes: Fire Education, Drinking Water, Road Safety, Earth Day, and Equity in Action

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


Fighting Fire with Fire

The Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc. (RFFI) is hosting a virtual workshop on March 10 at 2 p.m. to help people learn about converting forest slash, or woody debris, into biochar that benefits soil health and the climate. It’s similar to a prescribed burn, but with a few extra steps. RFFI and the Sonoma Ecology Center create fuel breaks and convert the removed slash into biochar that’s placed in the forest. It helps improve soil nutrient and water retention and prevents carbon from escaping into the atmosphere. The event includes a biochar production demo in a portable kiln in Mendocino County’s Usal Redwood Forest. Register here and watch for more educational flames in the April/May Monitor. Leslie Stewart will report on how biomass from forest thinning and related activities reduces wildfire risk and air pollution.


Water Futures

Officials at the State Water Resources Control Board are organizing virtual workshops on March 17, 19, and 23 to get the public’s input about the 2020 Safe Drinking Water Plan. During the workshops, the State Water Board will highlight what’s happened since the 2015 plan and describe goals in the 2020 document. The biggest issue in California is many communities have drinking water that isn’t up to standards, which presents health risks. This disparity culminated in major reforms and the adoption of Senate Bill 200 in 2019 establishing the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. But more work is necessary. The 2020 plan includes recommendations to address challenges that affect drinking water and communities served by public water systems.


Zero in on Safety

A new task force met for the first time on February 17 to share ideas for making the region safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. The Vision Zero Working Group, spearheaded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, is working on solutions that make streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes safer by eliminating car-related fatalities and injuries. MTC recently adopted a regional Safety/Vision Zero policy and is developing a data system that’ll serve as a consistent source to inform local, city, and county safety plans and projects. Cities like San Francisco and Oakland have separately adopted Vision Zero policies, but regional policymakers are urging more action to prevent a worrisome trend of unnecessary accidents. The task force is expected to meet quarterly. 


Come Back to Earth

April 22 is Earth Day and now is the time to prepare. While this environmental celebration is occurring during a pandemic there are ways to stay in harmony with local health and safety guidelines. Naturally, California State Parks Foundation is suggesting people visit their local state parks, wear masks, and practice social distancing while picking up trash. But clean-ups also can occur in natural spaces like playgrounds, neighborhood parks, or even in your backyard. The foundation has partnered with retailer REI to encourage participation. Earthlings who register before March 15 will get a free swag kit with trash bags, a face mask, REI coupon, and instructions on how to join virtual Earth Day activities.


Equity Line

What can your community do to implement equity? Join the discussion surrounding this critical question during League Day this Saturday, March 6 with the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area (LWVBA). Participants may enter “Equity in Action” via Zoom as early as 9:00 a.m. LWVBA President Sherry Smith will kick off the three-hour educational event with opening remarks at 9:30 a.m. Notes revealed a variety of community, advocacy, and League leaders participating in this year’s gathering in previous newsletters. So please register and hear what San Francisco Foundation CEO Fred Blackwell (pictured) and other professionals say about equity — from tools, measurements, and campaigns to economic impacts and legislation.



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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