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Monitor Notes: Fish Mortality, Wildfire Risk, Healthy Homes, Roadmap to Voting


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


Monitor Report: El Cerrito’s 50-year Impact on the Recycling World

At the 50th anniversary celebration for the El Cerrito Recycling Center on Aug. 5, Anura Saliya Pieris of Sri Lanka made a hat for his daughter, Lakshmi, out of old atlases recovered from the center’s home-goods exchange zone.

Pieris had toured the beloved — Yes, beloved! — drop-off recycling center a few days earlier with his family while visiting his son, a software engineer in El Cerrito. As a corporate social responsibility manager, Pieris had plans to implement lessons learned upon return to his hometown of Borelesgamuwa near the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.

Despite its small size, El Cerrito has had an outsize impact on recycling in the Bay Area and beyond for half a century. Located in a former quarry, the El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resources Center serves 300 to 500 customers daily and more than 100,000 people per year from El Cerrito and the surrounding region, diverting an estimated 1,500 tons of material from landfill annually.

Read more from Janet Byron at the Bay Area Monitor.


Algal Bloom and Fish Mortality

A harmful algal bloom (HAB) has turned Bay water a murky reddish-brown, giving swimmers skin rashes, and causing thousands of dead fish to wash up along the shores of Lake Merrit. This particular bloom is tied to nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, released by wastewater treatment plants. “There are over 40 wastewater treatment plants in the Bay,” says Baykeeper staff scientist Ian Wren, “and that’s the building block for algae like this.

In partnership with Baykeeper and the UC Davis fish ecology researches, the San Francisco Estuary Institute has set up a webpage to help the public track fish mortality across the bay as the bloom continues. “To assess the HAB event’s impacts on Bay wildlife, documentation of fish mortality is urgently needed over the coming days and weeks,” says the website. “However, Bay size (Area: 1600 mi2; shoreline: >300 mi) makes data-gathering a daunting challenge — one that calls for an ‘all-hands’ approach.”


Climate Speaker Series: Wildfire Mitigation
Wednesday, September 7th, 4pm

Join the League of Women Voters of Piedmont and Piedmont Connect on Wednesday, September 7th, 2022 at 4pm for a discussion with Sara Paul of Watch Duty, a non-profit founded in the wildlands of Sonoma County to provide real-time push notifications about wildfires in California.

Sara Paul is a wildfire mitigation consultant. She manages Sonoma County Fire Updates, established on Facebook at the start of the 2017 Tubbs Fire and now a resource for vegetation fires, threatening weather and evacuation preparedness.

Register for the event here.


Regional Partnerships Protecting Community Health
Thursday, September 8th, 10-11:30am

The Air District will be hosting a webinar showcasing how interdisciplinary regional partnerships can be created to help protect community health and well-being, advance climate goals, and promote equity. This webinar will feature the Bay Area Healthy Homes Initiative (BAHHI), a cross-cutting partnership built upon an existing pilot program in Contra Costa County and include an interactive presentation allowing participants to engage with each other and discuss the challenges in forming partnerships across disciplines.

Found out more here, and register for the webinar here.


Roadmap to Voting
Thursday, September 15th, 4-5:30pm

Join a Community Conversation next Thursday to learn how to ready yourself for the November 8 General Election. The webinar will offer information about changes that the Contra Costa County Election Office has made to enhance security and improve the efficiency of counting ballots. Tools like the League of Women Voters’ “Voter’s Edge” will be highlighted to help voters become more informed about candidates and issues. 

The panel will be moderated by Martha Goralka, Voter Services Co-Chair for the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley.

Register for the event here.


Banner photo: Algal bloom in Mission Creek, San Francisco, by pollution hotline tipster Benjamin Feingold

Monitor Notes is produced by Michael Adamson. 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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