Friday, October 28, 2016

California Energy System in Transition, Regional perspectives and local opportunities.

Sierra Santa Margarita Monthly Meeting 

November 10th, 6:30 PM, Ronald Roberts Library
30600 Pauba Rd, Temecula, CA 92592

The speaker is Scott Flint, Program Manager
Desert Renewable Energy and Conservation Plan (DRECP) Program Leader
California Energy Commission Siting, Transmission and Environmental Protection Division

He will address: California Energy System in Transition, Regional perspectives and local opportunities. 

1.       CA Climate goals (GHG reduction, Climate Adaptation) and how they are driving changes to the Energy System;

2.       Environmental Performance of the Energy System for the last ten years;

3.       The CEC’s multi-faceted approach to achieving climate goals (efficiency, rooftop and distributed solar, utility scale facilities, wind repowering, and transmission);

4.       Talk about the DRECP as a planning exercise for utility scale solar wind and geothermal.

His biographical brief includes:
Scott Flint works in the California Energy Commission Siting, Transmission, and Environmental Protection Division.  From 2008 to present, Scott has led the development of the Desert Renewable Energy and Conservation Plan, initiating this planning effort first at the California Department of Fish and Game (now Department of Fish and Wildlife), and then continuing at the Energy Commission.  Scott is also a working member of the Natural Resource Agency's Renewable Energy Action Team, which focuses on developing workable solutions to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy while ensuring the long-term protection of California's natural resources.

Scott’s technical expertise includes conservation planning, environmental policy, environmental permitting and mitigation for threatened, endangered, sensitive species, and other sensitive natural resources.  He holds a degree in Biological Conservation from California State University, Sacramento.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Margaret Meyncke addressed the Temecula City Council: We are Santa Margarita Sierra Group

October 11, 2016
The text of presentation:

My name is Margaret Meyncke and I am a resident of Temecula and a registered voter.  I bring greetings to the Temecula City Council from your local Sierra Club…the Santa Margarita Group.
We want to take this opportunity to introduce you to our club and thank you for doing such a great job with the environmental issues affecting our valley.  We especially appreciate the work of Temecula city planner, Matt Peters, over the last three years on the Murrieta Creek Regional Trail.  Also, the work of Councilman Dr. Matt Rahn, in setting up the “Environmental Leadership Academy”, sponsored by Cal State San Marcos.
0ne of our future goals is to meet face to face with local legislators to discuss areas of mutual concern, such as traffic density, air quality, wildlife corridors, and transportation.  We look forward to contacting you soon to arrange meetings.
Now, allow me to introduce our club.  The national Sierra Club remains the oldest, largest, and most powerful grassroots environmental organization.  Started in 1892 by environmental icon, John Muir, the Sierra Club was instrumental in establishing our National Park System and protecting areas such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Joshua Tree.  It continues to connect people with nature through local groups such as ours, the Santa Margarita Group.  Our local group was initiated back in 2006 in response to a crisis called Liberty Quarry.  Since that time, we have been gaining momentum on a broad range of environmental issues.
Our priority issue is education.  This past year we sponsored a teacher education workshop regarding the Santa Margarita Watershed where teachers were introduced to subjects such as water quality, local habitat, and conservation topics.  These teachers are now forming a local network to share ideas regarding curriculum, projects, and volunteer opportunities.
We also offer a monthly community meeting which occurs on the second Thursday of every month, starting at 6:30pm at the Temecula Library on Pauba Road. These meetings are free to the public and include topics such as clean energy, wildlife, birds, native plants, organic gardening, bats, mountain lions, recycling, etc.
Our local club also offers many opportunities for citizens to connect with nature.  We have a meetup called “Outdoor Families” that offers easy hikes, trips to nature centers, and interesting excursions.  In addition, our Sierra Club certified hiking leaders offer more vigorous hikes for those seeking adventures on local mountains.
Our group is also improving our local environment.  We have a “Trails Team” to develop the Murrieta Creek Regional Trail.  Our “Transportation Team” is committed to connecting our community with public transportation.  Our “Conservation Team” is concerned about the wildlife crossing of mountain lions and other animals across the busy freeway system of Interstate 15.  Our “Outreach Team” participates in local activities such as the 4th of July Parade to educate and introduce the public to our club. And our “Political Action Team” seeks to register citizens and endorse candidates that are environmentally friendly.
Another benefit of belonging to the Sierra Club is knowing that there are environmental experts and concerned citizens, like us, that play a watchdog role of examining legislation and upcoming developments, such as the Altair project, to maintain a legal, positive, and beneficial aspect to our community.
In closing, I would like to invite everyone to join our club.  We are non-partisan, believing that clean air and clean water are environmental issues every citizen can share and together, we can EXPLORE, ENJOY, and PROTECT our planet.
Thank you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve: Protection of the Natural Wildlife Habitats

Michael Momeni

What a great day we had at the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve (SMER) on October 7, 2016 at 9:30 AM! Santa Margarita Sierra Club members joined members and friends of the Conservation Committee of the Temecula Valley Woman’s Club (TVWC) to learn more about the area.  This outing was organized by Meryle Hammatt, Conservation vice-chair and a member of both organizations.  
The Reserve has a total area of 4344 acres. Murray Schloss bequeathed the core 2480 acres to SDSU in 1962, ~1200 acres are leased from the BLM, and ~400 acres were donated by the Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy intends to acquire and donate nine more nearby parcels of lands as they become available.

SMER is managed by the San Diego State University Foundation. The purpose of the reserve is to keep the property in its natural state for the preservation and protection of the native plants, animals and habitat, and for related educational and research purposes.

We were met at SMER by Pablo Bryant, Reserve Director.   He reviewed the significance of SMER and the historical background to the facility.  


The following figure show the relative location of SMER, Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, Cleveland National Forest (west and east of the highway 15) and the city of Temecula. 

 The above figure shows the rugged topography of the region and the location of Highway 15 within the southern section of Temecula.  The highway divides the natural routes for wildlife passage between the western section of Cleveland National Forest, Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, and the eastern section of the Forest.

Two proposed major developments in Temecula, Altair and Temecula Inn Golf Course, close to Highway 15 would further exacerbate the problem.  The Altair development would be located on the western side of Temecula, adjacent to the Old Town.  The Temecula Inn Golf Course Development would be located on the present golf course land. The projects will seriously impact the wildlife migration between the western and the eastern sections of Cleveland National Forest.  Our Sierra organization is working and consulting with other local organizations pursuing the same objectives, protecting the wildlife and creating a viable wildlife corridor. 

The Santa Margarita habitat and the Santa Margarita River are essential to the wildlife in the region and should be permanently protected.  

After the presentation, we all walked on a very pleasant and picturesque road down to the Santa Margarita River. 

We enjoyed our sack lunch and soaked our feet in the river.