Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Survival in Southern California, Mother Nature and her Birds and the Bees

Speaker: Richard W. Halsey 

Time and Date: 6 PM on June 8, 2017
Location: Temecula Library
Address: 30600 Pauba Rd, Temecula, CA 92592

Richard W. Halsey is a writer, photographer, and the director of the California Chaparral Institute, a non-profit research and educational organization dedicated to the preservation of native shrub land habitats throughout the world and supporting the creative spirit as inspired by the natural environment.
There was a time when understanding the environment around you was a matter of survival – when the flowers bloomed, where the flowers were, and how to avoid the grizzly bear. Now, our local knowledge is limited to street names, navigating freeway off ramps, and avoiding traffic tickets. Join Richard Halsey as he explores ways to find more joy in life by understanding and connecting with the local landscape, what rock is underfoot, and being able to distinguish male and female shrubs while driving seventy-miles-per-hour. It is time to become intimate with the wild nearby and know what home truly means.

Richard W. Halsey is the director of the California Chaparral Institute, a non-profit, research and educational organization dedicated to the preservation of native shrubland habitats throughout the world and supporting the creative spirit as inspired by the natural environment. Mr. Halsey also works with the San Diego Museum of Natural History, publishes The Chaparralian, a periodic journal focusing on chaparral and wildfire issues, and continues to teach natural history. He has given more than 350 presentations about the chaparral ecosystem over the past decade. Mr. Halsey taught biology for more than twenty years in both public and private schools and was honored as the Teacher of the Year for San Diego City Schools. He has also conducted numerous research projects and published several papers concerning the ecology of California’s chaparral ecosystem. Halsey has also been trained as a Type II wildland firefighter, past an age most would consider prudent. The second edition of his book, Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California, was published in 2008 and was awarded the Best Nonfiction-Local Interest Book by the San Diego Book Awards Association.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Call for Action: Save Mountain Lions in Temecula Valley Region

One more Mountain Lion was killed on May 5, 2017 on Highway 15 in southern Temecula.  

The Highway 15 area between Temecula and Fallbrook has blocked a natural passage route for wildlife between the eastern and western areas of Cleveland National Forest.  The following photographs show one of the bridges over the Temecula Creek, it is often a dry. It is near the confluence of Temecula Creek, Murrieta Creek and the Santa Margarita River has the following estimated dimensions: East to West width of about 195 feet, length along the highway (north to south) of about 295 feet and the bridge has  a very high ceiling. These estimated dimensions indicate the channel has enough space to allow for a wildlife passage.  

But several factors have restricted its usefulness.  The area under the bridge has become a habitat for the homeless population.  Visibility on both sides of the bridge has been reduced by trees and bushes.   

Managing wildlife passage requires several immediate practical corrections:

1.  Installation of fencing both sides of the highway to guide wildlife to the bridge area;
2. Restriction of public access to the area under the bridge using barrier fencing;
3. Enforcement of prohibition to use the area as a homeless village;
4. Cleanup the trash from the area.

5. Clearance of bushes and trees near the bridge to improve visibility.

The area to the east of Highway 15 is very close to residential area.  Now, fencing the boundary between the residential area (east of Highway 15) and the Golf Course would guide wildlife to seek the lower elevation of the mountainous region to the east of the highway, and the bridge over the Temecula Creek for passage to the foothills to the west.

The proposal to subdivide the Gulf Course will completely remove any hope for the wildlife passage using the present Highway 15 bridge over Temecula Creek.  Before such a subdivision would be granted, a wildlife corridor over the highway 15 further south must be included. The following photo shows an example of a wildlife bridge over Highway 15.

Time for talk is over, it is the time for action. 

Michael Momeni

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Special Sierra Sunday: Our Spring Thing on May 21

Please join us, your local Santa Margarita Group of the Sierra Club, for a special Sierra Sunday at 1:00 pm on May 21st. This outing—dubbed our “Spring Thing”-- will consist of a simple lunch in a lovely outdoor setting and a tour of the Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens and Nursery in Fallbrook, at 2940 Reche Road.
We can carpool there from the Starbucks on Rancho California Rd. (meet at 12:15) or be at the nursery by 1:00. Lunch will consist of a large sandwich or salad or crepes; not included are beverages (non-alcoholic) and slices of pie available for purchase on that day. They’ll be giving us a menu in advance from which to choose.  
The cost is $15.00 per person, payable In advance to the Sierra Club/SMG either by check, cash or PayPal. Let us know your name, the number of guests and if you’d like to carpool with us at or sign up at our General Meeting on May 11th ; We need to know how many are coming, so please sign up asap.
Checks may be mailed to event coordinator, M.E. (Elena) Garcia, 2720 Quail Knoll, Lake Elsinore, Ca 92530 by next Thursday, May 18th. (But if need be, contact Elena and she’ll save you a spot!)    

Friday, May 5, 2017

Mountain Lion Killed on Highway 15 near Rainbow / Temecula

The above is a photo of one of the few mountain lions still alive in our region and under our protection. This very disappointing and frustrating.  Winston Vickers reported:

This is just south of the most likely crossing points (other than Temecula Creek Bridge) in our models.  The location is a bit puzzling in that on the west side there is a sheer cut at that point, suggesting the lion either came to the freeway side somewhere else and moved along the edge before trying to cross, or actually had crossed from the east and was hit right before reaching the west shoulder.  We will be doing genetics to determine genetic origin which will give at least a clue as to which direction he was going.  It is a male and looks young but we will know with a look at the teeth.  Just the animal / type of animal we needed to have make it across, a young male.  

This one and the last one hit by a car on I-15 at the end of the southbound ramp from the Rainbow Canyon Road bridge indicate the length of the freeway that needs to be fenced to direct animals to current and any future new crossings.  Fencing could be an interim step before construction of a new crossing somewhere down the road so that animals that come to the roadside would be more likely move to the bridge area - if an animal is motivated enough (like a migrating male) to brave the I-15 traffic I would think that the creek or any new crossing would be more appealing.    

The following photo shows the area where the mountain lion was killed on May 5, 2017. 

The most sensitive region for wildlife migration across Interstate 15 in Temecula is shown in the above picture. The photos shows Temecula Creek, Murrieta Creek and Confluent with Santa Margarita River. The underpass bridge of the interstate 15 is the lush vegetated area on the left central region of the photograph.

If the plan to subdivide the gulf course, shown on the lower left side of the above photo, is carried out, then the wildlife passage between the eastern and the western sections of their habitat would be completely eliminated.  In that case, a wildlife bridge across the highway would have to be mandated. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Holy Grail of Climate Change Solutions...Pricing Carbon

Speaker: Eve Simmons
Location: Temecula City Library
30600 Pauba Rd.
Temecula, California
Time: 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Date:  Thursday  May 11, 2017
Who is Eve Simmons?

Eve Simmons is a decades-long environmental advocate, keynote speaker, consultant, and tireless optimist. She has lectured throughout Southern California and has lobbied for action both locally and on Capitol Hill. Eve speaks on topics ranging from our environment, loss of biodiversity and habitat, deforestation, our oceans, air, water and soil, the Greenhouse Effect, extreme weather, pricing carbon, divestment and other global warming solutions, to the social injustice and politics of climate change. She lobbies for action both locally and on Capitol Hill. Eve served on San Diego County’s Fish and Wildlife Advisory Commission and as an elected delegate to California’s State Assembly. She’s a Climate Reality Project Leader, a former photojournalist, and wildlife guide. Eve previously served on the boards of Encinitas EcoFest and the San Diego Energy District Foundation. Eve and her husband Tom are small business owners and proud parents. Eve is a member of Citizen’s Climate Lobby,, Union of Concerned Scientists, Greenpeace, Sierra Club and more.

Follow her on Twitter @Eve_Simmons and her website and blog,

You are invited to our Santa Margarita group Monthly Meeting.

For background information about the concept of pricing carbon, please read:  "Cap-and-Trade or Carbon Taxes? The Feasibility of Enforcement and the Effects of Non-Compliance":

Hope to see you there,

Michael Momeni