Blue moon, sandhill cranes and oysters

August 31, 2012

Bringing you a bit of news on Friday. Happy Labor Day!

It comes “once in a blue moon” — and that happens to be tonight. A rare blue moon will light up the sky. It won’t actually be blue. The lunar event means there are two full moons in the same calendar month. You’ll get to see a bright, full moon directly overhead on Saturday at midnight, and the chance to spot where Apollo 11 landed. Look for the moon’s smiling face. The next  blue moon will be July 2015 [San Francisco Chronicle]

This week, the state of California launched a trial-run of the nation’s first cap-and-trade program. An online auction of greenhouse gas emission permits for roughly 150 major emitters began with hopes that glitches in the program will be worked through before the official Nov. 14 launch. [San Jose Mercury News]

Maybe you want to think twice about heading to Yosemite anytime soon? The park has closed 91 tent cabins in the face of two more cases of hantavirus infections. Two people have died of the rodent-borne disease, another three have recovered, and one person is still in the hospital after staying at the cabins. The closures represent one-quarter of the 400 cabins in the popular Curry Village section of the park [San Jose Mercury News].

Yes, CEQA has been under attack in Sacramento recently. But it may be a good thing that extensive and costly environmental reviews would be curbed for the sake of new bike lanes if a new bill in the State Assembly passes. San Francisco’s bike lane program was stalled for four years after an anti-transit guy tried to use CEQA to block new bike lane installations. [SF Streetsblog]

So-called “craniacs” are aflutter at the early appearance of sandhill cranes in San Joaquin County this year. Decimated by Gold Rush hunters, most of the cranes wintering in the Central Valley are thought to migrate in from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. But with cranes now appearing two to three weeks early, it may be a sign that nesting pairs have returned to their former stomping grounds in the Sierras. [The Record]

The U.S. EPA is wading into California’s dispute over Delta waters. The federal agency released an “action plan” to improve water quality and restore aquatic habitat. It also said that under the Clean Water Act, existing federal and state measures do not adequately protect the Delta ecosystem, the largest estuarine habitat on the west coast of the western hemisphere [Central Valley Business Times]

Two bottlenose dolphins are hanging out in the brackish waters of Colma Creek in South San Francisco. But one of them doesn’t look too good. The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito is reporting a droopy dorsal fin, which may be a sign of illness. The center is monitoring the dolphins and will step in and help, if needed. [San Francisco Chronicle]

With the decision on the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. looming, an independent scientific panel stated that the National Park Service’s environmental review lacks enough data to draw conclusions on the company’s impact on the estuary. [Marin Independent Journal]


About the Author

Alison Hawkes was a Bay Nature editor from 2011-2017. Before Bay Nature she worked in journalism for more than a decade as a former newspaper reporter turned radio producer turned web editor with each rendition bringing her closer to her dream of covering environmental issues. She co-founded Way Out West, a site dedicated to covering Bay Area environmental news.