News About Cleanup, Sustainability, Parks, Open Space, and Wildlife at Alameda Point, Alameda, CA
My blog is Alameda Point Environmental Report covering environmental issues from wildlife to cleanup at the former Navy base in Alameda now called Alameda Point.
Articles on my blog are frequently printed in the Alameda Sun newspaper.
I also host a Twitter site and a Flickr photo site.
I hope you find my stories and photos of interest.
The City of Alameda announced on February 22 that it will be preparing an environmental impact report (EIR) on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) project for a health clinic and columbarium cemetery at Alameda Point. The VA completed its environmental review for the project in 2013. The deadline for commenting on what the city should evaluate is March 22.
The belated environmental review was triggered by California regulations requiring a state EIR in order for the Regional Water Quality Control Board to approve the VA’s wetland mitigation plan.
An EIR is also required for City of Alameda approvals. “Although construction of federal facilities by federal agencies is typically exempt from local land use regulations and review,” said city planner Andrew Thomas, “in this case, the VA plans to construct an access utility/road on approximately 6-acres of city land to the east of the VA Transfer Parcel and two new storm drains across city-owned land to the north of the VA property, which will require approval of easements from the city, which are discretionary actions subject to CEQA [California Environmental Quality Act].”
Revisiting the project’s environmental impacts six years after the VA completed its review presents an opportunity to evaluate the potential environmental benefits of locating the medical clinic and benefits offices in the business “Enterprise District” rather than in the open space on the former airfield. Continue reading “Unexpected Environmental Review of VA Project”
The Navy will implement the environmental remediation plan for Site 32 on the western end of the former airfield. The plan calls for covering the entire 60-acre site with three free of clean soil without raising the elevation of the existing wetlands. Thus, the existing wetlands will be excavated to a depth of three feet, and then three feet of replacement clean soil will be brought in to re-contour the wetlands.
Great Egrets are commonly seen wading along a shoreline, in marshes and wetlands waiting for fish to come near before catching them with a quick thrust of its bill.
Great Egrets primarily eat small fish. However, their diet can also include reptiles such as lizards, amphibians, birds, small mammals, shrimp, worms, dragonflies, beetles, water bugs, and grasshoppers.
This particular Great Egret decided to stroll into the old campground at Alameda Point in search of food. It walked slowly up to a Rosemary bush and stood there for about five minutes, occasionally making slight head movements, before plunging its head into the bush to catch a lizard.
After holding the lizard in its bill for a few minutes, it gulped down the lizard and proceeded very slowly to another bush.
The city and its consultant recently released a report outlining what will be included in the new climate action plan for Alameda. What it reveals, unfortunately, is their resistance to thinking big.
The process for updating Alameda’s climate action plan began as a promising effort for a comprehensive look at what it means to adapt our entire environment to climate change. It is winding up with a narrow focus on protecting local real estate, which they refer to as “vulnerable assets.”
The city has rejected a broader scope of action that would include “opportunity assets,” as in opportunities to improve the natural environment, not just the built environment. Areas at Alameda Point not slated for development must be viewed as an opportunity asset that can be re-purposed for the good of the environment. Continue reading “City misses chance to embrace wetlands at Alameda Point”
The Navy is nearing completion of plans for a cleanup area called Site 32, 60 acres that lie on the old airfield west of where the monthly Antiques Faire is held. The site requires remediation because investigators discovered radium-226 in the soil and on various objects. The Navy mixed radium-226, a naturally occurring mineral, with paint to allow dials and markers to glow in the dark. Repeated exposure to high levels of radium can cause cancer.
The Navy collected radium-impacted waste, such as used paint brushes from refurbishing dials and gauges, scraping solids, and rags, from its dial painting shop on a regular basis and discarded it at the Site 1 underground dump adjacent to Site 32. The Navy presumes that the radium-impacted items were spread beyond the dump site when the runway was expanded in the 1950s and a bulldozer was used to grade the area above the dump. Continue reading “Navy to create new wetlands”
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) staff are in the early stages of planning for a second tube across San Francisco Bay. One of the routes being considered is under Alameda and would bring with it at least one station. It could also bring Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor train service running in tandem with BART trains across the Bay.
Before any plans are drafted, the transit agency must first determine the amount of ridership the transit system will serve in the decades ahead. To get there, BART is looking at more than just the traditional 9-county region. They are looking at projected transit needs of a 21-county mega-region stretching from Placerville to Monterey. And standard-gauge rail agencies, like Amtrak, have become a partner in BART’s planning effort. Continue reading “BART station may come to Alameda Point”