June 2011

Winifred Wilson will be teaching “The Earth’s Changing Climate” workshop for the Delta College Community Education Department for September 13, 20,27, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.  The class will provide a scientific explanation of the variability of our climate and weather patterns by looking at impacts made by the natural forces through the ages, impacts made by man, global warming since the industrial revolution, its consequences,and our climatic future.

bThis class will also be described on the Community Education website at:  The Earth’s Changing Climate on August 22.   Registration will begin on the same date at 8:00 a.m. and will be available online at www.adultedreg.com/delta.  Pease click on “Personal Interests & Hobbies.”

Winnifred Liang Wilson holds a Master’s degree in both Geography and Urban and Regional Planning, has taught at several California community colleges and universities, and worked in environmental and urban planning for more than 20 years.

For more information contact:

Claudia Mackey, Coordinator
Workshops & Programs for Adults
Community Education – Locke 107
San Joaquin Delta College
Phone:  (209) 954-5013
Fax:  (209) 954-3742
E-Mail:  cmackey@deltacollege.edu


 The U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee approved H.R. 872 on June 21, a bill that will exempt pesticide users who spray over waterways from the Clean Water Act. If passed, the legislation would reverse a 2009 federal court decision requiring pesticide users to obtain a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency in order to discharge pesticides directly into waterways.

The following is a statement from Jason Rylander, senior staff attorney for Defenders of Wildlife:

“Members of Congress should be making sure that our water is safe for drinking, swimming and fishing, not giving pesticide users carte blanche to continue poisoning the water that we all depend on. It’s bad enough that high levels of pesticides already make their way from farm fields into our waterways. But now the pesticide lobby, with the support of their allies in Congress, wants to make it easier to dump toxic chemicals directly into our rivers and streams. We call on the Senate to oppose any further action on this harmful bill.

“A federal appeals court already decided that current protections were insufficient to safeguard human health, our drinking water and aquatic wildlife. H.R. 872 flies in the face of that decision and puts us all at greater risk. Why should power plants have to get a permit for discharging toxic substances while pesticide users are free to pollute our waterways as much as they please? It simply doesn’t make any sense. Clean Water Act permits are badly needed in order to close this loophole.

“Chemical companies have tried to argue that they shouldn’t have to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act, since pesticides are approved by the EPA. But EPA’s general approval does not take into account how each pesticide affects our already polluted waterways, nor does it factor in specific impacts on particular rivers and streams. In other words, rat poison may be OK to use in your house, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to dump in the creek behind your house. Many pesticides are also very dangerous water pollutants and must be treated as such.”

Pesticides discharged into U.S. waterways are known to cause severe developmental problems in fish and amphibians and may adversely affect human health. More than 1,000 waterways are considered “impaired” due to pesticide pollution. In a nationwide survey by the U.S. Geological Survey, pesticides were found in every single waterway they tested.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is quietly negotiating with a handful of California farmers who say San Joaquin River restoration efforts damage their land east of Los Banos.

The closed-door discussions could peacefully resolve a lawsuit filed nearly a year ago by Wolfsen Land & Cattle Co. and several associated families unhappy over side effects from river restoration. Some environmentalists, though, fear a potential settlement could undermine the river plan.

“We are concerned that if the result of the case is less water going down the river channel, that would threaten the restoration,” Natural Resources Defense Council attorney Jennifer Sorenson said Wednesday.

Click here to read more at Recordnet.com

On Saturday, June 4th,  David  Yee – expert birder and friend of Waldo Holt – led a Riverwalk on the Darrah property near Waldo’s island.

Despite the stormy weather, a good crowd turned out, and we were all surprised by the quantity and variety of birds we saw – including some late Spring visitors from Central America.

Just as we began the walk, a huge Swainson’s Hawk circled above the group, and was later observed soaring high above with a small rodent in its claws!

For those of you that missed the walk, here’s a list of the birds (common names) we spotted during the walk:

Rock Pigeon
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Scrub Jay
House Finch
Black Phoebe
Morning Dove
White-throated swift
Olive-sided flycatcher
Lazuliu Bunting
Wilson's whirbler
Western Woodpeewee
Bush Tit
Swenson's Hawk
American Goldfinch
Cooper's Hawk
Am Robin
House Sparrow

Special thanks to David, and we look forward to next year’s Waldo Holt Memorial Birding Walk!

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