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NEWS
By Barbara Diamond | May 10, 2007
City officials want Laguna Beach taken off the hook for a bacterial reduction plan proposed in a state water-quality control plan for this region. The city has asked the Regional Water Quality Control Board San Diego Region, which has jurisdiction over part of Laguna Beach, to remove about seven miles of shoreline from the federal 303(d) list of impaired waters, claiming federal standards for bacteria reduction were met in 2006. Removal from the list would exempt the city from having to submit an implementation plan to reduce bacteria counts in impaired water.
NEWS
February 16, 2007
Grass-roots efforts vital to water quality The Clean Water Now! Coalition is hopeful that our recently appointed City Councilwoman, Elizabeth Schneider, is always mindful of the critical role nongovernmental groups (NGOs) play in the water-quality world. When former Councilmember Wayne Baglin served on the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, his astute knowledge of local terrain, impairments in South County regarding creek- and ocean-pollution conditions accelerated the awareness process by working with Clean Water Now to get items placed on the agenda for public review.
NEWS
September 26, 2013
Longtime Laguna Beach Water Quality Department employee Bob Babcock, 65, died of natural causes Sept. 14. "He was a cancer survivor, so [his death] came out of the blue," said David Shissler, Laguna's director of water quality. "It wasn't something that was anticipated and certainly it took everybody by surprise. " Babcock worked in the wastewater division for 22 years, helping the city deal with major emergencies, including power failures and sewage spills. Shissler said he was always there to help during dire situations.
NEWS
October 6, 2006
The Coastline Pilot visited Laguna Beach High School's Surfrider Club and asked members, "What's the most important thing you've learned from ocean water testing?"   "Just being aware of how clean or unclean the water is that we surf and swim in." Sasha Speare, 17 "I thought it was just going to be scientific, but it's really cool that we can find out the water quality for the community." Alexandra Sorensen, 16 "I always knew the beach was pretty contaminated, but being able to see the results on paper is astonishing."
NEWS
By Cindy Frazier | April 2, 2009
Laguna Beach High School’s award-winning ocean water testing program is floundering, after the Surfrider Foundation suddenly pulled the plug on funding. The program, in which samples of ocean water are methodically collected and tested for bacteria every week, has been the main activity of the school’s Surfrider Club for eight years. In 2006, the club was honored by the Environmental Protection Agency with an environmental achievement award for helping to promote water quality awareness.
NEWS
By Roger Butow | September 7, 2007
President Bush has threatened to veto the recently passed $20 billion Congressional Water Bill, but the incredible positive voting numbers point to an override if he does. Considering the $2 billion earmarked for California, perhaps it?s time for the public to educate itself regarding what this bill really means for us statewide and its significance locally. An inherent flaw in these monolithic projects is the lengthy lag time from original incarnations (funding estimates now many years old)
NEWS
By Alexandra Baird, coastlinepilot@latimes.com | June 2, 2011
Water quality has remained high in the last year at Laguna's beaches, according to Heal the Bay's annual Beach Report Card released last week. Almost all of Laguna beaches received A grades for the summer months in the report, which monitored water quality at beaches up and down the coast from April 2010 through March 2011. Aliso Creek beach outlet scored the worst, receiving an F grade during wet weather. Water quality scientist Amanda Griesbach, who authored the report, said wet-weather scores are often worse because rain washes contaminants into the ocean.
NEWS
November 18, 2005
Journalist will write about politics, surfing and environment; he also sits on the city's environmental panel.Surfer and writer James Pribram has rejoined the Coastline Pilot as a weekly columnist focusing on local politics, the surfing scene and environmental issues. Pribram, a Laguna Beach native, has been writing about surfing and water quality issues for various publications for ten years. He wrote for the Coastline Pilot for several years until moving to another publication.
NEWS
By Barbara Diamond | July 18, 2008
Cleanup of a mudflow onto Ruby’s Diner parking may have caused more trouble than the leak that brought down the dirt, city officials said. Reddish mud was reported oozing from the St. Catherine’s School property onto the parking lot early in the morning of July 3, probably caused by a break in a water line. City staff said the leak did not create a huge problem, but the methods used by the school grounds crew to clean up the mess are being questioned. “We are not sure what caused the break in the line, but our staff believes it was an isolated incident,” Water Quality Department Director Davis Schissler said.
NEWS
By Barbara Diamond | June 12, 2009
Asked to either support or oppose the new waste water permit requirements proposed by the Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego, the City Council did neither. The council voted unanimously June 2 to send a letter signed by the mayor that included a complimentary paragraph written by the city’s Environmental Committee on the board’s efforts to reduce urban runoff and improve water quality, along with suggested amendments and a statement of concern about the costs of enforcing runoff prohibitions, but with no outright endorsement or rejection of the proposed permit, known as MS4. “If we help create this law and one person violates it, the city will get fined,” Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson said.
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NEWS
September 26, 2013
Longtime Laguna Beach Water Quality Department employee Bob Babcock, 65, died of natural causes Sept. 14. "He was a cancer survivor, so [his death] came out of the blue," said David Shissler, Laguna's director of water quality. "It wasn't something that was anticipated and certainly it took everybody by surprise. " Babcock worked in the wastewater division for 22 years, helping the city deal with major emergencies, including power failures and sewage spills. Shissler said he was always there to help during dire situations.
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NEWS
By Barbara Diamond | April 3, 2013
The Environmental Sustainability Committee has had a busy year since its creation after the Environmental Committee abruptly imploded in 2011. Chairman Martin Taylor reported that committee activities included the development of a draft environmental sustainability document that is under consideration by the City Council for inclusion in the city's general plan. The document is subject to hearings and a recommendation by the Planning Commission. "This is a large undertaking and will take a substantial amount of time," Taylor told the City Council at the March 19 meeting.
NEWS
By Barbara Diamond | November 10, 2011
A resident whose home project was approved by the Design Review Board, the City Council and the Orange County Superior Court has hit a roadblock. South Laguna property owner Mark Towfiq sought approval from the Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee to limit parking for 145 feet in front of his and a neighbor's property for about nine months during construction of his new home on South Coast Highway. The request was opposed by neighbor Michael Wilson, who opposes the Towfiq project.
NEWS
By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com | August 4, 2011
Almost two years ago, the city's Environmental Committee proposed a ban on plastic bags in Laguna — and now some action may finally be seen. The city's Water Quality Department has begun the process of creating an ordinance, pending a California Supreme Court ruling on whether Manhattan Beach's ban on the bags required an environmental impact report. The court recently ruled that Manhattan Beach's declaration of no adverse or at least fixable impacts was sufficient to comply with California Environmental Quality Act, which had been challenged by Save the Plastic Bag Coalition.
NEWS
By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com | June 16, 2011
The South Coast Water District customers can comment on the district's updated Urban Water Management Plan by e-mail, regular mail or at two meetings. The proposed update details how drinking water will be provided in the next 30 years and will be voted on at the June 23 board meeting. Once adopted, the plan will be incorporated into the management plan of Metropolitan Water District of Sothern California, which supplies imported water to the district. The deadline to submit comments is 5 p.m. June 23. Comments can be sent to custserv@scwd.org or South Coast Water District, P. O. Box 30205, Laguna Niguel, CA. 92607.
NEWS
By Alexandra Baird, coastlinepilot@latimes.com | June 2, 2011
Water quality has remained high in the last year at Laguna's beaches, according to Heal the Bay's annual Beach Report Card released last week. Almost all of Laguna beaches received A grades for the summer months in the report, which monitored water quality at beaches up and down the coast from April 2010 through March 2011. Aliso Creek beach outlet scored the worst, receiving an F grade during wet weather. Water quality scientist Amanda Griesbach, who authored the report, said wet-weather scores are often worse because rain washes contaminants into the ocean.
LOCAL
By Barbara Diamond | May 14, 2010
Fifth District Supervisor Pat Bates Pat Bates was preaching to the choir when she updated the Laguna Canyon Conservancy on county environmental projects and programs. Bates, who is running unopposed for reelection for the first time in her 25-year political career, was the guest speaker at the final meeting of the conservancy before the Festival Season hiatus. She spoke on issues that are of major concern in Laguna. “I have a number of environmental projects and programs that I’m excited to be able to share with you this evening, projects that you have been following for a number of years,” Bates said.
LOCAL
By Roger von Bütow | June 25, 2009
To: Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson, LBCC CC: Staff, CLB Ms. Pearson: You have thanked me repeatedly in public for the free water quality workshops I gave you back in 2000 when you first ran for LBCC. I did so not out of friendship but with the naive hope that this would help you to be a more educated Councilmember, hence more capable of making informed decisions. At that time, only Councilman Wayne Baglin seemed to grasp the nuances, the subtle interaction of complex regulations, NPDES Permits, etc. Sadly, nothing has changed except Wayne was run off of the Council, the object of a "Swift-Boating" tax exempt 527. You have subsequently served both on LBCC for 7 years but also served on the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (SDRWQCB)
NEWS
By Barbara Diamond | June 12, 2009
Asked to either support or oppose the new waste water permit requirements proposed by the Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Diego, the City Council did neither. The council voted unanimously June 2 to send a letter signed by the mayor that included a complimentary paragraph written by the city’s Environmental Committee on the board’s efforts to reduce urban runoff and improve water quality, along with suggested amendments and a statement of concern about the costs of enforcing runoff prohibitions, but with no outright endorsement or rejection of the proposed permit, known as MS4. “If we help create this law and one person violates it, the city will get fined,” Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson said.
LOCAL
By Roger von Bütow | June 5, 2009
Drought cycles and resulting fresh water resource depletions renew the century-old battle in California to find a sustainable balance of protected wilderness and increased human population demands in our home state. Many of these skirmishes wind up in courtrooms, the issues confused in the layperson’s mind by the labyrinth of regulatory edicts and hearing room proceedings. Portrayed in the media as pitting “Humans vs. Nature,” zero-sum games, many residents are unaware of the nexus between preservation and restoration of eco-systems for threatened or endangered species and improved safe environs for us all. A recent decision by NOAA’s National Marines Fisheries Service due to years of lobbying by the Clean Water Now!
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