If Prop F goes down, we could find another area we could restore to its natural state of beauty.
How about Cape Cod?
"What a great idea! Cape Cod does seems to have enough problems at home to tackle without trying to advise Californians:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/us/18nitrogen.html" --Bob West
Hee-hee! Oh, no you dittent! You dit NOT just invoke the "And so are you!" defense!! You dit NOT just invoke the "outside agitator" defense!!
How I love it when they bring knives to a gun fight!! More fun when they're real knives, though. That all you got? C'mon, if you are going to resort to ad hominem
attack, you have to do a lot better.
OK, yeah, we have water problems right here on Cape Cod, and right here in Orleans, where I am writing from. Imagine that! Actually I am trying to imagine some place that does not have similar environmental problems. Nope, can't do it. Well, at least not on the planet.
So nitrogen on the Cape makes the Hetch Hetchy plan a bad idea because . . . no, wait I know this one . . because . . .
that's it! Just because! So there!
Wait, seriously let's see if I can help sort this out.
So yeah, anyway, here on the Cape, we rely entirely on our groundwater for supply. There is no aqueduct or so much as a pipe from anywhere other than a local well. And for the last 400 years or so, we have relied on the same ground system to filter and recycle our water. Worked very well for about 375 of those years, until the nitrogen seeping in overtook the nitrogen uptake capacity of the ecosystem, mostly on the fringing salt march, not unlike that that Californians have systematically been destroying all around San Francisco Bay for about the last 175 years, just to mention a random example. Except ours in still intact.
But, yeah we seem to have a nitrogen loading problem. Course, its mostly overstated in the NYT article: the science is not crystal, and poor Gussie (a friend, by the way) happens to live on the most eutrophic salt water body in town. Most of the estuary isn't nearly as bad, and some is pristine: but Gussie's is pretty bad. Mine on the other hand (and by mine, I mean the one I lived on, off and on for forty years, about a mile farther upstream from Gussie's, was pretty damn good. I took clams and quahogs in my front yard without letup, also blue crabs and striped bass. The new owners and neighbors do too.
But Gussie's is pretty bad, and its clear that it time to do something about nitrogen loading before it gets that bad all over. Lots of other things here, too, like eroding beaches, hurricanes, declining fish stocks, California tourists, to name a random example: the usual plagues.
So what do we do. Well, one thing we don't do is go looking around for the nearest nationally owned resource to exploit. We have a great big commons on both sides of us: Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. We don't have a big wastewater treatment plant with an outfall pipe dumping into the commons, and we sure as hell didn't go commandeer some national treasure to supply our water to begin with. Not how we roll.
When Thoreau and Emerson for example (remember them?) were writing about living in harmony our natural heritage, we didn't sic some Dept of Agriculture goon on them so we could have Walden Pond or Nauset harbor all to ourselves. We paid attention. When John F Kennedy and Stewart Udall (remember them?) came calling in 1961, we worked with the Park Service, US Department of the Interior (remember them?) to turn over more than half the land, PRIVATE land, including all of the ocean beach and a lot of the bay side, on the Lower Cape to the Cape Cod National Seashore. Ever hear of it? You should come visit some time. s a National Park (remember them?) Everyone is Welcome: Even Californians can come, for example. So, restoration? You want to talk about restoration of natural beauty. Here's one clue: you don;t f&%# it up to begin with. You preserve it. Guy named Muir taught me that. Ever heard of him? And if you do f&%# it up, you fix it.
So. That brings us to nitrogen loading, what are we doing to fix it? Well, what my friend Gussie is up to first involves a plan. Yep, imagine that. Put together a plan. Paid the big bucks for a waste water treatment plan, even knowing beforehand that actually building the thing would cost bigger bucks, more than anybody here wanted to pay or thought was reasonable. But we commissioned a plan. Hers is for a $150 million water treatment system to replace her and 1999 of her closest friends septic systems. Yep, 150 million to sewer the 2000 homes that are identified as the greatest contributors to the nitrogen loading. Course, that was the initial estimate, in like 2010 dollars. I think its up to about 250 now, but at least we have a plan to look over, a real plan, not just someones speculation and fear-mongering about what such a plan would and would not do. And you knwo what, compared to sitting on our asses up to here in either sea lettuce, national subsidy, stolen resources or hypocrisy, the plan is looking pretty good.
That's right, 150 million and up to sewer 2000 homes. Who knew?
If ultimately the plan does not get implemented, it will be because someone comes up with something better, and few alternatives have been proposed. SO one thing we will not do is sit around and pat ourselves on the back for not even having a plan, pretending it was because of our "good sense" rather than our own selfish interest.
As for Cape Codders advising Californians: that's the most entertaining comment of this whole discussion. I haven't heard the outside agitator argument seriously propounded since the voter registration drives of the 60s. Then, people in Alabama and Mississippi were astounded to learn that they were screwing with people's national, constitutionally protected rights, and that the entire universe did not revolve around what the local White Citizens Council felt made good sense.
Little did I know that 50 years later educated people in California would have to be reminded that Yosemite is a National Park despite being used primarily in California to fill toilets and wash streets. So don't try to impress me with the implication that as a non-Californian I am somehow out of line commenting on Hetch Hetchy. I have exactly the same interest and the same standing in Hetch Hetchy as 99.7 percent of the population of this country. The .3 percent who can't make that claim are those of you who piss in its water.
As for advising Californians: I have been paid a lot of good money to do just that since I graduated from College in Claremont in 1974 and law school in LA in 1981. My most recent professional project in that regard is the mess California agriculture has (with its partners in Oregon) made of the upper Klamath Basin, especially Lower Klamath "Lake" and Tule "Lake".
It involves dam removal, replacement with renewable power, nutrient management, allocation of water resources and remediation of surface water eutrophication.