Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: Plans for downtown L.A.'s streetcar, Santa Monica arboretum, Cali flood and landslide prep

LA Zoo breeds endangered frog. Reports AP: “Los Angeles Zoo officials say they have successfully bred the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog in an effort to save the species.” In other endangered species news, the red-crested rodent reappears after 113 years, report Short Sharp Science and NPR.

L.A.’s downtown streetcar project gets a public hearing. Metro’s The Source recaps a public workshop about the proposed downtown L.A. streetcar project earlier this week. “At this point, Metro’s planners are in the early phases of deciding — with the public’s input — where exactly the streetcar will travel.” Read the post for a rundown of suggestions made by community members.

Santa Monica could embody a city-arboretum. According to The LookOut News, “A plan to make Santa Monica the first city-wide arboretum in the world, adding up to 10,000 new trees to the city in the process, drew residents to the first public discussion of the novel concept at Virginia Park Tuesday night.” (via LAist)

California installs ingenious flood relief valve. Reports Climate Watch: “The Yolo Bypass … is a 59,000-acre funnel designed to catch the overflow of the Sacramento River and divert it harmlessly downstream, dumping it back into the main channel near Rio Vista.”

California’s landslide-prone areas get mapped. Reports ABC7: “A map showing landslide risks is the first of its kind for the state…. Geologists say the new mapping technology gives unprecedented detail.”

A fake organic fertilizer bamboozled California farmers and watchdogs alike. Reports Grist: “Two major cases of federal fraud have been filed in the past six months, rocking the California farming world and alleging that probably millions of pounds of produce sold as organic over several years weren’t worthy of the label.”

The fight over big California desert solar projects continues. Climate Watch reports on a protest by environmentalists opposing the project on Wednesday: “While the tortoise provided a slow-motion picket around downtown Oakland, protestors lined up in front of BrightSource Energy’s corporate headquarters, determined to preserve the Mojave desert and keep solar projects local.”

In national news: U.S. was warned on vents before failure at Japan’s plant. Reports NY Times: “Five years before the crucial emergency vents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were disabled by an accident they were supposed to help handle, engineers at a reactor in Minnesota warned American regulators about that very problem.”

Photo: A mountain yellow-legged frog (Matthew San Diego/Flickr)