Tag Archives: acres

London Olympics may be the greenest, most sustainable ever

With the opening ceremony of the London Olympics only days away, organizers prepare to celebrate what may be the one of the greenest Olympic Games to date.

For Olympic organizers, sustainability has been a major focus in planning the Games’ venues. Forbes notes that existing or temporary venues are utilized whenever possible. For permanent structures, “Each new venue was required to achieve a minimum 15 percent improvement against Building Regulations.”

The site of London’s Olympic Park has also been noted for its radical transformation. Once an industrial area along the River Lea, the site was previously contaminated by “heavy metals, hydrocarbons, arsenic and cyanide,” according to BBC News.

At the largest urban park built in Britain in over the century, officials planted 2,000 native trees and 300,00 wetland plants and restored five miles of the River Lea. 110 acres of land were also turned into “reed beds, wet woodlands, grassland and ponds” to encourage the return of wildlife, reported the Press Association.

While British officials originally planned to draw 20 percent of the London Olympics’ power from renewable sources, they fell short of that goal. The BioRegional and WWF-UK report explains that only nine percent of on-site energy will be renewable.

 

Source: Huffington Post Green - London Olympics: Green Games A Goal For Organizers

 

 

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Irvine Company completes donation of 20,000 acres of permanently protected natural parks

April 11, 2012 – Ushering in a sweeping new era of public ownership and access to thousands of acres of Orange County’s most prized natural lands, the (Orange County) Board of Supervisors today accepted the long-anticipated final gift of more than 20,000 acres of pristine, permanently protected open space and parklands from the Irvine Company.

These lands have been designated both a California and National Natural Landmark and are part of a grand total of 50,000 acres of permanently protected open space and parklands located on The Irvine Ranch and donated to Orange County. This unprecedented gift was created through collaborative conservation efforts spanning over 100 years involving the Irvine Company, community organizations, municipalities, government agencies and environmental groups.

This exceptional 50,000-acre gift is over 10 times the size of Griffith Park in Los Angeles (4,210 acres) and almost 60 times the size of Central Park in New York (843 acres).

The vast donation of permanently protected land includes: Bommer Canyon, Crystal Cove State Park, Upper Newport Bay, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, and Quail Hill. Today’s gift adds the spectacular Limestone, Fremont, Weir, Black Star and Gypsum canyons to that list.

More details about the donation – Donald-Bren.com

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Growing coffee trees in California

In this day of the $6 cup of coffee, when bragging rights mean knowing not only the varietal but the beans’ latitude, anything exotic gets the antennae waving. Which may explain why Jay Ruskey of Good Land Organics is inundated with requests to visit his north Santa Barbara County farm, where he is the only person cultivating coffee in California. He’s been turning down the requests—until now. This month the curious can sign up online for an agritour and the chance to see how Ruskey coaxes a plant inextricably tied to Latin America and Africa to flourish on U.S. soil.

The coffee-growing experiment is part of the UC small farms initiative, which supplied Ruskey with bushes and an expert, Mark Gaskell, who has worked in Central America. While coffee is normally grown at altitudes approaching thousands of feet, Ruskey’s farm sits at 650. The beans thrive in his coastal canyon largely because of the lack of extreme cold or heat and the low winds.

via Los Angeles Magazine

 

Ruskey's Coffee Trees

 

He now has 470 trees in the ground, which would fill half an acre if they had been planted in a continuous block. By chance, he planted the young trees among mature avocado trees and found that the two were good companions, as the coffee benefited from the rich soil generated by the avocado trees’ mulch.

…his mature trees are mostly Typica, the Arabica type from which most others developed, and Caturra, a mutation of Bourbon discovered in Brazil. He also has 100 young trees of Geisha, a rare Panamanian strain of Ethiopian origin, legendary for its superb quality.

He is sufficiently convinced of the feasibility of his project that he and Gaskell are working to organize a Santa Barbara coffee growers association with several other farmers who have planted or committed to planting coffee trees.

via Los Angeles Times

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Ballona Wetlands – 600 acres of Los Angeles coast will soon be restored

In a first step toward restoring one of Southern California’s few remaining wetlands and opening it to the public, the state has approved spending $6.5 million for planning a massive restoration of the degraded Ballona Wetlands.

(In the plan) initial proposals call for spending $100 million to remove concrete levees and truck out tons of sediment dumped on the property, allowing water from Ballona Creek and the sea to flow into the wetlands. Bike paths would be built atop earthen flood-control berms on the reserve’s perimeter and public boardwalks would allow visitors access to the site without disturbing plants, birds and other wildlife.

“We have the potential at Ballona to restore this degraded and damaged habitat and return it to a beautiful, sustainable natural refuge for people and wildlife,” Luce said.

The vast coastal wetlands once spanned 2,000 acres at the mouth of Ballona Creek, covering much of what is now Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey and Venice. Only a quarter remains today, much of it a dry, fenced-off expanse of brush that is littered with garbage in places, surrounded by high-rises and subdivisions and criss-crossed by congested boulevards.

Developers and environmental activists wrangled over the site for decades before the state agreed in 2003 to spend $139 million to acquire it as an ecological reserve.

via LA Times

 

And, nationally wetlands are still disappearing:

A national wetlands inventory released this week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that between 2004 and 2009, the lower 48 states lost a net average of 13,800 acres a year. That compared with a slight annual gain in wetlands during the previous six year-period.

“Wetlands are at a tipping point,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. “While we have made great strides in conserving and restoring wetlands since the 1950s, when we were losing an area equal to half the size of Rhode Island each year, we remain on a downward trend that is alarming.”

via LA Times