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Photos: As drought puts growing strains on fish, hatcheries serve as lifelines for California salmon
Los Angeles Timeshttps://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2022-04-08/photos-as-dams-and-drought-push-salmon-to-the-brink-hatcheries-serve-as-lifelines-for-california-salmon
When Shasta Dam was built on the Sacramento River in the 1940s, the government also established Coleman National Fish Hatchery about 30 miles away on the tributary Battle Creek, aiming to make up for the loss of upstream habitat by raising fish for release.The hatchery’s staff runs an elaborate spawning operation that this year is raising 12 million fall-run Chinook salmon, supporting California’s commercial and recreational fisheries. The hatchery also raises other types of salmon and steelhead.The adult salmon swi...
When Shasta Dam was built on the Sacramento River in the 1940s, the government also established Coleman National Fish Hatchery about 30 miles away on the tributary Battle Creek, aiming to make up for the loss of upstream habitat by raising fish for release.
The hatchery’s staff runs an elaborate spawning operation that this year is raising 12 million fall-run Chinook salmon, supporting California’s commercial and recreational fisheries. The hatchery also raises other types of salmon and steelhead.
The adult salmon swim up the Sacramento River and into Battle Creek, then up a fish ladder to the hatchery’s holding ponds. Mechanical screens in the water are used to move the fish to the spawning building.
The fish are placed into a bath with carbon-dioxide in the water, which enables the staff to handle them. Workers lift the salmon from the water in nets, check to see that they’re ready for spawning, and separate females from males.
They club the fish and send them sliding down a metal chute. One worker hangs each female salmon from a hook, inserts a needle in its abdomen and sends air flowing to push out the eggs, which land in a colander. Another worker grabs each male fish and twists the tail, squeezing out milt that will fertilize the eggs.
“We’re here to support the fishery,” said Brett Galyean, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s project leader. “Without the hatcheries, there probably wouldn’t be much fishing or any fishing in the Sacramento River.”
At the base of Shasta Dam, a different sort of spawning operation at Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery focuses on boosting the population of the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon.
The winter-run salmon are captured in a trap at the base of Keswick Dam, loaded onto a truck and driven to the hatchery. Each winter-run Chinook is genetically tested and given a number, and each pair of male and female is selected. After spawning, the tiny fish are raised until they’re large enough to be released in the Sacramento River.
Several hundred winter-run Chinook also have tiny transmitters inserted by hand. This operation was performed on recent afternoon by Arnold Ammann, a biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Wearing black gloves, he lifted a finger-sized salmon from a bucket and laid it on a padded mat. The salmon was stunned with an anesthetic and lay motionless.
Ammann cut an incision in the abdomen and inserted the cylinder-shaped transmitter, called an acoustic tag. The device emits a high-frequency signal, enabling scientists to track the fish’s movements as they swim to the Pacific Ocean.
“They heal up pretty quickly,” Ammann said. “It has a minimal effect on them, and we can get good information on their movement and survival.”
California school district sues Dow and Shell over cancer-causing chemical in water
The Ballico-Cressey School District, a small school district in a rural stretch of northern Merced County, is suing corporate giants Dow Chemical and Shell Oil.The lawsuit, filed on March 30 in Merced County Superior Court, alleges that the big companies manufactured and sold agricultural fumigants containing the toxic chemical 1,2,3-TCP, or 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, that were sprayed on nearby fields surrounding the school district, polluting Cressey Elementary School’s water supply.“This is an effort to hold these c...
The Ballico-Cressey School District, a small school district in a rural stretch of northern Merced County, is suing corporate giants Dow Chemical and Shell Oil.
The lawsuit, filed on March 30 in Merced County Superior Court, alleges that the big companies manufactured and sold agricultural fumigants containing the toxic chemical 1,2,3-TCP, or 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, that were sprayed on nearby fields surrounding the school district, polluting Cressey Elementary School’s water supply.
“This is an effort to hold these companies accountable,” said Kenneth Sansone, attorney at SL Environmental Law Group who is representing the school district. “We want to make sure the companies who created the mess and profited from it are the ones who pay to clean it up.”
The Ballico-Cressey School District is seeking damages and other relief associated with the dangerous chemical found in Shell Oil’s and Dow Chemical’s agricultural sprays, according to the complaint. The complaint also asks for Dow and Shell to pay “an amount sufficient to punish manufacturer defendants and to deter them from ever committing the same or similar acts.”
According to a press release issued on April 5 about the lawsuit, more than 70 communities, utility providers and water service agencies have sued Dow, Shell and other companies that made or sold pesticides containing TCP. In the last year, three other school districts in the San Joaquin Valley sued Shell and Dow, including the McSwain Unified Elementary School District, the Selma Unified School District and Manteca Unified School District.
“The taxpayers of the Ballico-Cressey School District should not be forced to pay to clean up water pollution caused by defective products that made Dow and Shell millions and millions of dollars,” said Bliss Propes, the superintendent of the Ballico-Cressey School District. “This lawsuit will help to hold these corporations accountable for the damage their TCP-contaminated pesticides have caused to one of the community’s most precious resources.”
The press release goes on to allege that TCP was a waste product of other chemicals manufactured by Dow and Shell. Products containing TCP were marketed and sold as pesticides until the 1980s and used throughout the state to control nematodes, or microscopic worms that infest the roots of plants. These pesticides were injected into the soil, and the TCP would make its way through the soil to the water table below, contaminating water supplies.
The Ballico-Cressey complaint also goes on to say that the companies that manufactured the dangerous chemical and the pesticides that contained it knew how dangerous 1,2,3-TCP was, or at least should have known. The Ballico-Cressey School District also alleges that the manufacturers of the chemical should have known how dangerous TCP would be to drinking water supplies, specifically. Representatives of Shell and Dow could not be reached for comment.
The chemical was designated an unregulated contaminant after it was discovered at a hazardous waste site in Burbank in the 1990s, according to the State Water Resources Control Board. Studies showed that 1,2,3-TCP causes cancer in lab animals and is a carcinogen, or cancer-causing chemical, in humans, as well.
1,2,3-TCP is also known to cause blood disorders and liver and kidney damage, according to the civil complaint. The state water board subsequently started to require a drinking water notification level of .005 micrograms per liter for 1,2,3-TCP in 1999, according to the State Water Resources Control Board.
The state also started to require monitoring of the chemical in drinking water sources once it was found to have polluted multiple drinking water sources across the state. The civil complaint states the California Office of Environmental Health limit for 1,2,3-TCP is 7 parts per trillion, although the state water board set the maximum contaminant level at 5 parts per trillion. At 5-9 parts per trillion, the well tested near Cressey Elementary School has more than the allowable amount of the chemical by these measures.
“The manufacturers of TCP products had a duty – and breached their duty – to evaluate and test such products adequately and thoroughly to determine their environmental fate and potential human health and environmental impacts before they produced and sold such products,” the complaint reads. “As a result of these failures, TCP contaminated, and continues to contaminate, the drinking water supply of the plaintiff’s water system.”
This isn’t the first time the San Joaquin Valley pushed back on TCP in pesticides made and sold by the corporate behemoths. Atwater city officials found 1,2,3-TCP in some of the city’s wells in 2019, and cleanup efforts started almost immediately.
That was also the year Atwater won $63 million in net settlement proceeds from Shell and Dow because the two companies didn’t disclose that TCP was contained in nematicide, the pesticide used to kill nematodes. Nematicide was often used on agricultural fields near Atwater. New systems to filter out the chemical were completed in August 2021.
Livingston, too, got a windfall in 2011 from a $9 million settlement from Dow Chemical, Dow AgroSciences, Shell Oil Co. and Wilbur Ellis Co. That lawsuit was filed in 2005 after it was discovered that Livingston’s wells were contaminated with TCP. The city later installed a $2.3 million filtration system.
The Ballico-Cressey School District owns and operates its own water system, and after school officials started testing for 1,2,3-TCP in their wells, found 5-9 parts per trillion of the chemical in one of their wells – what amounts to a few grains of sand in an Olympic-sized pool, the district’s lawyer said.
However, such a seemingly small amount can do a lot of damage.
“The problem with contaminants in drinking water in a well is that generally, people are going to be drinking large quantities of water from that well over time,” Sansone said. “So aggregate amounts of contaminants in those people is a concern.”
This chemical doesn’t just go away, either, Sansone said. TCP doesn’t deteriorate or dissipate quickly over time, even in water.
“Once TCP gets into the groundwater, it would be expected to stay there for a very long time,” Sansone said. “The only way it will come out or be diminished is if it is pumped out of the water supply. We’ve seen cases that can take as many as 30 or 40 years just for TCP to reach the water table after application.”
To filter out the carcinogen after the 2018 testing, Ballico-Cressey school officials installed drinking water filters in the water fountains at Cressey Elementary School, which is located near the well where 1,2,3-TCP was found – what Sansone calls a short-term solution.
“The district plans on installing a specialized water treatment system to remove TCP from the entire water supply at the school,” Sansone told the Sun-Star.
The water treatment system is the district’s long-term solution, Sansone said. It is estimated to cost $1 million, and the district is already working with an engineering firm on the design of the system. However, full implementation is still “far down the road,” Sansone said.
Sansone added one of the best resolutions for the district and the companies in the case would be to settle, although whether or not that will happen remains to be seen.
“At this point, it’s difficult to say,” Sansone said. “We’re just getting started.”
Amy Schumer Wanted to Make a Horrible Oscars Joke About the Alec Baldwin Shooting
During a recent comedy show, Amy Schumer revealed one of the jokes she was not allowed to make while hosting the 2022 Oscars — and it's probably for the best the joke was banned.The canned joke had to do with the fatal, accidental shooting that occurred on...
Schumer revisited one of the banned ones during a performance at a Las Vegas comedy event.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, she set up the joke by revisiting the breakaway viral moment of the 2022 Academy Awards: Will Smith slapping Chris Rock across the face in an unscripted moment on live television.
"It was really upsetting, but I think the best way to comfort ourselves would be for me to say the Oscar jokes that I wasn’t allowed to say on TV,” Schumer said. She added that she was legally advised not to revisit them.
That didn't stop her from sharing an insensitive one about the Rust tragedy: “Don’t Look Up is the name of a movie? More like don’t look down the barrel of Alec Baldwin’s shotgun,” Schumer said.
“I wasn’t allowed to say any of that [at the Oscars], but you can just come up and [slap] someone," she added.
Schumer previously reflected on the infamous slap on social media.
"I think we are all gonna be processing tonight for a while," she wrote in the caption of an Instagram post.
Revisit it below:
Some of her original statement appears to have been edited in the existing post.
"I’m still in shock and stunned and sad," she originally continued, according to Variety. The publication notes that the comedian also wrote she was "waiting for this sickening feeling to go away from what we all witnessed."
This is not the first time Schumer has addressed her jokes from the Oscars.
After the ceremony, she took to her Instagram story to explain one that did not seem to land with some of the audience. The joke in question implied that Oscar-nominated Kirsten Dunst was a seat filler.
"Hey I appreciate the love for Kirsten Dunst," Schumer wrote, according to Page Six. "I love her too! That was a choreographed bit she was in on." She added that she "wouldn't disrespect the queen like that."
How to reverse the teacher crisis exacerbated by the pandemic: Experts
(NEW YORK) -- Some American public school districts are facing teacher shortages so severe that educators in Minneapolis and Sacramento, California, went on strike recently, demanding officials address the crisis.Researchers and unions agree that teacher shortages predated COVID-19, but they said the pandemic exacerbated the problem."We saw schools closing down in January, not because of COVID itself, but because they didn't have enough educators for the students to be safely in the buildings. And so we saw some schools go...
(NEW YORK) -- Some American public school districts are facing teacher shortages so severe that educators in Minneapolis and Sacramento, California, went on strike recently, demanding officials address the crisis.
Researchers and unions agree that teacher shortages predated COVID-19, but they said the pandemic exacerbated the problem.
"We saw schools closing down in January, not because of COVID itself, but because they didn't have enough educators for the students to be safely in the buildings. And so we saw some schools going back to virtual learning because of the shortages," Becky Pringle, the president of the National Education Association, a teacher labor union with nearly 3 million members, told ABC News.
Two of the most common factors driving the crisis are low pay and working conditions, which get worse as shortages become more severe.
Teacher's salaries have been degrading since the 1990s, with teachers now making about 20% less than other college-educated professionals, even when you take into account the shorter school year, Desiree Carver-Thomas, a researcher at the Learning Policy Institute, told ABC News.
One researcher even predicted that the crisis will get worse if teachers' issues are not addressed. "We're going to have severe shortages, particularly in the tougher schools, and it's going to have a negative impact [on schools and education in the U.S.]," Richard Ingersoll, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a leading expert on America's teaching workforce, told ABC News. Ingersoll warned, "I'd like to see the solution being to improve the working conditions [and] improve the pay, but often, that's not the one that we turn to, and Band-Aids really aren't going to fix it."
"My guess is this is going to turn into a crisis. We're going to have large numbers of schools which are not adequately staffing significant numbers of their classrooms," he said.
Teachers are overworked and overwhelmed, and are often called to do things they are not qualified for to fulfill students' social and emotional needs. Students are suffering now in schools with not enough educators or mental health professionals to fulfill their needs, Pringle said.
Research released by the Economic Policy Institute in February found that the number of people employed in public K-12 elementary and secondary schools fell by 4.7% between fall 2019 and fall 2021, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to the EPI report, nearly every state has experienced "substantial losses" in local public education employment because of the pandemic. The largest declines have occurred in Alaska, a 17.5% decline; Vermont, a 11.6% decline; and New Mexico, a 10.7% decline.
There are currently 567,000 fewer educators in America’s public schools than there were before the pandemic, the NEA said.
"I have no doubt that by the end of this year that number will grow significantly," Pringle said.
Pringle said the number of college students enrolling in teacher preparation programs is in steady decline, with the industry looking at annual shortfalls of around 100,000 just due to fewer numbers of students going into teaching.
This crisis could still get worse, Pringle warned. In an NEA survey published in February, nearly 55% of its members said they plan on leaving the profession earlier than planned.
As more teachers leave schools, more stress and a higher workload is placed on those still working. Of NEA members surveyed, 74% said they have had to fill in for colleagues or take on more duties due to staff shortages and 80% said unfilled positions have led to more work obligations.
Ingersoll said there are two ways that this crisis can be resolved: either increase the supply of teachers or improve the working conditions, including pay.
To increase the supply of teachers, you can make it easier for people to become teachers by lowering the bar, through things like expediting entry into teaching through alternative routes, including teacher preparation programs, or you can recruit teachers from overseas.
The Economic Policy Institute wrote in its report that raising pay and using federal relief funds to invest in the education workforce is "critical to solving staffing shortages."
"Public officials should seize this moment of greater fiscal flexibility to begin making the reforms needed to attract, keep safe and retain high-quality teachers and support staff," said David Cooper, co-author of the report and director of EPI’s Economic Analysis and Research Network.
Cooper added, "That means raising pay, enacting strong COVID protections, investing in teacher development programs and finding ways to support part-time and part-year staff when school is not in session."
Carver-Thomas said some states are developing service scholarships or loan forgiveness programs for teachers. California has a Golden State Teacher grant program in exchange for commitment to serve in certain high need subjects and locations.
Some states are implementing a residency program where a resident apprentices under a teacher for a full year while they are earning their credential with a partnering university and they commit to teaching in the district for a certain number of years after the residency program, Carver-Thomas said.
Carver-Thomas said the programs California is implementing offer a glimmer of hope.
"The investments the state has been making are actually beginning to make a difference in the teacher supply pipeline," Carver-Thomas said. "There's still aways to go, but there's sort of that evidence that these investments can turn around the conditions in state."
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Matthew McConaughey and his wife Camila make New York Times Best Sellers list: ‘Having a tequila together’
Alright, alright, alright.Matthew McConaughey and his wife, Camila Alves McConaughey, have made the New York Times Best Sellers list for their respective books.The couple ...
Alright, alright, alright.
The couple took to Instagram on Wednesday to share the news.
"Good morning. Read the newspaper. Guess who showed up on the New York Times Best Seller list?" the actor asked in the clip.
His spouse playfully replied, "No, you are on the list."
"I know, but guess who was on the same list for the first time?" the 52-year-old quipped while pointing at the 40-year-old.
"Two McConaugheys, husband, wife, friends on the New York Times Best Seller List at the same time," the Oscar winner beamed.
McConaughey’s memoir, "Greenlights," has sold over 3 million copies and stayed on the list for 65 weeks, Camila revealed. The mother of three made the list for the first time thanks to her children’s book, "Just Try One Bite," which was released on March 22.
"Congratulations," McConaughey told the Women of Today founder while giving her a kiss.
"We are having a tequila together on me being a 1st timer on the list!" she captioned the post. "And there at the same time with completely different projects @nytimes #JustTryOneBite the book! If you don't have it yet time to order for the child in your life!!"
The pair will soon celebrate a decade of marriage. They said "I do" in 2012 and are now proud parents to son Levi, 13, daughter Vida, 12, and son Livingston, 9.
In 2020, McConaughey recalled how he once wasn’t certain if he would ever find "the one." However, that all changed when he met Camila in 2006.
"I was like, 'Wait, just wait. Be yourself. She'll come if she's supposed to come. And if she doesn't, that's OK, you're still a good man, McConaughey,'" he told People magazine. "That's when she showed up, and she moved right to left in front of my eyes across that club. It was as if she was floating. And I did not say, 'Who is that?' I said, 'What is that?' And then introduced myself."
On Monday, Camila spoke to about raising her family in Texas.