Subject: Studies in the News 02-39 (July 11, 2002)

Studies in the News

Contents This Week

   Soil fertility and organic farming
   Impact of particulate related pollution
   Ships pollute air
   Cars in San Joaquin Valley subject to stricter smog requirements
   Landfill gas as a viable energy source
   Farming effect on bird population
   Offshore oil pollution
   The environmental effect of coastal sprawl
   Transportation fiasco after 6.6 earthquake
   Trout protection extended
   Scary environmental scenarios counterproductive
   Recommendations preserving wild nature
   New economy of nature
   Global warming threatens trout and salmon
   Comprehensive plan for coastal fishing
   Annual report of fishing stocks
   Biotech crops boost farm yield
   Uncertainty in predictions of temperature rise
   Alternatives for smart growth in the Bay Area
   Open space and conservation
   School property cleanup
   Final Presidio Trust management plan
   Malformed male frogs and herbicide
   Public data on toxic releases
   Yucca Mountain repository
   Evolution of Federal project to irrigate California
   Water supplies managed for profit
   Wetland mitigation evaluation study
   Importance of isolated wetlands
   Studies in the News, May 5, 2002
   Studies in the News, May 20, 2002
   Studies in the News, June 10, 2002
   Studies in the News, June 28, 2002
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in California’s Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library’s website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, the URL for the full text of each item is provided.

  • Items in the State Library collection can be checked out to state officials and staff.

  • Access to all materials listed will be provided by the State Information Reference Center, either by e-mail to or by calling 654-0261.

The following studies are currently on hand:



"Soil Fertility and Biodiversity in Organic Farming." By Paul Mader and others. IN: Science, vol. 296, no. 5573 (May 31, 2002) pp. 1694-1697.

["The study reported ... organic farming methods used 50% less energy, 97% less pesticide and as much as 51% less fertilizer than conventional methods. After two decades of cultivation, the soil in the study's test plots was still rich in nutrients, resistant to erosion and readily water absorbent. Overall, organic crop yields averaged about 20% less than conventionally farmed crops, although the difference covered a wide range." Los Angeles Times (May 31, 2002) A1.]

[Request #S5343]

Return to the Table of Contents


Particulate-Related Impacts of Eight Electric Utility Systems. By Abt Associates. Prepared for the Rockefeller Family Fund. (The Fund, New York, New York) April 2002. 106 p.

Full Text at:

["Study Sees 6,000 Deaths From Power Plants: In addition, pollutants will lead to 140,000 asthma attacks and 14,000 cases of acute bronchitis in 2007.... This pollution consists of fine particles of substances like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which can cause respiratory ailments, including lung cancer." New York Times (April 18, 2002) A21.]

[Request #S5344]

Return to the Table of Contents

"Emissions from Ships in the Northwestern United States." By James J. Corbett. IN: Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 36, no. 6 (2002) pp. 1299-1306.

["Waterways Pollute Air; Emissions Restrictions Ignore Boats Belching Noxious Fumes: A new study suggests that waterways should be included in air-pollution audits that have so far focused on industry and road traffic. (James) Corbett has found that marine vessels emit twice as much nitrogen oxides (NOx) -- up to 25% of Washington state's highway emissions -- as had been previously estimated." Nature (April 15, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5345]

Return to the Table of Contents


"Small Towns on Highway 99 Now Part of Smog check II." By Melanie Turner. IN: Modesto Bee (April 29, 2002)A1.

Full Text at:

["This article reports on cars and smog station owners in the San Joaquin Valley that will be affected by stricter Smog Check II emission requirements beginning on May 1, 2002. While car owners are preparing to pay higher prices at smog check stations, station owners are also facing increased expenses because they have to buy the necessary diagnostic tool called the dynamometer.... Smog Check II is expected to reduce emissions an additional five to six tons per day."] California Policy Forum NewsWire (April 30,2002)1.]

[Request #S5346]

Return to the Table of Contents


Economic and Financial Aspects of Landfill Gas to Energy Project Development in California. By the California Energy Commission. (The Commission, Sacramento, California) April 2002. 91 p.

Full Text at:

["This report ... examines the possibilities for using landfill gas (LFG), produced by the decomposition of buried organic waste, as a viable energy source. Although LFGs can serve as substitutes for natural gas and electric power generation, large amounts of their energy resource go unused and are simply incinerated in a flare. This report provides an overview of the utilization of LFG and discusses project development issues and financial incentives that are available for landfill-gas-to-energy projects." California Policy Forum NewsWire (April 30, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5347]

Return to the Table of Contents


"Influence of Landscape Composition on Avian Community Structure and Associated Mechanisms." By Amanda D. Rodewald and Richard H. Yahner. IN: Ecology, vol. 82, no. 12 (2001) pp. 3493-3504.

["Not All Forests Clearings Are Created Equal: Farming in and around forests hurts bird populations more than does timber harvesting, concludes a study.... The study suggests that farming may make bird nests more vulnerable to predation by squirrels and other animals." Environmental News Service (April 11, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5348]

Return to the Table of Contents


Oil in the Sea: Inputs, Fates, and Effects. By the Committee on Oil in the Sea, National Research Council. (National Academy Press, Washington, DC) May 2002. 434 p.

Full Text at:

["Most oil pollution in North American coastal waters comes not from leaking tankers or oil rigs, but rather from countless oil-streaked streets, sputtering lawn mowers and other dispersed sources on land, and so will be hard to prevent, a panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences says in a new report. The thousands of tiny releases, carried by streams and storm drains to the sea, are estimated to equal an Exxon Valdez spill -- 10.9 million gallons of petroleum -- every eight months." New York Times (May 24, 2002) A14.]

[Request #S5215]

Return to the Table of Contents

Coastal Sprawl: The Effects of Urban Design on Aquatic Ecosystems in the United States. By Dana Beach, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League. (Pew Oceans Commission, Arlington, Virginia) April 2002. 33 p.

Full Text at:

["Living on the coast is becoming more popular, but the trend is harming the ocean and coastal habitats, according to a report....The report says the most immediate threat to the ocean comes from urban runoff, which dumps pollutants into aquatic environments." Contra Costa Times (April 21, 2002) 1]

[Request #S5349]

Return to the Table of Contents


What Are We Predicting Will Happen to Our Transportation System in Future Earthquakes? By The Association of Bay Area Governments. (The Association, Oakland, California.) April 30, 2002. Various pagings.

Full Text at:

["ABAG's report revises upward it's 1997 projections. Scientists have a more complete understanding of earthquake behavior after studying new phenomena from major quakes in Turkey, Japan and the California desert. Consequently, ABAG thinks there will be more road damage everywhere." Oakland Tribune (May 1, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5350]

Return to the Table of Contents


"Endangered and Threatened Species: Range Extension for Endangered Steelhead in Southern California: Final Rule." By the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 50 CFR Part 224. IN: Federal Register, vol. 67, no. 84 (May 1, 2002) pp. 21586-21598.

Full Text at:

["Trout Protection Extended: Steelhead in San Mateo Creek and farther south are now officially shielded by the Endangered Species Act. A rare fish that dwells in rocky pools just south of Orange County will be protected under the Endangered Species Act, wildlife officials said, raising a new potential speed bump for the proposed Foothill South toll road." Orange County Register (May 2, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5351]

Return to the Table of Contents


The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. By Bjorn Lomborg. (Cambridge University Press, New York, New York) 2002. 515 p.

["A controversial new book by a Danish Statistician claims that, environmentally speaking, the world is getting better, contrary to the headline-making scary scenarios of the last few decades.... The book is a survey of global trends in everything from human population and grain production to illiteracy, working hours and planetary forest cover." San Francisco Chronicle (March 4, 2002) A4. NOTE: The Skeptical Environmentalist ... is available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S4698]

Return to the Table of Contents

Wild Earth: Wild Ideas for a World Out of Balance. By Tom Bulter. (Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis, Minnesota) 2002. 361 p.

["The collected essays of Wild Earth reflect many of the same arguments and passions that drove Muir and Pinchot.... The book argues that wild nature must be preserved either for its intrinsic value or else for its utilitarian value of providing irreplaceable economic services to the project of civilization." Washington Post (April 21, 2002) T8. Note: Wild Earth ... is available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S5352]

Return to the Table of Contents

The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable. By Gretchen C. Daily and Katherine Ellison. (Island Press, Covelo, California) 2002. 250 p.

["The book ... argues that environmental conservation has to become economically profitable to work -- and will, once we begin to treat our ecosystems as the vital capital assets that they are.... The authors argue that only when you can provide real economic value to local residents for the protection rather than the liquidation of nature will we have a fighting chance of saving the environment." Washington Post (April 21, 2002) T8. NOTE: The New Economy of Nature ... is available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S5353]

Return to the Table of Contents


Effects of Global Warming on Trout and Salmon in U.S. Streams. By Kirkman O'Neal, Abt Associates. Prepared for National Resources Defense Council and Defenders of Wildlife. (Defenders of Wildlife, Washington, DC) May 2002. 44 p.

Full Text at:

["Two of America's favorite sport fish -- trout and salmon -- are likely to disappear from many of the nation's rivers and streams due to rising water temperatures caused by global warming, a new study says.... Of the 110 California sites examined in the report that currently support trout, as many as 20 percent are expected to be too warm for the sport fish by 2030. For salmon, significant losses are predicted throughout their range, with the biggest impact likely in California." Sacramento Bee (May 22, 2002) A8.]

[Request #S5165]

Return to the Table of Contents


Nearshore Fishery Management Plan. By the California Department of Fish and Game. (The Department, Sacramento, California) May 9, 2002. Various pagings.

Full Text at:

["The California Department of Fish and Game proposed a sweeping plan to regulate coastal fishing, a proposal the department said will affect not only sport and commercial fishermen, but recreational divers as well.... It leaves the details to the Fish and Game Commission, which is expected to adopt the final version at its meeting August in Oakland after a series of public hearings." San Diego Union Tribune (May 10, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5354]

Return to the Table of Contents

Toward Rebuilding America's Marine Fisheries: Annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries - 2001. By the National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Sustainable Fisheries. (The Service, Silver Springs, Maryland) April 2002. 142 p.

Full Text at:

["For the first time in five years, annual figures released by the National Marine Fisheries Service show some improvements in the status of commercially fished marine species...'The number of stocks with sustainable harvest rates rose by 45 percent between 1999 and 2001, and those with sustainable stock sizes increased by a third,' said NMF's Bill Hogarth. 'And yet the challenges that still await us are enormous.'" Environmental News Service (May 1, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5355]

Return to the Table of Contents


Plant Biotechnology: Current and Potential Impact for Improving Pest Management in U.S. Agriculture, An Analysis of 40 Case Studies. By Leonard P. Gianessi, and others, National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy. (The Center, Washington, DC) June 2002. 75 p.

Full Text at:

["A new report quantifies significant increases in farm income, food production, and reductions in pesticide use that may result from wider use of agricultural biotechnology in the United States....The study found that if farmers converted to biotech varieties of an additional 21 crops available, production could increase by another 10 billion pounds, farm income would improve by an additional $1 billion and pesticide usage could be decreased by an additional 117 million pounds." PR Newswire (June 11, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5356]

Return to the Table of Contents


"Origins and Estimates of Uncertainty in Predictions of Twenty-First Century Temperature Rise." By Peter A. Stott and others. IN: Nature, vol. 416, no. 6882 (April 18, 2002) pp. 723-726.

["We investigate the relative importance of the uncertainty in climate response to a particular emissions scenario versus the uncertainty caused by the differences between future emissions scenarios for our estimates of future change. We present probabilistic forecasts of global-mean temperatures for four representative scenarios for future emissions."]

[Request #S5357]

Return to the Table of Contents


Shaping the Future of the Nine-County Bay Area: Alternatives Report for Round Two Public Workshop Participants and Other Bay Area Residents. By the Smart Growth Strategy Regional Livability Footprint Project. (Association of Bay Area Governments, Oakland, California) April 2002. 37 p.

Full Text at:

["Advocates of 'smart growth' have invited Bay Area residents to comment on plans for the region's long-term development, all of which they said would handle job and housing growth while preserving the environment.... Members of the Smart Growth Strategy project will hold a series of public workshops in each county to further refine the plans." San Francisco Chronicle (April 12, 2002) A20]

[Request #S5358]

Return to the Table of Contents

Open Space Protection: Conservation Meets Growth Management. By Linda E. Holds and William Fulton. Prepared for The Brookings Institute Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy. (The Institute, Washington, DC) April 2002. 91 p.

Full Text at:

["With the rapid growth of many metropolitan areas, the link between open space policies and growth mangement is becoming clearer than ever before. However, the impact of open space preservation on metropolitan development patterns is not yet well understood....This paper provides an overview of the nature, quantity and objectives of open space programs in the U.S. and begins to describe how they affect the shape and form of metropolitan areas."]

[Request #S5359]

Return to the Table of Contents


Department of Toxic Substance Control Biennial Report on the School Property Evaluation and Cleanup Division Activity: January 2000 Through December 2001. By the Department of Toxic Substance Control. (The Department, Washington, DC) April 18, 2002. 8 p.

Full Text at:

[“An environmental review of 40 potential new and expanded school sites in Orange County shows that 23 had prior uses that could have contaminated the land…. Today’s first-ever state report on toxic tests at proposed school sites and at schools slated for expansion shows that 13 Orange County school districts are conducting environmental analyses to determine whether their sites are safe for students.” Orange County Register (April 22, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5360]

Return to the Table of Contents


Presidio Trust Management Plan: Land Use Policies for Area B of the Presidio of San Francisco. By The Presidio Trust. (The Trust, San Francisco, California) May 2002) Various pagings; Appendices.

Full Text at:

["The Trust released its long-awaited master plan for the park at a board of directors meeting.... Hillary Gelman, the deputy director of planning, outlined three major changes from the draft: an enhanced commitment to resource preservation, more specifics about the location and design of proposed housing and cultural centers and a greater commitment to a continuing public review of future decisions at the park." San Francisco Chronicle (May 22, 2002) A22.]

[Request #S5361]

Return to the Table of Contents


Hermaphroditic, Demasculinized Frogs after Exposure to the Herbicide Atrazine at Low Ecologically Relevant Doses. By Tyrone B. Hayes, and others, University of California, Berkeley. IN: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. vol. 99, no. 8 (April 16, 2002) pp. 5476-5480

Full Text at:

["One of the nation's most heavily used weedkillers causes sexual deformities in young male frogs exposed to extremely dilute concentrations, according to new research....The study found that levels as low as .1 parts per billion of the herbicide atrazine were enough to "demasculinize" male tadpoles. The federal limit for atrazine in tap water is 3 ppb - 30 times the amount that triggered problems in the frogs." Sacramento Bee (April 16, 2002) A18.]

[Request #S5362]

Return to the Table of Contents


2000 Public Data Release Report. By the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program, Environmental Protection Agency. (The Agency, Washington, DC) May 2002. Various pagings; Appendices.

Full Text at:

["EPA Says Biggest Polluters Are Hard-Rock Mining Companies and Coal-Burning Power Plants: In its most comprehensive inventory of pollution and its sources, the EPA said mining of hard-rock minerals -- gold, silver, uranium, copper, lead, zinc and molybdenum -- was responsible for 3.4 billion pounds of toxic pollutants in 2000. Coal-burning electric generating plants were responsible for another 1.2 billion pounds.... In 2000, 38 billion pounds of such chemicals in production-related waste were reported as having been handled or processed -- an increase of 26 percent over the nearly 30 billion pounds in 1999." Associated Press (May 23, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5363]

Return to the Table of Contents


Testimony of Spencer Abraham, Secretary of Energy. Presented to Energy and Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Senate. May 16, 2001. Various pagings.

Full Text at:

["Under intense questioning from Nevada's two senators, Abraham conceded that the Yucca Mountain repository as currently envisioned could handle only a fraction of the waste expected to be generated by commercial power plants and the government in the coming decade....Still, insisted Abraham, any waste taken to Yucca Mountain would be waste no longer kept in less-safe temporary facilities including some near highly populated or environmentally sensitive areas." Associated Press (May 16, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5364]

Return to the Table of Contents


CVP: Central Valley Profits. By Audrey Cooper. IN: The Stockton Record (June 16-18, 2002) A1+

[Includes: "Troubled Waters: Federal Project to Irrigate California Bears Hefty Debt;" "Water, The Next Oil?: Speculators Eye Potential in the Subsidized Resource;" and "Saving the Family Farm: Growers Looking to Sell CVP Water to Bring in Money."]

[Request #S5365]

Return to the Table of Contents


Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit. By Vandana Shiva. (Southend Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts) 2002. 158 p.

["The world is on the brink of a major freshwater crisis. Vandana Shiva outlines the global nature of the crisis as well as the corporate plan to cartelize the world's water supply for profit.... Shiva also offers a blueprint for resistance and an alternative vision for a water-secure and a water-equitable future." NOTE: Water Wars ... is available for 3-day loan.]

[Request #S5366]

Return to the Table of Contents


Washington State Wetland Mitigation Evaluation Study. By Patricia A. Johnson and others, Washington State Department of Ecology. (The Department, Olympia, Washington) Phase 1: Compliance, Publication No. 00-06-016. June 2000. Phase 2: Evaluating Success. Publication No. 02-06-009. January 2002.

["The Study was conducted in two phases to evalulate the success of projects intended to compensate (mitigate) for wetlands lost to development activities in the state of Washington. Phase I examined the compliance of 45 randomly selected projects with their permit requirements. Phase 2 examined the ecological success of a subset of the projects from Phase 1.]

Phase 1: Compliance, 84 p.

Phase 2: Evaluating Success, 146 p.

[Request #S5367]

Return to the Table of Contents

Geographically Isolated Wetlands: A Preliminary Assessment of their Characteristics and Status in Selected Areas of the United States. By Ralph W. Tiner, and others, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (The Service, Hadley, Massachusetts) March 2002. Various pagings.

Full Text at:

["Isolated wetlands are both exceptionally important and exceptionally vulnerable to destruction, notes a new report. The report lends urgency to calls for conserving wetlands, including the isolated wetlands that lost their federal protection in a January 2001 Supreme Court decision. The report ... concentrates on so called isolated wetlands - those with 'no apparent surface water connection to perennial rivers and streams, estuaries, or the ocean" - and shows that these fragile pools and ponds perform many of the same ecosystem functions generally ascribed to non-isolated wetlands.'" Environmental News Service (June 13, 2002) 1.]

[Request #S5368]

Return to the Table of Contents

[This section links to items in Studies in the News since the last Environmental Supplement.]

"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 02-28 (May 9, 2002)

Full Text at:

[Includes: "Biodiversity state of the union," "Open space protection," and "Water transfer controversy."]

[Request #S5369]

Return to the Table of Contents

"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 02-30 (May 20, 2002)

Full Text at:

[Includes: "State of the Air: 2002 ," "Lung Association report misleads," "Suit objects to review of Sierra logging," "State greenhouse emissions programs," "States taking lead on climate change," "Cell phone disposal toxicity," and "Agency report on watershed management partnerships."]

[Request #S5370]

Return to the Table of Contents

"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 2-33 (June 10, 2002)

Full Text at:

[Includes: "Farmers commitment to conservation," "Improving CEQA review," "Equity in funding Los Angeles parks," "Implementing Prop. 40 conservation bond," "Supreme Court on Lake Tahoe regulation," "Augmenting Salton Sea water," and "Caltrans and runoff pollution."]

[Request #S5371]

Return to the Table of Contents

"Environment and Natural Resources." IN: Studies in the News, 02-37 (June 28, 2002)

Full Text at:

[Includes: "Beach report card," "Beach erosion is major threat to coastline," "Endangered listing of coho salmon ," "State regulation of fireworks," "EPA report to UN on climate change," "Dentists are source of mercury pollution," and "Uranium could pollute Colorado River."]

[Request #S5372]

Return to the Table of Contents