Court of Appeal Revives LAW & NRDC Lawsuit Over LA County Stormwater  Permit

Do you think it's wrong that cities can dump whatever they want into our waterways as long as they say they're trying to do better? We do. 
That's why LAW and NRDC sued LA County over its 2012 stormwater permit, which included a "safe harbors" provision allowing cities to bypass water quality requirements as long as they plan to meet them...eventually. That means polluted stormwater would continue to be channeled into our ocean without repercussions.
We argued, among other things, that the permit violated California's anti-degradation policy, which protects impaired waterways from being further impaired.  Because there's no way to enforce pollution limits with the safe harbors in place, our already damaged coastline and inland waterways are left to fend for themselves against ongoing pollution.  While the lower court disagreed, the Court of Appeal reversed its decision and granted us a new trial!
This is big news for clean water. The Court of Appeal reversed the decision because the trial court applied the wrong legal standard when considering our case. Now, our fight to prevent polluted stormwater runoff from freely flowing into the ocean is renewed. 
Get Your Waders On! RAFT is Back in Action
Photo courtesy of Michael Notrica
On May 4, learn how to monitor the health of the LA River!
You are invited to join our River Assessment Fieldwork Team (RAFT) for the first training session of the monitoring season! We will meet at the LA Central Library to learn about our water quality monitoring and ecosystem health assessment methodology. We will then head to the Glendale Narrows for a pizza break and field demo. 

This training is for volunteers 18 and older. No prior experience required.

Please note: This training is designed to prepare RAFT volunteers for fieldwork days, which are held on Saturdays once or twice per month from May through October. RAFT volunteers must attend a training before joining our regular field days. There will be just one other RAFT training in mid-summer.

River Assessment Fieldwork Team (RAFT) Training 
Saturday, May 4th from 10:00 am--3:00 pm
LA Central Library & Glendale Narrows
Info! Pizza! Field demonstration!

Please RSVP to Melissa: by Monday, April 29th. Space is limited and available on a first come, first serve basis.
Make a Lasting Impact on our City
Take the TrashBlitz data collection challenge with us on May 11th!
Join LA-based environmental organizations for the TrashBlitz, a collaborative project that aims to gather relevant pollution data to ultimately support local environmental advocacy efforts. Together, we will create the first open source dataset, for anyone to use in the fight against plastic pollution!

We're thrilled to support this important project spearheaded by 5 Gyres. Take the TrashBlitz data collection challenge on May 11th at Echo Park. Learn more.
Trump Insurance: LA Times Endorses SB1, Which Will #PreserveCA from Trump's Attacks
Thanks to Senators Toni Atkins & Henry Stern for your SB1 leadership!
California's native species and its precious water resources are in serious need of some Trump insurance.

The state has laws that safeguard threatened wildlife and regulate water quality. But they are muscles and sinews that function only because they are attached to the bones of strong federal environmental laws adopted by forward-looking Congresses and presidents since the 1970s. Now those federal bones are beginning to dissolve.

Read more.
In Case You Missed It...
Melissa joined the Spectrum 1 News crew to explore the impacts of this winter's heavy rains on our inland and coastal waters.
Melissa von Mayrhauser said she has never seen so many flowers at the Ballona Creek Estuary as there are now. But the recent heavy rains have brought more than just flowers.

The waterways at the estuary carry runoff, including industrial and residential pollution, from all over Los Angeles County into the ocean, which is why it's a good place to observe and measure water quality.

Watch the full story here!
County accepting comments on draft sustainability plan until May 24
Working in collaboration with stakeholder organizations and expert consultants, Los Angeles County is developing a regional sustainability plan known as Our County. The draft plan is now online and open for public comment.

Our County aims to outline a "bold, inclusive, and truly regional vision for the present and future generations of Los Angeles," so we encourage everyone who is able to read through and participate. Some of the important topics covered include water, climate, housing, public health, access to public spaces, sustainable food systems, affordable transportation, waste management, and more.

Access the plan here.
Braving the Rains to Chase Polluters
Watershed Intern, Maricarmen, takes us through a rainy night in the field
This past winter was one of the wettest Southern California has seen. Thanks to the heavy amount of rainfall we received, here at LAW we stayed active. We work with volunteers in our Community Water Watch (CWW) program to collect stormwater runoff from industrial facilities, to investigate how well they are managing the various metals and chemicals on their sites.

As you can imagine, collecting stormwater can be a very wet and cold experience...

Read more about Maricarmen's experience sampling stormwater!