Palos Verdes-South Bay Sierra Club

Whale of a Day, Sat., April 13

Celebrate the migration of the Pacific Gray Whale from Alaska to the winter breeding and calving grounds in Baja California with free family activities and information from conservation groups, including the Sierra Club.

Point Vicente Interpretive Center 31501 Palos Verdes Dr. West. Free parking at the Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall, 30940 Hawthorne Bl., free shuttle bus service to PVIC.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Earth Day/ “Free Solo” film, Sat., April 20

White Point Nature Center, 1600 W. Paseo del Mar, San Pedro Come for family eco-activities, including guided nature walks,

dryad flute performance and native plant sale, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Stay in the area for a screening of FREE SOLO as the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy opens their Beauty of Nature film series.

Follow Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite’s 3,000′ high El Capitan Wall. With no ropes or safety gear, he completed arguably the greatest feat in rock climbing history.

5 p.m. at the historic Warner Grand Theatre, 478 West 6th Street, San Pedro. Tickets are $10

Along the Path/ Wild Cucumber: One Craz-zy Wild Plant!

By Susan Rothrock Deo

Don’t you just love the surprises that come out of the ground after a few good rains here in Southern California? I’m especially fond of the native plants in my yard or along the trails, but wild cucumber is something else! It’s not invasive, it doesn’t starve out other plants, but it is aggressive. It clambers over bushes and low-lying plants, showing off its bright spring green. The vines can grow up to six meters (20 feet) long and even climb trees.

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Jan/Feb 2019

Join Us to Halt the Toxic Threat

By Al Sattler, Group Chair

A crucial meeting of the AQMD Board will be held Friday morning Feb. 1 in Diamond Bar.  We need as many people as possible to attend this meeting to tell the board that we want the local refineries to stop using hydrofluoric acid (HF) and “modified” hydrofluoric acid (MHF).  If you can attend, email Steve Dillow <> . He will send a list to those interested in carpooling so you can make arrangements. Read More

Landslide Mitigation Update

By Barbara Sattler

At the Dec. 18, 2018 Rancho Palos Verdes City Council meeting the council approved a contract with a geotechnical firm to:

   1. Design a drainage system at the bottom portion of the landslide located to the south of Burma Road

    2. Design any necessary fracture infill in this area

   3. Design the underground hydro-augers at the bottom of the slide and,

    4. Perform a hydrology/hydraulic analysis in the canyons.

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Children’s Wishes and Community Action Make Wishing Tree Park a Reality

By Florence Gharibian, Del Amo Action Committee

For as long as they could remember, the children passed the trees in wooden boxes in the alley. The tree in the middle was their favorite: the “Wishing Tree.”  For years the children had been writing their wishes on little notes and putting them in the tree, hoping they would come true. More than ten years ago the trees were purchased in anticipation of the day the empty lot next to the children’s home would become a park. That was the children’s fondest wish. Read More

A Park’s Transformational Power

By Al Sattler, Group Chair

“Today, kids spend less time outside than prison inmates…”

Imagine living without any park nearby, surrounded by Superfund sites and industrial facilities.  That has been the life of thousands of people living between Normandie and Vermont, north of Torrance Boulevard.  The closest park is more than 2 miles away.  Read More

Angeles Chapter Awards Banquet

Honoring 2018 Awardees (including the Foggy View’s own Susan Rothrock Deo!)

SUNDAY, MAY 5, 2019, noon to 4:00 p.m.

Long Beach Scottish Rite Event Center Read More

“There’s Still Hope: The Latest on Global Warming” and “Water from the Desert?”

Global Warming Updated:  Al Sattler, chair of the local Sierra Club Group, will present the latest information on where we stand today on global warming and how we can minimize it.  This is critical in light of the latest findings that project an accelerating trend with more damage to come sooner.

Mojave Desert Water to L.A.?: Chris Clarke from the National Parks Conservation Association will talk about the proposal to pump Mojave Desert water to L.A.  This plan is pushed by Cadiz inc and threatens desert life near Joshua Tree National Park. The Sierra Club and allies are working to defeat this  ludicrous plan.

Join us on  for our quarterly meeting, Wed., Jan. 23, 2019 at 7 PM at the Torrance Airport, 3301 Airport Dr, Torrance.  New location. Free; open to the public.

Refreshments will be served.  Questions? Call Joyce White 310-383-5247. Free, open to the public.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy presents 11 movies in 2 hours.

“Best Short” went to A Letter to Congress, a stirring three-minute film that shows off many of America’s most wild and stunning places. The real star, however, is the soundtrack: a voiceover starring Wallace Stegner as he orates his 1960 letter to Congress emphasizing the importance of preserving wilderness. The effect couldn’t be more prescient, nor Stegner’s words more relevant to our current state. It’s a kick in the pants to unify viewers against the transfer of public lands—arguably our most valuable heritage—to private and corporate interests.


Along the Path: Leapin’ Lizards!

By Susan Rothrock Deo

 Every time I see a lizard, I can’t help watching it. I’m not alone. Some people even become herpetologists, scientists who study reptiles (like lizards and snakes) and amphibians (like frogs and salamanders). Reptiles are vertebrates: they have an internal bony skeleton, including vertebrae that protect their spinal nerve cord. Their skin is composed of scales, and sometimes plates.

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Links of Interest

How the Southern California Coast is Changing (Daily News)

Cleaning the Ocean is a Big Job, but La Mer Maids Are Digging Their Nets in the Water (Daily News)

Gov. Brown Signs California’s 100% Clean Energy Bill into Law (Environment California)

Nov/Dec 2018

Our Scottish Colleagues: The John Muir Trust

By John Hutchison

On a hiking trip in Scotland this summer, my group met and heard from West Highland community advocate and conservationist, John Hutchison. John, a past-chairman of the John Muir Trust (JMT)), agreed to write about the activities of the JMT and links he had made with the U.S.– Ed.

Sierra Club founder John Muir is best known as the father of America’s national parks, but the conservationist is also revered in his native Scotland. The UK’s biggest wild land charity with 11,000 members was named the John Muir Trust in his honor. Read More

Creatures of the Night

Jim Buentgen scans the brush with a special flashlight on evening hikes.  He often finds what others miss, hiding inplain sight:  scorpions.  The nocturnal arachnids are only two or three inches long at maturity and their brown or tan bodies blend in with surrounding brush. But under a black (ultraviolet) light, they fluoresce a bright turquoise color.

Photo by Kevin Schlunegger

Dec. 18: Support Hiking Access to the Preserve

In August, the city of Rancho Palos Verdes decided to discontinue the night hiking permit for the Sierra Club in the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve. RPV is also considering limiting the number of parking spaces near the preserve on Forrestal Dr. and Park Pl. The city council will take up the issue at the Dec. 18 meeting. Please attend. Make a brief statement or at least show your support by wearing a Sierra Club T-shirt. See you at Hesse Park, 29301 Hawthorne Blvd, RPV, 7 p.m., Tues., Dec. 18. We don’t know the order of the agenda, so bring  reading matter.

Along the Path: Hummingbirds, the Fastest Thing on Wings

By Susan Rothrock Deo

Hummer! I recognized the feathery buzz whirring by my head earlier. Now, as I write, I catch sight of one through the window by my desk. She is sitting on a telephone wire draped toward our house, her long, curved beak a slender exclamation point to her tiny body. SITTING!

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AQMD Committee Says, “Ban MHF” — Maybe

By Steve Dillow, Conservation Co-Chair

In the Southern California Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Refinery Committee meeting on Sept. 22, several experts supported the view that “modified” hydrofluoric acid (MHF) is no safer than unaltered HF, and that the mitigation efforts do little or nothing to protect the community. Read More

Rise for Climate LA Targets Oil Drilling

By Melanie Cohen, Conservation Co-Chair

On Sept. 8, and many local environmental justice groups including Physicians for Social Responsibility – LA and Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) held “Rise for Climate LA,” a rally calling for a state commitment to no new permits for oil or gas drilling and a transition to 100% clean energy. Read More

Anza-Borrego Car Camp, Jan. 19-21

I: Spend 2 nights at campsites in the pretty and comfortable Borrego Palms Campground in Anza-Borrego state park (running water and showers). Optional early arrival Fr nite. Day hikes include a beautiful desert slot canyon hike (about 7 miles, 1000 gain), an interpretive trail to a palm oasis (3 miles, 500 gain), and a section of the Pacific Crest Trail (8 mi, 1000 gain). Slot-canyon hike will require some moderate rock scrambling. Optional group dinner in the town of Borrego Springs Sun. night, happy hour and campfire Sat. night. Campground fee will be split among participants, max $40/person, collected on trip. Send email address, experience, conditioning, phone numbers, rideshare information to Leader: Dean Wallraff. Co-leaders: Beth Martin, Keith Martin

Details here.

Sep/Oct 2018

It’s Your Preserve…

…whether you live in RPV or not. Concerned about landslide mitigation, trail access or other issues related to the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve? You can stay current on RPV City Council meeting agendas by visiting the online calendar of events  Read More

RPV Ends Night Hiking Permit for PV Nature Preserve

More Hiking Access Limits Coming?

By Kevin Schlunegger and Al Sattler

As of August 22, 2018, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes has decided to discontinue the night hiking permit for the Sierra Club to access Portuguese Bend Reserve in the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve. The permit allowed us to hike in the reserve after dark once a week  during the early-sunset months. Unfortunately, the city apparently has no way to distinguish organized Sierra Club hikes, with trained leaders, from rowdy nighttime partiers. Read More

Slowing the Slide without Destroying the Preserve

By Barbara Sattler and Al Sattler

The Portuguese Bend Landslide Complex is an “ancient” landslide which was reactivated in 1956 during the construction of an extension of Crenshaw Blvd.  Today it is characterized as a “creeping” landslide with continual gradual movement, necessitating regular maintenance adjustments to Palos Verdes Drive South.

The RPV City Council has made addressing the landslide one of its priorities, Read More

Help Safeguard our Neighborhoods from Deadly Hydrofluoric Acid!

AQMD Refinery Committee meeting 9 a.m., Sat., Sept. 22, Wilmington Middle School,1700 Gulf Ave, Wilmington. 

There will be a special meeting of the AQMD Refinery Committee Sept. 22, to develop a regulation that we hope will phase out use of HF in local refineries.  The oil refineries have exerted enormous political pressure to have a weak regulation (Rule 1410) that would allow them to keep using HF.  We need to show that we care about the safety of our community, and want them to phase out this deadly chemical.

A major release of HF from the Torrance PBF refinery, or the Wilmington Valero refinery, could kill or injure thousands, if not a hundred thousand people, depending on which way the wind was blowing.

For AQMD meeting place, email or .

For more information about community danger, see .

Along the Path: A Young Person’s Guide to Exploring Nature

Leave it to the Leaves

By Susan Deo

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Have you ever lain down under a tree on a sunny summer day and looked up at the leaves above you? Did you notice how each leaf has oriented itself for maximum sun exposure? Leaves are the food factories of flowering plants and ferns, as are the modified leaves, or needles, of pine and fir trees.


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Links of Interest

Easy does it. Recycling the wrong things hurts!

“Wishful Recycling” spoils the barrel (NY Times)

Edco recycling guidelines

Where to recycle in Torrance

Republic Services recycling guidelines

July/August 2018

PV Nature Preserve—Protected in Perpetuity?

by Eva Cicoria

If you’ve hiked the trails of the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve (the Preserve), you’ve enjoyed the scent of sage, the sound of birds calling, and the expansive backdrop of blue sky and sea. You may know something about the history of the establishment of the Preserve and feel gratitude for all who invested so much in that effort. But do you know what protects the Preserve from development? Read More

Angeles Chapter Awards Banquet

At the Annual Angeles Chapter Awards Banquet in May, Paul Rosenberger (standing, plaid shirt) received the Special Service Award, for continuing excellence in publicizing the activities of the Palos Verdes-South Bay (PV-SB) Regional Group.

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Assemblyman Muratsuchi Presents Environment Award to PV-SB

On May 12, 2018, Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (third from left) thanked the Sierra Club’s PV-SB Group for our service with this Environmental Stewardship certificate. Also pictured (from left) Bill Lavoie, Al Sattler, Dave Wiggins.

Photo:Andrew Deblock

Tree Planting in Memory of Bob Beach

On June 2, members of the PV-SB Group planted a Coast Live Oak in San Pedro’s Friendship Park in memory of longtime Sierra Club leader Bob Beach. It is fitting that this tree was planted along the Fowler Trail, named in memory of Frank and Adrienne Fowler, who were also longtime Sierra Club leaders.

Along the Path: A Young Person’s Guide to Exploring Nature

The Bladderpod and Its House Guest

By Susan Deo

The first time I saw a bladderpod (Peritoma arborea) and its house guest, the harlequin bug (Murgantia histrionica) I was intrigued. Honestly? You almost always find harlequin bugs on these plants? And the plant is a native and the bug is not?

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Cut Smog!

By Al Sattler, Group Chair

Smoking Car, smoking truck, refinery flare, neighborhood stink!

Who Ya Gonna Call?

1 (800) CUT SMOG !

To report an air pollution problem (except a skunk), 800-CUT SMOG will connect you to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), and they will take down the information you give them.

For refinery flares, the refinery should have already self-reported to the AQMD, but it is good to make sure.  For a neighborhood stink (other than a skunk), they may send an inspector to try to find the source, especially if several neighbors call.

For a smoking car or truck, you need the license number, make or model of the vehicle, time, date and location where it was seen.  A polite letter will be sent to the owner of the offending vehicle, urging them to get their vehicle repaired.

Will the AQMD save us from dangerous hydrofluoric acid?


By Melanie Cohen and Al Sattler

Air Quality Management District (AQMD) is continuing to work to develop a Rule 1410, to regulate dangerous hydrofluoric acid in South Bay refineries. Since April 2017, they have been holding public hearings and gathering technical information. At the April 28 meeting of the AQMD Refinery Committee in Torrance, UCLA professor and chemical safety expert Dr. Craig Merlic did a presentation, calling hydrogen fluoride (HF) highly hazardous and a systemic poison, with a boiling point close to room temperature. If released in large amounts, a cloud of HF aerosol would drift with the wind and could be catastrophic in urban neighborhoods of Torrance, Wilmington, and nearby cities. Read More

CenterCal ‘Shopping Mall by the Sea’ Stymied in Court


By David Wiggins, Conservation Co-chair

On May 11, 2018, the Los Angeles Superior Court issued a 103-page proposed decision ordering the City of Redondo Beach to revise and re-issue the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the massive shopping center planned for construction in the city’s harbor area. The court found that the EIR previously approved by the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA),

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Links of Interest

22 Uncrowded U.S. National Parks (The Guardian)

Sea Level Rise Threatens 300,000 U.S. Homes (The Guardian)

Long-Extinct Gibbon Found in Chinese Tomb (NPR)

May/June 2018

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Desalination Plant

By Al Sattler, Group Chair

West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) has released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for its proposed Ocean Water Desalination plant .

Ocean desalination uses much more electrical energy than water recycling. A desalination plant would harm animals and plants in two ways — killing small marine life by sucking it in, and by pumping concentrated brine back into the ocean. 

Comments may be submitted until Friday, May 25, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. West Basin will be hosting a public meeting Saturday, May 12, 10 am – 1 pm, at the Richmond Street Elementary Auditorium, 615 Richmond St, El Segundo.

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