Adapting to Climate Change

Here in beautiful Pala, we are blessed to have blue skies, green valleys, and tall mountain peaks to enjoy, along with mild southern California weather. But that doesn’t mean we are immune from the effects of climate change. Human activity has poured untold quantities of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane, into the atmosphere. These gases trap heat and prevent it from escaping into space, which results in Mother Earth getting overheated – just like a greenhouse. This greenhouse effect causes global warming, which in turn causes changes in long-term weather patterns – in other words, climate change. Climate change affects more than just the weather – along with more extreme weather events, we can also expect to see more drought, higher summertime temperatures, changes in plants, impacts to animals, and more. The direct affects on people include exposure to disease from pests such as rodents and mosquitoes, uncertainty or insecurity in our food supply, higher risks to water sources – including water from wells here in Pala – and increased rates of allergies, asthma, and more.

If this all seems scary, it should – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t fight back! There are many actions that you can take personally. At the Pala Environmental Department, we are also working hard to develop a Climate Adaptation Plan (CAP). This is where YOU come in. If you are a member of the Pala community, we need your help with developing the CAP. Come to our community meeting on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 3 pm at the Pala Administration Building and learn more about climate change risks, and tell us what YOU want to see in the CAP. Climate change is happening, but with your help, we can make sure that Pala survives and thrives.

Spring Recycling Challenge

Join us in Pala’s Spring Recycling Challenge!  You can help fund Pala’s youth garden at the Pala Youth Center just by recycling more in your curbside blue bins and around the reservation, or by dropping it off at the transfer station.  It’s as simple as that!

We are asking the Pala Community to step up their home recycling now through June 15th – if we can increase the amount we currently recycle and reduce the amount of trash that we send to the landfill, we will give the extra revenue to our young gardeners at the Pala Youth Center for garden supplies and t-shirts for the kids.  This is money that they can use on tools, seeds, compost supplies, and anything else they might need for their beautiful garden.

Last year, the tribe spent over $267,000 on trash disposal; almost 25% of that could have been  put in your blue recycling bin (much cheaper to get rid of) instead of your trash can!  If all of our tribal members recycled just 2 bottles a day, we could divert over 670,000 bottles a year from the landfill, ultimately saving the tribe $35,000!  Keeping trash disposal costs down by recycling can help the tribe spend its valuable money on other programs.

Here’s what you can put in your recycling bin at home:

  • CANS – aluminum, steel, or tin
  • GLASS – bottles/jars, all colors
  • CARDBOARD & PAPER – all types, paper bags, magazines/newspapers, junkmail
  • PLASTIC – marked #1-7 or labeled “CA Redemption Value”
  • Styrofoam – just packing containers, not food containers

Please DO NOT INCLUDE: dishes, plastic bags, used paper plates/cups/towels, packing peanuts.

Need a handy reminder of what you can recycle? Visit the Pala Environmental Department for a magnet with a list of what you can put in your blue bin, or go to our website, ped.palatribe.com, and click on “Transfer Station.” All the information you need is right there!

There’s a bunch of other stuff that you can bring to the Pala Transfer Station for recycling as well, including: old shoes/clothes, green waste from your yard, scrap metal, electronic or e-waste, old appliances, and household hazardous materials (for example: old paint cans or cleaning solutions).

You can follow along with our community’s recycling progress by checking the Pala Environmental Department website, or at upcoming General Council meetings.

Pala Environmental Department News California

Energy-Saving Light

We all take the light in our homes for granted, until a bulb burns out! Old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs (the kind with a filament) will last around 1200 hours. That seems like a pretty long time… until you learn that compact florescent (CFL) bulbs can last up to 10,000 hours and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs can last a whopping 50,000 hours! LED and CFL bulbs are more expensive up front, but because they last so long, they save you money in the long run. Even better, CFLs and LEDs are better for the environment because they use less energy. So make the switch and save money, energy, and our planet! Check out the great infographic below from the US EPA’s Energy Star program for more amazing facts about energy-saving light bulbs.


Lighting Made Easy Infographic

Pala Environmental Department News California

The Many Uses of Native Plants

Did you know that many of Pala’s native plants were traditionally used for more than one purpose? For instance, manzanita provided food, medicine, construction materials, and was used in rituals. The berries were used to make a tea-like drink; mashed into a jelly; or  dried and ground into flour for mush.  The seeds were  ground into meal for mush or cakes or used in turtle shell rattles. A tea from the leaves was used to treat diarrhea and poison oak. The trunk and branches of the bush were used for firewood, construction, and making broom, tool and pipe handles.

Manzanita 2

Another plant that had many uses was white sage. Sage seeds could be used to make flour for mush, or blended with other seeds for flavor. Seeds were also used medicinally as an eye cleaner. The leaves were used for flavoring food and treating colds, or were dried and tied into bundles for smudging and purification. White sage is still used in this way today. Sage leaves were also mixed with water for use as shampoo or  dye. Dry leaves were placed in the underarms as a deodorant.

Sage

Some plants, such as deer grass, served one main purpose – in this case, basket weaving. The stalks were used as foundation, or warp, material in coiled baskets. Although deer grass was only used for making coiled baskets, baskets were used for all sorts of things, such as storage, cooking, carrying, and even hats!

Deer gras

 

Pala Environmental Department News California

Xeriscape Your Landscape!

Spring is here, signaling for most people that it’s time to start your gardens.   As California enters its fourth straight year of severe drought, we should all think about landscaping with low water use plants, instead of water-hogs (like grass & tropical plants).

Xeriscape is the name for a type of landscaping done in arid regions, like southern California, that uses little to no water for irrigation.  These types of landscapes also require far less maintenance than most gardens, making them very easy to maintain.  They usually attract all kinds of beautiful wildlife, such as butterflies and hummingbirds, with their bright-colored flowers and wonderful scents.  The reward of installing these types of gardens is being able to sit and relax in them during those long summer evenings, when the breeze moves through the trees and the hummingbirds flicker from plant to plant.

These xeriscape tips will help you plan your low-water garden:

  • Planning & Design: make sure you include plants/trees of varying sizes and textures, as well as rocks or stepping stones to add interest, and mulch the rest. Trees planted on east & west-facing spots can protect your house from the hottest parts of the day (allowing you to use less energy on air conditioning).
  • Best Plants to Use: native plants or low-water use plants from regions with an arid Mediterranean climate like ours will do best in Pala. There are so many different types of plants (not just cactus!) that are different sizes, colors, textures, and heights that you will have no problem filling your garden with beautiful plants. PED has lists of native plants, plants that hummingbirds/butterflies love, plants that stand up to fire really well, and more.
  • Turf/Lawns: we recommend getting rid of as much of your lawn or turf as you can, since lawn and turf grasses require a huge amount of water. Consider replacing it with groundcovers or mulch.
  • Efficient Irrigation: use separate irrigation for turf and the rest of your plants. Turf should use sprinklers, making sure the water only waters the lawn (not the sidewalk). Trees, bushes, flowers, and ground-cover should be irrigated with drip irrigation or bubblers, watering only where the plant actually is.  This reduces your overall water use.
  • Mulch: mulch helps control weeds & keeps moisture in the ground, instead of evaporating, so you can water less. The Pala Transfer Station sells mulch, so you don’t even have to go far to pick some up.
  • Maintenance: maintenance should be easier & cheaper with these types of gardens. Once the plants are in & your drip irrigation system is automated, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy it.

If you’re curious to learn more, or want some help with design questions, please stop into our Pala Environmental Department office at the Tribal Administration Building, or see us at our booth during Cupa Days on May 2.  Happy Gardening!

Pala Environmental Department News California

Protecting Our Oak Trees

With the start of spring and warmer temperatures there will be a noticeable increase in insects and the diseases that they carry. One that is of serious concern is the Gold Spotted Oak Borer (GSOB), which is a flathead borer that causes mortality to oak trees. Experts believe it was introduced into the Descano area of San Diego County by the transport of infested firewood from Southwestern Arizona in 2004. The GSOB mortality of oak trees has since spread to other portions of San Diego County as close as Julian and isolated areas of Idyllwild in Riverside County.

GSOB 3

 The Gold Spotted Oak Borer (GSOB) leaves visible evidence on three species of oak trees common in San Diego County. When their larvae create feeding galleries underneath the surface of the bark, GSOB attacks may be recognized by the following evidence:

  • Red or black staining in dime-sized to half foot sections
  • Blistering and oozing on the surface of the tree
  • Crown thinning
  • Twig and branch die-back

Evidence of injury can also include chipped outer bark from woodpeckers feeding on the larvae and small D-Shaped exit holes where the gold spotted beetles pupate and emerge from the tree. Impact varies between three oak species and can consist of gray or brown coloring in the crown of the tree and thinning of the foliage.

GSOB 2

Currently the Pesticide Program is using these monitoring tools to detect GSOB:

  • Putting up purple monitoring traps provided by United States Department of Forestry on oak trees in selected areas during the flight season from May through September to detect for GSOB.
  • Physical checking for symptoms of GSOB, implementation of an oak tree inventory, and numbering system.
  • Development of an aerial imagery oak tree map.

These are tips for how you can help prevent GSOB from being introduced into the community:

  • Check oak trees on your private property for symptoms of GSOB.
  • When you get firewood ensure that you check it and that it has been cured for at least 2 years.
  • Do not transport firewood from an infested area to an un-infested area.

GSOB 4

If  you have any questions or want more information contact Pala Environmental Department Pesticide Technician Jesse Castro at (760) 891-3549.