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New Technology Is Keeping The Air We Breathe Under An Unprecedented Level Of Scrutiny

By William Yardley, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

LOS ANGELES – Measure twice, cut once, they say. Unless you are trying to save the planet.

In that case, measure and cut constantly. Rising calls to create cleaner air and limit climate change are driving a surge in new technology for measuring air emissions and other pollutants – a data revolution that is opening new windows into the micro-mechanics of environmental damage.

The momentum for new monitoring tools is rooted in increasingly stringent regulations, including California’s cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions, and newly tightened federal standards and programs to monitor drought and soil contamination.

A variety of clean-tech companies have arisen to help industries meet the new requirements, but the new tools and data are also being created by academics, tinkerers and concerned citizens – just ask Volkswagen, whose deceptive efforts to skirt emissions-testing standards were discovered with the help of a small university lab in West Virginia.

Taking it all into account, the Earth is coming under an unprecedented new level of scrutiny.

For more than a year, satellites launched by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been orbiting Earth to track the global flow of carbon emissions. In Colorado, workers are using infrared cameras to find methane leaking from natural gas wells. In Boston, researchers using new measuring devices have detected “fugitive emissions” in hundreds of places across the city, including the Massachusetts State House.

Los Gatos Research in Silicon Valley now makes portable equipment for measuring greenhouse gases and other pollution that has been used on airplanes and in national forests. Piccaro, another California company, makes the machines that have been used to measure methane leaks in Boston and other cities. Other startups have created software that collects existing air quality data into apps that can advise asthmatics on areas to avoid and steer cyclists toward the least-polluted paths to work.

“There are a lot of companies picking up on this, but who is interested in the data – to me, that’s also fascinating,” said Colette Heald, an atmospheric chemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “We’re in this moment of a huge growth in curiosity – of people trying to understand their environment. That coincides with the technology to do something more.”

The push is not limited to measuring air and emissions. Tools to sample soil, test seismic regions, monitor water quality, test ocean acidity and improve weather forecasting are all on the rise. Drought has prompted new efforts to map groundwater and stream flows across the West. In space, NASA recently began a global precipitation measurement program intended, in part, to more accurately predict extreme weather events and the availability of water.

The Obama administration has rolled out a series of regulatory changes intended either to reduce pollutants in the air people breathe or limit greenhouse gases – and sometimes both. This month, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized new rules to reduce ozone and, for the first time, required so-called fenceline testing near oil refineries to track pollutants such as benzene that may be escaping – a task that requires sensitive monitoring equipment.

Industry groups often oppose new rules because complying costs money, but these rules can also drive technological development and new industries. While older emissions-monitoring devices may occupy the footprint of a living room, equipment is being developed that is portable and more sophisticated.

“Fifteen years ago we were talking about percent – fenceline testing the percentage of a particular species in a gas,” said Chris Anthony, who oversees analytical products for the ABB Group, which has expanded its investments in air and gas monitoring in recent years, including buying Los Gatos Research in 2013. “Five years ago, 10 years ago, we started talking about parts per million. In many areas now, we’re measuring parts per billion, which is very, very low levels of trace gas in exhaust.”

Chet Wayland, the director of the air quality assessment division within the EPA’s office of air quality planning and standards, recalled a research conference the agency hosted a few years ago where he met a graduate student who showed him a hand-held, homemade device that measured air pollution. The parts appeared to cost about $50.

“It wasn’t great but it was not bad,” Wayland recalled. “I’m sitting there going, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ I’m used to working in the world where these devices are $30,000 and they’re highly sophisticated, and here’s somebody who built this in a lab basically by himself. That’s when I realized that the world was changing.”

Wayland and one of his colleagues, Dan Costa, who works on air and climate issues in the EPA’s Office of Research and Development, said that as more companies and individuals make affordable equipment, they need to demonstrate that their products are accurate and reliable.

“That’s one of the key issues we at the EPA are trying to focus on,” Wayland said. “When the technology is out there and everyone starts using it, the question is, how good is the data? If the data’s not high enough quality, then we’re not going to make regulatory decisions based on that.”

He added, “Where is this data going to reside in 10 years, when all these sensors are out there, and who’s going to (manage) that information? Right now it’s kind of organic so there’s no centralized place where all of this information is going.”

Two years ago, Heald, the professor at MIT, helped lead a group of students who created a campus air quality monitoring network. They launched a website where people can track gases such as ozone and carbon monoxide.

But the site also includes a disclaimer, warning that the numbers were not necessarily “regulatory grade” measurements. Costa said the EPA’s long-term vision is “this harmonization, a synthesis of the gold standard monitoring network (run by government) with the evolving sensor technology” used by citizen groups and individuals.

(c)2015 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Kevin Dooley via Flickr

Oil Prices And Politics Blur Future Of Keystone XL Pipeline

By William Yardley, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Remember the Keystone XL pipeline?

It began as a proposed piece of energy infrastructure — a pipeline shortcut that would transport more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, across the U.S. border, through the upper Great Plains and south to refineries in Texas.

But Keystone XLP Opponents said rejecting it would also reject the fossil-fueled past and present in favor of a renewable-energy future. Supporters said it would generate thousands of jobs and help provide national energy security at a time of international turmoil.

The truth was more complicated, but neither side gave ground. The Obama administration, which has ultimate authority because the pipeline would cross an international boundary, was expected to approve or disapprove it at any moment.

Of course, that was long ago — back when oil prices were soaring, Hillary Rodham Clinton was secretary of state, the company that wants to build the pipeline had not yet realized the strength of the opposition from some Nebraska landowners, and President Barack Obama was worrying more about re-election than reaching a global climate agreement during upcoming talks in Paris.

Years later, Obama still has not made a decision on Keystone XL. He could do so any day — or he could leave the issue to whoever wins the presidency in 2016.

Q: What has changed since the pipeline was conceived?

A: The price of oil, which had exceeded $100 a barrel in recent years, has fallen below $50. Low prices have affected production in many places in North America, including Alberta, where tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in recent months, oil rig activity has declined by at least half in the first seven months of the year, and corporate profits are expected to be half of what they were last year, according to provincial economic forecasts.

Q: Have Canadian politics shifted too?

A: Yes. Alberta’s premier, Rachel Notley, a liberal elected this spring, has initiated a review of whether oil companies contribute enough royalties to the province. Notley also says the oil industry needs to improve environmental protections — a notable assertion in a province that is running a multibillion-dollar deficit in part because of its heavy dependence on the struggling industry. And she says she would rather see Alberta oil refined within Canada instead of transported through the United States.

Q: Is anything likely to change after Monday’s elections in Canada?

A: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has been a steadfast supporter of Keystone XL, stepped down as the leader of the Conservative Party after the election loss.

Winner Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party, son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, supports the project but promises closer environmental oversight, including finding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Trudeau has accused Harper of damaging Canadian-U.S. relations by focusing too much on the pipeline.

Q: Has anything changed with TransCanada, the company that has been trying to build Keystone XL for a decade?

A: Although TransCanada says the near-term economic situation has not affected its ambitions, the company did recently change tactics.

Faced with legal challenges in Nebraska to a state law that allowed the company to establish a pipeline route and take property by eminent domain, TransCanada decided last month not to use that law. Instead, it will apply for a permit through a more traditional process with the Nebraska Public Service Commission.

Although the commission could take a year to make a decision — and more lawsuits could follow –Mark Cooper, a spokesman for TransCanada, said, “This is the most strategic way to move forward.”

Q: Why did TransCanada back down?

A: Perhaps because it fears the Obama administration will reject Keystone XL. Creating a delay of its own might persuade the president to leave the decision to the next administration. (Even if Obama rejects the pipeline, however, the company could reapply.)

Cooper said TransCanada’s “focus is not on political machinations.”

“If the project is judged on its merits, it’ll be approved,” Cooper said. “If it’s judged on science over symbolism, it’ll be approved.”

Q: What are American politicians saying?
A: The leading Republican presidential candidates support Keystone XL. (Some of them also deny that climate change is real.) They have criticized the Obama administration for delaying its decision.

The leading Democratic candidates oppose the pipeline. Even Clinton, who as secretary of state said she was “inclined” to approve it, now opposes it.

“I oppose it because I don’t think it’s in the best interest of what we need to do to combat climate change,” Clinton said last month in Iowa. She waited so long to express her opposition, she said, out of respect for the Obama administration, which she had expected to decide earlier.

Q: What will Obama do?

A: Although the State Department is responsible for reviewing the project to determine whether it is “in the national interest,” Obama has made clear that he will make the final decision. There is a growing sense that he will reject Keystone XL.

Obama said in 2013 that he would not want the project to significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions. This year, a top official in the Environmental Protection Agency told the State Department in a letter that tar sands crude “represents a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions” over conventional crude, and that Keystone XL could lead to expanded production of greenhouse gases. The EPA letter was seen as providing potential cover for the president to reject Keystone XL.

With Obama’s recent moves to reduce emissions from power plants, limit truck pollution and even travel to the Alaska Arctic to bring attention to climate change, the president is widely seen as trying to burnish his environmental legacy while positioning the United States to lead a push for a global accord on emissions reductions at the Paris conference at the end of the year.

The timing of any announcement remains uncertain. A State Department official said Monday that “our review process is ongoing.”

Photo: A depot used to store pipes for Transcanada Corp’s planned Keystone XL oil pipeline is seen in Gascoyne, North Dakota November 14, 2014. (REUTERS/Andrew Cullen)

In Dispute Over Coal Mine Project, Two Ways Of Life Hang In The Balance

By William Yardley, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

CROW AGENCY, Mont. — Neither tribe created the modern energy economy. They did not build the railroads or the power plants or the giant freighters that cross the ocean.

But the Crow Tribe, on a vast and remote reservation here in the grasslands of the northern Plains, and the Lummi Nation, nearly a thousand miles to the west on a sliver of shoreline along the Salish Sea in Washington state, have both become unlikely pieces of the machinery that serves the global demand for electricity — and that connection has put them in bitter conflict.

The Crow, whose 2.2 million-acre reservation is one of the largest in the country, have signed an agreement to mine 1.4 billion tons of coal on their land — enough to provide more than a year’s worth of the nation’s coal consumption.

The Lummi, on a 13,000-acre peninsula north of Seattle, are leading dozens of other tribes in a campaign that could block the project. They say it threatens not only the earth’s future climate, but also native lands, sacred sites and a fragile fishery the Lummi and others have depended on for thousands of years.

For the Crow, the project is a matter of survival. Traffic at the Crow’s remote and modest casino provides no meaningful revenue, there are no reservation hotels, and unemployment here is well into the double digits. Tribal leaders say the new mine could provide up to $5,000 annually in dividend payments for each of the more than 13,000 members of the tribe and high-paying jobs for decades to come.

But to get Crow coal to its most promising market in Asia, the tribe wants to transport it by rail across the Pacific Northwest to a deep-water port just north of the Lummi reservation. The trains, potentially several a day, would unload their cargo at a proposed new shipping hub, the Gateway Pacific Terminal, near the town of Bellingham. The Lummi say that the terminal location is home to historic burial grounds and fragile fish habitat — that they too are fighting for their way of life.

“Everyone says it’s Lummi against Crow,” said Johnny Felix, a member of the Lummi tribal council and a commercial fisherman, as he watched his son and others practice for wooden canoe races against other coastal tribes this summer. “It’s not. It’s not a tribe against a tribe. It’s a resource against a resource. That’s our resource — out there in the water. And their resource is coal.”

The Lummi hold a potential trump card in the fight: The 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott, signed by several Salish Sea tribes with the United States, ensures them access to their “usual and accustomed” fishing areas.

Earlier this year, the Lummi invoked those treaty rights in a legal challenge to stop the Gateway project that is now being reviewed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps, which approves construction in many waterways and harbors, had already been examining the Gateway project for its potential effects on historical sites and endangered species and had expected to make a decision in the second half of 2016. The Lummi’s treaty rights claim has added a new, heightened level of scrutiny that could force a decision sooner.

The move infuriated Crow leaders. The tribe’s chairman, Darrin Old Coyote, accuses the Lummi and its allies of being influenced by environmental groups from liberal, urban Seattle. He bristles that, even though he has visited the Lummi several times, once fishing with Felix, the Lummi have refused his invitations to come to Montana.

“They’re ignorant,” Old Coyote said. “They’re ignorant to the point where they don’t want to understand where we’re coming from. These (environmental groups) are going out there saying all these horrible things are going to happen and at the same time those people … are going home and plugging in their cars and their iPads and their iPhones and still depending on electricity.”

Tribes are hardly the only source of resistance. The Crow are pursuing the project amid strong momentum against coal. Although Asia remains a strong market, questions are rising about its long-term appetite for coal as pressure increases worldwide to reduce its use. The Obama administration, through its Clean Power Plan, is moving to put strict new limits on power plants that burn coal, citing their emission of hazardous pollutants and climate-changing greenhouse gases. A tax credit that made coal mining more economical on tribal land expired in December.

Old Coyote has traveled several times to Washington, D.C., to make his case. He asked the Corps to arrange a meeting between the Crow and the Lummi — a mediating role the Corps says is not its responsibility. The Corps in turn asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs to consider arranging a meeting; the bureau says the other tribes have no interest.

The proposed new mine would not be the first coal mine to benefit the Crow. For decades, the tribe has received the bulk of its revenue from the Absaloka coal mine, an important supplier of fuel to power plants in the Midwest.

Although Absaloka is just outside Crow land, the tribe controls mining rights to it and revenue from the privately operated mine provides more than two-thirds of the Crow budget. Three times a year, each member of the tribe receives a dividend that ranges from less than $200 to more than $500.

Absaloka’s output has been declining in part because it produces a lower-grade, higher-polluting coal. That has made it vulnerable to stricter regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency, which in turn makes it less profitable. The Obama administration’s proposed new emissions regulations are expected to make Absaloka coal even harder to sell.

The new Crow mine, called the Big Metal Mine, to be operated by Wyoming-based Cloud Peak Energy, could produce three times more than the Absaloka mine and its coal, drawn from the Powder River Basin, is expected to be a higher-value grade. Most of it would be burned in Asia, where it would not fall under EPA regulations.

Old Coyote has some support in Washington. Montana Sens. Steve Daines, a Republican, and Jon Tester, a Democrat, have proposed reauthorizing the special Indian mining tax credit. And in April, Daines hosted a field hearing at Little Bighorn College in Crow territory on the importance of coal to the Crow and Montana economies.

The speakers at the hearing, pre-selected, spoke in favor of mining. But they also suggested the high-level political divisions that exist: Other than Old Coyote, the only other elected leader of a tribe who spoke clearly in favor of mining was Lorenzo Bates, the council speaker for the Navajo Nation in Arizona. The Navajo, the country’s largest tribe with more than 300,000 members, have long depended on coal mining but production there has also declined.

“When we go to D.C., coal’s a bad four-letter word,” Old Coyote said in an interview. “But if there’s a blackout in the U.S. every so often because they say we want to rely on renewable energy, they’re going to be saying bad four-letter words to try to get that power back on.”

He pointed to work the tribe has done restoring land mined at Absaloka and says it would do the same at the new mine.

“We’re doing reclamation to the point of perfection,” he said. “We’re the ones who are going to live here, to stay here.”

The Lummi say the same. The Gateway terminal in Washington state would be built near two existing terminals that serve oil refineries. The Lummi, who have been gaining economic strength in recent years thanks to increasing revenue from an expanding casino and hotel, did not put up similar resistance when the other terminals were built several decades ago.

“That’s what I’ve never understood,” Felix said. “Why did our leaders in the past let that happen? But now is a different time and I’m saying no — no to everything.”
___
(This story was prepared under a grant from the Society of Environmental Journalists’ Fund for Environmental Journalism.)

Photo: For decades, the Crow Nation has relied on the Absaloka coal mine, an important supplier of fuel to power plants in the Midwest, for the bulk of its revenue. But the mine’s output has been declining in part because it produces a lower-grade, higher-polluting coal. (Barbara Davidson/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Shell Receives Final Approval To Drill In Arctic, But With New Conditions

By William Yardley, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

SEATTLE — Royal Dutch Shell received final approval from the Obama administration Wednesday to begin exploratory drilling for oil in the Arctic this summer, but with new restrictions that will alter the company’s plans.

Shell, which has faced complications and challenges from environmentalists for years as it has pursued drilling in the Arctic, received initial government approval in May. Since then, it has deployed more than two dozen vessels to the drilling site in the Chukchi Sea, off the northwestern coast of Alaska.

The company could begin preparatory work as early as next week, but the new limitations will delay when it can drill in areas that contain oil. Wednesday’s decision also prevents Shell from its intended plan to drill in two areas at the same time.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which is part of the Interior Department, issued the final permits. The bureau said Shell can initially drill only what are known as top holes, staying above oil-bearing areas, because a capping stack, a critical piece of safety equipment that is required to be nearby to help contain a potential spill, is on an icebreaking vessel that was forced to leave the area for repairs this month. The vessel, M/V Fennica, has a fracture in its hull and is to be repaired in Portland, Oregon.

The administration said Shell could submit a new application to drill into oil-bearing areas “if and when the M/V Fennica is capable of being deployed in the Chukchi Sea and Shell is able to satisfy the capping stack requirement.”

A spokeswoman for Shell, Kelly op de Weegh, said Wednesday the company expects to complete the repairs to the Fennica in time for it to return to the Arctic and drill for oil this summer. The company must be out of the area by the second half of September.

The last time Shell began exploratory work, in 2012, it was allowed to drill only top holes. That effort was plagued by problems, including the grounding of a drill rig, the Kulluk.

This year, Shell’s initial plan included drilling simultaneously in two parts of a section of the Chukchi known as the Burger Prospect. But the administration said Wednesday that the company can work in only one area at a time because the sites are within 15 miles of each other. Rigs working that close to one another create potential disruptions to protected walruses that live in the region.

The Chukchi is in the western Arctic Ocean, which is believed to hold more than 25 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Environmental groups have long cited the dangerous conditions of working in the remote Arctic, which is hundreds of miles from major cities and basic support services. They have said drilling for oil in the Arctic conflicts with the administration’s efforts to fight climate change.

Last week, in a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, several groups said the problems with the Fennica and the 15-mile rule make it impossible for Shell to honor its environmental commitments under its drilling plan. They had called on the administration to deny final approval.

The groups were not pleased with Wednesday’s decision.

“The Department of the Interior has shown a willingness to bend rules and blur lines to accommodate Shell,” said Michael LeVine, a lawyer for Oceana. “We believe the permits approved today are unwise.”

Photo: Protesters at San Francisco’s Shell No rally get ready to take to the waters of the San Francisco Bay as a part of a national day of action to oppose Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic, July 18, 2015. Shell No via Flickr Credit: Peter W. Jackson

With New EPA Water Rule, Obama Again Takes Executive Action On Environment

By William Yardley, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

In April 1989, a Michigan developer named John Rapanos dumped fill on 54 acres of wetlands he owned to make way for a shopping center. He did not have a permit, and when the state told him to stop, he refused. Courts found him in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. Prosecutors wanted to send him to prison.

Rapanos took his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which found that the wetlands on his property, about 20 miles from a river that drained into Lake Huron, did not fall under the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction over discharges into “navigable waters.”

Rapanos became something of a celebrity among property rights advocates, but the ruling raised as many questions as it answered. Although the court upheld federal protections for wetlands and streams when they connected with navigable waters, it left unclear what constituted a connection.

Now, nearly a decade later, the Obama administration is seeking to clarify those ambiguities, and the effort is causing controversy of its own. This week, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release a new rule to protect a significantly larger percentage of streams and wetlands that provide habitat for wildlife and sources of drinking water.

The move is another example of President Barack Obama taking executive action on environmental and climate issues regardless of whether he has the support of Congress. The administration has already protected millions of acres from oil and gas development and is expected to set aside more, even as it has allowed the expansion of oil and gas drilling elsewhere. It plans to issue new rules this summer to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

EPA officials say up to 60 percent of the nation’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands lack clear protection from pollution under existing regulations. The new clean water rule would for the first time clearly define which tributaries and wetlands are protected under federal law.

“There is nothing complicated about the idea that we should protect the tributary system that flows into our nation’s rivers,” said David Uhlmann, a law professor at the University of Michigan who previously led the prosecution of environmental crimes at the Justice Department. “What is more difficult is deciding when to protect wetlands, which perform essential ecological functions but often make it difficult or impossible for landowners to develop their property.”

The new rule, drafted by both the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has been under attack since it was proposed in draft form last year, with lawmakers, farmers, business groups, and some local governments often coordinating the efforts.

The American Farm Bureau has led the opposition.

“The proposed rule provides none of the clarity and certainty it promises,” the bureau wrote in a letter to Congress. “Instead, it creates confusion and risk by providing the agencies with almost unlimited authority to regulate, at their discretion, any low spot where rainwater collects.” That could include farm ditches, agricultural ponds, and isolated wetlands, it said.

The farm bureau started a social media campaign, using the Twitter hashtag #Ditchtherule. The EPA created its own, telling supporters to #Ditchthemyth. In a blog post in April, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the agency may need to look at “better defining how protected waters are significant.”

“A key part of the (new) Clean Water Rule is protecting water bodies, like streams and wetlands, which have strong impacts downstream,” she wrote.

At issue is the Supreme Court’s ruling that only water bodies with a “significant nexus” to navigable waterways fall under the Clean Water Act’s regulatory authority. But what that means has left room for debate for years.

McCarthy conceded that the agency’s initial definition of tributaries was “confusing and ambiguous” and could “pick up erosion in a farmer’s field, when that’s not our aim.” The agency was also revisiting how it addressed ditches, she wrote, “limiting protection to ditches that function like tributaries and can carry pollution downstream.” She also sought to assure local governments that the agency “did not intend to change” how stormwater systems are treated.

Several bills aimed at stopping the rule from taking effect have been introduced in Congress, including one sponsored by Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain, both Republicans from Arizona. In a letter to McCarthy this month, the senators wrote that Arizona’s “vast majority of ‘waters’ are desert washes that are part of ephemeral systems and often found at substantial distances from traditional navigable or interstate waters.”

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Under the proposed rule, they said, “every small ephemeral system of limited function, remote from traditional navigable or interstate waters, and with no practical ability to influence the physical, chemical, or biological integrity of those downstream waters, would be regulated.”

Arizona is “literally crisscrossed with man-made canals that are essential for critical water delivery,” they wrote, and under the new rule, “it is possible that every mile of these canals” will now fall under the Clean Water Act.

In another arid state next door, Sanders Moore, director of Environment New Mexico, said waterways there had been put at risk under narrow interpretations of the existing rule that did not protect streams that are often dry until snowmelt or stormwater runs through them.

“When they run, they pick up all of those pollutants and take them into larger rivers,” she said.

Ken Kopocis, deputy assistant administrator for the EPA’s office of water, said the agency had heard concerns similar to those expressed by the Arizona senators, and that the final rule would clarify that washes and other ephemeral streams would not fall under regulation unless they had “bed and banks” and “ordinary high water marks” that indicated an active connection to waters that do fall under regulation.

“We understood and heard a lot from people in the Southwest that we need to be more clear, and the final rule will be more clear on this,” he said.

He also said the agency was not revising its policies on the vast network of canals and waterways that provide irrigation and drinking water in much of the arid West.

Although Rapanos won at the Supreme Court, he faced other penalties for his actions. He and other defendants in the case eventually settled with the government, agreeing to pay a $150,000 penalty. Rapanos was also required to construct 100 acres of wetlands and buffer areas to offset the 54 acres he filled.

(c)2015 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

File photo: Ducks come in for a landing in the flow-regulating wetlands at the Tres Rios Ecosystem Restoration Project, construction of which was managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers LA District’s Arizona/Nevada Area Office, in Phoenix’s West Valley. February 14, 2013. Via U.S. Army Corps of Architects/Flickr