Enviro Updates

Sonoma County Conservation Council

A searchable archive of environmental news for Sonoma County

Posted on Categories Local OrganizationsTags ,

Environmentalists recognized at Environmental Awards Dinner 2013

The Sonoma County Conservation Council, the Sierra Club Sonoma Group and more than 160 activists gathered Sunday night at the Santa Rosa’s Veteran’s Auditorium to honor 5 deserving individuals.

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey received the Ernestine I. Smith Lifetime Environmental Commitment Award. Tom Roth, Chief of Staff for Senator Noreen Evans and formerly Senior Policy Advisor for Woolsey, eloquently accepted on her behalf. Denny Rosatti, Executive Director of Sonoma County Conservation Action, received The Environmentalist Of The Year Award for his amazing leadership in the last year. Ken Wells of Sonoma County Trails Council and the Sierra Club Sonoma Group received the GrassRoots Trailblazer Award for his work over the years on behalf of our trails and forests as well as reducing the amount of discards our County sends to the landfill. SRJC Student Matt Lopez received the Environmental Youth award for his stellar progress from a novice volunteer into an enthusiastic and inspiring summer counselor with Landpaths Owl Camp Summer Camp.

In a special presentation, the late Jay Halcomb received a Special Recognition Award for his passionate commitment and outstanding leadership on behalf of our magnificent North Coast forests. As Chair of the Sierra Club’s Forest Protection Committee, Jay led its efforts to preserve forests from unsustainable logging and from forest to vineyard conversion. Most recently, his astute advocacy was instrumental in the Chapter’s negotiation of a successful settlement with the Bohemian Club that preserved the remaining stand of Bohemian Grove old growth redwoods from logging. He also served the Club with great distinction as Redwood Chapter Chair from 2008 until his death.

These awards are presented each March. Nomination requests are sent out starting in early January. The SCCC is particularly interested in nominations of folks not in the mainstream. Perhaps you will make a nomination next year. Details and award history can be found at http://envirocentersoco.org/awards/. For more about Jay Halcomb visit the Sierra Club Sonoma Group website at http://redwood.sierraclub.org/articles/February_13/article1.html.

Posted on Categories WaterTags

Regulators scrap Napa River, Sonoma Creek vineyard runoff waiver


State water-quality regulators this afternoon announced the withdrawal of a proposed conditional waiver program for vineyards in the Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds from state-set limits on erosion and plans to regulate vineyard water runoff under more general requirements.

Agricultural trade groups generally had been in favor of the concept of the waiver program because it allowed the industry to police itself under third-party environmental-quality certification programs already in widespread use in the North Coast. Yet, a Napa-based environment-protection group that has been battling state regulators in court for years over water-quality policy for the Napa River basin objected to what it called “outsourced” regulation by a third party and the environmental-review documents for the program.

via Regulators scrap Napa River, Sonoma Creek vineyard runoff waiver – North Bay Business Journal – North San Francisco Bay Area, Sonoma, Marin, Napa counties – Archive.

Posted on Categories WaterTags

Evidence of Fluoridation Danger Mounts With Little Benefit to Your Teeth

Brian Foust and Deb Udall, researchers for SSU PROJECT CENSORED

Over two-thirds of U.S. public drinking water is fluoridated. “Experts” have told us that fluoride helps re-mineral enamel and that it prevents tooth decay. They have asserted its beneficial effects and claimed that its negative impacts were non-existent. New studies show this to be false, however, and there is mounting evidence of serious side effects of fluoride ingestion that can result in bone decay, infant mortality, and brain damage.

via 19. Evidence of Fluoridation Danger Mounts With Little Benefit to Your Teeth – Project Censored | Project Censored.

Posted on Categories Sustainable LivingTags ,

Growing the Granges


California once had vibrant granges, most with their own halls, but they had since disappeared in many towns.  In the past few years, Grange news is upbeat and, in Sonoma County, there are now a total of TWELVE granges, several new, all of them growing.  Nationally, The Grange is comprised of over 350,000 members holding over 100,000 general membership meetings, Pomona Grange gatherings and Junior Grange meetings.

The Grange is news again as it was since its inception in 1867, and during the 1930’s when Granges helped each other recover from the hard farming days of the Depression.

Knowing that local foods are more sustainable and usually more flavorful and vibrant than those requiring fossil fuels to ship them thousands of miles, and that recent “100 year” droughts and floods events are becoming longer and more harsh than ever in history, the time to build local sources for food security is right in line the Grange practice called “Patrons of Husbandry” and a more communal way of life has come around again.

via Growing the Granges.

Posted on Categories WaterTags ,

Board of Supervisors takes next step toward fluoridating county water


The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday pressed forward with a controversial plan to put fluoride into most of the county’s drinking water during an emotional hearing in which dozens of speakers debated whether the chemical compound is a panacea or a poison.

Dentists and other health care professionals, along with a larger, more vocal contingent of fluoride skeptics, packed board chambers for the marathon five-hour public hearing.

via Board of Supervisors takes next step toward fluoridating county water | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Forests, Land Use, Local OrganizationsTags , , ,

Preservation Ranch deal: Tentative $24.5 million deal would halt controversial plan for vineyards


A national conservation group has reached an agreement to buy nearly 20,000 acres of timberland in northwestern Sonoma County, a move that derails the long-disputed, forest-to-vineyards conversion project pushed by CalPERS, the giant state workers pension fund.

The $24.5 million purchase of the so-called Preservation Ranch, to be completed by the end of May, is led by The Conservation Fund, based in Virginia. It would contribute up to $6 million toward the purchase.

via $24.5 million deal to protect 20,000-acre Sonoma County forest | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Sustainable LivingTags ,

Farmers expand to meet demand for pasture-raised eggs


In 2008, when Don Gilardi heard that California voters might dictate the living conditions of laying hens, he began to take a keen interest in chickens. Gilardi, a Marin County rancher, concluded that the looming issue signaled consumers wanted a different approach to egg production. So he traded some of his sheep for hens and began selling eggs to Bay Area restaurants already buying his lamb.

That fall, voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 2, which in 2015 will ban most existing chicken cages. About a year later, buyers from Whole Foods visited Gilardi to see if he would sell them eggs from the hens he raises a different way — not caged in warehouses but allowed to roam outside in pastures.

via Farmers expand to meet demand for pasture-raised eggs | Petaluma360.com | Petaluma Argus-Courier | Petaluma, CA.

Posted on Categories Sustainable LivingTags

Community Garden Network holds first gathering

Enviro Updates

The Community Garden Network, a support organization for the 80 or more community gardens in Sonoma County, held its first gathering in Santa Rosa on February 2. The Network was formed in early 2012 to connect and strengthen community gardens by offering them technical assistance, training, funding development, and opportunities to share knowledge with other gardeners.

More than 70 community garden representatives and community organizers from all over the county came together for an inspiring and educational afternoon. Following a speed networking session, addresses were made by Supervisor Mike McGuire and Trathen Heckman of Daily Acts. Attendees then had a choice of four different breakout groups to discuss challenges and success stories associated with Recruiting and Sustaining Volunteers, Sustaining Gardener Enthusiasm and Participation, Maintaining Soil Fertility, and Irrigation Management. During the break, gardeners visited information tables and took part in a lively seed and tool swap. Participants then took to the open mike to give ideas and feedback to CGNSC on the support that gardens need. Following a drawing for door prizes donated by generous supporters, the gathering concluded with more networking organized by subregions within the county.

More information about the CGNSC and its work can be found at communitygardensonoma.org.

Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , , ,

Projects to restore fish habitat get $2 million federal boost


Projects by private landowners to boost salmon and other fish populations in North Coast streams are set to receive an additional $2 million this year from an arm of the federal government.

Federal and local officials on Friday announced the commitment of new grant money for six major river basins stretching from Sonoma County — and including the Russian River — to Eureka, in Humboldt County.

Development, dams, logging and water diversions for farms and cities have harmed the region’s once-bountiful salmon and steelhead runs, with several species now listed as endangered or threatened.

via Projects to restore fish habitat get $2 million federal boost | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , ,

Dutch Bill Creek Fish Habitat Restoration Funding


Natural Resources Conservation Service NRCS in California and the Gold Ridge and Sotoyome Resource Conservation Districts have teamed up with a number of local government agencies, nonprofit groups, agribusinesses and landowners to improve fish habitat in five northern California watersheds. The goal is to increase salmonid populations while also sustaining productive agricultural operations.  California is one of three western states included in this program.

James Gore, NRCS Assistant Chief from Washington, D.C., attended a special event in Camp Meeker to provide information on the programs during a walking tour of the Dutch Bill Creek restoration project that has been in process since 2009. This work included removing an old fish barrier dam, constructing a new pedestrian bridge, installing rock wiers for fish migration, and other stream and habitat restoration efforts.

via Dutch Bill Creek Fish Habitat Restoration Funding.