Enviro Updates

Sonoma County Conservation Council

A searchable archive of environmental news for Sonoma County

Posted on Categories WildlifeTags ,

Wild salmon are not holding up, study finds

by Rachel Nuwer, NYTIMES.COM

Since 1964, the Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery in California has supplied the watershed with four to 10 million juvenile Chinook salmon each year. The hatchery began the practice as a way of countering the effects of dams that block migration and making sure that the salmon population remained viable. But recent research shows that the massive influx of hatchery-raised fish is masking the fact that wild fish populations are not holding up.

“Without distinguishing hatchery from wild fish, the perception is that we have healthy salmon surviving in a healthy river,” said Rachel Johnson, a fish ecologist affiliated with the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the lead author of a new paper published in the journal PLoS One.

via Wild Salmon Are Not Holding Up, Study Finds – NYTimes.com.

Posted on Categories ForestsTags , , , , ,

Activists protest Preservation Ranch at Sonoma County Board of Supervisors meeting

By Cathy Bussewitz, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Dozens of environmental activists adorned with branches and dressed like fluffy redwood trees demonstrated outside the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday to protest a proposal to convert nearly 1,800 acres of coastal forests to vineyards.

Photo Galleries

Preservation Ranch Protest

A man costumed as an eight-foot tall bottle of “Pinot Egrigio” labeled “Chainsaw Wine” wielded a fake chainsaw before the animated trees.

“It’s a Sonoma County vintage,” said Dave Jordan, volunteer with Friends of Gualala River, a group that carpooled down from Gualala to Santa Rosa to attend the meeting. “It’s not against wine. It’s not against vineyards. It’s about cutting down redwood forests to plant grapes.”

via Activists protest Preservation Ranch at Sonoma County Board of Supervisors meeting | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Local OrganizationsTags

Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District 3-Year Work Plan

Thursday, February 9, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

The Glaser Center, 547 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa

A joint public meeting of the Open Space District Fiscal Management Commission and the Citizen’s Advisory Committee will be held at which District staff will present a draft overview of the District’s 3-year work plan. Following refinement and approval from the District’s Board of Directors, the plan will guide the District’s priorities, staffing and funding allocation for 2012 through 2015 to ensure that the diverse mission of the District is achieved during the life of Measure F.

Posted on Categories ForestsTags , ,

CalPERS vows to push giant Preservation Ranch vineyard project

Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

CalPERS, the giant state workers pension fund, has ended several months of uncertainty by signaling to Sonoma County that it intends to move forward with a huge, controversial timber-to-vineyard conversion project near Annapolis.

Called Preservation Ranch, the project would clear up to 1,769 acres of forest for wine grapes on nearly 20,000 acres in northwestern Sonoma County.

via CalPERS vows to push giant Preservation Ranch vineyard project | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Local OrganizationsTags ,

36th Annual Sonoma County Environmental Awards Dinner

Saturday, Mar. 3, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Sebastopol Veteran’s Auditorium • 282 S. High Street, Sebastopol

Paloma Pavel, President of Earth House Center and Exec. Dir. of Breakthrough Communities, will speak on Building Healthy, Just & Sustainable Communities in the Face of Climate Change. There will be a silent auction and raffle and a gourmet dinner.

Tickets are $40, $50 after 2/20 at www.envirocentersoco.org

Benefits the Sierra Club and Environmental Center of Sonoma County

A zero-waste and low impact event Please carpool!

Posted on Categories ForestsTags , , ,

Supervisors vote 5-0 for moratorium on ridge-top tree removal

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted 5 to 0 to put in place a moratorium on ridge-top tree removal for vineyards.  This issue will come back to the Board on April 24 with the ag commissioner’s recommendations for changes to VESCO, the Vineyard Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance.

Posted on Categories Local OrganizationsTags

Nominations needed for the 2012 Sonoma County Environmental Awards

2012 Sonoma County Environmental Awards
Sponsored by the Sonoma County Conservation Council

Nomination form and list of previous awardees and nominees:
www.envirocentersoco.org/awards or http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DW9DSBB

Here is your chance to pay homage to the Sonoma County environmentalists and programs whose work you most respect – especially those that are not well known. Though the nomination form is available via email and regular mail, we request you submit nominations via the web site listed above. You will need contact information for your nominee plus a paragraph or two on why you think this person or program deserves to be honored. The nominations deadline is 2/6/2012.

Portia Sinnott, SCCC Awards Committee Chair (2002-2012)
Executive Director of LITE Initiatives, lite@sonic.netwww.liteinitatives.org

Posted on Categories ForestsTags , , ,

Support a County moratorium on tree removal for vineyards

Hearing Tuesday, January 31

Please attend the BOS meeting this Tuesday, 9 am, to support a County “freeze” on any new vineyard and orchard development until June 1st. At that time, VESCO (Vineyard Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance) will be updated to incorporate tree removal protection language.
The meeting will be held in the Supervisors’ Chambers, Room 100A,
575 Administrative Drive, Santa Rosa at 9:00 am.
Posted on Categories Climate Change & EnergyTags , ,

Sonoma County embraces solar power

Robert Digitale
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

You might not realize it on a foggy winter morning, but Sonoma County cities are really soaking in the sun.

A new study shows the county has one of the highest concentrations of solar energy users in the state.

Posted on Categories Forests, Land Use, Water, WildlifeTags , , , , ,

Fall of the redwood empire

Alastair Bland, NORTH BAY BOHEMIAN

Clearcutting for vineyards is nothing new in wine country. Can it be stopped?

This past Oct. 11, in a rare instance of a local politician speaking out publicly against a member of the North Bay’s influential winemaking community, Sonoma County supervisor Efren Carrillo lambasted winemaker Paul Hobbs for uprooting hundreds of trees in Sebastopol and adding one more open wound to a Russian River watershed already impacted by erosion and sediment.

Carrillo called Hobbs "one bad apple," and noted that the globally renowned maker of high-end wines hadn’t bothered to acquire a permit to remove the trees, part of the old Davis Christmas Tree farm, which Hobbs is planning to buy and convert to vines. It was one of three instances this year in which Hobbs has cut down trees to the dismay of onlookers; he leveled 10 acres in Pocket Canyon just east of Guerneville, and eight acres of redwood trees along Highway 116 on land acquired in a court settlement from his neighbor John Jenkel.

"Paul Hobbs has shown a blatant disregard for Sonoma County, its resources, his fellow vintners and community sentiment," Carrillo declared in his editorial, printed in the Sonoma County Gazette.

But local environmentalists feel Carrillo’s outburst needs to be echoed a hundred times over. To Jim Doerksen, who has lived in the Mayacamas Mountains for 44 years and has watched local streams sucked dry as wineries near his property have been built, Carrillo’s words on Hobbs only amplify the silence that nearly all officials have kept toward the local wine industry through years of alleged environmental abuse.

"Efren said Hobbs is ‘one bad apple,’" Doerksen says, "but all we have are bad apples."

Doerksen points straight to his neighbors, whom he charges with illegally cutting down about 60 acres of conifers to plant vineyards. This activity, along with overuse of the area’s groundwater, has virtually destroyed Mark West Creek, a story covered in January in the Bohemian.

via Fall of the Redwood Empire | Features | North Bay Bohemian.