Posted on Categories Climate Change & Energy, Land Use, WildlifeTags , Leave a comment on Scientists Question Impact as Vineyards Turn Up in New Places

Scientists Question Impact as Vineyards Turn Up in New Places

Felicity Barringer, THE NEW YORK TIMES

For more than a decade, wine experts have discussed the impact of climate change on wine grapes, agriculture’s diva, a marquee crop nurtured and pampered around the world.

Now scientists are raising a new question: when grapes are transported to new areas, assuming warming weather and flagging rain make current regions unsuited to such harvests, what will the crop’s arrival do to the animals and plants already in residence?

via Scientists Question Impact as Vineyards Turn Up in New Places – NYTimes.com.

Posted on Categories Forests, Land Use, Local OrganizationsTags , , , Leave a comment on Preservation Ranch deal: Tentative $24.5 million deal would halt controversial plan for vineyards

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

Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

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 Land Use, Local OrganizationsTags , Leave a comment on Benefactors Create and Maintain a Private Park in California

Benefactors Create and Maintain a Private Park in California

Greg Beato, THE NEW YORK TIMES
The waterfall that is the best-known feature of the Bohemia Ecological Preserve is currently nothing more than a picturesque spill of bone-dry rocks. The shaggy grasslands that carpet the preserve’s rolling terrain are a parched golden brown.
But as Craig Anderson, 51, leads a group of hikers up gravel roads toward a hilltop campground, the fact that the landscape is at something less than peak splendor after several rain-free months does little to diminish his enthusiasm. And why should it? In California’s economic climate — also fairly parched — Bohemia Ecological Preserve is that rarest of specimens: a recently opened park. In May, it celebrated its official grand opening.
via Benefactors Create and Maintain a Private Park in California – NYTimes.com.

Posted on Categories Land UseTags Leave a comment on Grapegrower report: Organic practices make the difference

Grapegrower report: Organic practices make the difference

Phil Coturri, NAPA VALLEY REGISTER.COM
The days are becoming shorter and cooler, harvest is drawing to a close, and grapevines are shutting down for a long winter’s nap: Autumn is officially upon us. While the next four to five months are not normally considered the growing season in the vineyards, at the certified organic Oakville Ranch Vineyards, this is the time of year that we are just starting growing our cover crops, soils, biodiversity and ecological balance, elements of healthy vineyards.
As the founder of Enterprise Vineyards, for the past 35 years I have farmed exclusively organic vineyards throughout Napa and Sonoma County. I have always focused my goals beyond organic farming for its environmental benefits. For more than three decades I have worked to prove that organically grown grapes offer winemakers the most balanced fruit and allow most accessible path a vineyard’s terroir, a wine’s expression of place. This can only happen when the vines and the land are in balance.
via Grapegrower report: Organic practices make the difference.

Posted on Categories Land UseTags , Leave a comment on Sonoma County Board of Supervisors OK appeal of Roblar Road quarry decision

Sonoma County Board of Supervisors OK appeal of Roblar Road quarry decision

By Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County supervisors have authorized an appeal of a court ruling striking down approval of the Roblar Road quarry on environmental grounds.The board voted 4-1 Tuesday in closed session to back the appeal, with Shirlee Zane, the boards chairwoman, dissenting.
via Sonoma County Board of Supervisors OK appeal of Roblar Road quarry decision | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Land UseTags , , , Leave a comment on Sonoma County judge strikes down Roblar Road quarry approval

Sonoma County judge strikes down Roblar Road quarry approval

by Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A Sonoma County judge has struck down the approval for a controversial rock quarry west of Cotati, saying key parts of the environmental impact report were inadequate. The final ruling, issued Thursday by Judge Elliot Daum, could derail the project by requiring the county and quarry developer John Barella to conduct a new environmental report, or overhaul large parts of the existing one.
via Sonoma County judge strikes down Roblar Road quarry OK | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Land UseTags , , Leave a comment on County panel denies Hop Kiln Winery's expansion bid

County panel denies Hop Kiln Winery's expansion bid

by Bob Norberg, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Hop Kiln Winery’s proposal for a major expansion was denied by Sonoma County officials Thursday as being out of scale with the rural Westside Road.
Westside Grapes, the owner of Hop Kiln, was also told by the Board of Zoning Adjustments that it needs to resolve lingering illegal uses on the property and come back with a proposal for a new production facility.
via County panel denies Hop Kiln Winery’s expansion bid | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Land Use, WildlifeTags , , Leave a comment on Opponents of Roblar Road quarry win round in court

Opponents of Roblar Road quarry win round in court

by Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A Sonoma County judge has sided with key points in a lawsuit challenging approval of the controversial Roblar Road rock quarry, a move that could derail the project west of Cotati.
A split county Board of Supervisors approved the 70-acre project in late 2010 over the objections of a group of neighbors and others concerned about environmental impacts.
via Opponents of Roblar Road quarry win round in court | Petaluma360.

Posted on Categories Land Use, TransportationTags , , Leave a comment on Guerneville Road SMART Station Plan goes to the Planning Commission

Guerneville Road SMART Station Plan goes to the Planning Commission

Santa Rosa Planning Commission: Thursday, May 24, 4:00 pm
Santa Rosa City Council Chambers, 100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa
After months of public meetings and workshops, the Guerneville Road SMART Station Area Plan will be up for a vote at the Santa Rosa Planning Commission on Thursday. One important piece currently included in the plan is the bike/pedestrian bridge over Hwy 101 connecting the Santa Rosa Junior College on the east to Coddingtown and the SMART station on the west.  For information about other issues and comments on the Plan see the following evaluation by Greenbelt Alliance.
http://www.greenbelt.org/general/santa-rosa-planning-commission-to-vet-the-plan-for-smart-station-at-guerneville-road/

Posted on Categories Land UseTags Leave a comment on Public meetings regarding keeping State Parks open

Public meetings regarding keeping State Parks open

Press Release: Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
Responding to further State Parks cut-backs, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods (Stewards) announces two public meetings. Over the past two years, campgrounds and coastal access sites have been closed and further closures may be coming. Working with local State Park staff, Stewards is considering ways to offset the closures. The public is invited to hear about plans to keep Austin Creek State Recreation Area and Sonoma Coast State Park open and share your ideas as well.
The meetings will be held in Bodega Bay and Monte Rio:
Bodega Bay Meeting
Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 6-7:30
Bodega Bay Grange
1370 Bodega Ave. Bodega Bay
Monte Rio Meeting
Monday, June 11, 2012, 6-7:30
Monte Rio Community Center
20488 Highway 116, Monte Rio
For more information: http://www.stewardsofthecoastandredwoods.org/news/2012/news20120515.htm