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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 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 Climate Change & Energy, Local OrganizationsTags , , , Leave a comment on County Creates Sonoma Clean Power

County Creates Sonoma Clean Power

CLIMATE PROTECTION CAMPAIGN
The Board of the Sonoma County Water Agency and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today created a joint powers authority to oversee Sonoma Clean Power, a proposed local program to buy and generate electricity for residents and businesses.
Three local organizations hailed the move and pledged to work with the new Sonoma Clean Power Authority, while cautioning that the power provider must be run like a competitive business venture rather than a government program. Climate Protection Campaign, Sonoma County Alliance, and the North Coast Builders Exchange each communicated their concerns to county officials.
“For Sonoma Clean Power to be successful in local job creation as well as greenhouse gas reduction, it must be run by proven energy entrepreneurs with a competitive mentality,” said Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign.
via County Creates Sonoma Clean Power | Climate Protection Campaign.

Posted on Categories Local Organizations, WildlifeTags , , Leave a comment on Open Space District Drafts Mitigation Policy

Open Space District Drafts Mitigation Policy

Enviro Updates
The latest draft of a Mitigation Policy for the Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (APOSD) prohibits private mitigation on most District conservation easements or property. Laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act require compensation, or mitigation, when an activity harms habitat or waterways. Mitigation may be in the form of money, or it may require long-term protection of other at-risk habitat.
The District has needed to set policy guidelines for mitigation – this was made clear by the Roblar Road quarry proposal in 2010.  A complicated exchange was worked out by quarry proponents which included mitigating for the loss of a California Tiger Salamander breeding pond on the quarry site by constructing habitat on a nearby property protected by an Open Space conservation easement. This deal was criticized for several reasons, but especially because the mitigation would occur on land that was already protected by the conservation easement.  However, there was no Open Space District policy on mitigation at the time and the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the quarry. Lawsuits have stopped the project for the last couple of years, giving the District time to put together the new Mitigation Policy.
The second draft of the Mitigation Policy contains the following guidelines:

  • The District will not accept mitigation funding from private parties or accept acquisitions that result from third party mitigation projects.
  • Existing conservation easements that expressly allow habitat mitigation will be able to do so, but new easements will mostly expressly prohibit mitigation.
  • Mitigation-related funding (that is, when mitigation requires paying money rather than buying land) from public projects only, may be used by the District to buy land or to fund habitat-enhancement projects on District land.

This Policy, if adopted and followed by the Board, will close the door to most private mitigation projects on Open Space District land, but will still allow some kinds of mitigation for public projects.
APOSD Mitigation Policy draft

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 Local OrganizationsTags Leave a comment on Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District 3-Year Work Plan

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 Local OrganizationsTags , Leave a comment on 36th Annual Sonoma County Environmental Awards Dinner

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 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