Jeff Quackenbush, NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL
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.
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.
Connie Madden, SONOMA COUNTY GAZETTE
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.
Derek Moore, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
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.
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.
Robert Digitale, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
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.
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.
Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
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.
Vesta Copestakes, SONOMA COUNTY GAZETTE
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.
Karina Ioffee, PETALUMA PATCH
Work crews cut down an old eucalyptus grove on Petaluma Boulevard South on Sunday evening, much to the disappointment of environmentalists who told Caltrans the trees are used for nesting for egrets and herons and had asked for alternatives.
Caltrans is set to begin work on an interchange project in the area and said that removing the 15 or so trees was needed so that construction was not delayed. Egrets and heron are federally protected, meaning that the trees could not be cut down once the birds started nesting there later this spring.
via Eucalyptus Trees Cut Down Along South Petaluma Boulevard – Petaluma, CA Patch.