For the first time in five years, chinook salmon are being seen in the Lagunitas watershed — a hopeful sign that federally endangered coho salmon will have a strong run this winter.
Chinook salmon — also known as king salmon — are not always spotted in Marin’s creeks, but when they do appear they generally are accompanied by a strong run of coho.
"What we have seen is that when resident coho populations do well, we see other species doing well," said Eric Ettlinger, aquatic ecologist for the Marin Municipal Water District.
The chinook salmon are native to the Central Valley, but seem to have lost their way and ended up in Lagunitas Creek, Ettlinger said. It’s possible that they were spawned in a hatchery and they don’t know where home can be found. The chinook and coho salmon generally return to the streams in which they were born after returning from the ocean.
A new Petaluma brewery has been shut down for operating without proper permits.
Petaluma Hills Brewing Co. on North McDowell Boulevard opened last month. But city code enforcement officials halted operations this week after learning about an agreement to share the brewery’s space with HenHouse Brewing Co.
Petaluma Hills owner JJ Jay was served with a shut-down notice Tuesday. He said he has been going through the city permitting process for almost a year and wasn’t purposely flouting the law.
Press Release: Friends of the Gualala River, Sierra Club Redwood Chapter, Center for Biological Diversity
Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Elliot Daum has rejected a plan to clearcut 154 acres of Northern California redwoods to plant vineyards for a winery. The proposal in northwestern Sonoma County was challenged by the Sierra Club’s Redwood Chapter, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Gualala River. In response, Judge Daum said the state’s “environmental impact report” for Artesa Winery’s forest-to-vineyard project violates the California Environmental Quality Act.
“The highest and best use of coastal forests is to remain in their natural condition so they can protect our coastal rivers, support fish and wildlife, and combat climate change by sequestering carbon,” said Victoria Brandon, chair of the Sierra Club Redwood Chapter.
The judge found that, in preparing the environmental review for the project, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) failed to properly analyze alternatives that would be less damaging to the environment, such as using an unforested area for the vineyard.The court also determined that the agency did not appropriately address the lost carbon sequestration that would result from destroying the redwood forest. Redwood forests are well known for their capacity to absorb massive amounts of greenhouse gases as they mature over time.
Lynn Kwitt, Fluoride Free Sonoma County, PUBLICCEO.COM
In an unprecedented 5-0 City Council vote on November 12, Cotati joined a growing number of college towns including Davis, California, and Portland, Oregon, voting to keep fluoridation chemicals out of their water supply.
Cotati is one of nine major cities and water districts supplied by the Sonoma County Water Agency SCWA. These cities and water districts deliver drinking water to more than 600,000 residents in portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. Only Santa Rosa, Petaluma and the North Marin Water District have more than 10,000 connections and are subject to the California State AB733 mandate to fluoridate if funding is available. Because Cotati and the other five jurisdictions in the SCWA service area have fewer than 10,000 connections, they are not subject to the State mandate and are free to choose whether or not to fluoridate.
The owner of the empty lot where 13-year-old Andy Lopez died more than six weeks ago is in talks with people who want to turn it into a memorial park for the slain boy.
The property is owned by real estate agent David Poulsen, who has refused to be interviewed on the topic. However he has designated Herb Williams, a political consultant, as his spokesman. Williams said the talks regarding the property at 3399 Moorland Ave. are preliminary and no formal proposals are being considered.
Apples! Such an innocent fruit. The sturdy globe of a red-cheeked apple is American shorthand for student affection of favored teachers, wholesome homespun values, patriotic pies and good health.
Apples! Such cunning tricksters. Leave an apple tree ungrafted and it will produce an apple entirely its own, of a kind unknown anywhere else in the world. With small exception, its native fruit will be bitter and unpleasant.
Apples! Replaced by grapes.
via Made Local Magazine
Petaluma City Council members Monday night unanimously endorsed changes to a regional waste management agreement that would allow for the creation of a countywide ban on single-use plastic bags.
The amendments to the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency joint powers agreement would also give members — each city and the county — the flexibility to adopt their own ordinance with county enforcement or local control.
Any major amendments to the two-decades-old regional agreement must be approved by all members. Healdsburg, Sonoma, Sebastopol, Windsor and Cotati have approved the change. Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, Rohnert Park and Cloverdale are set to consider the issue in the next two months.
The council will vote on a formal resolution to the changes in January. An ordinance actually regulating plastic bags would come later.
Jamie Hansen, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The latest in a series of efforts to clean up Occidental’s sewage discharge has stalled, ironically, over environmental concerns.
“It’s back to square one,” said Steve McNeal, a 13-year member of an informal ratepayers group seeking solutions to the small town’s wastewater problems.
Occidental, whose sewer system is run by the Sonoma County Water Agency, has been looking for a new way to dispose of its wastewater since 1997, when the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered it to clean up its discharge to comply with water quality standards by 2008.
The water quality control board extended Occidental’s deadlines over the years, recognizing the financial challenges of updating such a small sewer system, but this February issued another order that authorities believe they must meet by 2018 or face huge fines.
Now, Occidental residents are seeking a fix with increased urgency, both because of the impending deadline and because residents and business owners are struggling to pay current rates. Sewage rates rose from $976 per household in 2005 to $1,682 in 2013, making them some of the highest in the state. And that’s with the Water Agency subsidizing rates to keep costs down for the roughly 100 customers in the tiny sewer district.
Read more via Occidental still seeking a sewer solution | The Press Democrat.
In Dry Creek Valley, there’s at least one place where a jumble of felled trees doesn’t spell trouble for coho habitat. It’s part of a multimillion dollar project meant to restore Dry Creek’s salmon population—and possibly save the Sonoma County Water Agency an additional $150 million bill.
On Friday, Nov. 22, representatives from four government agencies, the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians and members of the press gathered by a slow-moving channel just downstream from Warm Springs Dam to witness the release of 2,000 juvenile coho as part of the six-mile Dry Creek Habitat Enhancement Demonstration Project. Dressed in fatigues, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers district commander Lt. Col. John Baker carefully lowered the first aquarium net full of small, wriggling fish to their uncertain fate.
The impetus behind the effort is a 2008 opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). By 2004, the coho population in the Russian River system had declined to the point where little more than a dozen individuals could be counted. A crash program at the Don Clausen Fish Hatchery at Lake Sonoma has successfully reared coho salmon that return to the hatchery, but that’s just a start. "We want to restart the populations in historic coho salmon streams," says Derek Acomb, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. "We don’t want the fish to stray back to the hatchery."
A citizens group is suing Sebastopol winemaker Paul Hobbs and Sonoma County over a 48-acre vineyard conversion project it says was approved in violation of state environmental laws.
Watertrough Children’s Alliance alleges in court papers filed Monday that Agricultural Commissioner Tony Linegar erred in issuing a permit June 5 when the project should have undergone a full California Environmental Quality Act review.
The group said the conversion of a former apple orchard could pose significant impacts to wildlife and water quality and may expose children at five nearby schools to harmful pesticides.