Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sonoma Coast, WildlifeTags Leave a comment on Sardine fishing limited as population crashes

Sardine fishing limited as population crashes


Environmentalists are claiming victory after federal fishery regulators on Sunday tightened fishing restrictions amid evidence the sardine population is in steep decline.

The 7-6 vote brought unusual drama to a meeting of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, which met over the weekend in Costa Mesa. California and Washington officials led the charge to set 2014 sardine fishing limits at the lowest level in a generation.

"This decline is fairly rapid," said Geoff Shester, California program director for Monterey-based Oceana. "A lot of people have started to compare it to the sardine collapse of the 50s and 60s."

via Feds tap brakes on sardine fishing – Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Posted on Categories Climate Change & EnergyTags Leave a comment on California won't meet 2050 emissions goals, report says

California won't meet 2050 emissions goals, report says

Barring a sweeping policy change or the introduction of new technology, California will fall short of its goals to drastically curtail greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to a new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

3 scenarios chart
Several different scenarios predicted by the model.

The good news is that California remains on pace to cut emissions to their 1990 level by 2020, a goal set out in a 2005 executive order issued by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the subsequent goal of thinning greenhouse-gas trapping emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 currently appears to be out of reach.
via Capitol Alert: California won’t meet 2050 emissions goals, report says
E.U. For a more technical discussion, see this article.

Posted on Categories TransportationTags , Leave a comment on Close to Home: Building bridges in Santa Rosa

Close to Home: Building bridges in Santa Rosa

Gary Helfrich and Janis Watkins

Quietly, without fanfare or fireworks, a land-use issue was resolved this past month in Santa Rosa.

You probably didn’t hear about it because it didn’t involve protests or lawsuits or contentious hearings before the City Council. It was settled with reasonable discussions among sensible adults looking to find a solution that would work for both sides and, more importantly, for all residents of Santa Rosa.

We want to share that good news.

At issue is the community connector bridge across Highway 101, a project that has been planned for several years to provide a safe way for people to cross the freeway without using their cars. The bridge would create a new connection between Santa Rosa’s east and west sides, between Santa Rosa Junior College and Coddingtown, between northeast Santa Rosa and the SMART train station in the northwest on Guerneville Road.

via Close to Home: Building bridges in Santa Rosa | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Land UseTags , , , Leave a comment on Forestville Open Space Grant Approved for Park

Forestville Open Space Grant Approved for Park


For the past almost 40 years, Forestville has fought one development plan after another on downtown property that runs along Front Street in the heart of downtown. Now, with the support of Sonoma County’s Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District, the Forestville Planning Association, and a local investment group that includes the Bartolomei family, and a Yes vote from the Board of Supervisors, Forestville finally gets a plan everyone can live with.

Eight and one half acres of land will now be approximately 50% park and preserved wetlands with native habitat, and 50% developed land for mixed-use commerce. The land will also accommodate Sonoma County Regional Park’s trailhead to the West County Trail directly running into Forestville’s downtown. That a real boon to the parks, users of the trail, and downtown businesses.

via Forestville Open Space Grant Approved for Park.

Posted on Categories Sonoma Coast, WildlifeLeave a comment on Wasting disease devastating starfish along Sonoma Coast

Wasting disease devastating starfish along Sonoma Coast


Marine scientists are scrambling to determine the extent and cause of a disease that is killing starfish along the West Coast, including Sonoma County.

The affliction, called sea star wasting disease, has killed up to 95 percent of the stars in some tide pool populations ranging from southeast Alaska to Santa Barbara in a manner similar to scenes from a horror movie.

“They essentially melt in front of you,” said Pete Raimondi, chairman of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Lab.

via Wasting disease devastating starfish along Sonoma Coast | The Press Democrat.

The sea star wasting map is online at

Posted on Categories ForestsTags Leave a comment on People power STOPS Forestville timber harvest

People power STOPS Forestville timber harvest


Most people feel helpless when it comes to impacting the outcome of an event. Yet they DO have influence, and they CAN effect change. What it takes is having enough people to be heard – and solid information to gain respect..

We changed the outcome of a tree removal in my neighborhood by contacting people who had the power to stop the operation before long-term permanent damage occurred. In the process, we learned that laws and systems in place are not enough, and that oversight is essential to protect our environment from ignorance.

Our Back Yard

River Drive is a small neighborhood at Hacienda Bridge in Forestville. What we came to call the “Hacienda Timber Harvest,” without intervention, would have been a redwood clear-cut on two lots going down to the river on both sides of Hacienda Bridge. This brought many in our neighborhood and community together in outrage over what Clear View tree service was doing with a Cal Fire “exemption” permit and little oversight.

How did this happen?

How could a timber harvest occur along the banks of the Russian River, which has been designated critical habitat for three species of salmon? How could this be permitted when multiple agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars on studies alone to save the fish and their habitat?

Both lots were recently purchased by out-of-area owners…people who don’t live here, or intend to live here…and who appear to be ignorant of local environmental protections. Both have applications to raise these original summer cabins along the river using FEMA flood mitigation assistance funds. Both contacted Clear View tree service to remove a few trees they considered a fire hazard, and in their way of intended construction.

via People Power STOPS Forestville Timber Harvest.

Posted on Categories TransportationTags Leave a comment on Rodota trail to be rerouted despite cyclists' objections

Rodota trail to be rerouted despite cyclists' objections


A plan to reroute a popular bicycle trail around a proposed gas station and market on the western edge of Santa Rosa was criticized as not doing enough to protect bicyclists but was approved anyway Thursday by the city’s Planning Commission.

In a 5-1 vote, the commission signed off on plans to build the station, market and one-bedroom apartment along the Joe Rodota Trail at North Wright Road just south of the Fulton Road and Highway 12 intersection.

Most commissioners felt the developer had found a creative solution to the problem of possible conflicts with bicyclists by diverting them behind the station along an easement on the property.

But some bicycle advocates and Commissioner Vicki Duggan felt the project wasn’t doing enough to protect bicyclists along what is already a problematic portion of the trail linking Santa Rosa to Sebastopol.

via Santa Rosa gas station gets OK despite cyclists' objections | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable LivingTags Leave a comment on CropMobster shares the harvest

CropMobster shares the harvest


Nick Papadopoulos is a farmer now, but he has a professional background in conflict resolution. So, standing in a vegetable cooler on a Saturday night last March, surrounded by surplus produce that hadnt been sold, his mind began to wander.

"We had all this food that wasnt going to people," the general manager of Bloomfield Farms in Petaluma recalls. "Its edible and its grown for the purpose of feeding people, and we dont make any money when its wasted."

Later that week, he posted a message on Facebook advertising farmers market leftovers at a reduced price. That was the beginning of, a social media hub addressing local farm waste and hunger—both issues hinging on a centralized, assembly-line food system that, according to Papadopoulos, is full of holes.

via Harvest Share | Dining | North Bay Bohemian.

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food SystemTags Leave a comment on What's up with the state grange?

What's up with the state grange?


The California State Grange Master, Bob McFarland, is in Sebastopol this week for the annual State Grange Convention. He was willing to discuss what is happening on the national level with the venerable agricultural organization.

 Is the National Grange suing the California Grange?

Yes. The National Grange Master Ed Lutrell tried to kick me out, but the California Grange membership that had elected me refused to do so. Then Lutrell revoked California’s 143-year-old charter and tried to seize the bank accounts, offices and other assets, but a court injunction stopped him. So he is suing us, and the trial will come up in late spring I think.

 Why would Lutrell do that?

He supports industrial agribusiness, while in California we support family sustainable farming. We took a stand against GMOs and he favors it, saying there is no difference. He has done the same thing to the Wyoming State Grange, revoked their charter and tried to seize their assets.

via 5 Questions for Bob McFarland, California's grange master.

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Sustainable LivingTags Leave a comment on Grains go local

Grains go local


North Bay chefs and growers have long been at the forefront of the movement to eat local, championing the return to the table of heirloom tomatoes and grass-fed beef.

Nowadays, the farmers are starting to grow grains like rye, farro and wheat as well, providing chefs with whole-grain, freshly milled flours for their breads and pasta.

“Grains are the logical next step,” said Debra Walton of Canvas Ranch in Two Rock. “Were really moving totally local, from vegetables and meat to grain and breads and beer.”

via Grains go local | The Press Democrat.