Jared Huffman, SFGATE
In "Dirty Harry," Clint Eastwood memorably asked, do you "feel lucky?" It made for great theater, but it’s no way to manage North Coast salmon. Unfortunately, that’s been the policy of the U.S. Department of Interior toward the near-record run of chinook salmon that is migrating up the Trinity and Klamath rivers. Instead of a comprehensive strategy to fulfill its duty to protect this iconic fishery, the department is rolling the dice. So far, the salmon have been lucky.
A decade ago, they were not so lucky. In 2002, the same conditions we are experiencing this year – large salmon returns, a dry year, and over-allocated Klamath River water unable to satisfy all competing needs – produced a massive fish kill. Insufficient river flows brought death to thousands of salmon and economic disaster for tribes, fishermen, and communities up and down the West Coast.
via For Northern California rivers, luck is not a plan – SFGate.
Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday approved zoning rules that they said would ensure a “conservative” and “cautious” approach to renewable energy development on the county’s farms, ranches and remote forested lands and hillsides.
The regulations for commercial projects on agricultural property cover more than three-quarters of the county, or more than 700,000 acres.
They will allow projects on about 140,000 agricultural acres where they were previously prohibited. Applicants would have to go through a rezoning process, including hearings before planning commissioners and the Board of Supervisors. They will also ban ground-mounted commercial projects on about 70,000 acres of the highest-value cropland, including mostly vineyards.
via Supervisors OK zoning rules for renewable energy development | The Press Democrat.
It’s official: Solar Sonoma County is now the Solar Action Alliance (SolarActionAlliance.org), a new name reflecting the organization’s expansion to Marin and Napa counties and broadening impact in advancing solar energy at the local level. Solar Sonoma County has become a “chapter” of Solar Action Alliance, which now also includes Solar Marin County and Solar Napa County.
Continue reading “Solar Sonoma County becomes Solar Action Alliance”
Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Santa Rosa and the Sonoma County Water Agency have won an award for their joint efforts to raise awareness about the health of urban creeks.
California Stormwater Quality Association praised the two agencies for the effectiveness of the outreach efforts of their Creek Stewardship Program.
The program does a good job of educating the public about the importance of creeks, encouraging citizens to get involved in clean-up efforts through the Creek Steward program, and is responsive to citizen concerns, the organization said.
via Santa Rosa, Sonoma County Water Agency lauded for creek outreach efforts | The Press Democrat.
Derek Moore, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The recent discovery of hundreds of young coho salmon in a tributary of the Russian River near Jenner is being hailed by biologists as a breakthrough in the decade-long effort to restore the critical habitat and nurse the endangered fish back to health.
Approximately 450 coho were counted in the upper reaches of Willow Creek this summer, an astounding number given that virtually none of the fish have been seen in the waterway for the better part of two decades.
Run-off from logging and farming, coupled with the end of dredging efforts that were aimed at preventing road flooding, had turned the nearly-nine mile waterway flowing from Coleman Valley to the Jenner estuary into a meandering mess.
via Discovery of young coho salmon in Russian River tributary heralded | The Press Democrat.
Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Hearing on Sonoma County renewable energy zoning rules
WHEN: 2:10 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: Board of Supervisors chambers, 575 Administration Dr., Room 100 A, Santa Rosa
With renewable energy development now a central issue in Sonoma County, disputed rules that would govern the size and location of green energy projects are returning to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday for approval.
The zoning changes, which focus largely on solar systems, would open up more land in unincorporated areas to commercial-scale projects, including agricultural, industrial and business parcels.
The first test case could be a 23-acre solar panel installation proposed for a hayfield outside Petaluma, a project prohibited under current zoning but allowed under the revised rules up for approval.
via Sonoma County takes closer look at green energy projects | The Press Democrat.
Pond 7 of the old Cargill Salt Co. plant between Napa and Sonoma is an improbable sight: a lifeless salt flat spreading across more than 300 acres along the edge of the San Pablo Bay.
The surface is a twisted mass of filthy salt crystals, devoid of plants and avoided by the migratory birds that inhabit nearby marshes.
As long as the pond remains in this state, officials say, it poses a threat to the ecologically sensitive bay: should a rain storm flood the pond and breach the dirt banks, it could wash salt into the open water in concentrations high enough to kill fish and other wildlife.
via Water agency nears completion of Napa-Sonoma salt marsh pipeline | The Press Democrat.
Robert Digitale, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Nearly two years after it launched amid national media attention, Santa Rosa’s Ygrene Energy Fund has financed its first projects for making older buildings green.
The company, which fashioned its business after a program pioneered by the County of Sonoma, is providing financing and administration to retrofit homes and commercial buildings in Sacramento and Miami. The public/private programs allow property owners to install solar electric systems and other energy- and water-saving improvements, with borrowers repaying the debt on their property tax bills.
via Ygrene seeks green in energy retrofits | The Press Democrat.
Brenda Adelman, SONOMA COUNTY GAZETTE
Words have the power to conjure up all kinds of feelings for good or ill, such as “treated sewage” or “recycled water”. Most people would never dream that these disparate terms represent the same product.
Over the years, there has been this subtle and intentional shift in language to persuade the public to accept exposures to treated wastewater in everyday life. After all, it looks and smells the same as potable, and even experts can’t tell the difference. Some officials and politicians have even tasted the local chemical concoction to certify it’s high quality. Over the years, what used to be ‘treated sewage’ became ‘treated effluent’, then ‘wastewater’ or ‘treated wastewater’, and finally ‘recycled water’, this latter having entirely removed the ‘yuk!’ factor. Yet little has changed in the content of the product.
Current treatment of the raw sewage is better than it used to be, and probably the term ‘treated sewage’ is no longer fair, but ‘recycled water’ is very misleading, since of the approximately 80,000 chemicals on the market, only 125 are regulated. We have a long way to go before we should agree to drink the stuff. What we are learning about endocrine disrupting chemicals (most pesticides are in that category, for example) is that children are more vulnerable than adults and low dose exposures can have major impacts on the elderly or those with compromised immune systems.
via Down the Drain: ‘Treated Sewage’ or ‘Recycled Water’?.
Madeleine Thomas, EAST BAY EXPRESS
In May, The Conservation Fund announced that it had bought nearly 20,000 acres of coastal redwood, Douglas fir, and oak woodlands, known as Preservation Ranch, in Sonoma County, in order to prevent the area from being turned into vineyards. The plan by the national environmental nonprofit is one the largest conservation efforts of its scale in the state. The Conservation Fund also intends to implement sustainable forestry practices at Preservation Ranch and use carbon credits from the state’s cap-and-trade program to help pay for the restoration of the forest, which was heavily damaged by decades of logging. If successful, the project could serve as model for sustainable forestry practices in California and throughout the nation. But it’s an ambitious project, and not without it’s share of challenges.
via A Model Forest? | Eco Watch | The Bay Area Environment Column.