Posted on Categories ForestsTags , , ,

Critics of Jackson Forest logging to hold rally; warn of potential civil disobedience when logging resumes

Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Community, environmental and tribal activists opposed to renewed logging in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest plan to rally in the forest Sunday and warn of potential civil disobedience in the future.

The notice comes in response to a Cal Fire announcement that tree cutting would resume as early as this week on at least one of four incomplete timber harvest plans in the Mendocino County forest. Those plans were recently revised to halt removal of the largest trees.

The return of logging crews ends an eight-month pause on tree removal that allowed state officials to start rethinking priorities for the nearly 50,000-acre forest and begin negotiations with local tribes that are seeking co-management rights.

But critics say it’s still too soon to end the pause. They argue that ideas floated in a “vision statement” released last week don’t amount to the updated forest management plan demanded by advocates and promised by Cal Fire.

Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/critics-of-jackson-forest-logging-to-hold-rally-warn-of-potential-civil-di/

Posted on Categories Climate Change & Energy, TransportationTags , ,

Santa Rosa, largest US city to ban new gas stations

Paulina Pineda, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Santa Rosa became the largest city in the nation to ban new gas stations on Tuesday, joining other cities in Sonoma County that have led a coordinated effort to combat climate impacts of fossil fuel.

In the latest volley of a locally grown movement that supporters hope will catch on across the nation, the City Council voted 6-0 to ban construction of gas stations and expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure at existing gas stations within city limits.

The new rules will not close gas stations though it will put some limits on current operators.

Santa Rosa has 44 operating gas stations and there are two proposed stations under review at Rincon Road and North Wright Road. Gas stations that submit completed applications before the ban goes into effect in October will be considered by staff.

With Tuesday’s vote, more than half of Sonoma County residents will live in a jurisdiction that has banned gas stations. Supporters point to elected officials in Los Angeles and mid-state New York who are looking at similar ordinances.

Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/santa-rosa-approves-ban-on-new-gas-stations/

Posted on Categories Climate Change & Energy, TransportationTags , ,

Sea level rise threatens Highway 37; leaders prepare billion dollar plan to stop it

Chase Hunter, NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL

Highway 37 serves as a key artery of Bay Area traffic from Marin County to Vallejo, but its low-lying place in former wetlands makes it susceptible to flooding and sea level rise over coming decades.

Leaders in transportation will need to address two issues at once to ensure the long-term sustainability of the key corridor: the creation of flood-resistant, sea-level impervious infrastructure and the environmental restoration of the wetlands.

“You can’t do the environmental restoration and address sea level rise without doing the transportation project. And you can’t do the transportation improvement projects without addressing sea level rise,” said Suzanne Smith, the executive director of the Sonoma County Transportation Authority.

Read more at https://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/article/article/sea-level-rise-threatens-highway-37-leaders-prepare-billion-dollar-plan-to/

Posted on Categories ForestsTags , , ,

Logging to restart in Jackson Forest as soon as this week

Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Just days after releasing a new vision statement reflecting a greater focus on climate mitigation and wildfire prevention at Jackson Demonstration State Forest, Cal Fire announced a nearly eight-month pause on logging in the forest will end.

Wednesday’s announcement came as a surprise to environmental advocates, including members of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians who are in the middle of negotiating for co-management rights in the forest.

Four approved timber harvest plans in the state-owned forest were put on hold — one last year and the others over the winter — after public outcry over the removal of large redwood trees. Those plans are expected to recommence in phases before the end of the year, Cal Fire said.

Crews could begin cutting any day in the 737-acre Chamberlain Confluence harvest plan, where they already have spent recent weeks hauling downed logs that were cut and stacked last winter, State Demonstration Forest Manager Kevin Conway said.

Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/logging-to-restart-in-jackson-forest-as-soon-as-this-week/

Posted on Categories ForestsTags , , ,

Cal Fire announces ‘new vision’ for Jackson Forest, reduces cutting of big trees

Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Revitalizing Management of the Jackson Demonstration Forest (pdf)

Cal Fire has released what is says is a “new forward-looking vision” for Jackson Demonstration State Forest that reflects the realities of climate change and extreme wildfire risk.

And while it creates pathways for co-management with local tribal nations, future management of the nearly 50,000-acre state-owned forest will still likely include sustainable logging.

Cal Fire spokeswoman Christine McMorrow, resource management communications officer, described the vision statement as “a starting point” to guide development of a new forest management plan. It comes in the wake of a recent public outcry over commercial-scale logging, particularly near the coastal town of Caspar, where a timber harvest plan was brought to a halt by demonstrators in the woods last year.

Cal Fire and the California Natural Resources Agency, which oversees it, promise “a renewed focus on climate science, restoration ecology and a new model for tribal comanagement” in the future, the vision statement says.

Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/cal-fire-announces-new-vision-for-jackson-forest-reduces-cutting-of-big/

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, WaterTags , , ,

Water crisis slams tomatoes

Kim Chipman, WASHINGTON POST

Tomatoes are getting squeezed.

California leads the world in production of processing tomatoes – the variety that gets canned and used in commercial kitchens to make some of the most popular foods. The problem is the worst drought in 1,200 years is forcing farmers to grapple with a water crisis that’s undermining the crop, threatening to further push up prices from salsa to spaghetti sauce.

“We desperately need rain,” Mike Montna, head of the California Tomato Growers Association, said in an interview. “We are getting to a point where we don’t have inventory left to keep fulfilling the market demand.”

Lack of water is shrinking production in a region responsible for a quarter of the world’s output, which is having an impact on prices of tomato-based products. Gains in tomato sauce and ketchup are outpacing the rise in U.S. food inflation, which is at its highest in 43 years, with drought and higher agricultural inputs to blame. With California climate-change forecasts calling for hotter and drier conditions, the outlook for farmers is uncertain.

“It’s real tough to grow a tomato crop right now,” Montna said. “On one side you have the drought impacting costs because you don’t have enough water to grow all your acres, and then you have the farm inflation side of it with fuel and fertilizer costs shooting up.”

Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/business/spaghetti-sauce-is-under-threat-as-water-crisis-slams-tomatoes/

Posted on Categories Sustainable LivingTags ,

‘It’s not profitable’: Another Sonoma County recycling center closes

Marisa Endicott, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

It soon will get even harder to score a bit of extra cash in Sonoma County for turning in bottles and cans.

One of the few remaining recycling redemption sites in the area, Brogard, in Windsor, will end its operation Aug. 26 after 19 years. The scrap metal site at the same location, West Coast Metals, will continue to run.

“We’re not really happy about it because we have been a service to the community for so long,” owner Linda Gardner told me, “but just dollar-wise, we cannot keep open losing money every month.”

This is more bad news for consumers already struggling to recoup the 5- or 10-cent fee on containers as California Refund Value redemption centers and retailers have dwindled in recent years. California has lost almost half its container recycling operations in the past decade.

In Sonoma County, 85% of sites have shuttered in the past decade, and in some other Northern California counties, there are none.

Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/another-sonoma-county-recycling-center-is-closing-leaving-consumers-with-e/

Posted on Categories Land Use, TransportationTags , , , , , , , ,

Wetlands advocates work to raise Highway 37

Dan Ashley & Tom Didion, ABC7 NEWS

There’s a vocal debate over building a better Bay Area, by building a better highway. At stake is not just traffic, but potentially vast stretches of restored wetlands.

When Kendall Webster gazes across the levees and farmland in southern Sonoma County, she can envision the tidal marshes that once flushed water back and forth from meandering waterways to San Pablo Bay.

“And so this whole flatland here was a mosaic of tidal wetlands,” she explains.

It’s a vast expanse of wetlands that the Sonoma Land Trust and their partners are working to restore.

“And you know, California is investing in climate, the way no other state in the country is right now. So we think that this is the natural infrastructure project that the state should be highlighting,” Webster maintains.

To make that vision a reality, the Trust has joined with Save the Bay and more than a dozen environmental and land management groups, urging Cal/Trans and the state to remove the one barrier that could open up natural marshland across the entire North Bay.

Read more at https://abc7news.com/highway-37-restoring-sonoma-county-wetlands-san-pablo-bay-land-trust-restoration/12117895/

Posted on Categories Land UseTags , , , ,

Sonoma County releases draft environmental report for Sonoma Developmental Center

Phil Barber, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A long-anticipated draft report released Wednesday calls for approximately 1,000 housing units — including 283 affordable units — to go along with 940 on-site jobs and a resident population of 2,400 at the site of the historic Sonoma Developmental Center near Glen Ellen.

Those numbers, which are in line with previous proposals, are bound to add fuel to the ongoing debate about how best to use a property that has been called a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by neighbors and officials alike.

“I think 1,000 is too big, and 283 is too small,” said Tracy Salcedo, a longtime Sonoma Valley resident, writer and advocate for the former institution for the developmentally disabled. “And we are stuck in a conundrum where financial feasibility is dictating how we do right thing. The right thing should be to provide more affordable housing, and turn our creative energies toward that rather than inundating the north end of the valley for what’s essentially too few affordable units.”

Sonoma County’s land use planning and development agency released the draft Environmental Impact Report and accompanying Specific Plan on Wednesday.

Totaling more than 800 pages, the two reports constitute the first narrowly drawn proposal for redevelopment of the iconic 945-acre site, which was home to a state-run hospital for the developmentally disabled that was established in 1891 and closed in 2018.

Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/county-releases-draft-environmental-report-for-sonoma-developmental-center/

Posted on Categories Climate Change & EnergyTags ,

County of Sonoma to take inventory of greenhouse gas emissions for all county operations

Press Release, COUNTY OF SONOMA

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today authorized the creation of an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions from all county government facilities and operations. The inventory will be used as a baseline to help the county move toward its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, as outlined in the county’s Five-Year Strategic Plan for Climate Action and Resiliency.

Following a competitive bid process, the board today approved the selection of Oakland-based Cascadia Consulting Group, Inc. to perform the greenhouse gas audit with a contract amount of $142,330.

“This board has made the climate crisis a top priority by joining cities, counties, and countries around the world in declaring a climate emergency and making a $10 million commitment to action on adaptation and resiliency strategies,” said James Gore, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “We are already making progress on carbon accounting of internal operations, but we have ambitious goals and more work to do. A baseline understanding of our current impact is essential to meeting the 2030 targets with accuracy and efficiency.”

The Board of Supervisors previously allocated $500,000 as part of Strategic Plan funding to conduct both an internal municipal greenhouse gas emissions inventory and a study evaluating the potential of carbon sequestration. The carbon sequestration study will be pursued at a later date.

Cascadia Consulting Group, Inc. works with public, corporate, nonprofit, and tribal clients on strategic planning, analysis, and management of projects focused on climate change mitigation and resilience, energy efficiency and renewable energy, recycling and materials management, and resource conservation.

Under the terms of the contract, Cascadia will prepare the emissions inventory using the Local Government Operations Protocol for the Quantification and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories, which is based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, considered the world’s most widely used corporate accounting and reporting standard for greenhouse gas emissions.
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