Alastair Bland, THE NORTH BAY BOHEMIAN
There is no forest among the trees. That’s what state officials have said regarding a large stand of second-growth redwood and Douglas fir near Annapolis that a Spanish-owned winery has proposed to level and replace with grapevines and a winery.
The project, proposed by Artesa Vineyards & Winery, has been lumbering through the legal process for several years now, and to the dismay of Sonoma County environmentalists, it has progressed almost to the finish line. Now, the only roadblock still in the way is the lawsuit filed against the state by three conservation groups in June of 2012, and which will be heard in the Sonoma County Superior Court this Friday.
via Chainsaw Wine | News | North Bay Bohemian.
Paul Payne, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Lafferty Ranch advocates say an easement over 905 square feet of private land standing between the public and the proposed nature preserve near Petaluma could finally be secured by newly discovered property records dating back to the Civil War era.
A surveyor’s map cited in 1866 Sonoma County Board of Supervisors meetings as well as an 1869 deed from an adjacent property owner both create a bridge to the landlocked 270-acre preserve, said Petaluma City Councilman Mike Healy, a lawyer who is providing free legal work for the cause.
via New evidence in fight for public access to Lafferty Ranch | Watch Sonoma County.
Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today is set to consider a financial policy that seeks to break the fiscal logjams that have delayed public access to thousands of acres of taxpayer-protected open space.
For park agencies looking to open up those lands, the policy would allow for broader use of an estimated $41 million in county open space funds over the next 18 years.
The central change would explicitly make available that money — drawn from a share of the budget for the county’s Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District — to build key improvements, including parking lots, restrooms, trails, fencing, signs and other capital projects geared toward enabling initial public access.
via Sonoma County grapples with providing public access to open space | The Press Democrat.
Sean Scully,THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday approved an offer by winemaker Paul Hobbs to permanently protect 117 wooded acres near Forestville from development, but they insisted the preservation-oriented gift will not sway them if Hobbs attempts to move ahead with a controversial adjacent vineyard project.
Accepting the easement “in no way mandates, requires or ties the board’s hands” in any other matter related to Hobbs, said Supervisor Efren Carrillo, who represents the area.
via Supervisors accept Sebastopol winemaker's preservation offer | The Press Democrat.
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.