Posted on Categories Local Organizations, Sonoma Coast, Sustainable LivingTags , , Leave a comment on Bill Kortum, Sonoma County environmentalist, dies at 87

Bill Kortum, Sonoma County environmentalist, dies at 87

Greta Kaul, SFGATE.COM
 Press Democrat article
Bill Kortum, a longtime Sonoma County environmental activist, died early Saturday in Petaluma after battling prostate cancer for more than three years. He was 87.
Mr. Kortum’s extensive resume as an activist began in the 1960s and lists many of California’s most important land-use campaigns.
In 1972, he worked to pass Proposition 20, a measure that established the California Coastal Commission, the agency that regulates land and water use along the state’s coastline. Mr. Kortum also helped establish an open space district in Sonoma County and worked to create Sonoma County Conservation Action, an organization that aims to educate the public on environmental issues.
He did it all with a twinkle in his eye, said Sheri Cardo, communications director at the Sonoma Land Trust and a longtime friend of Mr. Kortum.
Soft-spoken but tenacious, “Bill was like a big, strong redwood tree — bending with the wind but never breaking, and always looking far ahead,” Cardo said. “He was an amazing guy. Even his political opponents liked and respected him, which is saying something in Sonoma County.”
A veterinarian by trade, Mr. Kortum grew up on a poultry farm outside Petaluma, where he and his wife, Lucy, — the strategist to her husband’s idealism — later raised their own three children and where they lived together until his death, said their daughter, Julie Groves.
“He would light fires under people,” Groves said. “As a kid, that was true, too. There was a lot expected of us and you never felt pressured, you just were motivated.”
The fire in Mr. Kortum’s own belly came, in part, from his father, Max. During his early years, it seemed like the family could hike or pitch a tent almost anywhere in Northern California.
“We were allowed huge liberties in those days,” he told The Chronicle in 1998. But, his dad warned him, such opportunities might someday be lost to development.
Bill and Lucy Kortum became especially concerned about California’s oceanfront after traveling to hike the coasts of England. Groves said they were inspired by that country’s open access to coastal land and came back worried that California’s would be blocked from the public.
“Wilderness is still rare in this country and marine wilderness is rarer,” Mr. Kortum wrote in a 2011 Chronicle opinion piece urging the preservation of Drakes Estero.
Mr. Kortum saw public office as a way to advance the causes he was passionate about. He was appointed and re-elected to Petaluma’s school board in the 1960s and was elected as a Sonoma County supervisor in the 1970s, though he was later recalled for what his family said were his strong stances on environmental initiatives.
In Mr. Kortum’s later years, he fought for voter approval on the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, a train that will connect the two counties.
Cardo met him 20 years ago working to open Lafferty Ranch, a 270-acre parcel on Sonoma Mountain, to the public.
Cardo said he was developing strategies for that project, which is still ongoing, until his last breath and that someday she hopes to see the ranch turned into a park with her friend’s name on it.
“The thing about Bill Kortum is he never gave up and he never stopped fighting for what’s right,” she said. “He was fighting for all of us and for future generations.”
Mr. Kortum is survived by his wife, Lucy, children Frank of Glendale, Julie Groves of Los Gatos and Sam of New Haven, Conn., and five grandchildren.
A celebration of the activist’s life will be held in the new year. In memorial, his family suggests donations in Mr. Kortum’s name to Sonoma County Conservation Action, Coastwalk California and Room to Roam.
via Bill Kortum, Sonoma environmentalist, dies at 87 – SFGate.

Posted on Categories Land Use, Sonoma CoastTags , , , Leave a comment on The Sea Ranch coastal legacy: development and protection

The Sea Ranch coastal legacy: development and protection

“Once you have a second home at The Sea Ranch, there are two kinds of days in your life. … The ordinary days you spend in the workaday world and the days you spend on this lovely stretch of seacoast — the days you wish would never end.” ~ From a 1960s ad for The Sea Ranch
Al and Diana Edgerton were tooling north to Mendocino for a July 4 getaway in 1964 when they were beckoned off Highway 1 by a “lots for sale” sign bearing a bold ram’s-horn logo.
The sales office had opened just that weekend for an intriguing new development dubbed “The Sea Ranch.” The deals were as seductive as the setting — thick hillside forests of redwood, fir and fern overlooking a tableland of meadows that meet the sea along a shore notched with nubbly cliffs and coves. Lots could be locked up for as little as $4,500 in the forest east of Highway 1, $8,500 in a meadow with at least a peek of the ocean.
“We stopped out of curiosity. We had never heard of The Sea Ranch,” Edgerton, a retired oral surgeon, remembered. “But we cut short our vacation in Elk and put a down payment on a lot.”
Read more via The Sea Ranch Coastal Legacy | Sonoma Magazine.

Posted on Categories Sonoma Coast, Sustainable LivingTags , Leave a comment on Sonoma County gearing up for 30th annual Coastal Cleanup Day

Sonoma County gearing up for 30th annual Coastal Cleanup Day

Information about Bodega Dunes Cleanup
If this year is anything like last, more than 11,000 pounds of trash await volunteers heading out to Sonoma County beaches and streams on Saturday for the 30th annual Coastal Cleanup Day.
Hundreds of people commonly take part in the local pollution patrol — part of a statewide force 58,000 strong — though sign-ups for the Sonoma County event appear to be slightly behind where they usually are at this point, one organizer said.
More than 600 people participated in Sonoma County last year, collecting 11,162 pounds of refuse, 672 pounds of it recyclable, said Una Glass, executive director of Coastwalk California, which leads the local effort. Statewide, the 2013 cleanup netted 749,323 pounds of debris, including more than 75,000 pounds of recyclable materials, Glass said.
Coastal beaches and inland streams are rife with stuff left behind by humans or washed down from points upstream, all of it bound eventually for the Pacific if not intercepted. The yearly cleanup prevents its migration into the ocean, where garbage poses an extreme threat to marine wildlife.
Glass said she hoped a ban on plastic bags that recently went into effect in Sonoma County has an impact on what’s collected over the next few years.
via Sonoma County gearing up for 30th annual Coastal | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Agriculture/Food System, Land Use, Sustainable LivingTags , , , Leave a comment on Marin judge blocks enforcement against Drakes Bay Oyster

Marin judge blocks enforcement against Drakes Bay Oyster


In a move considered rare against California Coastal Commission enforcement orders, a Marin County judge on Thursday blocked commission enforcement orders deemed devastating to Drakes Bay Oyster Co., which harvests one-third of California’s supply.

Drakes Bay Oyster raised clusters of the creatures on wires, known as “strings,” submerged in Drakes Estero. The company feared that a California Coastal Commission order last year would force removal of the 95 such racks. (credit: Drakes Bay Oyster)

The west Marin oyster farm still has an appeal against a National Park Service refusal to renew the company’s lease in Point Reyes National Seashore, but attorneys for the farm hope the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as Monday will take up the matter.

In a 23-page judgment filed Thursday, Marin County Superior Court judge Roy Chernus ruled that the commission does have jurisdiction over the company’s operations, but it “abused its discretion” by issuing cease-and-desist and restitution orders without studying the environmental impact of the work needed to comply with those actions.

The commission contended that its requirements for the oyster farm to continue operating and do remediation were exempted enforcement actions, thus not needing an environmental impact report, or EIR, beforehand.

via Marin judge shucks enforcement against Drakes Bay Oyster – North Bay Business Journal – North San Francisco Bay Area, Sonoma, Marin, Napa counties – Archive.