Lori A. Carter, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
With a little twisting and a lot of heavy lifting, the rare Cotati chimera redwood was hoisted out of the ground Thursday and loaded on a flatbed truck for a short move to its new home across the street, much to the delight of preservationists who fought for months to save the unusual tree.
“It’s a nice, happy ending,” said Tom Stapleton, an arborist who studies the rare green-and-white trees. He and Cotati historian Prue Draper led the effort to protect the Cotati specimen from the log pile.
The 56-foot tree, planted in the 1940s, was growing inside the federal safety zone for a second side track planned for SMART commuter train service that is planned to begin running in 2016.
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit initially planned to cut the tree down, based on its original arborist report that said the tree wasn’t particularly rare and moving it or working near it would kill it. After community members raised concerns and steadily pushed SMART for months with scientific evidence of the tree’s uniqueness, the agency agreed to relocate the tree and care for it on SMART land.
On Thursday, after more than a week of prep work, a huge crane lifted the tree using straps linked under the tree’s mesh-encased root ball and moved it — in an upright position — to a waiting truck.
via Cotati chimera redwood uprooted to safety (w/video) | The Press Democrat.
Eric Gneckow, NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL
Efforts to connect the North Bay’s upcoming passenger rail system to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal took a major step forward Wednesday after a regional Bay Area transportation authority allocated what amounts to half of the necessary funds.
The $20 million award from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which redirects a pool of bridge toll funding once slated for a discarded highway interchange project between the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge and Highway 101, is the most significant boost yet for the proposed southernmost stretch of Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit.
SMART is currently planning to begin service on a nearly 40-mile segment between Santa Rosa and San Rafael, a stretch expected to account for the majority of passenger volume in the system. Yet the Larkspur extension remains a priority, with those MTC funds raising the likelihood for additional federal grants and the possibility of a ferry connection at or near the expected start of rail service in 2016.
via SMART gets $20 million for Larkspur ferry connection – North Bay Business Journal – North San Francisco Bay Area, Sonoma, Marin, Napa counties – Archive.
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Laila Kearney, REUTERS
Northern California preservationists are fighting to keep a rare albino redwood, one of just 10 trees of its kind known to exist, from being chopped down to make way for a new commuter rail system, arborists and city officials said on Wednesday.
The albino chimera coast redwood, standing 52 feet high in a commercial district of Cotati, a town in California’s wine country, also is the tallest and widest specimen of its type, said Tom Stapleton, a certified arborist who is leading a group of researchers and community members pushing to save the tree.
“To lose this tree would be an absolutely huge loss to science and the ability to study albinism in redwoods,” Stapleton said.
The tree is a form of albino redwood with a genetic mutation that causes its branches to be striped, in a candy cane-like pattern, with a mix of green and white needles.
It stands 12 feet away from a planned stretch of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit line, a voter-approved passenger rail and bicycle-pedestrian pathway system.
via Preservationists fight to save rare albino redwood tree in California | Reuters.
Lori A. Carter, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Standing inconspicuously beside a block wall across the street from a glass shop in Cotati is one of the rarest living life forms in the world, an albino chimera coast redwood tree.
Researchers say fewer than 10 of the genetically mutated trees are known to exist.
But if SMART’s rail plans proceed, the tree — the largest of its kind — soon will be cut down so commuter trains can safely zoom past.
“This tree is irreplaceable,” said Tom Stapleton, a former Sonoma County arborist who is now based in Amador County and studies the rare mutations. “They need to do something more than just cut it down.”
via Rare redwood faces chopping block in Cotati | PressDemocrat.com.
Santa Rosa Planning Commission: Thursday, May 24, 4:00 pm
Santa Rosa City Council Chambers, 100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa
After months of public meetings and workshops, the Guerneville Road SMART Station Area Plan will be up for a vote at the Santa Rosa Planning Commission on Thursday. One important piece currently included in the plan is the bike/pedestrian bridge over Hwy 101 connecting the Santa Rosa Junior College on the east to Coddingtown and the SMART station on the west. For information about other issues and comments on the Plan see the following evaluation by Greenbelt Alliance.