Posted on Categories Land Use, Water, WildlifeTags , , , , Leave a comment on Sonoma County Updates Stream Protection Zoning

Sonoma County Updates Stream Protection Zoning

Press Release, County of Sonoma

The Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department announced it will hold an informational public workshop in Santa Rosa to seek input on proposed amendments to the Zoning Code to incorporate existing General Plan policies. Stream setbacks were established in the adopted Area and Specific Plans and in the General Plan 2020. Zoning code changes will not result in any new setbacks, not previously adopted.

What: Informational Public Workshop to seek input on proposed amendments to the Zoning Code to incorporate existing General Plan Policies

When: Wednesday, May 22, 20134:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Where: Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department
2550 Ventura Avenue, Santa Rosa CA 95403

Zoning requirements for properties with streams will be amended to be consistent with the Sonoma County General Plan 2020, any applicable Area Plan and the County’s existing Building and Grading ordinances.

via Sonoma County Updates Stream Protection Zoning For Consistency with General Plan 2020 | Press Releases | County of Sonoma.

Posted on Categories TransportationTags , Leave a comment on Eucalyptus Trees Cut Down Along South Petaluma Boulevard

Eucalyptus Trees Cut Down Along South Petaluma Boulevard

Karina Ioffee, PETALUMA PATCH
Work crews cut down an old eucalyptus grove on Petaluma Boulevard South on Sunday evening, much to the disappointment of environmentalists who told Caltrans the trees are used for nesting for egrets and herons and had asked for alternatives.
Caltrans is set to begin work on an interchange project in the area and said that removing the 15 or so trees was needed so that construction was not delayed. Egrets and heron are federally protected, meaning that the trees could not be cut down once the birds started nesting there later this spring.
via Eucalyptus Trees Cut Down Along South Petaluma Boulevard – Petaluma, CA Patch.

Posted on Categories ForestsTags , ,

PG&E cuts down trees on Sonoma Mountain

Enviro Updates

This steep, clear-cut hillside drains down to a creek on the right
This steep, clear-cut hillside drains down to a creek on the right.

Chainsaws were roaring on Sonoma Mountain last week as PG&E moved ahead with its new policy of gradually removing all vegetation except grass from under and around high voltage lines. Trees being removed are on steep slopes, above streams, and in a Regional Parks-owned property, Sonoma Mountain Woodlands.
A new federal standard was enacted in 2006 to put pressure on utilities that had been negligent in maintaining vegetation near high voltage lines, causing fires and blackouts. Although the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has clarified that this policy does not require clear-cutting, PG&E’s long-term plans are now to eliminate all vegetation taller than three feet under and near the lines.
A new bare patch on hillside under the power lines
A new bare patch on hillside under the power lines.

High voltage lines run through some of the most scenic parts of Sonoma County, including Open Space District properties, Annadel State Park, and Shiloh Ranch Park. PG&E has trimmed old oaks, madrones and even redwoods in these line easements for over 50 years, keeping a generous safety margin of 25 feet between trees and lines, and there have never been any outages or fires.
A local group, SOS-Trees, has been negotiating with PG&E on behalf of affected property owners, who have been shocked at the extent of tree-removal which PG&E now wants.  Their website, at sos-trees.org, contains information about PG&E vegetation management policies and stories of other communities that have opposed the new rules.
SOS-Trees website
FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff comments on clear-cutting by utilities

Posted on Categories ForestsTags , Leave a comment on PG&E intends to clear cut: Company says it will take up to 80 percent of trees for 39 miles

PG&E intends to clear cut: Company says it will take up to 80 percent of trees for 39 miles

by Jay Gamel, THE KENWOOD PRESS
The gloves have come off. After months of meetings and vague promises to “discuss” tree removal, PG&E told Oakmont and Bennett Valley residents on May 7 that it intends to clear cut the entire 39-mile-long, high voltage line that stretches from Petaluma to the Geysers. Steve Tankersley, head of the statewide vegetation management program told people at the meeting that the company intends to remove up to 4,000 trees between May 15 and June 15, and to finish the entire job by December.
The decision to clear cut is a significant departure from the company’s 50-year policy of examining and trimming trees that threaten power lines.
via The Kenwood Press – PG&E intends to clear cut.