Most people feel helpless when it comes to impacting the outcome of an event. Yet they DO have influence, and they CAN effect change. What it takes is having enough people to be heard – and solid information to gain respect..
We changed the outcome of a tree removal in my neighborhood by contacting people who had the power to stop the operation before long-term permanent damage occurred. In the process, we learned that laws and systems in place are not enough, and that oversight is essential to protect our environment from ignorance.
Our Back Yard
River Drive is a small neighborhood at Hacienda Bridge in Forestville. What we came to call the “Hacienda Timber Harvest,” without intervention, would have been a redwood clear-cut on two lots going down to the river on both sides of Hacienda Bridge. This brought many in our neighborhood and community together in outrage over what Clear View tree service was doing with a Cal Fire “exemption” permit and little oversight.
How did this happen?
How could a timber harvest occur along the banks of the Russian River, which has been designated critical habitat for three species of salmon? How could this be permitted when multiple agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars on studies alone to save the fish and their habitat?
Both lots were recently purchased by out-of-area owners…people who don’t live here, or intend to live here…and who appear to be ignorant of local environmental protections. Both have applications to raise these original summer cabins along the river using FEMA flood mitigation assistance funds. Both contacted Clear View tree service to remove a few trees they considered a fire hazard, and in their way of intended construction.
Do not be deceived by the thin perimeter of a few live apple trees remaining next to Apple Blossom School and the five schools near 622 Watertrough Road in the Sebastopol countryside. A glorious, historic 40-acre orchard that nurtured people, wildlife, and the environment thrived there for many decades. Chain-sawed trees now languish on their sides with dying green apples, which will never ripen to red, cut down on June 14. Witnessing this slaughter is enough to make a grown man weep.
Paul Hobbs Winery plans yet another chemical vineyard by this clear cutting. The orchard attack is only the first in a series of blows. The downed beauties will soon be burned or disposed of in some way. The soil–which tests indicate contains DDT, arsenic, and lead–will be ripped deeply, adding more waves of deadly drift to the schools, its students, teachers, staff, and visitors.
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 Department2550 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.
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.
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.
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
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.