Monte Rio Musings - Chuck Ramsey - February 2017
Kudos to the County, local first responders, and PG&E for going above and beyond to help us get through the storms safely. We were fortunate that we barely escaped worse damage. Kudos also to Clean River Alliance and volunteers that clean up our area to protect our river.
There is renewed hope in the air that with the help of the county we will now have a government that will be more proactive in dealing with our local issues. Lynda Hopkins is concerned about the environmental degradation that occurs here and is interested in taking “proactive steps to reduce Russian River pollution”. A lack of responsive enforcement by PRMD has led to the buildup of abandoned vehicles, debris, garbage, toxic materials, etc. that eventually end up in our river during times of flooding. The solution is not to continue holding River clean-ups, but to make sure the problem is cleaned up now and that the county takes proactive steps to insure it doesn’t continue. Having inoperable or abandoned vehicles and other trash on private property is prohibited. It degrades property values and degrades the environment. We can expect better.
A related environmental concern deals with our winter air quality. Changing mindsets isn’t easy. The change requires moving from “I have lived in this rural area for years and I have a right to leave my inoperable vehicles and other garbage in my front yard, I can heat my house with damp wood as I see fit, and I can burn my wet yard debris whenever I feel like it” to an understanding that we aren’t rural, we do have to abide by regulations, and we should be concerned with our effects on our neighbors and our environment. Air quality in some areas can be terrible. Rio Nido is a good example.
The good news is that the solution is not difficult to obtain. When burning cleanly using dry seasoned wood with sufficient air intake, there should be no visible smoke after initial start-up. A hot burn provides more heat for less money. If you are interested in changing out your wood burning stove for either an EPA certified stove, a gas stove, a pellet stove, or even a highly efficient zero emissions heatpump, our local air quality district provides rebates. This year the rebate incentives are the best they have been for River residents. A low income River resident can obtain up to $6,000 in rebates which means less cost to heat your home, and the upgrade will probably be free as well. Even if you aren’t low income, the rebates are very good.
The Russian River Alliance (including Monte Rio and Guerneville Community Alliances) is working with our air quality district, our county government, and our residents to improve our air and water quality. It is much easier to be proactive than reactive, and we expect good things to come shortly for our environment and our quality of life for our residents, businesses, and tourist.
Vacation Wonderland. We just keep getting better.