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Environment and Ecology

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2017-08-02Aug 2, 2017

While it’s already known as “the sweetest little fair in Sonoma County”, this year’sGravenstein Apple Fair becomes even sweeter, in the form of bees and honey. This year’s theme is “In Praise of Pollinators”, drawing attention to the critters, especially bees, who keep our food systems alive. 


2017-06-29Jun 29, 2017

After halting logging in the environmentally sensitive mature floodplain redwood forest of the lower Gualala River, Judge René Chouteau of Sonoma County Superior Court awarded $162,000 in attorney’s fees to the successful parties in environmental litigation over CAL FIRE’s approval of the Dogwood Timber Harvest Plan. 

2017-06-28Jun 28, 2017

After more than 25 years of the Sonoma County Water Agency playing games around Occidental sewage disposal, the newest insult emerges. Wrapped in moral bankruptcy, the otherwise enjoyable and beautiful town seems to have no problem acting like a selfish prima donna with no need to request, but rather just impose their raw sewage unnecessarily on the rest of us with impunity.

2017-06-28Jun 28, 2017

“The land is never saved; it’s always being saved” — to paraphrase the late Coastal Commission Executive Peter M. Douglas.

2017-06-26Jun 26, 2017

The Sonoma Land Trust got the big $100,000 award from the Impact100 group this year.John McCaull, the SLT Land Acquisition Program Manager, said it would go a long way toward funding the next phase of the process to secure a Protection Lease on the undeveloped part of the 863-acre property.

2017-06-26Jun 26, 2017

The Sustainable Education Garden, located at Santa Rosa’s City Hall, will celebrate its grand opening June 20th from 10:00 11:30 am. Join us for the ribbon cutting ceremony, refreshments, and a tour to highlight the innovative features built into this beautiful garden. Attendance is free, but please RSVP


2017-06-26Jun 26, 2017

With this slogan, on June 1st, the President announced the US’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Accords on Climate Change.Mayor Bill Pedutoof Pittsburgh shot back, “Pittsburgh stands with the world and will follow the Paris agreement…for our people, our economy and future.” Climate change makes forest fires, flooding, and sea level rise more likely. As the planet continues to heat up, we’ll see more forest fires, such as the devastating one that recently killed at least 60 people in Portugal; in Northern California we’ll see fires more often, and they’ll be worse.

2017-06-26Jun 26, 2017

Plastic Free July, like Earth Day, is an annual reminder of what we need to do every day.

2017-06-16Jun 16, 2017

The Russian River Watershed Association (RRWA) is pleased to announce the development of a grant-fundedStorm Water Resources Plan (SWRP) for the Russian River watershed. Public meetings will be held to discuss the SWRP and provide an opportunity for input on watershed priorities, storm water projects to be evaluated, and the prioritization of projects for future implementation.

2017-05-08May 8, 2017

Twenty-four inspiring gardens throughout Sonoma County and North Marin, plus plant sales, workshops, talks, and sustainable landscaping information.

2017-04-27Apr 27, 2017

Some of the most hopeful news on the climate front is coming from scientists, farmers and ranchers who are developing new methods to regenerate the soil, revealing how agricultural productivity and environmental health can go hand-in-hand to confront our world’s greatest threat: climate change and humanity’s growing carbon footprint.

2017-07-30Jul 30, 2017

What’s round, lives in the ocean and is good enough to eat?

I would have said abalone before meeting Kristin Aquilino, who moved from Iowa to northern California to work with the White Abalone Captive Breeding Program at the Bodega Marine Lab.


2017-04-26Apr 26, 2017

Every time I attend the Sustainable Enterprise Conference—this was my third—I meet and network with new and interesting people in the sustainability world, go to fascinating workshops, and learn about new products and services to make our county—and the world—a better place. This year the 12th Conference, put on by Oren Wool and his incredibly talented cohort, moved from Sonoma Mountain Village to SSU’s Student Union.

2017-04-26Apr 26, 2017

The Sonoma County Water Agency will hold its annual meeting on Monday, May 15, 2017 to update the community on the Russian River Estuary Management Project. The meeting will be held at the Monte Rio Community Center, 20488 Highway 116, Monte Rio, from 6-7:30 p.m.

2017-04-25Apr 25, 2017

We have a chance to protect community separators in perpetuity with the new Vital Lands Initiative of the Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space District.

2017-04-25Apr 25, 2017

Outspoken California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will deliver his views as a defender of the environment, gay rights and legal cannabis when he speaks at Sonoma County’s biggest environmental awards dinner of the year from 5 to 9 pm, Saturday, June 10 at the newly remodeled Friedman Center, 4676 Mayette Avenue, Santa Rosa.

2017-04-19Apr 19, 2017

Our relationship with water; how we capture, use, and conserve water; is forever changed. Governor Jerry Brown said in April that “Conservation must remain a way of life.”

2017-04-17Apr 17, 2017

The Sonoma County Waste Management Agency (SCWMA) is holding two public workshops onApril 19th and 27th to receive feedback on an upcoming Request for Proposals (RFP) process for securing long-term organics processing capacity.

2017-04-13Apr 13, 2017

The Final Draft EIR for Tolay Lake Regional Park will be completed and we anticipate that theEIRand Master Plan will be taken to the County Board of Supervisors for approval in May 2017. 

2017-04-03Apr 3, 2017

Cittaslow Sebastopol is opening up for volunteers with an orientation meeting Tuesday, April 25, 6:00 – 7:30 at the Sebastopol City Hall (7120 Bodega Ave.).

2017-04-03Apr 3, 2017

Spring is here and as Sonoma County wakes from its wet slumber we all feel the seasonal urge to spring into action. The garden calls with its sleepy voice, household projects itch to get started, and we all look forward to the delights of a new season. It’s time to make your New Year’s resolution for the planet and think of what you can commit to do for theCommunity Resilience Challenge, running April through May.

2017-04-01Apr 1, 2017
2017-07-30Jul 30, 2017

In 1986, California voters approved Proposition 65, an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. Glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, is probably carcinogenic to humans. The City of Santa Rosa will be working to prepare an updated Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit bids calling on landscape companies to outline how they could switch to safe alternatives. 

2017-03-31Mar 31, 2017

Have you noticed new landscape designs around parking lots and other new developments?

Development of land typically increases the hard surfaces of a site. Low Impact Development, or LID, is a design strategy that has the goal of mimicking the hydrologic functions of the land before it’s development.

2017-03-29Mar 29, 2017

Several years ago I participated in Santa Rosa’s advisory committee on green building. Its purpose was to consider additional local regulations beyond those already mandated by State building code. I was skeptical since new rules would likely add to the escalating costs of building housing.

2017-03-29Mar 29, 2017

Climate Change is in the news more and more despite the White House windbag ordering that EPA and NASA delete all references to climate on their websites and publications.

2017-03-28Mar 28, 2017

What’s yellow and orange and dead all over?

Bright orange streaks pop from the verdant Sonoma County landscape this spring. These are poisoned plants, treated by glyphosate. If you are like me, you may have overlooked this phenomenon, but once you know, it is impossible to ignore.

2017-03-26Mar 26, 2017

The new administration in Washington seems to put a premium on undoing all the positive things that we’ve done to help make the planet AND our piece of it more healthy. Much of the news from Washington is truly unbelievable, except that it IS happening NOW.

2017-03-25Mar 25, 2017

While apple blossoms sweeten the air and winter rains become more infrequent, we anxiously await the beauty of spring. The sun is slowly peaking its warm head out of the clouds, encouraging the wildflowers out of hibernation and into bloom.

2017-02-01Feb 1, 2017

Last month I wrote about how the Russian River has lost 75% of its former area and how that has eliminated thousands of acres of upstream flood storage. We saw this fact play out in the January flooding in the lower Russian River and Santa Rosa plain. During post-flood cleanups over several weeks we witnessed the reality of having no off-ramps for pollutants like sediment. Instead of ending up in wetlands or floodplains upstream, it ended up covering everything in the lower river that was under water with a slimy fine mud, when the floodwater dropped. The good news is all that water will help in improving conditions for recreation and our endangered salmon this coming summer.

2017-07-30Jul 30, 2017

Get ready for the Total Solar Eclypse! On Monday August 21st, beginning around 9:30 am, the moon – slowly moving eastward – will begin to move in front of the sun and almost completely block it out.

2017-07-30Jul 30, 2017

There is a wellspring of guilt-free irrigation water in your house, just waiting to be tapped...Graywater!

2017-07-30Jul 30, 2017

Most people associate Black-headed Grosbeaks with spring, when their beautiful song awakens us to freshness of new things to come. But I often think about them in August. This is when they try to slip out of our northern lands and drop down to Mexico without being noticed. I always try to catch glimpses of them quietly lurking in the streamside willow forests before they leave. I just don’t want them to leave “without saying good-bye.”


2017-07-30Jul 30, 2017

Remember your first car? With savings from her babysitting and odd jobs, Californian Reece bought a 1941 Plymouth Coupe (the fondly remembered “Betsy”) when both were 16. Ex-NYer Carol, who’s only a few years younger than Reece, bought her first car 17 years later: a 1974 Chevy Nova (at 8 mpg the names Carol and her spouse, Roz, called this otherwise fine car can’t be repeated!)


2017-07-30Jul 30, 2017

Can you wash a car without wasting water and harming the environment? The answer is Yes, if you plan ahead and understand that everything that’s been stuck to your car—gasoline, oil, heavy metal particles, tar, and particulate matter from exhaust fumes—has the potential to flow from your wash area to the nearest storm drain and eventually reach the Russian River.

2017-07-18Jul 18, 2017

On July 17, the Water Agency implemented an outlet channel on the beach at Goat Rock State Park. The goal of the outlet channel is to enhance habitat for federally listed juvenile salmon and minimizing flood risks by keeping freshwater levels in the estuary while allowing river water to flow out of the estuary and prevent ocean water from entering.

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