Executive Director's Letter
By Chris Rogers
The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report tells us what we have known for decades: our climate is changing, and while thumbs have twiddled, it's local communities like our own that have borne the brunt of political inaction. In Sonoma County, every jurisdiction has now recognized the urgency by passing climate emergency resolutions and committing to reaching carbon neutrality by 2030. And while there are days where this seems like an impossible goal, we also see the seeds of hope sprouting. In May, California briefly exceeded his energy demand with renewable energy along – 103% of consumption.
But we have to keep the pressure up. Over the last year, SCCA has continued to advocate for our core mission – protecting and preserving Sonoma County's parks and open spaces, lending our voices to the statewide issues that will impact our climate, and helping to elect the candidates who aren't afraid to continue to fight for a sustainable future. Together, we have pushed back on legislation that would have rolled back renewable energy requirements for investor owned utilities, advocated for better public transit and multimodal pathways, and opposed weak road standards that would create significant challenges for our first responders and evacuating community members during a natural disaster. You can read about some of this work throughout this newsletter.
Thank you for your continued support. We couldn't do this work without our members. As we move into the second half of the year, I hope you will join us in fighting for our environmental champions who won't just nudge the needle, but advocate for the wholesale systems-level changes we need if we are going to stave off the worst of climate change.



Remembering Kate Frage
By Matt Callaway
Early in SCCA’s story, when Mark Green was still the Executive Director, he hired an amazing actress and activist named Kate Fraga. Kate lived in Sonoma County for 25 years and canvassed with SCCA for over a decade, knocking on upwards of 40,000 doors. Kate Fraga was the namesake of our Green Clipboard Award because it recognized the recipient for Inspired and Enduring Activism – qualities Kate exemplified every day on the job. Even as the years have passed SCCA’s new crop of organizers still hear stories of Kate when out in the field. Our members around the county still ask about her to this day, and recount fond memories of speaking with her on their porches and in their homes. 
To our organizers, even those who never met her, she is a legend, a mythical figure known far and wide and expected year after year, constant and counted on like the seasons or the tides. Kate was a fixture in west county, knocking on thousands of doors and inspiring local political action, and will long be remembered for her friendly smile and knowledgeable but persistent approach to door-to-door organizing. For the people who saw her work, she will be remembered for her tenacity and fervor in the field. Kate wouldn’t argue or harangue but she also wouldn’t let a supporter off the hook if she needed them to write a letter, sign a petition, or join our organization as a member. To those who knew her well, Kate was kind, wise, and funny. Those qualities made her incredibly welcoming and supportive of new employees and, of course, helped her train new canvassers and push us to be the most effective organizers we could possibly be. 
More than that, she helped inspire young SCCAers to be lifelong activists, I know she did with me. In Kate we could see what lifelong activism really meant, the commitment it took, and how fulfilling it could be. Kate’s death is a major loss for SCCA, our members, and her community and family, but Kate’s life had an even more potent and powerful impact on Sonoma County and the world. We miss you, Kate and thank you for everything you gave to this community.

Environmentalists Poised to Win Fire-Safe Roads Victory
Earlier this year, the California Board of Forestry proposed gutting the state’s fire safe road regulations, leaving already vulnerable communities at-risk for future destruction. The Board proposed new rules that would have drastically reduced the minimum width of new roads in critical rural areas from their current twenty-foot standard to only fourteen – with no shoulder. This reduction would have meant that new homes could have been built on roads that had insufficient room for fire trucks to respond to an emergency – especially while emergency – especially while residents are evacuating. Most fire trucks are nine feet wide, while the average car is nearly six. 
Fourteen-foot roads create logistical challenges and bottle necks should two fire vehicles need to maneuver around one another (eighteen feet) and leaves insufficient room for cars to squeeze past a responding fire truck (fifteen feet). They also sought to eliminate dead-end-road requirements, reduce bridge weight requirements, and significantly weaken ridgeline protections.
The Board seemed poised to choose unmitigated sprawl over smart growth. California's fire fighters and environmental advocates said no, arguing that the decision would put future residents in very high fire severity zones, over-burden rural infrastructure, and hamper evacuations during emergencies. Recently, we received word that the Board was reconsidering their position, and would be reversing course later this year, a significant victory for California’s environmentalists and our fire fighters.


Tell CalTrans: No Glyphosate

By Megan Kaun

What SCCA does to advocate for a safer environment matters. 3 years ago in June 2019 Sonoma County Conservation Action helped to lead a campaign that resulted in the Board of Supervisors unanimously voting to ban synthetic herbicides in public spaces. Last year, the County used ZERO glyphosate (RoundUp) and only 4 gallons of synthetic herbicides on almost 14K acres of land. This represents a 10x decrease in pesticide use on County land! 
A next step is to get CalTrans to stop spraying glyphosate along State Highways in Sonoma County. Pesticide use contributes heavily to water pollution, soil degradation, and climate change. We know CalTrans can manage roadside vegetation without herbicides, they’ve been doing it Mendocino and Humboldt Counties for over 20 years!
Protecting soil health is a powerful way to remove carbon from the atmosphere to combat climate change. Synthetic herbicides like glyphosate work against this natural process by killing the soil. Visit our website to sign a letter asking the Board of Supervisors to stop CalTrans from using synthetic herbicides in Sonoma County: https://www.sonomasass.org/nospraycaltrans

Protect Our Working Woodlands

By Matt Callaway

In 2020, the Protect Our Working Woodlands working group began educating the Board of Supervisors about the importance of our incredible oak forests. For decades, acres of oaks have been cleared to make way for development – with little concern for the ecological value being lost. Given the severity of the climate crisis and the power of trees to soften its impact on our community, it is critical that the County take immediate steps to catalog and protect our working woodlands from deforestation.
New technologies are slowly emerging that have the potential to absorb carbon from the atmosphere, but they are expensive, have their own carbon footprints, and raise other social justice questions. The ability of woods to do the same service for free is currently available and in use. If woods are taken down, replacing them reduces our capacity to rapidly remove carbon from our atmospheres at the speed required.
Supervisors held a workshop in May of 2021, and asked staff to come back with a plan for policy progress and they directed staff to engage stakeholders. We have to continue to push the County to preserve our critical habitats and incorporate the preservation of heritage trees in their climate action plans.

Our Kids Our Future

By Matt Callaway

After a two year hiatus from door to door canvassing, due to the covid-19 pandemic, SCCA is delighted to be back in the streets organizing for progress in the county! For over 30 years SCCA’s community organizing has advocated for many issues that affect Sonoma county residents. Now we are working to improve access to child healthcare and education for Sonoma county’s youngest residents. You may have seen SCCA’s talented team of organizers out in the field at stores around the county or even at your doorstep. 

Studies have shown that a child's brain grows most drastically during the first five years of life, a key period for laying a firm foundation for learning and flourishing. Thousands of youngsters in Sonoma County, though, are losing out. They require access to high-quality programs that will provide children with the greatest possible start in life at this crucial stage of their development.
SCCA is very excited to work on an important voter led-initiative this election season. Our Kids Our Future seeks to pass the Sonoma County Child Care & Children's Health Initiative which will create a local revenue stream that will help fund First Five education and healthcare for the most vulnerable children in the county. Child care and preschool can be unaffordable for many working parents and supply is Sonoma County scarce, especially for infants and toddlers. 
The Children's Initiative will generate $22 million every year to address a collection of essential issues determined via statistics, research, and input from community people. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will select a local oversight Advisory Council, which will submit yearly expenditure recommendations to the First 5 Sonoma County Commission, which will manage the monies, based on local needs.

 Welcome Danny and Mark To The SCCA Board of Directors!

SCCA is very excited to welcome the two newest members to our Board of Directors team – Danny Martinez and Mark Walsh.
Danny Martinez is a long-term Santa Rosa resident who owns a digital marketing firm that serves clients throughout Sonoma County. An election campaign veteran, Danny brings his keen eye for design and marketing, love for community, and desire to protect our incredible climate to the Board.
Mark Walsh brings a diverse economic background to the organization. He is the former Director for the County of Marin Department of Finance and the former Director for the County of Sonoma’s I.T. Department. Today, he is a private Certified Public Accountant. 


Sonoma County Conservation Action Team

Board of Directors

Board of Directors
Neal Fishman, President Anne Seeley
Michael Allen, Chairman Blake Hooper
Janis Watkins, Secretary/Treasurer Mark Walsh
Danny Martinez
Chris Rogers Executive Director
Erica Buonassisi Operations Director
Matthew Callaway Canvassing Director


Our community benefits when we act together as citizens with a common goal to protect this amazing county.

Through education and grassroots organizing, Conservation Action engages with the public on environmental issues and policies that affect Sonoma County, influencing the way our area will be shaped for years to come.