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By Jane Nielson, SCCA Board Member, 12/2/17

“We live in an ecosystem which has evolved to burn,” notes Michael Gillogly, Pepperwood Preserve ranch manager, as he considers that much of the preserve’s 900 acres of grasslands were burned.

The October Tubbs wildfire is not a new phenomenon, it overlaps the 1964 Hanly fire, the 1996 Porter Creek fires, and north of Calistoga, the 1960 Morrison and 1982 Silverado fires. Outlines of the Pocket fire, north of Geyserville, and the Atlas fire in Napa and Solano Counties, replicate areas that had burned in 1960s, 1980s, 2008, and 2013 fires.

In Sonoma Valley, the huge Nuns fire covered more territory than older burns in that area, but only two 1960s–1990s fire zones lie outside its footprint. An exception is the great 2015 Valley fire, which burned from Cobb to south of Middletown, and largely affected lands that had gone untouched by fire for more than a half-century.

Similar conditions present for each of these fires over the last decade spotlight two clear elements: high temperature and high wind speed conditions. Early on October 9th, wind speeds up to 77 miles per hour were recorded on a hilltop in Napa County, close to the estimated origin of the Tubbs Fire.

These and other data suggest that hot fires are likely to sweep across areas of north-coast California on a semi-regular basis—perhaps with about a 30 or 40- year periodicity.

The lifestyles of indigenous people conformed better to this natural fire cycle: building smaller and simpler dwellings of lightweight materials, and moving village sites seasonally. Indigenous people also set fires in woodlands to keep forests open and accessible, and to encourage food and medicinal plant growth.

We now need to examine the likelihood that wildfire will always be a fact of life in Sonoma and neighboring Counties. Rising temperatures due to climate warming may increase the frequencies and the heat of cyclic fires.

Based on past fire frequencies and threats, fire researchers and local leaders need to study if and how American construction and living patterns might adapt to the natural cycle of fire in lands that may not be tamable. ◊

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By Megan Kaun, Nichole Warwick, Lendri Purcell

12/1/17

California will restrict farmers’ use of certain pesticides near schools ac- cording to a new rule announced this November. Taking effect Jan. 1, farmers will no longer be allowed to spray certain pesticides within a quarter mile of public K-12 schools and li- censed daycares from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the school week.

While we are thrilled to see this statewide progress, locally we continue to experience the use of toxic pesticides in our public spaces and schoolyards. Sonoma County, now more than ever, needs to hold onto this vision of a toxic free future.

With contamination from ash and hazardous debris in runoff from burned areas, our watershed needs even more protection. This disaster reinforces the danger of depending on toxic materials in our everyday lives, because ultimately, they will end up in our environment.

Since SCCA launched the Toxic Free Future campaign in June, we have met with the department heads of key County departments responsible for public land management. These include the Agricultural Commissioner, Water Agency, Regional Parks, General Services and Public Works.

We’ve also met with multiple supervisors and continue to work directly with staff to move forward a County wide centralized pesticide management plan. We need to create transparent reporting, identify a reduction goal and outline a work plan to reduce synthetic pesticide use.

We also are working with the Assistant Superintendent of Santa Rosa City Schools, André Bell, to also reduce synthetic pesticide use at schools.

Over two hundred community members joined our panel discussion at Susan Moore’s No Name Women’s group in September. Erin Mullen from Landpaths proved that large scale land management with- out synthetic pesticides is possible. Mara Ventura from North Bay Jobs with Justice spotlighted the disproportionate impact of pesticides on low income landscapers and mi- grant workers. Nichole Warwick from Daily Acts shared her story of surviving environmentally caused cancer and the environmental health impacts affecting children in Sonoma County. Supervisor Lynda Hopkins offered her perspective as an organic farmer, and Megan Kaun ignited hope as a mom turned super activist.

In this month’s Made Local Magazine article, Supervisor Hopkins asked, “How do we make it normal not to spray chemicals into our ditches, which by the way runs straight into our creek, and from our creeks into our river where our kids play?”

We agree that we have to redefine “normal” and get these toxics out of our environment and homes, for our health and for the health of our planet.

Take an Action! 

Go to our Toxic Free Future campaign page to learn more and email your elected officials today!

Volunteer by signing up on SonomaCounty.Recovers.org

 

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As we grapple with the trauma from the recent wildfires, it’s important we create space for our community to come together.

This is why we are particularly grateful to be able to invite you to our Holiday Party on Monday, December 18th at 5:30pm.Come enjoy a delicious potluck provided by our Board Members, warm company among SCCA Members and love from our community.

All you have to do is show up! 

Address: 540 Pacific Ave, Santa Rosa. Across from the Odd Fellows Hall

Time: 5:30 p – 8:00 p

 

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10/25/17

OES Hazardous Waste and Debris Removal Fact Sheet

Questions have circulated about how to most quickly and effectively proceed with toxic waste clean up as rains approach.

This work is essential as Adobe Creek and Mark West watershed, among others, are at risk of toxic runoff.

The California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) has just provided the most up-to-date information (10/25/17) for homeowners and residents affected by the fires.

It lists and answers frequently asked questions as well as cleanup start dates in different counties and jurisdictions. This is an official government document.

 

 

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By Kerry Fugett, 10/16/17

The devastation that hit Sonoma County residents, students, small business owners, workers and our environment during the recent wild fires has been enormous. With well over 7,000 structures destroyed, our community has had to come together like never before.

As a leader in grassroots mobilization, Sonoma County Conservation Action stepped in on day one to help our community stay informed, work together and develop a platform for long term relief coordination.

To do this, we helped launch the SonomaCounty.Recovers.org website.

What is SonomaCounty.Recovers.org?

SonomaCounty.Recovers.org is a locally-managed bilingual website that works with local organizations, government and volunteers to help fire victims meet their individual needs without delay.

By leveraging the national Recovers.org community-powered disaster relief platform, we were able to start pulling together thousands of volunteers and donations in a matter of days, matching them to real-time needs in our community…by the minute! 

With over 50 local organizations working together on the backend of this site, we have already been able to meet over 150 individual needs in our community.

How does SonomaCounty.Recovers.org work?

With over 40 trained volunteer “matchers” on the backend, we are actively matching individual needs to resources in real-time as they are submitted on the website.

Fire victims can easily use the site to log a need for assistance, goods or services.

Community members can offer a donation or sign up to volunteer, noting their specific skill set and availability.

This easy sign-up process, multi-organizational collaboration and up-to-date recovery information makes this the most powerful site for helping meet the individual needs of our community following this crisis.

Simple, nimble and accessible, it has forever changed how communities can collaborate to support each other during and after a crisis.

How can you get involved?

If you know of an organization involved in disaster relief, invite them to use this tool! It’s free of charge and available to our local non profits to facilitate coordinate and collaboration. They just need to go to SonomaCounty.Recovers.org and apply as a representative of a local organization.

If you are interested in volunteering as a community need “matcher”, please email sonomacountyrecovers@gmail.com with “Matcher” in the subject line. Donations can also be logged on this site.  When a need is submitted that matches your donation offer, we’ll make the connection!

Together, we can not only re-build our community, but we can create a more resilient, equitable and networked community and healthy ecosystem.

 

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UPDATE: 10/15/17 – Vetoed by Governor Brown. Veto Message:

To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am returning Senate Bill 649 without my signature. 

This bill establishes a uniform permitting process for small cell wireless equipment and fixes the rates local governments may charge for placement of that equipment on city or county owned property, such as streetlights and traffic signal poles. 

There is something of real value in having a process that results in extending this innovative technology rapidly and efficiently. Nevertheless, I believe that the interest which localities have in managing rights of way requires a more balanced solution than the one achieved in this bill. 

Read more »

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We are excited to have our beautiful Sonoma Coastline highlighted in the recent KCET and Link TV’s “Summer of the Environment,” video series, a state-wide project intended to ignite compassion and action for helping to save and heal our planet.

https://www.kcet.org/shows/california-coastal-trail/experiencing-the-wild-sonoma-coast-along-the-kortum-trail

This short video offers a beautiful overview of the history of Bill Kortum, co-founder of Sonoma County Conservation Action, and our community’s dedication to protect the Sonoma County coastline.

A story that winds it’s way from the 1960s to today, it highlights development pressures along our coastline and reminds us how important it is to safeguard the unique ecosystems we have in our own backyard.

A story of perseverance, collaboration and grassroots advocacy, this video captures the gift we have in our coastline. Enjoy!

Read more »

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This past January at The North Bay Community Engagement Fair, we gathered as a community with over 100 local groups and invited thousands of volunteers to directly engage with community! We were overwhelmed, humbled, and inspired by the response of our community and are answering the calling to continue this movement moment…

 

Please join us on April 5th, for an Engagement Breakfast of Community Leaders at the Sustainable Enterprise Conference at the Student Center of Sonoma State University! This breakfast is a cross-sectional gathering of leaders who are working towards a healthy, equitable, and resilient community to help secure civil liberties, protect the disenfranchised, empower a more equitable economy, and foster ecological regeneration!

Space is limited! Please register in advance by clicking here.

Join us to connect with like-minded organizations, explore shared values with a diverse spectrum of local groups, and share your vision for Sonoma County as we build a foundation for collective impact.This breakfast aims to cultivate synergy, collaboration, and a holistic (and effective) ecosystem of change-makers, leaders, and coalitions of every kind. This gathering will help foster cross-collaboration, cultivate shared visioning and project discussion, and create an opportunity for your organization to share how we as a community can support your success!

Agenda

7AM – Arrive, registration and breakfast

8AM – Another World is Possible Convening

9:15 AM – Adjourn to breakouts

This breakfast takes place before the annual Sustainable Enterprise Conference in the same location at the Student Center at Sonoma State University. This pass is not a pass to the Sustainable Enterprise Conference (SEC) – purchase deeply discounted passes here. You are welcome to stay and enjoy the SEC programming without a conference pass, but please don’t participate in the SEC lunch without registering for the conference.

Another World Is Possible

A coalition of diverse organizations and individuals working together to integrate and cross-pollinate the many efforts in the North Bay to ensure a healthy, equitable and just community!

  • SCCA, Sonoma County Conservation Action
  • CAFÉ, Conservation Action Fund for Education
  • ARC | Alliance for Regenerative Communities
  • The Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art, and Politics
  • Farmer’s Guild
  • Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Santa Rosa
  • NBOP, North Bay Organizing Project
  • Sierra Club
  • Daily Acts

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Petaluma Community Engagement Fair: Where Do You Want To Make A Difference?

Sunday, May 7, 2017 — Noon to 4 p.m.

Lucchesi Community Center 3

20 North Mc Dowell Blvd, Petaluma, CA.(map)

The Petaluma Community Engagement Fair is a grassroots, non-partisan effort to encourage and support residents’ engagement in the life of our community based on the values of respect, appreciation, and understanding of diversity and toward the goals of a sustainable environment, inclusive economy and the provision of assistance to those in need. This event is co-sponsored by Petaluma Community Relations Council, Sonoma County Conservation Action and CAFE, and will bring together Petaluma and other organizations and community groups with volunteers and activists who wish to further these values.

For further information: Contact Marjorie Helm – 707-321-3192 – MarjorieHelm10@gmail.com 

ATTENDANCE AT THIS EVENT IS FREE OF CHARGE!

Please register in advance by clicking here.

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Join Conservation Action for a float down the Russian River with Don McEnhill, the Russian Riverkeeper & Riverkeeper Executive Director!

Learn about current water and river issues, and how we can do our part to help protect this incredibly valuable resource.

Paddle down the beautiful Middle Reach of the Russian River. This remote 6.5 mile journey will take us through an intimate and rarely accessed part of the river; providing the opportunity to see the river’s abundant wildlife in a new light!

 

Key Details!

Date: WWednesday, August 14th, 2019

Slide Scale Donation: $50-100

RSVP: Email matt@conservationaction.org for tickets

Arrival Time: 3:45 pm

Start Time: 4:00 pm (we will leave on time, so don’t be late) 

Meeting Location: Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach

Click Here for a Map

Canoes are provided for you and are sponsored by Russian River Adventures!

or send a check to “SCCA, 540 Pacific Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404” noting “Riverfloat”