Press Release: Local Coastal Plan Comments submitted by Conservation Action
(Actual Full Text Comment Letter Here: SCCA Comments_LCP_9.30.2015 )
10/8/2015, Santa Rosa, CA- In a September 30 comment letter to the Sonoma County Planning Department, Sonoma County’s largest environmental organization, Sonoma County Conservation Action (SCCA), expressed concerns regarding Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department’s Draft Update for the Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan (LCP). This letter prompted a public comment.
Rather than further enhancing the protection of Sonoma County’s fragile but extraordinarily beautiful and biological rich coastal zone, the draft update would in its present form allow for development that flies in the face of past successful initiatives in Sonoma County to protect the Sonoma coast.
“We’re working to avoid the Napafication of the Coast,” said Dennis Rosatti, Executive Director of Conservation Action. “We’ve got something special in Sonoma County and must work hard to protect our public investment in protected coastal lands, and look out for the existing small businesses that thrive off the coastal experience. The Sonoma Coast is too important for us to risk it being overrun with wineries and event centers.”
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Russian River float launch site, looking downriver.
The 7th Annual SCCA RUSSIAN RIVER FLOAT took place on August 20th, 2015.
We paddled canoes, provided by SOAR, 6.5 miles down the Russian River’s Middle Reach, from below the confluence with Dry Creek to Wohler Bridge. This is an intimate, hard-to-access part of the river, home to abundant birds and wildlife. We saw 2 or 3 Great Blue Herons, many Kingfishers, and violet-green swallows, plus fish in the river.
This year we also saw fire-fighting tankers circling as they prepared to land at Sonoma County airport.
It was a beautiful day: the River was low, and fog retreated so the usual upriver breezes dropped, allowing us an easy paddle downriver.
Pausing to enjoy self-provided sack dinners, we heard about invasive species and the impacts of river bank armoring projects from Don McEnhill, the Russian Riverkeeper.
Join Conservation Action Fund for Education when they host the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival On Tour at the Sebastopol Grange Hall on Friday, August 7, 2015 starting at 4:30 p.m. With a Free Kids Matinee from 2-3pm, an Environmental Happy Hour with beer, wine, and food truck starting at 4:30, and then an evening film program starting at 6:30, not to mention the generous raffle prizes from local sponsors REI, Whole Foods, and Lagunitas, this event has something for everyone!
Films featured at Wild & Scenic give people a sense of place,” says Tour Manager, Jenna Brager. “In today’s busy world, it is easy to disconnect from our role in the global ecosystem. When we realize that the change we need in this world begins with us, we start making a difference. Come get inspired!”
Kicking off the tour event in Sebastopol is a FREE Kids Matinee from 2-3pm, open to all local youth! The Kids Matinee showcases films about the importance of preserving and protecting the natural world, with films centering on our national parks, youth rock climbing, and the concept of the ecosystem and how, consciously or not, we all play a role in the environment.
The evening film program features a wonderful film about author Joanna Macy and what she calls “The Great Turning”, which she describes as the third major human revolution beyond the agricultural and industrial revolutions. Also featured is “The Little Things”, a beautiful film about professional snowboarders who are committed to making positive changes to the environment. Rounding out the evening film program are several short films about river ecosystems and water conservation.
The festival is a natural extension of Conservation Action’s work to educate and inspire people to act on behalf of the environment. For over 20 years Conservation Action has been bettering Sonoma County through grassroots environmental activism. With goals of preserving, protecting and conserving Sonoma County, we are continuously working towards a more sustainable future.
Here at Conservation Action, we’ve been long-dedicated to fighting for the preservation of open space and community separators. Protecting Sonoma County land isn’t only about preserving its natural beauty for future generations – it’s also about maintaining the charm of our cities, protecting our rural heritage, and standing strong for the interests of our citizens.
Open space is the common term for undeveloped, rural land which is protected against undesired commercial or residential development. This could be because the land isn’t a good candidate for this type of development, but in the case of Sonoma County, it’s a deliberate protection put in place to ensure the environmental protection of our farmland, forests, rivers, and more. Unchecked urban sprawl can lead to a variety of environmental issues, as well as destroy the beautiful natural landscape Sonoma County is so well-known for.
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Are you familiar with the Trans-Pacific Partnership? It’s a trade agreement between multiple countries that seeks to lower trade barriers and protect the interests of multinational corporations, often at the expense of consumers, the environment, and local workers. If that’s not enough to give you pause, new negotiations are well underway, and the United States is involved. Furthermore, the industries behind the agreement are looking to fast track the process, which would effectively cut Congress out of the equation by not allowing them the ability to amend the treaty or get approval from their constituents.
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In 2013, Sonoma County denied State Parks’ coastal permit application requesting the installation of pay stations that would charge a fee to park at several Bodega Bay and other Sonoma Coast beaches. Many of these publicly-accessible and free beaches are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, and nearly everyone surveyed voices strong disapproval for “iron rangers,” or automated machines to collect payment, many of which take only cash. The message was clear then, as it is now: Sonoma County wants to keep our beaches free.
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The community separators and greenbelts between Sonoma County’s cities that we voted to preserve nearly 20 years ago will expire in 2016. Read more »
In accordance with our dear friend Bill Kortum’s final wish, we are continuing to support the effort to reopen Lafferty Ranch to the public as a wilderness park. It’s time for the Bill Kortum Regional Park at Sonoma Mountain, and you can help make it happen.
This dream has been in the works for a long time, and there’s no time like the present to continue the effort to improve and maintain this beautiful natural park for this and all future Sonoma County generations. Contact us to find out how you can help, or donate to the Kortum Legacy Fund to make this a reality.
In December 2014, Sonoma County lost one of its most dedicated activists and champions – Bill Kortum. Widely regarded as the dean of the Sonoma County environmental movement, Bill’s love of Northern California’s splendor ran deep. He was instrumental in numerous major environmental accomplishments in Sonoma County and the State of California, including the creation of the California Coastal Commission, Coastwalk California, preventing the PG&E nuclear plant at Bodega Head, SMART Rail startup, and many others. From his childhood in Petaluma to a lifetime of preservation efforts, our county would not be what it is today without his influence and passion.
In recognition of Bill’s extraordinary contributions to environmental activism, Conservation Action has pledged to continue his work through the formation of the Legacy Fund to support upcoming programs, and we’re asking everyone with the passion to preserve our beloved Sonoma County to help with a donation. Give today to sustain the natural beauty of our county!
Kortum Legacy Fund