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SCCA is pleased to award Marylee Guinon the Leadership & Sustainability Award for her tireless work on fire safe roads.

The Threat

The State Board of Forestry’s Fire Safe Regulations have long required safe concurrent firefighter access and civilian evacuation for all new development in the fire-prone Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). These Regulations require minimum 20-ft. road widths and dead-end road limits, including for existing roads, according to the State Attorney General. But at the local level, full compliance is lacking. In the November 2018 Camp Fire, Paradise suffered community burnover. Many residents had insufficient time to evacuate and were evacuating through the fire, often on roads too narrow to allow safe concurrent access for emergency wildfire equipment and civilian evacuation. Fatalities occurred.
CNPA Award Winner Sacramento Bee Nov 10, 2018

A Local Victory! 

In 2019 and 2020, Sonoma County asked the BOF to certify that its fire ordinance complies with the State Fire Safe Regulations. County leadership dismissed objections of local citizens, organizations such as SCCA and – prominently – Marylee Guinon. Marylee and a core Sonoma County group, including Craig Harrison and Deborah Eppstein, worked tirelessly with the BOF to reveal the ordinance’s deficiencies. Victory was won in October 2020, when the BOF explicitly refused to certify Sonoma County’s fire ordinance, citing the Attorney General, Public Resources Code and the State Fire Safe Regulations.

Standing Up for Fire Safe Roads

Fully grasping that hope is not a strategy when it comes to wildfire, Marylee, recipient of SCCA’s Leadership and Sustainability Award, sprang into action. Working with several wildfire professionals, environmental groups, and other champions of wildfire safety across California, they have pivoted to the BOF’s current update of the Fire Safe Regulations. Unfortunately, 2021 drafts show evidence of anti-regulation political influence and impermissible false narratives. 

What’s Next? 

Wildfire experts express an urgency to seriously address community evacuation and firefighter access, referred to as “fire safe roads” or “fire safe development.”  Notwithstanding expert opinions, public officials at the local level have not, over decades of ill-advised land-use planning and permitting of development in the WUI, reckoned fully with the accumulated evacuation and safety risks associated with new development. Hence, we need the BOF to preserve the Fire Safe Regulations and resist delegating all discretion and authority to local jurisdictions to continue to sacrifice community safety to more WUI development.   
Marylee Guinon, recipient of SCCA’s Leadership and Sustainability Award, conducting research of Giant Sequoia in Europe in the 1980’s

Can We Afford to Sacrifice Community Safety to More WUI Development? Please help SCCA advocate for fire safe roads and fire safe development.

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Please join us at the November 4th Planning Commission Meeting to demand stronger protection against Oak and Forest Land conversion in the county.


Scientists agree, protecting existing forests is the best low-cost approach for immediately sequestering large amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide, ultimately reducing our adverse impacts on the climate.

In Sonoma County, thousands of acres of woodlands and forests – broadly speaking trees – lack legal protections to prevent them from being cut down in large numbers.

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 protect our working woodlands from being cut down.

Planning Commission Agenda and Details

RSVP for More Details and a Reminder on Facebook

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Dear Commissioners,
Thank you for your continued dedication to California and for the hours of testimony and input you have collated and guided over the past year. As you continue to look beyond visualizations and begin to craft, tweak, and adopt final boundaries for California’s state representatives, Sonoma County Conservation Action strongly urges you to consider the North Coast as an important community of interest.
The existing Congressional and State Senate lines run from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. This configuration has allowed our local communities to have particularly strong voices on coastal needs: the impact of coastal development on California’s wildlife, the impacts of offshore oil drilling, toxic algae blooms and acidic Dungeness crab, plastics and marine debris, access to healthcare and education, to name a few. Coastal issues are unique and important to California’s success, and dividing coastal communities will dilute their voices.
The North Coast includes Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, and Marin counties. These counties combine for a population of just under 1 million residents. While that is sufficient for a California State Senate district, it is too large for any one Congressional district (750,000 population). Of those counties, the population density for Sonoma County (500,000) makes the most sense for a clean division between a coastal Congressional district and a second Congressional district.
In a poll by the PPIC, 77% of respondents listed the condition of California’s iconic ocean and beaches as an important issue. Our residents already see the coast as a significant community of interest and we urge the commission to follow their lead.
Warmest regards,
Chris Rogers
Executive Director
Sonoma County Conservation Action

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SCCA joins the Sonoma County Democratic Party, Wine Country Young Democrats, North Bay Labor Council, President Joe Biden and many, many others in endorsing a ‘No’ on the upcoming Gavin Newsom recall.

The recall is powered by a partisan, Republican coalition of national Republicans, anti-vaxxers, QAnon conspiracy theorists, anti-immigrant activists and Trump supporters. They want to overturn Governor Newsom’s election, and their victory could threaten California’s efforts to fight COVID-19.

National Republicans like Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and Devin Nunes have all backed the recall effort. The Republican National Committee has even cut the recall a $250,000 check.

Instead of fighting COVID-19, Republicans are pulling a page from the Trump playbook and attacking Californians. In fact, a Republican recall will cost the state $100 million – money that could be used to help vaccinate our communities.

How to vote

  • Vote “NO” on the recall and leave the second question blank
  • Send back your mail-in ballot by 9/14

You can find a dropbox to deposit your ballot on the Secretary of State’s website after mid-August: or by contacting your local county elections office:

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Fight back against big money in local politics and help STOP a BULLY


District Attorney Jill Ravitch is under attack and nothing short of the independence of the Sonoma County’s DA’s office is at stake. Recall Ravitch, the “organization” behind this petition has just one funding source: millionaire developer William Gallaher.  On September 3rd 2020, Gallaher-controlled corporations agreed to 3rd party oversight and fines of $500,000 related to the abandonment of dozens of seniors at the Villa Capri senior care facility during the 2017 Tubbs Fire.  Who led the investigation?  Jill Ravitch.  Gallaher launched “Recall Ravitch” just 7 weeks later.

In an era when our democracy is under assault and calls for equal justice for all reverberate throughout the nation, the petition to recall District Attorney Ravitch demonstrates a new level of galling anti-democratic political revenge of the privileged. The petition was initiated by developer Bill Gallagher, who has flouted county campaign finance ordinances to personally pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to exact political retribution for being held accountable for the failure of his businesses to protect elderly Sonoma County residents during the tragic fires that began October 8, 2017.
Recall that in the early morning hours as the Tubbs fire roared into Santa Rosa, elderly and frail residents of Varenna and Villa Capri, two senior care homes owned by Oakmont Senior Living, were abandoned by ill-prepared staff as the flames bore down on them. Family members and good Samaritans risked their lives to drive into the firestorm to rescue approximately 100 elderly residents of the homes. Those rescuers provided harrowing tales of near-death experiences escaping through flames. An iconic photograph printed in the Press Democrat shows a wheelchair left amid the ashes and ruins of one of the buildings—a chilling reminder of the horrors of the event.
The businesses at issue are owned by Bill Gallagher.
SCCA Opposes Recalling District Attorney Jill Ravitch to fight back against this misguided revenge recall. A lone millionnaire may be allowed to single-handedly fund a recall attempt, but no one should be left to die in a wildfire to accommodate corporate greed. 

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Recently SCCA’s Aja Henry was featured on KCBS radio with Megan Goldsby!


Listen to SCCA make a case for stronger tree and forest land protects for our county


“A group of conservationists in Sonoma County are looking to put a halt on developers cutting down oak trees.  As KCBS’ Megan Goldsby reports… this has long been an issue… but activists believe this time around it may be different.​”

“Sonoma County’s oldest environmental group is asking for a moratorium on cutting down oak trees.  And as KCBS’ Megan Goldsby reports…after decades of work on the issue… organizers think THIS may be the time to make it happen.”

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SB 467 Oil well setbacks, fracking ban

SB 467 would put a stop to new hydraulic drilling and other enhanced oil recovery techniques.

Senators Wiener and Limon, along with Senator Allen and Assembly Members Stone and Kalra, have introduced the bill to ramp up the fight to protect the public from the state’s unusually dirty and dangerous oil extraction practices.

SB 467 will abolish enhanced oil recovery techniques, which are well-known for wreaking havoc on the environment. The most visible perpetrator is cyclic steaming. Cyclic steaming requires heating vast quantities of steam and injecting it into the ground to melt out the tarry, viscous oil that remains after an uninterrupted century of extraction of the easier-to-get, liquid oil. This method is absurdly greenhouse gas-intensive, since steam is typically heated with fossil fuels, but it also often results in oil spills, particularly when used in a way that fractures the oil-bearing rock formation.

Another provision of the bill is that all oil exploration activities must be set back at least 2,500 feet from homes, schools, and health care facilities, according to the law. The 2,500-foot buffer will include about 10,000 currently active wells.

SB 467 also recognizes the need to identify oil sector employees who have lost their jobs and offers incentives to companies that clean up abandoned oil and gas well sites to employ them. This clause acknowledges that the decrease in oil production in California would necessitate a concerted effort to ensure a “just transition” for employees and communities into other industries.

SB 45 and AB 1500 Billions for ‘climate resiliency’

SB 45  involves spending $2.2 billion on wildfire prevention, $1.47 billion on ensuring clean drinking water, $620 million on fish and wildlife conservation, $190 million on farm protections, $970 million on coast protection, and about $60 million on workforce growth and education.

Assembly Bill 1500 is a bond measure that would authorize the issuance of bonds in the amount of $6,955,000,000 to fund infrastructure projects to defend California from natural disasters such as sea level rise, wildfires, droughts, and excessive weather.

$1.1 billion for wildfire protection, $1.2 billion for sea level rise, $1.6 billion for clean drinking water, $1.06 billion for natural disaster response, $800 million for fish and wildlife adaptation, $640 million to protect against extreme heat, and $300 million to protect farmland, ranches, and other property from climate impacts are all included in the bill.

AB 564 Protecting land and water

Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-82-20 on October 7, 2020, establishing the California Biodiversity Collaborative to safeguard and restore the state’s biodiversity.

The order establishes the state’s target of conserving at least 30% of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030, and mandates that the California Natural Resources Agency and other related state agencies develop and report on plans to achieve that goal by February 2022.

Assembly Bill 564, known as the “Biodiversity Protection and Restoration Act,” will help implement Newsom’s October executive order. AB 564 reiterates and enforces the executive orders’ biodiversity protection provisions by requiring all state agencies, boards, and commissions to use their power to further the executive orders’ aims and goals. The bill also helps to slow the loss of biodiversity and natural lands by ensuring that no public agency approves projects that are incompatible with the bill’s provisions. The bill will additionally mandate that plans relevant to the state’s target of conserving at least 30% of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030 be made available to the public.

SB 54 Banning single-use plastics

Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, is taking on single-use plastics once again after a controversial battle last year over a related bill. Beginning in 2032, this attempt will prohibit such products from being sold or imported into California “unless they are recyclable or compostable.”

A major provision from the bill’s 2019 edition, which directed producers to reduce waste produced by their goods by 75 percent by 2030, is currently missing from the bill’s language.

The most successful and least expensive way to protect people’s, wildlife’s, and the environment is to eliminate non-reusable, non-recyclable, and non-compostable plastic single-use items and packaging. Many reliable and reusable alternatives already exist, and their effectiveness has been well demonstrated.

AB 1110 Electric vehicle purchases by agencies

The Air Resources Board’s “Charge Ahead California Initiative” aims to put at least one million zero-emission and near-zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in operation by January 1, 2023, as well as create a self-sustaining California market for ZEVs in which ZEVs are a viable mainstream alternative for individual vehicle purchasers, companies, and public transportation and municipal fleets.

The California Clean Fleet Accelerator Program, which would be operated by the Department of General Services, would be established by this bill. Smaller local governments and rural public bodies will benefit from the Program’s technical and financial assistance in procuring ZEVs for their fleets.

AB 534: Ban on certain fishing gear

Beginning in 2014, reports of whales entangled in buoys and lines used in California fisheries skyrocketed. In 2016, the federal government recorded 71 confirmed entanglements off the West Coast of the United States, the highest annual total since the federal government began keeping records in 1982.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife implemented regulations to minimize the number of threatened and endangered blue whales, humpback whales, and leatherback sea turtles being entangled in commercial Dungeness crab gear after several years of record-breaking numbers of entanglements recorded off the coast of California.

Such regulations do not completely remove the risk of entanglement as they depend on near-constant data collection and analysis to inform the implementation of possible risk-reduction measures. Additionally, they can only prompt management steps after entanglements have occurred. Closures, such as delaying the start of the season or ending it early, are the main means of risk reduction.

Assembly Bill 534, sponsored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) in partnership with Social Compassion in Legislation and the Center for Biological Diversity, contends that crabbers use outdated trapping gear that threatens marine life unnecessarily.

In 2017, The Center for Biological Diversity sued the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to prevent commercial Dungeness crab gear from entangling, damaging, and killing humpback whales, blue whales, and sea turtles.

The case was settled the following year, and the Risk Assessment Mitigation Program (RAMP) was developed, which looks at data and analyzes where/when entanglement risks are higher to determine when Dungeness crab fishing seasons begin and end.

Currently, crabbers use circular steel traps that are submerged in the water. Fishermen can retrieve their traps by pulling lines marked by floats on the sea’s surface. Under the proposed law, crabbers will use ropeless gear with wireless technology to summon the trap back to the surface.

These techniques and technologies will spare marine life of painful injuries or lingering deaths when ropes wrap through their mouths or around their tails and flippers, cutting into their flesh and bones, and impairing their ability to feed or swim. The stress suffered from an entanglement can also prevent a whale and other sea life from reproducing.

SB 30, SB 31 and SB 32: Carbon-neutral buildings

SB 30, 31, and 32, the “Building Decarbonization Package,” which consists of three senate bills, each with its own decarbonization targets. The phrases “decarbonization” and “carbon neutrality” apply to the process of eliminating carbon dioxide from air pollution with the eventual target of zero CO2 emissions.

SB 30, also known as the State Buildings and Assets Decarbonization Act of 2021, will mandate that by 2035, all state buildings be carbon neutral. Furthermore, the bill will mandate the state to withdraw from non-zero-emission projects, both residential and non-residential, by 2023. The bill also mandates that, beginning next year, all newly designed and built buildings must be zero emission.

SB 31 directs the California Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission to create new building decarbonization systems. The bill would authorize the Energy Commission to allocate funding for projects that emphasize decarbonization technologies in commercial and residential buildings.

SB 32, also known as the Decarbonization Act of 2021, will make it mandatory for all California jurisdictions to include building decarbonization goals in their General Plans that are consistent with state goals.

SB 47 Funds to clean up orphaned oil wells

Idle wells may pose a risk to public health and to groundwater and plugging costs for California’s oil and gas wells could ultimately reach billions of dollars.

An active or idle well can potentially become an orphan well when deserted by a financially insolvent operator. The state may eventually be responsible for plugging and decommissioning these wells. With approximately 107,000 active and idle wells, California is the fourth largest producer of crude oil and the fifteenth largest producer of natural gas in the United States. The issue of ensuring that resources exist to properly plug and decommission every well is critical for the state.

More than 5,500 oil and gas wells are orphaned and are highly likely to become orphaned, according to the California Council of Science Technology. According to the study, plugging and abandoning only these old wells would cost $550 million. Almost 70,000 other wells that are currently idle or nominally involved would need to be plugged at some point in the future.

 This bill would increase the amount of money that state oil regulators will spend on cleaning up these old, often leaky wells by a factor of ten beginning in 2022.

According to state senator Monique Limón, the bill would be revised to clarify that this cleanup money will only come from the industry, the current version of the bill indicates that money will be taken from the General Fund.

AB 1397 Quotas for lithium batteries

In recent years, the global market for lithium has exploded. For example, lithium is used in 90% of large-scale battery storage capacity, according to the US Energy Information Administration, and the capacity of those systems increased nearly 15-fold between 2010 and 2018. According to the United States Geological Survey, the only lithium generated in the United States is from a brine activity in Nevada.

Assemblymember  Garcia has been a strong advocate for the development of a lithium industry in the Salton Sea region. Last year, he was successful in forming a commission to investigate the possibility of doing just that.

Now, he’s introduced the “California Lithium Economy Act,” which aims to build a demand by mandating that 35 percent of lithium in state-purchased electric vehicle batteries be manufactured in California by 2035.

AB 525 Offshore Wind Power

Assembly Bill 525, sponsored by Assemblyman David Chiu, will encourage the creation of offshore wind farms in order to fulfill the targets of SB 100, also known as the 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, which calls for sustainable and zero-carbon energy sources to provide 100 percent of retail electricity sales to California end-use customers and 100 percent of electricity procured to service all statewide customers by 2025

AB 525 will set clear targets for offshore wind energy output, such as 3 GW by 2030 and 10 GW by 2040. If the bill is approved, an offshore wind farm strategic plan must be submitted by June 2022.

AB 1395 Clarifying carbon-neutrality targets

The bill will require the state board to collaborate with related state agencies to create an implementation and accounting system that monitors progress toward carbon neutrality.

This bill will make it the state’s policy to reach carbon neutrality as soon as possible, but no later than 2045, and to achieve and sustain net negative greenhouse gas emissions after that. The proposed law does not provide definitions to clarify carbon accounting issues as written, but it does guide the California Air Resources Board to begin working on it.

AB 1088 Changing how power is purchased

Some larger utilities are worried about their declining buying power as a result of the growth of local neighborhood option aggregators and rooftop solar generation. This bill will enable a discussion about whether it makes sense for the state to take over some of the procurement authority.

This bill, introduced by Assemblymember Chad Mayes, I-Rancho Mirage, would create a “California Procurement Authority” to streamline electricity procurement. It will encourage large investor-owned utilities to start outsourcing their procurement to this government agency.

SB 67 Speeding up clean-energy goals

SB 67 directs state regulators to develop a framework for monitoring the provision and use of renewable electricity to ensure transparency, and it aims to achieve 100 percent clean-sourced electricity earlier than the current 2045 deadline.

Although the bill does not yet specify a new deadline, it does advocate for an earlier deadline and will almost certainly be amended further.

A 24/7 Renewable Energy Standard will compel utilities to provide a growing share of clean electricity at periods of the day and seasons when it is generally produced in relatively smaller amounts. Currently, the reliance on fossil fuel power plants grows at night and at other difficult-to-serve periods.

AB 416 Restricting purchases of rainforest-sourced products

The “California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act,” similar to bills that failed in 2019 and 2020, will prohibit the state from purchasing goods that lead to the destruction of boreal forests or rainforests, such as some wood used by contractors.

If passed AB 416 will mandate that all state contracts in California involving goods that endanger tropical and primary boreal forests, such as palm oil, soy, livestock, rubber, paper/pulp, and timber, follow a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation policy, and show that their activities in vulnerable tropical and boreal areas do not result in forest loss or depletion, or in violations of indigenous peoples’ rights.

Tropical forests occupy only 7% of the Earth’s surface but are home to nearly half of all animals. Every year, an estimated 18 million acres of forest are lost, equivalent to one-fifth the size of California, owing largely to the expansion of agribusiness plantations. Tropical deforestation and associated land-use changes account for about a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions and are a major contributor to climate change.

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Conservation Action is shocked and horrified reading the credible accusations of sexual assault made against Dominic Foppoli by multiple women in the San Francisco Chronicle story today. We absolutely condemn such behavior, and call on Mr. Foppoli to resign immediately as Mayor of Windsor.

Our endorsement of Mr. Foppoli in last November’s election was made with no knowledge of these alleged incidents, and was based primarily on his environmental positions. Sadly, we must stand back from that endorsement at this time as this type of predatory behavior is not acceptable for someone in a position of leadership in the community.

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Sonoma County’s native oak forests and woodlands are under attack and we have a great opportunity to make a real impact in our county’s future.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is currently formulating their 5-year strategic plan and they must include real oak and forest land protections. For decades Sonoma County’s iconic oak forests have been excessively cleared in the name of development and vineyards. Much of this county-permitted cutting is being done without rigorous regard for the ecological importance of native oak and forest lands.

It’s proven that mature forests store significantly more carbon than younger trees. Oak forests sequester carbon in the form of biomass, deadwood, litter and in forest soils. Photo provided.
It’s proven that mature forests store significantly more carbon than younger trees. Oak forests sequester carbon in the form of biomass, deadwood, litter and in forest soils. Photo provided.

Oak woodlands destruction is an attack on Sonoma County’s wildlife and scenic identity. Residents of Sonoma County can make their voices heard and urge the Board of Supervisors to enact a moratorium on tree cutting, immediately. While vineyards are a landmark of our scenery, so are the native oak forests.

A moratorium on tree cutting is imperative for our native habitats as well as our ecological footprint as a county. If we are to really become carbon neutral by 2050, we need a moratorium on cutting until we have a clearer picture of the situation and have developed a realistic climate-oriented tree ordinance to regulate cutting in the future.

On September 17, 2019, the Board of Supervisors of Sonoma County declared a Climate Change Emergency and pledged to support a county-wide framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and to pursue local actions that support, among other goals, to protect and enhance the value of open and working lands and increasing carbon sequestration. We need to hold our elected officials to their word via an immediate moratorium. Yes, we need to plant trees to sequester carbon and replace the trees we have lost, but we also need to protect our existing mature forests.

Native woodlands fight climate change with carbon sequestration, storing atmospheric carbon that would otherwise warm the planet. It’s proven that mature forests store significantly more carbon than younger trees. Oak forests sequester carbon in the form of biomass, deadwood, litter and in forest soils. The sink of carbon sequestered in forests helps to offset other sources of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, such as deforestation, forest fires, and fossil fuel emissions. We have a powerful tool to fight climate change “right in our backyard,” and we are chopping it down without a careful study of the repercussions.

Oak trees are a keystone species with over 100 species dependent on them. Oaks are the backbone of many different forest communities and provide immeasurable ecosystem services. Oaks are already plagued by sudden oak death in our region so there is absolutely no reason for us to be cutting down healthy, mature carbon sequestering trees that perform so many ecosystem-wide essential services.

Oaks are already plagued by sudden oak death in our region so there is absolutely no reason for us to be cutting down healthy, mature carbon sequestering trees that perform so many ecosystem-wide essential services. Larry Hansen photo.
Oaks are already plagued by sudden oak death in our region so there is absolutely no reason for us to be cutting down healthy, mature carbon sequestering trees that perform so many ecosystem-wide essential services. Larry Hansen photo.

Email our County Board of Supervisors and tell them you support a tree clearing moratorium at:

District 1 Susan Gorin –

District 2 David Rabbitt –

District 3 – Chris Coursey –

District 4 – James Gore –

District 5 – Lynda Hopkins –

To get involved or for more information, contact Aja Henry at

Aja Henry is a Humboldt State graduate and Assistant Field Manager with Sonoma County Conservation Action, she is taking the lead in Conservation Action’s efforts toward tree preservation and climate change resilience in Sonoma County.