By Kerry Fugett, Executive Director
Stepping into Dennis Rosatti’s role as Executive Director can certainly be described as “big shoes to fill”. But I am ready for this challenge and am extremely honored and excited for the opportunity to take those shoes and stretch them out. To keep those shoes knocking on 50,000+ doors a year, educating and building our community to achieve a healthy quality of life and ecologically thriving environment in Sonoma County.
The environmental movement is shifting, as we stand on the shoulders of those before us, we must open our arms and acknowledge the impacts of social pressures affecting our environment. Longstanding, unsolved problems are festering: affordability of housing, stagnant wages, crumbling infrastructure, the impacts of climate change, and a generation who wants to call Sonoma County home but struggles to find a salaried job locally. This all affects our environment: carbon emissions from long commutes and increasing traffic, development pressures on open spaces, our local coastal access being used as a quick fix to state level funding problems. While there is no shortage of problems, there is equally no shortage of solutions. Our community is filled with brilliant minds, passionate groups of millennials thinking outside the box, and advocates for our environment. The crucial piece is that we build the right alliances and push to have our values and voices represented in local government.
What Is It?
A County-Wide Climate Action Plan (CAP) that intends to provide a regional framework for addressing climate change. The plan builds on Sonoma County’s historic practice of reducing Green House Emissions through a combination of regional standards and local autonomy.
The Climate Action Plan is being developed through a collaboration with the Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA), working groups from each local jurisdiction, as well as a stakeholder advisory group, among others.
As cited by the RCPA, climate emissions in Sonoma County have declined since the 1990s. The concern is that these losses are expected to turn into gains, by 2020, if further action isn’t taken. This is why the current planning process is focused on near and long term goals.
- By 2020, reducing Green House Gasses by 25% below 1990s levels
- By 2050, Reducing Green House Gasses by 80% below 1990s levels
Dear Friends, Members and Supporters,
I am writing to announce my departure from Sonoma County Conservation Action. We are looking for someone great to take my place! The Executive Director job posting is found on our website
I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be involved in the leadership of Conservation Action the past 13 years. When I discovered Sonoma County, I was awestruck with the biological diversity, the coast, the redwood forests, and the amazing community of people. The working agricultural landscape, vineyards, parks and open spaces coexisting with urban areas and little towns, all within an hour or so of the great City of San Francisco, almost seemed too good to be true.
Conservation Action offered me the job as a canvasser that turned into a career as not only a non-profit program manager and eventually executive director, but as a full-time environmental activist. I was given the chance to use my education, my skills and my passion, putting it into action on a local level where we were able to realize results. I learned about electoral politics, relationship building, coalition building with like minded organizations and people, and the nurturing of ideas in the political sphere of local and regional government.
Pro-development Coastal Commission appointees maneuver to terminate Dr. Charles Lester, undermining the power behind what has become a model for other states working to preserve natural beauty. There will be a public hearing in Morro Bay on February 10th.
Please sign this MoveOn petition to express concern about the damage this could have on protecting our California coastline and preserving public access.
Please share this information with your friends and family using social media, to help build public awareness. And remember to include the hashtag #SaveOurCoast
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.”
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.
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.
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.