Are we going in the right direction?

March 8th,  2019

Hello, friends of Napa County’s watersheds and water protectors. We hope this finds you well.  First, in case you missed it, a Letter to the Editor from Mike Hackett with some clarifications post-Measure C. http://bit.ly/2XLDgqz

We also wanted to give you just a quick report, with more to come, on the March 6th Planning Commission meeting of the Draft water quality and tree protection ordinance, and a few other items we think will be of interest.

You may have seen the Register article summarizing the meeting. If not, you can read it here: http://bit.ly/2tVMVx5

If you would like to watch the video of the proceedings, you can do so here: http://bit.ly/2IXkOrx

Following public testimony, deliberations by the Commission begin around the 3hr 3 minute mark.

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To Fight a Pipeline, Live in a Tree

For almost five months, Phillip Flagg has been living in a chestnut oak tree 50 feet above the ground. His home is a four-by-eight sheet of plywood, a little larger than a typical dining room table, that is lashed to the oak’s boughs. Since going aloft on October 12, he has not set foot on the ground.

Below him there’s small group of about a dozen scrupulously anonymous young people who take care of Flagg’s basic human needs. They’re all here to halt the construction of a natural gas pipeline in rural Elliston, in the Virginia highlands near Roanoke. For many of them, organizing, staffing, and supporting long-term eco-protests like this is as a way of life.

Unlike his campmates, Flagg, a 24-year-­old native of Austin, Texas, doesn’t mind revealing his identity. Before Yellow Finch, as this particular tree-sitting exercise is called, he participated in two other “action camps.” He was also at Standing Rock, the much-publicized protests that erupted in 2016 in an effort to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. But that doesn’t really count, he insists: “Everyone was at Standing Rock.”

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Planting 1.2 Trillion Trees Could Cancel Out a Decade of CO2 Emissions, Scientists Find

Author: E360 Digest   February 20, 2019

There is enough room in the world’s existing parks, forests, and abandoned land to plant 1.2 trillion additional trees, which would have the CO2 storage capacity to cancel out a decade of carbon dioxide emissions, according to a new analysis by ecologist Thomas Crowther and colleagues at ETH Zurich, a Swiss university.

The research, presented at this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington, D.C., argues that planting additional trees is one of the most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gases.

Trees are “our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change,” Crowther told The Independent. Combining forest inventory data from 1.2 million locations around the world and satellite images, the scientists estimate there are 3 trillion trees on Earth — seven times more than previous estimates. But they also found that there is abundant space to restore millions of acres of additional forests, not counting urban and agricultural land.

“There’s 400 gigatons [of CO2 stored] now in the 3 trillion trees,” Crowther said. “If you were to scale that up by another trillion trees, that’s in the order of hundreds of gigatons captured from the atmosphere – at least 10 years of anthropogenic emissions completely wiped out.”

Tree planting is becoming an increasingly popular tool to combat climate change. The United Nations’ Trillion Tree Campaign has planted nearly 15 billion trees across the globe in recent years. And Australia has announced a plan to plant a billion more by 2050 as part of its effort to meet the country’s Paris Agreement climate targets.

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Friends of Gualala River and Forest Unlimited

Author Rick Coates

Feb 19, 2019 — 

Friends of Gualala River and Forest Unlimited, once again recently prevailed in court. The courts have found the logging plans called Dogwood I and Dogwood II have failed to meet the legal standards required.  Twice they have failed to meet the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to evaluate project alternatives with less environmental impact and having an insufficient Cumulative Impact study.

Dogwood III is just as flawed as its predecessors. It lacks even the most basic survey information on seasonal wetlands – the floodplain of the Gualala River in northern Sonoma County.  It also lacks scientific information on rare and endangered plants and wildlife species such as steelhead trout.

The floodplain of the Gualala River is too important to the health of this already impaired river. Logging of redwood trees in the floodplain will do great harm.

We are asking that this logging Plan, Dogwood THP 1-15-042 SON, be subject to greater review.  We request Dogwood be elevated for policy-level review by the CALFIRE headquarters and the Board of Forestry.

What can you do to help?  Please email Santa Rosa CALFIRE before Feb. 21, 2019 with your comments. Tell them in your own words why you are against logging in the floodplain.  Whether it be the fish, the wildflowers such as Coast Lilies, the wildlife such as Western Pond Turtles and California Red-legged Frog, tell them why this special place we call the Magical Forest shouldn’t be logged. Ask CAL FIRE to elevate Dogwood for a policy level review. Email CALFIRE at this address: santarosapubliccomment@fire.ca.gov.   Thank you

Treat homes, not forests, to reduce wildfire risk

Recently Donald Trump used his executive authority to mandate increased logging of our public lands with the goal of reducing wildfire threat to communities. His order instructs land managers to treat (read log) 8.45 million acres of land and cut 4.4 million board feet of timber ostensibly to reduce fire hazard.

Unfortunately, the mandate ignores the latest fire science which suggests you start at the home and work outwards to reduce fire risk to communities.  It’s time to change our fire policy to reflect what we are learning about the role of global heating in fire ecology and forest ecology.

Trying to minimize fire which is natural to most plant community in the West is wrong-headed. Instead, we must promote effective strategies that allow communities to persist in fire-prone ecosystems. We do this by reducing home construction in fire-prone landscapes and by reducing the flammability of homes.

Current fire policies focus on promoting forest alterations, mainly through logging, to change fire severity.   It is the lack of high severity fire that impoverishes many forest ecosystems.

Trump’s policies will harm forest ecosystems, while logging is one of the leading contributors to global GHG emissions, exacerbating global heating.

Most fires are small-burning less than 5 acres. These fires occur during low to moderate fire weather conditions. Though they account for 95-98% of all fires, they burn a small percentage of the landscape, and few threaten communities.

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