Tags >> West County
Sep 03
2009

Laguna Foundation's New Home

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , West County , students , Sebastopol , research , recreation , open space , nonprofit orgs , history , farms , families , events , environment , education , conservation , community , children , birds , animals , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation has a new home—one that’s almost 150 years old.

Ken Churchill, who oversaw the restoration project, says they had to adhere to historical accuracy for the exterior, but inside was a different story.

 

This portrait of the aged farmhouse at the historic  Stone Farm overlooking Occidental Road is by Calistoga painter Jocelyn Audette. The original now hangs inside the building itself.

The North Bay Report previously covered the early stages of the restoration of the civil war-era farmhouse as the project was getting started, back on August 9, 2007.

 

Since the Laguna Foundation was established, back in the early 1990s, Executive Director David Bannister says they have worked with considerable success to elevate public awareness of Sonoma County’s central ecological resource.

Below is a map of the full watershed that drains into the Laguna de Santa Rosa, outlined in orange. The Laguna itself flows into the Russian River at the upper left of this map, near Forestville.

 



May 28
2009

Clean Energy Bills

Posted by Bruce Robinson in West County , water , transportation , technology , speaker , solar , Sebastopol , resources , politics , policy , nonprofit orgs , jobs , government , environment , employment , economy , Congress , carbon , business , alternative energy , air quality , activism

Bruce Robinson

From Capitol Hill to downtown Sebastopol, people are finally talking seriously about climate change and clean energy legislation.

 Peter Oliver (left)  is the co-owner of Make Mine Electric one of the five businesses currently incubating at the new Blue Sky Center in Sebatopol (shown below). In this audio clip, he explains the two-pronged business model he and partner Brain Hall are rolling out there.

 

As a demonstration of his company's electric vehicle conversion capabilities,  Oliver drives the red replica Porsche 356 seen below, which is now powered by batteries and an electric motor rather than gasoline.

 

Even as progressives debate the policy details embedded in the federal energy bills under consideration in Congress, Barry Vesser (right) remains hopeful that some members of the minority party there will also be able to find reasons to support the new measures.

 

 

 

 For a more thorough explanation of the relative benefits and drawback of "Cap and Trade" versus "Cap and Dividend" legislation, click on the artwork to link to a downloadable booklet.

May 25
2009

Bohemia Ranch

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , West County , water , trees , timber , resources , recreation , parks , open space , fish , environment , conservation

Bruce Robinson

A little-seen watershed near Occidental, informally known as Waterfall Park, may be moving toward actually becoming a real park.

 

Conservation consultant David Katz, who is representing the property owner in talks with the Sonoma County Ag and Open Space District, says that while the waterfall there may be the most unusual aspect of Bohemia Ranch, it's really just part of a larger array of natural resources.

 

There is an element of urgency in the renewed effort to see Bohemia Ranch acquired by the county, not just because the property is already legally allowed to host six future homesites, but also, David Katz adds, because a long-term permit for logging is also in place there.

 As a representative of the current owner of Bohemia Ranch, Katz has also developed a website to market it, which features photographs and a video of the property.

The Community Clean Water Institute says about this property:

The property is on Bohemian Hwy. about four miles from Occidental and
fourteen miles from Santa Rosa. Most of the site is moderate to steep
sloping ridges covered with forest or grassy meadows. The ranch is drained
by three creeks that flow into Dutch Bill Creek, which is just off the
property. The famed waterfall is on lower Duvoul Creek.

Over the past 8 years extensive clean-up and restoration work has occurred
on the ranch. All debris has been removed, roads re-graded and resurfaced,
new roads developed, numerous erosion sites repaired, extensive biologic
evaluation and documentation accomplished, and many new water sources
developed.

A conservation easement on the ranch is held by the Sonoma Land Trust, but
the possibility of subdivision into six separate home sites still exists on
the ranch.

The property is 862 acres, with about 400 acres in fir forest with some
redwoods. The forest has an approved Nonindustrial Timber Management Plan in place, which means that it can be commercially harvested without additional approvals. As a result of quantifying this timber resource a great
opportunity exists to sell carbon credits to raise funds for supporting the
proposed park while simultaneously preventing any further cutting of trees.

The creeks that drain Bohemia Ranch flow directly into Dutch Bill Creek at
the very heart of its watershed. Bohemia Ranch cover approximately 17% of
the entire watershed of Dutch Bill Creek. Dutch Bill creek supports
federally listed endangered species coho salmon and threatened steelhead and has been the focus of considerable restoration expenditures over the past
few years.

The Dutch Bill Creek Watershed Council, the Watershed Institute at
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Westminster Woods, and the Goldridge
Resource Conservation District have supplied leadership in implementing
restoration activities on the creek. The Sonoma County Water Agency, CA
Dept. of Fish and Game, NOAA Fisheries, and the University of California
have been actively engaged in restoration on Dutch Bill Creek. Many other
organizations are also involved and are supporting the restoration work on
the creek. All of these organizations support protecting the watershed by
protecting Bohemia Ranch.

 

 

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