Tags >> conservation
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.

 



Aug 20
2009

Marin Desalination

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , technology , resources , protest , planning , ocean , news , Marin , government , energy , conservation , coast , climate change

Bruce Robinson

The Marin Municipal Water District has taken another significant step toward building a saltwater desalination facility to stabilize their water supplies, but critics remain adamantly opposed to the project.

Paul Heliker (right), General Manager of the MMWD, believes that the desalination facility is needed to protect Marin residents from possible future droughts and the economic havoc they could cause.

Sharp questions about the safety and purity of the desalinated water were raised again at this week’s water district meeting, but Heliker says those concerns should have been settled by the results of the district’s own tests of the reverse osmosis technology with the same water that the larger plant would use.

Adam Scow, California Deputy Director for water programs for the national consumer advocacy group, Food and Water Watch, is among the vocal skeptics who question the need and cost of the proposed desalination plant. He points to a report commissioned by his organization that disputes the underlying assumptions the district uses to make its case for the project. You can read that report here.

 

For its part, the district has prepared a 9-page slide show on their desalination project, which is much easier to digest than the full Environmental Impact Report, which is posted here. At left is a map showing where the proposed plant would be situated.

 



 

 

Jul 08
2009

Urban Permaculture

Posted by Bruce Robinson in volunteer , teens , seniors , resources , parks , nonprofit orgs , Ideas , food , families , environment , education , conservation , community engagement , climate change , children , carbon , agriculture , activism

Bruce Robinson

Permaculture - an idea that began around sustainable agriculture - is moving into the urban environment.

  You can also learn more about this subject at the Oakland-based Urban Permaculture Guild.

Dave Henson, Executive Director of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (right), explains that interest in permaculture arose in part in response to the widespread dominance of "monoculture," or large-scale farming of a single crop.

One of the enduring examples of crop integration is indigenous to Mexico and the American southwest, and known colloquially as the "three sisters."

 

Jul 06
2009

Landfill Leak

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , transportation , toxic , Sonoma , resources , politics , government , garbage , finances , environment , conservation , chemicals , budget

Bruce Robinson

Although the Sonoma County dump, west of Cotati,  has been closed for more than three and a half years, the former manager of the facility says the issues behind its closure are political, not environmental.

 

Ken Wells (right), the former manager of the Sonoma County landfill says the  "leak" discovered beneath the dump back in 2004, has taken on an exaggerated significance due to subsequent regulatory conflict between the county and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. The actual contamination was quite minor, he contends, and was easily contained and repaired, so that no pollutants escaped into the local groundwater.

  County officials won't say, but indutry observers say Waste ManagementInc. is the only potential buyer for the Meacham Road dumsite that meets the criteria set forth in the county's Request for Proposals.

Ken Wells is also among those who would prefer that the county retain ownership of the landfill, perhaps contracting with a private firm to operate it. As the county's waste diversion rate-currently at 64%-goes up even more, the volume of trash going into the dump will contuine to shrink, he predicts. That's part of his overall vision of a long-term future for the facility.

 

Although the Sonoma County dump (seen from the air, above) is no longer accecpting trash, all other services there are continuing. There's a list of them, and related operation, such as local transfer stations, available here.

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