Tags >> conservation
Jan 05
2010

Vineyard Frost Protection

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wine , weather , water , vineyards , Sonoma County , salmon , resources , policy , Napa , government , fish , farms , environment , conservation , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Endangered salmon and vineyards vulnerable to frost are both depending on flows in local waterways to protect them, but there isn’t enough water available to serve both competing needs.

 The vines shown at left have been sprayed with water that then freezes around the budding greenery. This protects the vine by holding the enclosed plant material at exactly 32 degrees, when the surrounding air is colder and could damage the new growth.

Frost is usually not a concern to vineyardists in the fall, as the grapes are usually harvested before the weather turns cold. But in the springtime, explains Nick Frey, President of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, a cold spell can devastate the vines, leaving them looking like this.

Using stream water for vineyard frost protection is  problematic for local fisheries in several areas in California, says Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity, but the situation is especially acute in the Russian River’s watershed.

A series of presentations are planned over the next two weeks to alert vineyard owners and growers to the possibility of new rules on water use for frost protection, and begin collecting data on water use for that purpose.  They will be held:

  • Wednesday,  Jan. 6, 4 p.m., at the Kendall Jackson Wine Center, 5007 Fulton Rd. in Fulton
  • Thursday, Jan. 7, 4 p.m., Dutton Pavilion at Santa Rosa Junior College Shone Farm, 7450 Steve Olson Lane, Forestville
  • Friday,  Jan. 8, 10 a.m., Knights Valley Fire Department, 16850 Spencer Lane, Calistoga
  • Friday  Jan. 8, 4 p.m., Healdsburg Community Center at Foss Creek Elementary School, 1557 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg
  • Thursday, Jan. 14, 10 a.m., Dutton Pavilion (see Jan. 7, above)

A summary of the history of this issue, as monitored by the California State Water Resources Control Board, can be found here.

Dec 29
2009

"The Dangerous World of Butterflies"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , trees , tourism , timber , resources , policy , parks , open space , media , law enforcement , international , government , farms , environment , conservation , author , animals

Bruce Robinson

 Nature lovers versus breeders. Preservationists versus poachers and smugglers.  A history that goes back eons versus threatened extinctions in the 21st  century. These are just some of the stories that lie within the dangerous world of....butterflies?

 Here on the west coast, we enjoy seeing the annual migration of the brilliant orange monarch butterflies, some of which gather in certain trees at the Bodgea Dunes state park on the Sonoma Coast.  But the Monarchs of eastern North America have a longer and far more remarkable migratory cycle.

 

Researching and writing this book on butterflies has opened his eyes in unexpected ways, Peter Laufer (left) says, but it also served to fulfill the unarticulated wish behind the impromptu remark that first set him onto that path.

 

 

 

This video compresses the life cycle of the Painted Lady butterfly into less than three minutes of striking time-lapse photography.

[video:[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD0jQH 400x400] 300x300] 


From PeterLaufer.com:

War weary after writing a book about Iraq, Laufer joked before an audience that his next book would be about butterflies. The result: an invitation to a butterfly preserve in Nicaragua. There he stumbled into a theater of intrigue full of strange and nefarious characters-all in pursuit of one of nature's most delicate creatures.

 

The Dangerous World of Butterflies chronicles Laufer's unexpected discoveries in the butterfly industry and underground. Readers will learn everything there is to know about the beauty and magic of butterflies. But Laufer's narrative takes unpredictable turns into the high-stakes realms of organized crime, ecological devastation, species depletion, natural history museum integrity, and chaos theory. Set in locales throughout the Americas and beyond, this fascinating book takes us into a behind-the-scenes world sure to alter our view the next time we delight in the colorful fluttering of butterflies in our yards.

 Butterflies are enormously popular, and have been for centuries, but not everyone loves them. There is even a website for people who are repelled by them.

 

Dec 22
2009

Recording Nature in the Tetons

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , water , trees , technology , Science , open space , media , environment , conservation , climate change , birds , animals

Bruce Robinson

You have to get up pretty early to capture the pure sounds of nature… and get a long way away from the rest of the noisy human race.

Gina Farr of Wild Sound Stories in Marin County finds a poignant significance in these recent recordings, because the changes they document tell a story of losses that will not be recovered.

This is one of her summer 2009 recordings of birds in the Grand Tetons of northwest Wyoming:

Tom Rusert, an avid birdwatcher and the volunteer director of Sonoma Birding, joined in the June workshop to see firsthand how the sounds now increasing featured in birding guides were being collected.

Hundreds of shorebirds were covered in oil after the Cosco Busan oil spill in the San Francisco Bay. Many died, but some were saved. Here, International Bird Rescue Association volunteer Tom Rusert releases one of the very first stricken shorebirds back into the wild after being cleaned.

 

 

 

Dec 17
2009

Copenhagen Climate Conference

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , waste , technology , Sonoma County , resources , research , protest , politics , policy , planning , nonprofit orgs , news , media , legislation , law enforcement , justice , journalism , international , Ideas , Green , government , go green , events , environment , economy , design , corporate responsibiliyt , conservation , Congress , climate change , carbon , California , business , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

Sonoma County’s delegation to the Copenhagen Climate Summit will be heading home with some ideas they hope to apply locally.

There was a considerable backlash when it was announced that Sonoma County was sending seven delegates to the Copenhagen conference. Tim Anderson, a spokesman for the Sonoma County Water Agency, says those concerns were understandable, but notes that nearly half of those travel expenses have been picked up by other agencies from outside the county. And he believes the trip will prove worthwhile to the county, over time.

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There was a considerable backlash when it was announced that Sonoma County was sending seven delegates to the Copenhagen conference. Tim Anderson, a spokesman for the Sonoma County Water Agency, says those concerns were understandable, but notes that nearly half of those travel expenses have been picked up by other agencies from outside the county. And he believes the trip will prove worthwhile to the county, over time.

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Anderson, who is also attending the Copenhagen conference, says that while he has not been directly affected by any of the numerous protests that have been staged in and around the Danish capital, it’s impossible not to be aware of them.

Rohnert Park city councilman Jake McKenzie is one of the local elected officials attending the Copenhagen conference. In this video clip, filmed earlier this week, he shares some of his ideas and inspirations from the event.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2CVwYtMb98&NR=1 300x300]

Also attending is Sonoma County Supervisor Valerie Brown, who explains that her primary focus there is being an advocate for local governments.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTyDNEVi7yI 300x300]