Tags >> conservation
Jun 16
2009

Energy Efficiency Loans

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma , solar , legislation , housing , government , finances , environment , economy , construction , conservation , community , climate change , budget , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

A new county program to help finance solar panels and other energy improvements for existing homes and businesses is up and running, and working out some early kinks in the system.

 

 One important aim of the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program, says John Haig, Sonoma County Energy and Sustainability Manager , is retrofitting the area's existing housing stock and other buildings to boost their energy efficiency.  You can read a general introduction to the program here.

How much will these projects reduce local energy consumption? There are a great many variables that go into that calculation, Haig explains.
 

Information, speakers and exhibits about solar energy and the county's retrofil program will be featured at the free Solar Sonoma County Solar Fair, Saturday, June 20, 11 am to 6 pm at the Finley Center in Santa Rosa. Click here for a full schedule of events.


 

 

Jun 10
2009

Marin Recycling

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , technology , resources , Marin , environment , economy , design , conservation , business

Bruce Robinson

With 30-plus years of experience, Marin County is a leader in recycling. Which means they have done the easy things already and are now tackling some of the most challenging aspects of reducing the overall waste stream.

 

At the huge indoor Marin Recycling and Resource Recovery center, near the bay shoreline in San Rafael, a house-sized, Rube Goldberg-like system of interlocking machines ingests mixed recycleables (above). They are sorted and segregated mechanically as much as possible, before the final step (below), where work crews reach in to make the final decisions

 

 Recycling organic household waste is one of the next big challenges facing companies like Marin Sanitary, but spokeswoman Devi Peri says there are compelling reasons to work toward diverting those materials from landfills.

 

 Recycling has a long and progressive history in Marin County, which Devi Peri summarizes.

 

 

May 27
2009

Historic Ecology

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , technology , Science , resources , planning , parks , open space , Napa , history , government , environment , conservation

Bruce Robinson

We tend to think of history as a record of human activity, but a natural landscape also has a history all it's own, which is what is studied in the new field called historic ecology.

 

 The San Francisco Estuary Institute's study of the Napa River ecosystem  was a project that brought together a wide alliance of stakeholders, notes Robin Grossinger (right), and developed information that could be used for multiple purposes.

 

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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