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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 23
2009

Vanishing Soundscapes

Posted by Bruce Robinson in weather , Sonoma County , Science , research , open space , media , environment , education , climate change , birds , art , animals

Bruce Robinson

The sounds of the natural world are changing, and not for the better. Bernie Krause (left)  has tapes that document that trend.

While Krause has been recording and tracking the changes in aural environments around the world over the past several decades for his business, Wild Sanctuary, he has also been observing the concurrent changes in the soundscape around his Glen Ellen home. And he’s been astonished by what he’s found.

Just as the soundscapes have been changing over time, so has the recording equipment Krause uses. Digitization, he says, has made his professional life much easier.

Dec 15
2009

Climate Change and Vineyards

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wine , weather , water , trees , Sonoma County , politics , planning , Ideas , Green , government , go green , farms , environment , climate change , chemicals , carbon , California , business , alternative energy , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Global warming poses a real and serious threat to California’s wine industry, but vineyards throughout the state—and other agricultural lands—can also take steps to blunt the pace of climate change.

It is increasingly clear, says Ted Lemon (right) , co-owner of Littorai Wines in Sebastopol, that the dominant business model in American agriculture, needs to change.

Monoculture farming has not succeeded in feeding the world. Lemon observes, so a new approach is clearly needed.

 

The Littorai Winery is an informal demonstration site for the practical application of principals of agroecology. The Wine Institute of California has also intiated a proactive program in support of sustainable vineyard practicies, which you can read about here.

Oct 13
2009

Birds and Climate Change

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , weather , Science , research , nonprofit orgs , environment , climate change , California , birds , animals

Bruce Robinson

As climate change creates a hotter and drier California, our native birds will relocate to more hospitable areas, and existing communities of species will recombine in new ways that may threaten their survival.

 

 

PRBO and their partners have developed  interactive maps showing the projected redistribution of bird species in California.

Common Yellowthroat

As is often the case, the initial findings of this study, published as “Reshuffling of Species with Climate Disruption:  A No-Analog Future for California Birds?” suggest several areas where additional research is warranted, says lead author Diana Strahlberg.

Tree swallow

Strahlberg also suggests that the approach taken in this study, of examining the interactive relationships between species as they respond to climate change, could also herald a new way of looking at wildlife management.

  Diana Strahlberg of the PRBO will be among the presenters at the annual State of the Laguna Conference on Wednesday at Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park.

 

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