Gualala Redwoods Inc. puts 30,000-acre property up for sale

November 25, 2014

Gualala redwoods river view. Photo: (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

Nearly 30,000 acres timberland straddling the Sonoma-Mendocino county border and stretching across the mouth of the Gualala River have been put on the auction block, creating what conservationists are calling a prime opportunity for a landmark preservation deal that could permanently protect and restore a giant swath of forest, allow for potential park development and consolidate a protected area larger than Point Reyes National Seashore.

Gualala mapGualala Redwoods Inc. has put its entire timber holdings out to bid, offering an expanse of mixed redwood and Douglas fir, nearly 20 miles of river frontage and a developable 58-acre bluff-top parcel in town.

The 47-square-mile property abuts several others acquired over the past decade or so for conservation, including the nearly 20,000-acre Buckeye Forest, once known as Preservation Ranch, near Annapolis.

The outcome of any sale won’t be known for months— offers aren’t due until early next year — but a coalition of conservation groups is assessing the Gualala Redwoods property and exploring options for a deal that could permit lighter forestry practices, watershed reclamation and recreation.

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Groundwater Monitoring in Areas of Oil and Gas


WebEx capabilities are now included for the Expert and Public Stakeholder Meeting on Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring in Areas of Oil and Gas Production.  The meeting is scheduled for December 11, 2014 at 8:00 a.m..
However, due to WebEx audio and attendees limitations we highly recommend that you personally attend the meeting.

WebEx Link:
Call-in number: 1-866-876-1513
Attendee access code: 983 073 8

Additional meeting information can be found on the State Water Board’s Oil and Gas Monitoring Unit website at:

Thank you,

Janice H. Zinky, P.G.
Oil and Gas Monitoring Unit Chief
State Water Resources Control Board
1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

Posted in Fracking impacting water sources, Groundwater Impacts, Oil, Mining, and Gas Water Pollution, Water Conservation Issue | Leave a comment

Muir Woods Coho Salmon Vanish, Fanning Fears of Extinction

By Peter Fimrite
November 29, 2014

Laura Chariton, director of the Watershed Alliance of Marin, visits Redwood Creek, where the coho didn’t spawn this year. Photo: Leah Millis / The Chronicle

Laura Chariton, director of the Watershed Alliance of Marin, visits Redwood Creek, where the coho didn’t spawn this year. Photo: Leah Millis / The Chronicle

A view of the Muir Woods watershed, containing Redwood Creek where the endangered species of coho salmon are struggling to survive Nov. 25, 2014 in Mill Valley, Calif. Laura Chariton, Director of the Watershed Alliance of Marin, a 501c3 project of Marin Link, hasn’t seen a coho salmon in the Muir Woods watershed since the mid-90s. Chariton decided to get a master’s degree in Environmental and Riparian Policy after discovering that the coho she loved to look for on her hikes was an endangered species. She now spends her time advocating for endangered species, including the coho. Chariton believes that on top of the effects from the severe drought, the run-off from the significant traffic on Muir Woods road is contributing to the decline in coho numbers and she is currently collecting data to corroborate her theory. “It’s a crime,” she said, “we had this species here and we let it go extinct because we didn’t do anything about it? It’s a crime against future people and animals.”

The cherished coho salmon that historically wriggled their way past beachgoers up Redwood Creek into Muir Woods vanished this year and are now on the verge of extinction, prompting a last-ditch attempt by fisheries biologists to save the genetically unique species.

No salmon eggs were spotted in the shade of the world-famous redwood grove this past winter, and not a single baby coho could be found in the summer. The situation was so bad in August that 105 juvenile salmon had to be removed from the creek and brought to a hatchery.

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Drakes Bay Oyster Co. allies drop lawsuit

Move signals apparent end of battle over harvesting in federally protected estuary


A high-profile, two-year legal battle over oyster farming in the Point Reyes National Seashore came to an apparent and anticlimactic end Tuesday when a coalition of Marin County food interests dropped its case against the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The group had sought to extend Drakes Bay Oyster Co.’s right to continue harvesting oysters from Drakes Estero, a federally protected estuary in the national seashore.

But in a one-sentence statement filed with the U.S. District Court in Oakland, an attorney for the coalition said his clients, including Tomales Bay Oyster Co. and several West Marin County farmers and restaurant owners, were dismissing their entire case.

The plaintiffs’ action does not need a judge’s approval and while they technically have the right to renew their case in the future, Heather Bussing, an Occidental attorney and Empire College of Law instructor, said that was unlikely.

“This case is effectively over,” she said.

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Triennial Review of 2014 Water Quality Control Plan for North Coast Region

Section 13250 of Porter-Cologne and Section 303 (c)(1) of the federal Clean Water Act require a review of basin plans at least once each three-year period to keep pace with changes in regulations, new technologies, policies, and physical attributes within the region.  The Regional Water Board is responsible for this review, and is required to:  1) identify those portions of the Basin Plan that are in need of modification or new additions; 2) adopt standards as appropriate; and 3) recognize those portions of the Basin Plan that are appropriate as written.  The review process includes public scoping meetings, a public workshop and a comment period to identify issues of water quality concern that may be amended by revisions of the Basin Plan.  After public input is received, the Regional Water Board’s role in the Triennial Review process is to determine if Basin Plan revisions are needed, and to set forth a priority list and schedule for consideration of the needed Basin Plan revisions.

As part of the 2014 Triennial Review, the Regional Water Board also will be asked to adopt editorial Basin Plan amendments, under a separate resolution.

Attached is the 2014 Triennial Review of the Basin Plan, Draft Proposed Basin Plan Amendment Project Priorities  which staff will present at a public workshop before the Regional Water Board on Wednesday, November 19, 2014.  The meeting will be held in Santa Rosa at the Regional Water Board offices and begins at 1:00pm.  Please see the Regional Water Board’s website for address and directions.  The Board will take no action at this time.  But, public comments on the proposed priorities are welcome and encouraged.

A Draft Staff Report for the 2014 Triennial Review of the Water Quality Control Plan for the North Coast Region (Draft Staff Report) will be posted on the Regional Water Board’s website and made available via the Regional Water Board’s Basin Planning email subscription (Lyris) list on November 21, 2014.  The Draft Staff Report describes the status of 2011 priority projects and presents new issues that should be addressed in the 2014 Triennial Review.  It also includes staff’s priority ranking of the proposed projects, as well as proposed editorial revisions to Chapters 1 and 2 of the Basin Plan.  Written comments on the Draft Staff Report may be submitted through January 9, 2015.

Questions regarding this item should be directed to Alydda Mangelsdorf, Supervisor of the Planning Unit or (707) 576-6735.

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Earning Our Children’s Trust

The aim in the op-ed below is to catch the attention of key judges on the Supreme Court, before they decide whether they will review the puzzling decision of the D.C. Circuit Court that the Federal Government has no trust obligations to young people and the unborn. However, the Court very seldom chooses to review Circuit Court decisions, so the odds are slender.Young people are people. The U.S. Constitution guarantees equal rights, equal protection of the laws, and due process to all people. As I have argued for years, and as we note in our paper published last December, these most fundamental rights should be the basis for legal action to require the government to do its job. Such pressure is needed and we intend to pursue it.

—James Hansen, November 18, 2014

James Hansen & Dan Galpern
Originally published on Huffington Post November 13, 2014

Our Constitution was established to “promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” And yet, our government persists with a business-as-usual path, despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that continued carbon emissions threaten the climate system on which civilization and nature as we know it depend.

In our view, the climate crisis cannot effectively be addressed by weak regulatory action and feeble statements of intent — such as those recently announced by the U.S. and China — while we maintain our present massive subsidization of the fossil fuel industry. We need a new approach, one grounded in government’s fundamental duty to safeguard essential natural resources in trust for our children and those yet to be born.

The idea that essential resources, such as the “air, running water [and] the sea,” are held in “common to all mankind,” stems at least from the sixth century code of ancient Rome. Blackstone, writing in his Commentaries on the Law of England, brought it forward to the 18th Century, noting that, notwithstanding developments in property law, certain resources must “unavoidably remain in common [including] the elements of light, air, and water.”

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For Paris 2015: A Climate Trust Not a Treaty

By Mike Sandler

(Note: Mike Sandler previously lived in Sonoma County working for Community Clean Water Institute and now lives in L.A. contributing to the Huffington Post)

The international negotiators meeting in Lima, Peru for the 20th United Nations convention on climate change have all but given up on a new legally enforceable climate treaty to replace the outdated Kyoto Protocol. In preparations for the Paris climate conference in December 2015, the Obama Administration avoids the word “treaty,” since there is little chance of ratification by 67 Senators. Instead, the preferred UN approach is to take countries’ voluntary pledges and “shame” those with smaller goals into increasing them. A recent bilateral agreement between the U.S. and China was meant to encourage more ambitious pledges, but it is hard to imagine uncoordinated voluntary and bilateral pledges adding up to anything close to what would be accomplished under a globally agreed-upon framework.

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Webinar: Keeping Our Watersheds Frack Free

Sign up and listen and watch, “Keeping Our Watersheds Frack Free” webinar on

Thursday, December 4th, 2014 at 11 am PST.

From Pennsylvania to California, from Colorado to Texas, the dirty form of gas drilling known as fracking is contaminating our water and threatening our communities. Join Clean Water Network’s webinar to learn about the impacts on clean water, hear political updates, and find out about resources to help you fight fracking in your watershed from Environment America’s attorney and Clean Water Program Director John Rumpler.  Hear how one grassroots group is fighting fracking in the Delaware River Basin from Karen Feridun, founder of Berks Gas Truth in Pennsylvania.


Kimberly Williams – CWN Coordinator:

Posted in Drinking Water issues, Environmental Impacts, Fracking impacting water sources, Groundwater Impacts, Oil, Mining, and Gas Water Pollution, Preservation Issue, Water Conservation Issue, Watershed Related Concerns | Comments Off

Expert Public Stakeholder Meeting to Develop Groundwater Monitoring Model Criteria for Oil and Gas Areas


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is hosting a public meeting regarding the development of model criteria for groundwater monitoring related to oil and gas well stimulation treatments, as specified in Senate Bill 4 (Pavley, Statutes of 2013).  LLNL is the expert that the State Water Board is working with to develop the model criteria for groundwater monitoring.

The meeting will be held at the Cal/EPA Building in Sacramento on December 11, 2014, from 8am to 5 pm. The meeting agenda will be sent in a future email notification.

At this meeting, LLNL will gather information on stakeholders perspective and ideas regarding oil and gas related activities on groundwater quality and the development of the groundwater monitoring model criteria.

Information about State Water Board SB 4 related activities, including subscribing to our email distribution (listserv) for Oil and Gas Groundwater Monitoring, can be found at:

Thank you,

Janice H. Zinky, P.G.
Oil and Gas Monitoring Unit Chief
State Water Resources Control Board
1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

Posted in Drinking Water issues, Environmental Impacts, Fracking impacting water sources, Streams and Wetlands Impacts, Water Conservation Issue, Watershed Related Concerns | Comments Off

Stream protections vs. private property rights in Sonoma County

November 23, 2014 

Photo house above river with trees cleared

Trees cleared above the Russian river in Haciends, Thursday Nov. 20, 2014. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2014

Sonoma County’s effort to implement one of its most controversial land use policies — protective buffer zones along 3,200 miles of rivers and streams — has reignited a pitched debate between environmental organizations, farmers and private property rights activists about how to best protect and manage waterways throughout the county.

The dispute is fundamentally about the reach of government regulation onto private land to safeguard public resources, including water quality and wildlife. The debate has been closely monitored by environmental and agriculture groups, and county officials have acknowledged that the outcome will have far-reaching implications.

“This is hugely important, and it involves a tremendous amount of properties,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman David Rabbitt. “What we’re trying to do is protect the environment while balancing the needs of people who live and work here.”

As proposed, the restrictions, which are up for a decision today at the Board of Supervisors, would curb development, farming and other activities on more than 82,000 acres of land outside city limits, most of it on private property.

Supporters, including environmental groups, say the measures are needed to protect common resources such as drinking water, as well as wildlife that depend on streams for habitat.

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