Seeking Consensus on Composting

Apr 25, 2017

Sonoma County has been without a local composting operation for a year and a half. And it will be at least twice that long before a new one can get started. But the process is inching forward.

 When commercial composting was introduced in Sonoma County, roughly 20 years ago, by Sonoma Compost, the pioneering local operation was widely studied and imitated, recalls Patrick Carter, Executive Director of the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency.

Greenway Vision Coming Into Focus

Oct 17, 2016

Eight years into the process of creating the proposed southeast Greenway in Santa Rosa, ideas for what it will actually look like are taking shape. An online survey, reviewing three possible alternatives, is underway.

Follow this link to take the Greenway planning survey. Sign up for the Oct. 26 walking tour of the property here.

The three-stage descent of the full length of the Russian River wrapped up this weekend with a public finale kayaking from Duncan’s Mills to Jenner. It was an extended prelude to a broad examination of the watershed and its future next year. 

By design, the on-the-water descent of the Russian River brought together stakeholders who hold sometimes conflicting views. Riverkeeper Don McEnhill says that shared experience holds the prospect of better working relationships going forward.

Extending EV Access to Low-Income Drivers

Jun 20, 2016

Electric cars generate far less pollution, and usually save money for their drivers. But because of the high upfront costs of buying or leasing these cars, those benefits have been largely out of reach for low-income households. But that may be starting to change.

  Sonoma County’s Regional Climate Protection Authority has been studying ways to encourage wider use of EVs locally. An important piece of that, says Program Manager Lauren Casey, is their analysis of where additional charging stations could most productively be located.

Planning Underway to Improve ‘The Springs’

May 20, 2016
Sonoma County PRMD

Long overlooked by the rest of Sonoma County, the south end of the Valley of the Moon is now charting a revitalized future. But the extensive community input process will eventually have to reconcile their sometimes conflicting desires.

  At the first community planning meeting, held Feb. 29, a lengthy wish list was developed for the future of the Springs area, recounts Sonoma County staff land use planner Yolanda Solano.

Local Health Group Encourages End-of-Life Planning

Apr 12, 2016

  End-of-life decisions are best made early, even though it’s not an easy thing to think about ahead of time. So some local events are coming up to assist with that.

An Advance Care Directive, like a Living Will, is a formal legal document. Even so, explains Jane Eckles, chair of the steering committee for My Care, My Plan, Sonoma County, there are several easy ways to complete one.

Erosion Watch on the Sonoma Coast

Feb 18, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  King tides, El Nino, and sea level rise pose a triple threat to homes built too close to the edge of northern California’s seaside buffs. Some homes above Gleason’s Beach on the Sonoma Coast have been lost in years past, while others remain at risk.

  Gary Griggs, a professor of  Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Santa Cruz , has been tracking the eroding cliffs at Gleason Beach for the past decade and a half. He says his periodic return visits show that the problems there continue to advance slowly but persistently.

SE Greenway Advocates Report Progress

Feb 17, 2016
SE Greenway Campaign


  Advocates for the creation of the Southeast Greenway, in the vacant strip of land running from Spring Lake Park to Farmer’s Lane in Santa Rosa, have been working on it for seven years now. But the most important steps in that conversion may come in the year ahead.

That meeting will be held Saturday morning, 10 to noon in the Montgomery High School cafeteria.  Find more details here.

Wetlands as a Hedge Against Sea Level Rise

Jan 11, 2016
San Francisco Estuary Institute

  Human actions around San Francisco Bay have resulted in the loss of two-thirds of the wetlands that once existed there. Restoring some of those areas can help offset the impacts of sea level rise, but it’s a big, complex and expensive job. 

   The North Bay area can play a large part in future efforts to recreate extensive natural wetlands to help protect the greater Bay Area from rising sea levels, says Letitia Grenier from the San Francisco Estuary Institute.

The Sonoma County Library Outlines Its Future

Oct 17, 2015

  The Sonoma County Library has a new strategic plan to guide their next decade, but the bottom line remains constant—they still need more money to meet public demands.

  In the short term--very short--the county library system will add a long-awaited new branch to serve the people of Roseland. Library Director Brett Lear says that has been fast-tracked with encouragement from the county's Community Development Commission.

Neighborhood Input Sought for Moorland Park

Sep 2, 2015

A series of workshops will begin in Santa Rosa’s Moorland neighborhood Thursday night, to gather ideas and priorities for designing a community park to memorialize Andy Lopez.

While it is clear that the current momentum to create a neighborhood park for Moorland is driven by the community’s response to the Andy Lopez shooting, Sonoma County Regional Parks planner Scott Wilkinson explains that the land for it has long been intended as a park site.

Framing Roseland's Future

Jun 24, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Roseland residents are being invited to discussions about various aspects of the area’s future, the most recent moves in a 30 year history of proposed redevelopment plans for their neighborhood. With three separate projects in the works, the pace appears to be picking up.

Calculating Residential Water Changes

May 21, 2015

  An easy-to-use computer modeling tool allows homeowners and others to calculate water use and installation costs for building, landscaping or remodeling projects. It’s being developed and tested here in Sonoma County, but is meant to be applicable statewide.

Developing a One Planet Lifestyle

May 11, 2015

  It’s hard to live a low-consumption lifestyle, especially in car-dependent California. But it gets easier when new housing projects are designed and built with that goal in mind.

Envisioning a Future for Sonoma's Developmental Center

Apr 29, 2015
Sonoma Land Trust

For more than a century, the state Developmental Center has been a large and complex presence in the Sonoma Valley. But what will become of it in the future is a wide open question.

  It’s become clear to everyone involved that the future of the Sonoma Developmental Center will be quite different from its past or present. So how will that new path be determined?  John McCaull, a land acquisitions manager for the Sonoma Land Trust, explains the process being initiated this weekend to explore answers.

'Tiny Steps' Toward Groundwater Management

Mar 17, 2015
Sonoma County Water Agency

For the first time ever, California is moving to protect and monitor groundwater resources and ensure their sustainability. But it will be up to local governments to implement the measures—with a threat of state intervention if they fall short.

  ut as the regulatory roll-out gets started, there is a big question looming over the whole long-range process, points out David Keller of Friends of the Eel River:  how much more water will be allocated to additional users, such as wineries and residential developments, in the meantime.

Reimagining Sonoma County’s Libraries

Feb 27, 2015

  Public libraries everywhere are reflecting social and technical changes around them. So how can Sonoma County’s library’s plan for their future?

Sonoma County's Heritage Roads

Feb 10, 2015

  The rural two-lane roads that wind through Sonoma County’s landscapes are a resource worth protecting. Designating them “heritage roads” is one way to do that.

The California King Tide Project

Jan 19, 2015
Jeff Poskanzer

  The highest tides of the winter are rolling up on the Pacific Coast today, and the California King Tides Project is watching them with an eye toward the future.

There will be another, slightly lower series of King tides next month, on Feb. 17th  & 18th.  Information about uploading pictures to the California King Tides Project is posted on their website. There's a further explanation of the project in the video below.

  California State Parks manages two properties totaling 6600 acres in western Sonoma County. But the process of preparing a plan for that management is only now getting started.

Both Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve and Austin Creek State Recreation Area are overdue to get General Plans. But it is still uncertain if combining those documents for the two adjacent properties is the best approach, says Michelle Luna, who heads the non-profit Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods.

  Claude Lewenz believes he’s developed a better idea for a 21st century city, one that is now gaining attention in Mendocino County.  He calls it a “village town,” and explained it in this archival North Bay Report from October, 2010.

The Village Town concept is a fresh start, as Claude Lewenz envisions it, a community built completely new and separate from what has gone before

  Designing the individual villages will be left up to the people who will live in them, Lewenz explains. He offers an outline of how that might happen.

Settlement in Sebastopol CVS Suit

Jul 2, 2014

  For the past three years, Sebastopol has been embroiled in a heated debate over a proposed new drugstore development near the heart of downtown. The CVS project was approved by the city, then both parties were sued by a new grassroots group, the Committee for Small Town Sebastopol, and there has since been a lot of back and forth, mostly involving lawyers. That has now come to an end.

A Compromise on Cloverdale’s Growth

Jun 16, 2014

With an eye to the future, Cloverdale proposed expanding to the west and south, some of which alarmed anti-sprawl activists. But the most provocative part of that proposal has now been reined in.

The new, scaled back Cloverdale Urban Growth Boundary is expected to get final approval at the next LAFCO meeting on July second.  The map below shows the originally proposed Urban Growth Boundary expansion.

Cultural and Creative Arts Forum

Apr 16, 2014

  Sonoma County is rich in arts and culture, but those enterprises aren’t always tuned in to each other, or supported by local business and government. As part of an effort to create a more unified vision for everyone, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board is hosting a community conversation on the subject this evening at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. Bruce Robinson talks about it with the man who will be leading the session.

The Civic Role of Public Art

Jan 15, 2014

  The City of Santa Rosa is working on a Public Art Master Plan—for the downtown area and beyond--that will is due to be completed later this year. In connection with that, the city’s Art In Public Spaces program and the Sonoma County Museum are hosting a presentation and discussion this evening that looks at how the city of Oakland has incorporated public in in their downtown revitalization efforts.

An Overview of Underground Water

Jul 10, 2013
Sonoma County Water Agency

A newly completed report on the water that lies beneath the Santa Rosa Plain says that aquifer is in generally good health.

Another use for the groundwater study, suggests USGS research hydrologist Tracy Nishikawa, could be to monitor and measure any changes attributable to climate change.

KRCB previously reported on the draft version of this report when it was presented at a workshop in Santa Rosa in February, 2012. You'll find that earlier story here.

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