Large scale Oak woodland destruction Sonoma County

“Piecemealing” projects is illegal according to CEQA. This project CEQA should have applied here.

“A level I Vineyard permit was issued last Fall and 17 ACRES of oaks were destroyed.  Now the applicant is seeking to cut another 50 ACRES of oaks.  There is a third phase anticipated.”

Large scale Oak woodland destruction Sonoma County

 

July 17, 2018

Dear Supervisors:

You may be aware that a large oak removal “project” is moving forward in our County.  This is so because we have failed to protect trees even mature oaks despite their biological importance and the public interest and concern for adequate protections.

Several years back, the County spent over $30,000 public dollars studying oaks and then, for some reason shelved that report.  It has also dropped tree protection from its approved work plan.

This permissive stance is outdated at best.
Please take steps to intervene and require that the Cloverdale tree removal project is stopped until further notice.
Developers are usually required to preserve or at least mitigate for tree losses.  These large county AG permits run afoul of these standards and rise to the level of significant AVOIDABLE impacts.  The County should immediately revisit its stance that all AG permits are ministerial or virtually without environmental impacts.  That is now, and probably always has been, a false presumption and defies reality.  It is not a reasonable position.  Much of what is considered AG now in our area is non-essential and is more of an industrial model than an essential food production activity.  
The subject project  is referred to variously as:
LLA17-0068. –  lot line adjustment April 3, 2018;
GRD18-0095 – grading.  and
ACO18-0104 – Agricultural Development Permit Level 2
BACKGROUND

A level I Vineyard permit was issued last Fall and 17 ACRES of oaks were destroyed.  Now the applicant is seeking to cut another 50 ACRES of oaks.  There is a third phase anticipated.

CONCLUSION
This project, supported by third party county policies, is an exploitative end run around reasonable environmental review, and the County must not be apart of this effort.   The loss of these woodlands is a major blow to Sonoma County’s image and efforts to be a climate leader among other things.
The public is rightly appalled at this activity and those who are trying to sequester carbon and reduce emissions will be dealt a severe blow if this project is fully developed and the oaks are left without champions.
I urge you to take a look at this project immediately and consider that woodlands are a major solution to global heating, and we need an increase in canopy wherever possible not continuing losses like this “PROJECT” represents.  Thank you for your kind attention to this matter, and I look forward to hearing that the County of Sonoma has intervened to take a careful look at this large ongoing oak woodland removal.
Sincerely,
Kimberly Burr
cc: Matt St. John, E.O.  NCRWCB
Chuck Bonham, Director California DFW
Felicia Marcus, Chair. NCRWQCB
Mike McGuire, Senator
Jared Huffman, Congressman
Edward Yates, Esq.
Jerry Bernhaut, Esq.
Suzanne Doyle, Chair Sierra Club Redwood Empire

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