EDITOR: Anyone who loves Sonoma County’s natural beauty has to be appalled by the recent story regarding the bulldozing and removal of 40 acres of oak woodlands and deep-ripping of more than 100 acres near Cloverdale for vineyard development (“Grower accused of code violations,” Aug. 13). Destruction included pushing trees, brush and soil into natural water channels that empty into the Russian River and filling a wetland area.
The owner of the property, Hugh Reimers, whose company Krasilsa Pacific Farms undertook this woodland destruction, was formerly president of Foley Family Wines and Jackson Family Wines. Obliteration of this woodland was undertaken without any required permits and inspections. Reimers can hardly claim ignorance about proper regulations and procedures regarding land development.
One major question is whether some wine industry operators assume that they can ignore regulatory protections because the fines are simply part of doing business.
Full restoration of these illegally destroyed areas, in addition to hefty fines, needs to be the corrective action. Otherwise, the bad players in the wine industry will think Sonoma County’s natural woodlands and wetlands are fair and easy game for destruction.