“We are in need of strong letters of support (and funding, where the Open Space District provides only a portion of a project’s cost) emphasizing the importance of this project and the fact that, if these public trust values are not now protected, the opportunity to save them, and our river, will be lost.”
Petaluma Alert: Sid Commons development
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We have a limited amount of time in which to try and save several critical river parcels in the upper segment of the Petaluma River (Corona Reach) that have remained undeveloped since the earliest Petalumans were here. See above map showing the parcels outlined in yellow. They comprise ~ 19 acres of seasonal wetlands (vernal pools and wet meadow) and associated oak savannah/grassland/mature riparian woodland habitats. This land supports a number of USFW/CDFW Special Status bird, amphibian and fish species, including the federally-listed, threatened Chinook Salmon. This portion of the river is also included in the designation of the Critical Habitat of Central California Coast ESU Steelhead Trout, and serves as a critical native and migratory wildlife corridor.
Our Petaluma General Plan and city-adopted River Access and Enhancment Plan (funded by the CA Coastal Conservancy) refer to the upstream segment of the Petaluma River as “the most environmentally sensitive” of the river’s six segments. A recent report on the Petaluma Valley’s Hydrology/Ecology by the San Francisco Estuary Institute (2018) shows that seasonal wetlands such as wet meadow and vernal pool complex have declined by 95 and 98 percent, respectively, across the Petaluma River watershed (SFEI/RCD, 2018). Thusly, the preservation of these remaining wetlands is critical to ensure their ecological function of providing critical wildlife habitat, as well as improving water quality, recharging groundwater, and protecting the flood storage capacity of the floodplain.
Our General Plan directs us to reach out to the Open Space District and to other Sonoma County Agencies to protect/restore sensitive habitat along the river. The CA Coastal Conservancy hugely supports the merits of this project. We are in need of strong letters of support (and funding, where the Open Space District provides only a portion of a project’s cost) emphasizing the importance of this project and the fact that, if these public trust values are not now protected, the opportunity to save them, and our river, will be lost.