The wine industry could clear up much of the water controversy by telling us how much water they use, groundwater and surface water. Claims that the industry is sustainable are made without supporting data or a clear definition of sustainable water use. The wine industry is a business run by the numbers. If they are using so little water, where are the hard numbers about acre feet pumped from the ground or the river? Each vineyard knows how long their pumps run, their capacity, how many emitters they have on their drip lines and how much water goes on the vines. That they are so reluctant to provide this information certainly gives the impression that the truth about where our water goes is being hidden from us. Concealing this information keeps a lid on a political uproar and keeps the value of vineyards high for potential investors who do not realize the critical water situation in Sonoma County.
Thank you for this excellent and informative article. While really painful to learn how seriously our rivers, environment, wildlife and lives are being depleted and destroyed, I am so appreciative for this in-depth coverage. This conversation is long overdue and I am hopeful that this is the beginning of a movement to stop this madness, hold our politicians accountable and bring regulation into an industry that is out of control. Thank you to Will Parrish, Neighbors to Preserve Rural Sonoma County, Wine Water Watch, Shepherd Bliss and everyone else who is working so tirelessly to educate, advocate and fight for authentically sustainable standards, practices, procedures and regulations for living, working and growing grapes in Sonoma County.
It's true that your statement was in response to my question concerning your views on the Water Board's emergency order in the Russian River tributaries, but you were positing a general view on the effectiveness of regulations. You repeat and defend that view here. So, I'm not sure what you mean when you say I “misquoted” you.
You also say I'm “throwing bombs” at wine-grape growers by writing this article. That's an interesting analogy, and I'm afraid reflects a viewpoint that sees criticism as a violent threat.
The main point of my article is to examine the history and context behind the outrage against the wine industry that surfaced at the State Water Board's five community meetings in July. Many of these residents perceive that winegrowers, winery owners, and their lawyers, politicians, and experts are setting the terms within which policy struggles are waged, leading (among other things) to continued degradation of fish habitat and unfair regulatory double-standards.
I didn't criticize you for working with winegrape growers, nor did I criticize Keith Horn. I did point out aspects of the role you and he are playing, though, in helping set the terms of said regulatory and policy struggles. If you believe in the role you are playing, as it seems you do, that's understandable. I invite you to defend your position, as you did here (and I believe I gave you space in the article to do that also). If you're proud of your work, then the fact that eight of the nine people on your board of directors (according to the most recent tax statement I looked at) are wine-grape growers shouldn't feel like a criticism.
Who told you SWMC would open soon? The same guy who's said it so many times in the past year? Doesn't sound like a very reliable source to me.
RE: Phyllis Schlafly She is a liar, delivering diatribes against girls and women who are JUST TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING BY WORKING, something Phyllis Has Never Done. She is buys The Other Party (you know, the vicious, manipulative, cheating, law-disregarding One) and works with them to wage the War on Women--example: 963 bills against women, families in just 3 months! She has refused to debate me as I tell her as we see her.
WHO could be so stupid as to deny this nation the 9% boost in GDP that Other nations had when they codified ERA-like wording AT THE MANDATE OF THE USA, which then refused the Equal Rights Amendment to ITS OWN LADIES AND GIRLS? Besides ERA Requires NO funding, unlike most legislation!
What patriot would be behind Stopping sex discrimination, male and female? Or against the democratic (small d) American principle of equal treatment for ALL?
Wouldn't denial of gender-equal treatment TO THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS be shameful??
Let's put Phyllis in her place by passing the ERA into US Constitution. Call your state and Congressional legislators to ask...AND WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON CODIFYING GENDER-EQUAL TREATMENT in our Constitution, and putting women and girls IN THE Nation's contract with its People now?! Then email me at the address at page-bottom of our www,2PassERA.org ...while there, check out our ERA Rebuts (Schlafly's) Lies. Point-counterpoint. Knock your socks off. Also scroll down homepage until you see the pic of faculty and students turning their backs on Schlafly at her own Alma Mater. yikes!
Seems like you are building an affirmative action argument here. Racial discrimination has wronged black people for generations. Clearly. But, are we then to conclude that our attitude toward a group of rowdy women being loud and annoying others around them must be conditioned on their race? If they are black, then doing anything about their rowdy behavior must be racist? If they are white, then kick their asses off the train, no problem?
Frankly, I'd like someone in the media to talk to others who where in that train car. Were they upset that their costly special experience was being ruined by a rowdy group of women? Did the Wine Train offer to move them to another car where they could have a conversation and not have their experience dominated by loud and annoying people?
Are one class of people above reproach regardless of their behavior?
Will - You misquoted me. You asked me about the State Board's regulation of rural residential water uses and my answer was that regulations cause conflict which is very clearly occurring in Sonoma.
As for my testimony before the State Board on the Russian River frost regulation I presented information on the surface-groundwater interactions that dominate the Russian River system and make it very difficult to find one responsible party for fish standings that are the result of cumulative effects of numerous changes in the river system. When the National Marine Fisheries Service tried to blame a grower 1 mile upstream from the Felta Creek fish stranding they ended up dropping the enforcement action because they could not show one entity was the cause and concluded it was the cumulative effects of river channel incision from gravel mining and dams, low water and nearby and upstream diversions of water that caused the stranding. While you criticize me for working with growers it was my organization in response to the 2008 frost that wrote the grant for the $5.3 million in federal funds that helped to build all the off stream ponds in Mendocino and Sonoma counties that addressed the one stranding on the upper Russian river and the other stranding on Felta creek.
I choose to collaborate with farmers and ranchers to change their land and water management practices and build the projects that benefit salmon and trout. You chose to throw bombs at the people you blame for the scarcity of fish in the Russian River. I choose to work with the people I do not necessarily agree with but who will make the changes needed to benefit the fish. Regulations have very limited effect and collaborative programs are also needed. This fact is recognized by the regulators themselves which is why the National Marine Fisheries Service which oversee the recovery of salmon and trout and the Regional Water Quality Control Board which is responsible for water quality serve as the certifiers of farm and ranch lands under our Fish Friendly Farming program. Your criticism of Keith Horn and Constellation is without merit. Constellation’s lands in Sonoma County have been certified and recertified twice by the regulators demonstrating a very high level of environmental stewardship. You need to develop a broader view of what is needed to recover these fish. Laurel Marcus
DHnomad, I appreciate your comment. I agree that it's wrong to say in a strict sense that there are no meters on water diversions. What I should have written is that the state does not meter water use. Rather, water use is self-reported via statements of diversion and use (which only a minority of water rights holders in the Russian River watershed were actually providing as of 2013). By contrast, other states with riparian water rights systems use widespread meters and remote sensors to measure consumption. California is an anomaly in this regard, and the agribusiness lobby has been a major reason for that. The chairman of the state's Division of Water Rights, Thomas Howard, has publicly expressed frustration about his agency's inability to meter agricultural and rural water diversions, since it makes it extremely difficult if not impossible to measure water use -- or cut-backs in water use -- accurately. So, I think we're both partly right and regret that I didn't provide a more nuanced description of this issue.
Otherwise, it seems that you missed a lot of important aspects of my story. I didn't claim that the water diversions I saw are escaping the notice of authority. I noted in the piece that most of the pipes I encountered appear to conform to the legal requirements of California water rights system, quoted a Water Rights staffer who said the small dams and channel diversions appear to him to be lawful (this sentence got muddled, unfortunately, and does needs a correction), and referred to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Fish and Game Code Section 1600 permitting of lake and streambed alterations.
My piece provided context regarding the outpouring of resentment residents expressed toward the wine industry at the State Water Board's July community meetings. The wine industry's opposition to regulation is a key part of that story, so I quoted Laurel Marcus and referred to Fish Friendly Farming in a section describing said opposition. Ms. Marcus has herself spoken publicly before the State Water Board and advocated against stricter regulation of the wine industry's frost protection pumping. Also, since I wanted to characterize Ms. Marcus' organization accurately, I noted that all of its directors are grape growers other than Ms. Marcus herself. I wasn't attacking her. Instead, I was presenting the role she and her organization have played vis-a-vis an important aspect of my story.
I have many points of contention with this article but one in particular must be made with enthusiasm. Pumping from surface water, legally, is absolutely metered and reported. Moreover, it's done in accordance with a Water Right, requires a DFW permit and Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement. Mr Parrish is not the only one with a kayak, to believe the infrastructure in the photo plaguing my FB feed is part of an unregulated, unmetered diversion and has somehow gone unnoticed by anyone with authority is beyond foolish!
I'm sure Mr Parrish is a good guy. I bet we'd get along quite well. I'm sure we share many common visions for this place. I'm a SC lifer and I've also been farming grapes for 14 years. I find his reporting to be biased and also short sighted. I know for a fact much of what he has reported here is false. But I'm not even going to use my full name. I'm not speaking on the record or representing my employer. It's not in my interest to open either of us up to the ridiculous kind of protest that would surely follow. It's of no benefit. While that may seem like the cowards way out I need only reference this poorly reported article. I know Laurel Marcus very well, I have known her for a decade now. I've worked closely on habitat restoration and management plans. I guarantee she had much more to say than Mr Parrish quoted here. He painted her organization as crooked and unfairly so.
It's a shame so many good people will eat this up as fact and me my colleagues will suffer for it when so many of us work so hard every day to earn a living without ruining the land we farm. To do otherwise would be quite foolish.
Time to remove all pumps along the creeks and rivers.
Absolute greed and damage to the river has occurred due to pumping for grapes.
Withdraw all grape pump stations now!
Not printed was the number of residential developments demanding water from wells located with thirty feet of Green Valley Creek.
It's time for responsible local growers who truly care about the long term viability of Sonoma County's wine industry to part ways with reactionaries like Tito Sasaki and others who still defend a status quo that has led us to this point of crisis.
Millennials won't buy wine that was paid for in fish blood.
They didn't pass the pharmacy test on Monday. Not sure where you got your information. Apparently it will be rescheduled soon.
Did you do any research besides what Hino fed to you?
Conflicts of interest are not "academic" discussions...
Another excellent article by Will Parrish. Thanks for the kind of in-depth reporting that the Press Democrat can't seem to manage due to it's ties to the wine industry.
Uh, oh. The schedule printed for the Redwood Arts Council is from LAST YEAR. No concert until 2016 for our new season. www.redwoodarts.org
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Mr Patrick Munro(MD)
The New Haven Advocate was very good then. I always looked forward to the Fishing Report. Sometimes he did write about fishing, and that was great. Tune in!
Just for the record it is not hard to evict a person on section 8 ... They are simply being given 60 or 90 orders to move and because thy are no fault ... The person on section 8 has no way of fighting them ... And this has become the trend in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County ... Property owners are displacing people on section 8 at a alarming rate .... So units can be modified and rents increased beyond what HUD permits .... I know cause it is happing where I live .... Over the last year my complex has gone from around 20+ HUD to just 2 of us left .... The third got a 90 noticed last month ...This is now the norm both City and County HUD offices state " There are no availabilities of any HUD units " but yet they continue to give out housing certificates no one is able to use and after 90 days they lose they're ability to use and lose teyre HUD adding to he problem ....
The Boise court case mentioned above is back in court again. Here's a link to the story. http://www.boiseweekly.com/boise/boises-anti-camping-ordinance-targeting-homeless-returns-to-federal-court/Content?oid=3566915
Anchor outs should know the RBRA recommended to the Sausalito City Council on May 19, 2015 an anchorage plan that excludes long-term anchoring as an option. Although an "anchorage" is not addressed specifically in the RBRA documentation, this comment is worth noting: "...all vessels in the anchorage will be either short-term visitors or required to be on a ball." We'll see... Presently the recommended plan is for a mooring field only. How many moorings will be in the field has not been revealed. The cost however for "...the program to develop a mooring field and bring it online in a three-year period is estimated to cost approximately $650,000. Of that total, RBRA staff is hopeful that the approximately $150,000 expense of installing the mooring field could be defrayed with grant funding...."
What will happen to live aboard "anchor outs" who's boat cannot satisfy "seaworthy requirements" and, or cannot afford mooring fees? I recommend those of you in this category familiarize yourself with the recent Boise, Idaho court decision that renders unconstitutional bans on the homeless sleeping in public places. It's an 8th Amendment to the Constitution thing... Authorities can only prevent you from sleeping in a public place (or on a public waterway?) if they provide an alternate location. And, a jail does not qualify.
I read somewhere, but can't relocate the comment at the moment, that an allowance for existing liveaboards be made in the plan. Clearly though, the ultimate goal is to have none. So, $650,000 will be spent to build what will eventually amount to another "parking place" for boats.
I wonder how Sausalito's marina owners and operators are going to feel about that? I also wonder once the mooring field opens how many boats presently in marinas are going to move onto a mooring?
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