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Letters to the Editor: September 9, 2015 

Water and wineries and fish and numbers

Up a Creek

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 within 30 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 ("Coho vs. Pinot," Sept. 2). Millennials won't buy wine that was paid for in fish blood.


I thought your article "Coho vs. Pinot" was an important contribution to the ongoing dialogue in this county about the wine industry. As a member of the wine industry, I would have appreciated two additions. First, it would have been useful to compare the water usage of vineyards to other crops that could take their place. Second, it would have been of great benefit to show the heterogeneity of water usage within the wine industry. How do the big three wineries in Sonoma County stack up? I would bet that Kendall-Jackson is more sparing with water than Constellation and Gallo.

And what about the many growers I see at seminar after seminar learning how to reduce water usage? It's great that we have seen large-scale, voluntary water-use reduction in certain areas, but there are many individual farmers quietly cutting supply (and often their own profits), with no fanfare, marketing benefit or monetary return on that investment.

Gabriel Froymovich Healdsburg

Twenty-five thousand steelhead did not die. The estimate you cited in your recent article is not factually based. It's amazing how people continue to regurgitate this number without ever examining its validity.

Mendocino County

Will Parrish Replies: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) staff members who investigated fish strandings on the upper Russian River generated the estimate of some 25,000 steelhead mortalities in the spring of 2008. They explain the rationale for the estimate in a March 2011 memorandum titled "Biological Context of the Spring 2008 De-Watering Event in the Upper Mainstem of the Russian River." In a 2012 interview with Wine Business Monthly, NMFS biologist David Hines notes that he and other federal biologists produced the estimate at the request of Rep. Mike Thompson, and it was based on the best information available at the time.

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