Category Archives: Napa Climate NOW!

Measure C protects our local water supplies — our municipal reservoirs and groundwater

The watersheds in the hillsides surrounding the Valley (in the Ag Watershed zone) supply 100% of reservoir water and 60% of the Valley’s groundwater.
Trees in the watershed capture and filter rainwater:
“Oak woodland canopies capture 20-30% more rainfall than do grasslands, and their contribution to organic matter in the soil improves its water holding capacity… soils under oak woodland canopy are able to absorb and hold greater amounts of rainfall than equivalent soils with only annual grassland cover… Oaks and other vegetation also help reduce soil contamination by absorbing heavy metals, fertilizer nutrients, and pesticides from the soil and intercepting sediments containing these pollutants, thereby preventing these materials from reaching surface waters.” — The 2010 Napa County Voluntary Oak Woodland Management Plan:
How much water are we using?
In 2017 residents relied on the reservoirs in our watershed for 65% of the domestic water used by Napa and cities north.  Agriculture used 68% of the groundwater pumped out for vineyard irrigation and winery production.  On average, producing 1 gallon of wine requires 7 gallons of water.
Napa Valley residents and our agriculture depend upon the water captured by oak woodlands in our hillsides. By protecting our woodlands– NOW and for generations to come — Measure C protects both the rights of all homeowners to turn on their tap and have water, and the ability of our hillside watersheds to recharge the groundwater that is critical for Napa Valley’s agriculture.
We are currently in balance with our groundwater use, taking out about the same amount as we use for cities and agriculture, according to a study of well levels from 1988-2015 initiated by the County.  As we take out more for growth, where will the water come from? Currently there is NO STATED LIMIT for how many acres of woodlands can be removed for ag development.
Measure C sets a limit for oak woodland loss to development— the 795-acre limit was determined by the Napa Valley Vintners in collaboration with the Watershed Initiative Committee.  This limit allows for vineyard development predicted by the County’s General Plan.  When the 795 acre limit is reached, a permit from the county is needed to remove oaks, just as a permit from the city is needed now for oak removal in city limits.  Do we want more development by large, non-local corporations such as Walt Ranch, which can have 35 parcels with roads homes and buildings, and was approved by our Supervisors to remove 14,000 oaks?  Measure C is an initiative because the Supervisors aren’t willing to work on protections.
Yes on Measure C relies on volunteer and local citizens, and it’s proof that parts of our democracy still work.  Please share this grassroots effort with your networks, and thank you for your concern and support.

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A court showdown poses climate change questions. Scientists have answers.

A court showdown poses climate change questions. Scientists have answers.

A first-of-its-kind climate science trial came to a California federal court on Wednesday. The cities of San Francisco and Oakland are suing five major oil companies for knowingly contributing to climate change and deceiving the public to rake in profits.

William Alsup, an unorthodox judge who requested a highly unusual tutorial in climate science, asked the defendants and plaintiffs to provide answers to eight questions. Climate scientists took to the interwebs to crowdsource answers to them. The questions include:

Q. What caused the various ice ages (including the “little ice age” and prolonged cool periods) and what caused the ice to melt? When they melted, by how much did sea level rise?
A. Natural changes in the Earth’s orbit and the amount of greenhouse gases. Sea level rose a lot — more than 400 feet.

Q. What are the main sources of CO2 that account for the incremental buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere?
A. Fossil fuel burning and deforestation.

Q. What are the main sources of heat that account for the incremental rise in temperature on Earth?
A. Human activities are likely responsible for 93 to 123 percent of recent global warming. It can go over 100 percent because we’re canceling out what would be natural cooling.

Environmental journalists, including Grist’s Nathanael Johnson, are tweeting updates from the courtroom. Follow along! And if you want to check out the rest of the questions, find them here.

From March 21st article from Grist.

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Be a Part of EARTH DAY Napa 2018

Earth Day Napa brings our community together to celebrate, honor and protect nature and Mother Earth. This event is also a fundraiser to support a bus grant program for environmental education field trips and scholarships for graduating high school students pursing studies in the field of environmental studies.

This event is hosted by Earth Day Napa and Environmental Education Coalition of Napa County.

There are numerous opportunities to get involved to help make Earth Day a success and to be part of the ongoing efforts to protect and honor mother earth.  For EARTH DAY, there are opportunities to volunteer, exhibit, become a sponsor or donate to make the day a big success.

The Environmental Education Coalition of Napa County (EECNC) is a non-profit which connects members of our community with the local environment. Through a network of local organizations, EECNC provides resources and support to promote sustainable living and to cultivate an appreciation of the natural world.

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Sonoma County Superior Court Rules in Favor of River Watch!

Napa County Climate Action Plan

The article below tells the story of the victory of a group called River Watch, who sued Sonoma County and won. The judge determined that Sonoma County’s CAP violates CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) in that the inventory of greenhouse gas emissions is based on insufficient information. This mirrors the Napa County Climate Action Plan, which, as currently written, has the same issues. Our Planning Commissioners will be discussing the CAP again on September 20. Come and tell express your opinion about the importance this document which sets our climate policies for the future.

Watch for more updates on how you can ask your legislators on issues relating to our CAP, which NCN! would like to be a “living document” —reviewed annually and updated to reflect the most current mitigation and solutions.

CEQA Requires Assessment of GHG Impacts from Tourism

Judge Rules Climate Action 2020 Plan Violates CEQA

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Nancy Case Shaffer in Santa Rosa has ruled in favor of local Sonoma Valley attorney Jerry Bernhaut’s lawsuit challenging Sonoma County’s Climate Action 2020 Plan. A lawyer with River Watch, a Sonoma County firm active in filing environmental challenges, Bernhaut’s suit argued that the county’s plan violated various provisions of CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act.

Quoting from the 41-page ruling:

“The court finds that the Sonoma County Regional Climate protection Authority’s Final programmatic EIR (“the PEIR”) for Climate Action 2020 and Beyond, its Climate Action Plan (“CAP”) and the County of Sonoma”s approval of the CAP violate CEQA, in that the inventory of greenhouse gas emissions is based on insufficient information, the PEIR fails to include effectively enforceable, clearly defined performance standards for the mitigation measures regarding Green House gas (“GHG”) emissions, identified as “GHG reduction Measures”, and fails to develop and fully analyze a reasonable range of alternatives.”

Commenting on the ruling, Bernhaut said, “The court’s ruling validates River Watch’s contentions that:

1. By failing to account for GHG emissions from global tourist travel and global distribution of wine and other Sonoma County products, the CAP grossly understated the true GHG emissions generated by activities in Sonoma County.

2. By failing to identify clear and enforceable reduction measures, the CAP failed to provide reasonable assurance that it’s program would result in the projected reduction of the County’s GHG emissions to 25% below 1990 levels, as predicted in the CAP, or even to 1990 levels by 2020, consistent with AB32.

3. By refusing to evaluate an alternative involving a moratorium or any form of control of growth in tourist destinations and/or wine production, the CAP failed to consider environmentally superior alternatives which are necessary for any realistic hope of reducing Sonoma County’s contribution to global GHG emissions to levels required to avoid reaching tipping points for irreversible catastrophic global warming.”

Bernhaut added, “It’s time to admit that perpetual growth on a planet with limited resources and carrying capacity is not sustainable.”

Read More in The Sonoma Valley Sun >>

Read more in the Press Democrat >>

Read a statement from the Sierra Club Sonoma Group >>

Read Judge Shaffer’s 41-page Ruling >>

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