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News and updates about vineyards in the Sonoma and Napa area

Chainsaw Wine – October, 2013, North Bay Bohemian

Another winery wants to clearcut redwoods to plant vineyards—and this time, the courts might actually allow it by Alastair Bland October 16, 2013 North Bay Bohemian Redwood and manzanita at the fenced east end of the Artesa-Sonoma property in Annapolis. [excerpt:] There is no forest among the trees. That’s what state officials have said regarding a large stand of second-growth …

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Work shut down at controversial Sebastopol vineyard project – June, 2013, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

by Jeremy Hay June 28, 2013 Santa Rosa Press Democrat [excerpt:] Winemaker Paul Hobbs has been ordered to stop work on his controversial orchard-to-vineyard conversion near Sebastopol after inspectors found that hundreds of yards of blackberry bushes and bay laurel had been cleared illegally from a protected zone above a creek. “It’s a very serious violation of their permit,” said …

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Preservation Ranch saved in record deal – June, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle

by Peter Fimrite June 14, 2013 San Francisco Chronicle [excerpt:] A giant redwood forest in Sonoma County that was on the verge of being divvied up and plowed over into a patchwork of vineyards has been preserved by a public-private partnership that engineered what is being touted as the largest land conservation deal in California history. . . . “It …

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Sonoma Deal Aims to Combine Logging and Preservation

by Laird Harrison June 4, 2013 KQED [excerpt:] Can you preserve a forest by logging it? A land conservation group thinks so. The Conservation Fund announced Monday that, along with some partners, it had acquired 19,645 acres of forest in Sonoma County. The land had been slated for planting vineyards. Preservation Ranch will become part of a larger swath of …

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Sonoma County redwood forest spared from conversion into vineyards

by Louis Sahagun June 4, 2013 Los Angeles Times [excerpt:] . . . Opponents organized under the banner Friends of the Gualala River mounted a campaign against the CalPERS-funded company that included street theater tactics and an online petition signed by 90,000 critics of the development project. Chris Poehlmann, an environmental activist and specialist in designing interactive museum exhibits, appeared …

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Preservation Ranch Earns Its Name

The Conservation Fund purchases nearly 20,000 acres of timberland and creates the largest protected working forest in California June 3, 2013 The Conservation Fund [excerpt:] In a high-profile win for forestry, a public-private partnership led by The Conservation Fund has completed the largest conservation project in the history of Sonoma County. Together with its partners, the Fund has purchased and …

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Preservation Ranch officially preserved – May, 2013, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

by Brett Wilkison May 31, 2013 Santa Rosa Press Democrat [excerpt:] Nearly 20,000 acres of remote forest once targeted for vineyard development in remote northwest Sonoma County will be set aside as timberland and wildlife habitat under a landmark conservation deal that closed Friday. The property commonly called Preservation Ranch near the town of Annapolis is now owned by The …

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Who Saved Preservation Ranch? – May, 2013

by Larry Hanson May, 2013 Sonoma County Gazette Now that the coastal forest area called Preservation Ranch has been officially saved, there will be some backslapping and congratulating going on over this success. And there should. The effort of changing some twenty thousand acres from a land development project into conservation status takes the work and love of many individuals …

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Supervisors approve landmark deal to purchase Preservation Ranch – May 7, 2013, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

by Brett Wilkison May 7, 2013 Santa Rosa Press Democrat [excerpt:] Sonoma County supervisors hailed a landmark conservation deal Tuesday as they unanimously approved $4 million in open space dollars to help with the $24.5 million purchase of Preservation Ranch in the county’s northwest corner. “It’s a great day for residents of the county and the entire North Coast,” said …

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Preservation Ranch Acquisition, Coastal Conservancy staff recommendation April, 2013

[excerpts] Project Summary: Staff is recommending that the Conservancy authorize the disbursement of up to $10,000,000 to The Conservation Fund (“TCF”) to acquire the approximately 19,650-acre property known as “Preservation Ranch” in northern Sonoma County (see Exhibit 1). This acquisition will put to rest the most contentious land use debate in Sonoma County – the proposed conversion of more than …

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Climate Change Will Put the Squeeze on World’s Wineries & Wilderness

April 8, 2013 Environmental Defense Fund [excerpt:] Could your merlot be growing near the moose, grizzly or elk of Yellowstone National Park soon or in prime panda habitat in China? A new study by a team of international researchers and led by Conservation International suggests that it could. Their key finding: climate change will dramatically impact many of the most …

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Support the purchase of Preservation Ranch

Please send a letter of support TODAY for the California Coastal Conservancy grant to purchase Preservation Ranch, using this draft letter. The letter should be sent to Karyn Gear at the Coastal Conservancy via email (kgear@scc.ca.gov), or via US Mail to the address in the letter. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stop the Preservation Ranch project and protect 20 …

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Preservation Ranch purchase facing May 31 deadline – March, 2013, Sonoma West Times & News

by Frank Robertson March, 2013 Sonoma West Times & News [excerpt:] The effort to buy Preservation Ranch still needs money and a state board’s okay before the controversial timber-to-grapes conversion proposed near the town of Annapolis is officially halted. “We’ve got some work to do,” said 5th District Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo regarding the milestone $24.5 million purchase now …

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A Sonoma forest is saved – March, 2013, Vibrant Bay Area

by Denny Rosatti March, 2013 Vibrant Bay Area reprinted with permission The modern-day Northern California land rush to convert forests to vineyards lost some steam last month. The Preservation Ranch project, located in the northwestern hills of Sonoma County near the small hamlet of Annapolis, was a 20,000 acre proposal that would have permanently converted nearly 1,800 acres of timber …

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Some wine leaders pleased with pending demise of forest-to-vineyard project – March 1, 2013, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

by Brett Wilkison March 1, 2013 Santa Rosa Press Democrat [excerpt:] Sonoma County wine industry representatives and grape growers are voicing some relief over news this week of the tentative conservation deal that would shield nearly 20,000 acres in northwestern Sonoma County from a disputed forest-to-vineyard conversion project. The large proposal called for clearing almost 1,800 acres of former commercial …

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The Conservation Fund reaches agreement to purchase Preservation Ranch by May 31

Friends of the Gualala River (FoGR) celebrates the announcement that The Conservation Fund has agreed to purchase the 20,000 acre Preservation Ranch property in the Gualala River Watershed in northwest Sonoma County. The Conservation Fund, together with their funding partners, the California Coastal Conservancy, Sonoma County’s Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, and the Sonoma Land Trust, plans to preserve …

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$24.5 million deal to protect 20,000-acre Sonoma County forest – February 26, 2013, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

by Brett Wilkison February 26, 2013 Santa Rosa Press Democrat [excerpt:] A national conservation group has reached an agreement to buy nearly 20,000 acres of timberland in northwestern Sonoma County, a move that derails the long-disputed, forest-to-vineyards conversion project pushed by CalPERS, the giant state workers pension fund. The $24.5 million purchase of the so-called Preservation Ranch, to be completed …

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The Vine and Its Discontents

by Matt Gleeson December, 2012 California Northern Magazine [excerpt:] I’m here to visit a major flash point in the North Coast’s battle over what is called “forest-to-vineyard conversion,” a bland term that doesn’t quite capture what is an intensive reworking of the land. To plant a vineyard where there was a forest, first you have to clear-cut all the trees …

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Streamflow Depletion by Wells

Understanding and Managing the Effects of Groundwater Pumping on Streamflow by Paul M. Barlow and Stanley A. Leake November, 2012, U.S. Geological Survey Introduction Groundwater is an important source of water for many human needs, including public supply, agriculture, and industry. With the development of any natural resource, however, adverse consequences may be associated with its use. One of the …

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