Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am writing to ask you for your financial support. Please join our efforts in protecting the Gualala River and its watershed. The Gualala River watershed is not only the source of our drinking water, but is also home to countless species of birds, fish, and other wildlife. Our beautiful river really makes this a special place to live!
Friends of the Gualala River (FoGR) is your local non-profit, grassroots watershed protection group. We work to protect the Gualala River watershed and the species that rely on it.
FoGR is currently focusing on several imminent threats to the welfare of our watershed:
- “Preservation” Ranch proposes a 19,300 acre development in the heart of the Gualala River watershed. Premier Pacific Vineyards (PPV) will destroy 1,600-plus acres of coastal redwood forest for conversion to vineyards. Road infrastructure needed to service the vineyards will fragment the remaining forest land, reducing its value as habitat for the creatures that depend on the forest for survival. Water usage for irrigation, frost protection and supplying resident and migrant workers, along with the filling of seasonal creeks and building of dozens of reservoirs will have significant adverse impacts on downstream water users, including Sea Ranch and Gualala.
- The recently approved Non-industrial timber management plan (1-08NTMP- 009 MEN) will cut down one of the last remaining stands of old growth redwoods in the Gualala River watershed. At risk are the many species that depend on this type of ancient forest. The marbled murrelet, a small seabird, has been seen at the mouth of the river and is on its way to becoming locally extinct due to loss of specialized nesting habitat that is only found on the branches of old growth trees. FoGR along with two other conservation groups has filed suit to protect this remaining old growth grove.
- Codorniu Winery plans to develop a 190-acre vineyard (“Artesa”) near Annapolis and will destroy about 171 acres of forestland. It is located about five miles east of the Pacific Ocean, between Grasshopper Creek and the Wheatfield Fork of the Gualala River. This vineyard developer is well funded and owns the third largest winery in the world. The headquarters is located in Spain. FoGR has hired scientific experts to comment on the potential threats of this plan. An environmental impact report is being prepared and FoGR will need to hire more experts to comment on the soon to be released final draft.
- Excessive water diversion and over-pumping of the Wheatfield Fork of the Gualala River is killing steelhead and making sections of the river completely dry in the late summer. FoGR has documented fish kills and late summer draw-downs of the Wheatfield Fork during both 2008 and 2009.
FoGR’s success depends on the qualified experts we hire to make our case. To that end we are endeavoring to raise $35,000 this year to hire the best scientific and legal experts who will provide the factual foundation that is necessary for our legal and regulatory challenges to succeed. We need your help to reach this goal. Please join us and help protect this invaluable resource and preserve it for the future.
Friends of the Gualala River
With your support
Friends of the Gualala River has:
Led opposition to the “waterbag scheme,” a plan to export water from the Gualala River to southern California in giant polyfiber bags.
Outcome: this organized protest ultimately led to legislative action and the proposal was defeated.
Opposed logging of old growth redwoods on Haupt Creek through a letter-writing campaign, scientific analysis and expert commentary.
Outcome: the California Department of Forestry officially rejected the Haupt Creek plan.
Opposed fast-track permits and minimal environmental review by the California Department of Forestry and Sonoma County for large-scale conversions of forestland to vineyards along the Wheatfield Fork.
Outcome: a new legal precedent was established requiring full Environmental Impact Reports for all forest-tovineyard conversions in the Gualala River watershed.
Opposed logging within the floodplain, on the banks of the North and South Forks of the Gualala River.
Outcome: logging plans were withdrawn after the National Marine Fisheries Service stated that the plans would harm endangered salmon.
Advocated for state and federal environmental regulation of instream gravel mining operations on the Gualala River.
Outcome: the National Marine Fisheries Service and California Department of Fish and Game imposed standard monitoring and reporting conditions and restrictions on gravel mining extraction rates.
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As an affiliate of the Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization recognized by the IRS, donations to Friends of the Gualala River are tax-deductible.