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Annapolis Area Timberland Conversions Project

A Revised Notice of Preparation: Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Annapolis Area Timberland Conversions Project states that the Martin project has been revised to include a 1.5 acre irrigation reservoir. No new scoping meeting will be held; deadline for public comments is February 18, 2008.

October 2006
Raney Planning and Management of Sacramento is preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the “Annapolis Area Timberland Conversion Project,” which consists of two parcels, 36451 Annapolis Road (Roessler) and 40445 Sleepy Hollow Road (Martin).

At the EIR scoping meeting on October 19, 2006 in Annapolis, dozens from the local community spoke with authority and authenticity, voicing concerns on issues including the effect of pesticides, sediment, and nutrients on water quality, water availability, fire risks, pesticide spraying, carbon sequestration, roads and traffic, worker housing and services, and on the need for peer review of consultants’ work.

Area residents followed up with detailed written comments on the scope of the EIR.

In 2004, Roessler and Martin each proposed projects to convert timberland on their properties into vineyards. Scientists working on behalf of Friends of the Gualala River submitted substantial information to the California Department of Forestry (CDF) demonstrating numerous ways in which the proposed projects would have significant adverse impacts on the environment.

Among other things, the evidence showed that the conversions have the potential to adversely impact native plants, terrestrial wildlife, anadromous salmonids (coho salmon and steelhead trout); and aquatic habitat, by among other things, increasing sedimentation, depleting ground water, reducing base flows, increasing temperatures, increasing runoff and peak flows, and degrading terrestrial habitat.

In clear violation of California law, CDF ignored the potential environmental impacts of these projects, and approved them by granting “Negative Declarations,” meaning that CDF determined that these conversions could not have a significant impact on the environment.

To protect our forests, the Sierra Club and Friends of the Gualala River asked a judge to strike down CDF’s negligent approval of these projects, since it had done so without a thorough analysis of environmental impacts as required by law. Faced with substantial evidence that the projects could have significant adverse impacts, CDF was forced to set aside the “Negative Declarations,” and to tell the plan proponents that they would have to prepare an Environmental Impact Report before they could proceed.

The lawsuit put developers on notice that in the future proposals to convert timberland to vineyards in our area would be required to seriously address environmental impacts by preparing EIRs.

Here is the text of CDF’s public notice
of the scoping meeting for the EIR:

Annapolis Area Timberland Conversion Project
EIR Scoping Meeting

Thursday, October 19, 6:00 p.m.
Multipurpose Room, Horicon School

35555 Annapolis Road
Annapolis, CA 95412

Project name:
Annapolis Area Timberland Conversion Project

Project location:
36451 Annapolis Road and 40445 Sleepy Hollow Road, near the town of Annapolis, Sonoma County, California

Send Comments to:
Mr. Allen Robertson, Deputy Chief
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
PO Box 944246
Sacramento, CA 94244-2460

Email: SacramentoPublicComment@fire.ca.gov

Comment Period Ends:
October 31, 2006 [at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time]

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) is the lead agency for the preparation of a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Annapolis Area Timberland Conversion Project (proposed project). The scope of the EIR has been proposed based upon a determination by CDF that the project may have a significant effect on the environment. CDF has directed the preparation of this EIR in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Once a decision is made to prepare an EIR, the lead agency must prepare a Notice of Preparation (NOP) to inform all responsible and trustee agencies that an EIR will be prepared. The purpose of the NOP is to provide agencies with sufficient information describing both the proposed project and the potential environmental effects to enable the agencies to make a meaningful response as to the scope and content of the information to be included in the EIR. The EIR is anticipated to include the following chapters: Aeesthetics, Biological Resources, Cultural Resources, Geology & Soils, Hazards, Hydrology & Water Quality, and Land Use & Agricultural Resources. CDF is also soliciting comments on the scope of the EIR from interested persons.

Scoping Meeting
A public scoping meeting will be held regarding the proposed EIR for the Annapolis Area Timberland Conversion Project on Thursday, October 19, 2006 at 6:00 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the Horicon Elementary School at 35555 Annapolis Road, Annapolis, CA 95412.

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