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Volume 6, Number 6   June 18 - July 16, 2009

Vacation at Home Summer Series

Vacation at Home Summer Series
Swim, Boat, Hike, Picnic, Camp. Golf, Dine & Dance, Read a Book!
Play in the water while there's water to play in!

By Vesta Copestakes

Sonoma County - Vacation at Home Summer 2009 Part 1 »

Save Our State Parks
SAVE Our State Parks!
Saving State Parks from Budget Cuts is High Priority
By Michele Luna

On Tuesday, June 2nd one hundred State Park supporters attended the Budget Conference Committee meeting to testify against the Governors proposal to cut the General Fund allocation for State Parks. This cut could result in the closure of 223 State Parks including all the State Parks in Sonoma County.

We arrived at 9:30 am to lobby legislators and met with many staff members who were for the most part supportive. We stressed the economic impacts to our communities, the loss of lifeguard services at our beaches, the destruction of this incredible legacy started during the depression, and the loss of education for school children. The California State Parks Foundation did an excellent job organizing this effort in a very short time. We are very appreciative to them.

The Budget Conference Committee meeting started at 1:30. Resources shared the agenda with Prisons and we had to wait for them to present their recommendations and then for the public to testify. When it was time for the Committee to address Resources it was close to 4:30. The Legislative Analyst's Office recommended fee increases in lieu of State Park closures. We do support fee increases considering the dire situation our state is in but we don't want to raise fees to the point where the public has to think twice about whether or not they can afford to visit our parks.

Save Our State Parks! »

Lower Flows on Russian River this Summer
Looking towards a long, hot summer
Lower Flows on Russian River this Summer
By Brenda Adelman

Water-wise, this is going to be a long and difficult summer. Based on the State Water Board’s recent Order, from July 6th , to October 2nd, Sonoma County Water Agency is expected to lower Russian River flows from Healdsburg to the Estuary to 35-45 cubic feet per second (cfs). Normal summer flows at the Hacienda Bridge are usually three to five times that amount. The entire river will be a sliver of its normal self and those seeking refuge from the heat will probably not be able to canoe or swim in most areas.

What may be even worse is the potential for long-term damage to the lower river environment from both drastically lowered flows and the legalizing of “incidental” summer wastewater releases. The North Coast Regional Board is right now considering legalizing “incidental runoff” of irrigated wastewater. For the last thirty years, summer wastewater discharges of any kind had been illegal due to health and environmental concerns. Now there’s a state-wide push to reuse wastewater, mostly to enhance potable supplies. This would be fine if it were more highly treated.

Unfortunately, there are still many unregulated chemicals in the wastewater. What a double whammy! While these discharges won’t be authorized this year, it is likely they will be for next.

Lower Flows on Russian River this Summer »

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