By BRETT WILKISON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday formally approved preparation of a plan for more thorough management and study of groundwater in the Santa Rosa Plain.
The 85-square mile area, stretching from Cotati to Windsor, has a 260-square-mile watershed, including surrounding uplands. The plan, which fulfills a state mandate, would outline a strategy to conserve groundwater supplies and increase use of recycled water in the region, among other goals.
Tuesday’s unanimous vote capped a two-year effort to drum up support for the work among the region’s governments, property owners and business, agriculture and environmental groups.
Representatives from those interests make up a 30-member panel that is overseeing the work. It includes a representative from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, whose planned Rohnert Park casino has drawn fire from opponents and neighbors concerned about its impact on groundwater and private wells.
Supervisors have lamented their limited say in the casino’s approval and design, but did seem to welcome the tribe’s participation in the groundwater work.
The plan for the Santa Rosa Plain will be modeled on a non-regulatory approach to groundwater management now underway in the southern Sonoma Valley.
A draft plan is expected late next year.
Funding sources include $250,000 in grants from the state Department of Water Resources and a total of $260,000 provided by the county Water Agency, the county, the cities of Santa Rosa, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol and Windsor, and the California American Water Co.