New rules making it tougher to rip up forested hillsides to plant vineyards won qualified approval from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisor Tuesday. The stronger erosion prevention measures were unanimously approved by the five supervisors, but most acknowledged that the process was viewed as frustrating and flawed by many involved.
Sonoma County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to scale back controversial rules designed to protect endangered fish and regulate how grape growers use water from the Russian River for frost protection. The board eliminated rules that would have required vineyard and orchard operators to monitor and report their water diversions from the river, its tributaries and nearby groundwater.
Sonoma County grape growers aiming to convert forested hillsides with neat rows of vineyards will have to prove their projects won’t damage local waterways under draft regulations released Thursday. The new rules, proposed by Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner Tony Linegar, would prohibit tree removal on the steepest of slopes.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved an emergency halt to new vineyards and orchards on forested slopes and hilltops. The four-month freeze was prompted by a wave of new vineyard projects and a need to update 12-year-old farming regulations that don’t deal with tree removal. What, if any, changes would you like to see?
Tony Linegar, Mendocino County’s agricultural commissioner, has been selected to take the same job in Sonoma County. His appointment, announced Tuesday, comes eight months after the county fired Ag Commissioner Cathy Neville in what has become an ugly and protracted legal battle.