Sonoma County General Plan 2020 Citizens Advisory Committee,
The Sonoma Group of the Sierra Club concurs with the July 9 letter by Chris Poehlmann supporting Option 3 pertaining to conversions of timberland to agriculture. Conversion of timberland to agriculture results in many ecologically destructive effects, including erosion, herbicide runoff, water diversion, and loss of wildlife habitat. Current oversight of this process by the CDF is cursory and entirely inadequate from an ecological perspective.
Lands currently zoned TP are already provided a small amount of protection from clearcutting and conversion in the form of tax incentives to the owner. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of the timberlands in the county currently enjoy TP zoning, (69,000 acres out of 230,000 acres, or 30%). Rather than merely incrementing protection to the 30% of Sonoma County timberlands that are already somewhat protected, (as proposed in Option2), Option 3 will extend the increased protections to a much larger area, (84% of Sonoma County timberlands). Of the four options, only Option 3 represents a meaningful increase in forest land protections. The other two options (Option 1 and Option 4) do not address the ecological problem of conversions in a significant way.
Sierra Club Sonoma Group Chair
404A Mendocino Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95401