Posted on June 9, 2013 By Mina

Press democrat letter to the Editor

Press Democrat

Closer look needed

EDITOR: In the June 2 article about applications for new vineyards and replanting of vineyards (“A vineyard renaissance”), Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner Tony Linegar said applications are evaluated on the need for additional studies of erosion control or tree removal. He said that impacts to wildlife, water and other environmental issues are not currently part of the review process. Shouldn’t the application process for new and existing vineyards look at all potential impacts that vineyard plantings will have on the environment?

This review should not be unlike the review process for a timber harvest plan where the regulatory agencies and public are able to look at all relevant issues before approval to ensure there are no significant negative impacts.

Grapes are a monoculture that eliminates biodiversity and fragments wildlife habitat. Fertilizers and pesticides can contaminate the soils and water supply. Irrigation drains the aquifers and takes precious water from the Russian River. This ordinance needs to be rewritten, allowing for proper environmental review.