This is an archived version of the Napavision 2050 website prior to Sept, 2017. Click here for the current website.
To Promote the Health, Welfare and Safety of our Communities by Advocating for Responsible Planning
to Insure Sustainability of the Finite Resources of Napa County.

September 2016 Focus: Acorns to Oaks

Sept. 6th, 2016

Editorial: What Then is Napa County?

Dan Mufson, President, Napa Vision 2050
Arbor Day is celebrated in Napa City with a proclamation by the Mayor and the planting of a few trees. Napa is a “Tree City USA”. Section 12.45 of the Municipal Code regulates Protective Native Trees in order to promote a healthy urban forest that contributes to clean air, soil conservation, energy conservation, scenic beauty, enhanced property values and quality of life.

If the city is a “Tree City USA”, what then is Napa County which would allow the cutting and burning of over 24,000 trees from the top of Atlas Peak or in Angwin, in order to plant grapes? Can we call it “Anti-tree county”? Where is the perspective? What do we tell our children? It reminds me of the John Prine song about mountaintop desecration to harvest coal, "Sorry my son, you're too late in asking, Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it (the mountain) away." "(

And then to confound the situation, we find that on the one hand the county sanctions deforestation and on the other it is promoting planting acorns by our children through the RCD (see article below). We support the planting program as it is a positive on many levels but it is not a sufficient to counter balance the rampant deforestation that is being permitted in our municipal watersheds from Angwin down to Atlas Peak.

Several years back LA County supervisors moved to ban establishment of new vineyards and expanding existing vineyards in the Santa Monica Mountains coastal zone as they “require a number of activities that unavoidably adversely affect this area’s resources such as water quality, riparian area, water availability and scenic views.” Two years ago we asked our Supervisors to tighten the existing Napa County Voluntary Oak Woodland Management Plan adopted in 2010. They did nothing so a group of citizens spent considerable time and money to prepare an initiative to protect the watersheds and gathered over 6000 signatures from residents only to have it rejected by the Registrar of Voters.

In this issue we highlight the concerns the Sierra Club has with the approval of the Walt Ranch specifically over deforestation and climate issues and we report on the United Nations efforts to bring sanity to global land use. In the past week both the US and China agreed to sign the Paris accord. And yet here in Napa we can’t get our own Supervisors to take a stand on conservation and not allow the decimation of our woodlands. What’s keeping them from doing the right thing? As you collect acorns for use by the RDC, send a few to your Supervisor…

Call for Acorns: Acorns to Oaks

Wesley and Sabien collect valley oak acorns for the Acorn to Oaks program.

Napa County Resource Conservation District needs 5000 acorns to plant this fall as part of the "Acorns to Oaks" project for local students.

Valley oak acorns are most needed, but they will also accept those from coast live oak, blue oak, and black oak. Please put acorns in Ziploc bags labelled with variety and location collected.

This program engages our children with the natural world in a hands-on way. A child who has nurtured an acorn to a young oak has a stake in that tree's survival. One of our greatest hopes for the environment is to engender an educated love in our children and ourselves of the beauty and the intricacies of Nature. And it can all begin with an acorn.

Support this program! Contact NCRCD at (707)252-4189, ext. 3120 for more info.

Sierra Club Appeals Napa County’s Walt Ranch Decision

Viewing what is at risk on Walt Ranch.

On August 15th, the Napa Sierra Club filed an appeal to the Board of Supervisors to reverse the County’s August 1st approval of the Walt project. By appealing to the Board, the Sierra Club is asking the Supervisors to send the Walt project back to the drawing board for redesign.

The Walt developers plan to clearcut 270 acres of woodland for conversion to vineyards. It is the Sierra Club’s position that the County is out of compliance with State laws, including AB 32, which require action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Trees are vital bulwarks against climate change, and globally, deforestation is a major driver of climate change. The County’s project review process fails to adequately account for and remediate the climate change impacts of woodland destruction, and reflects the County’s foot-dragging on the requirement to develop a greenhouse gas control plan.

In 2008, the County issued a General Plan update, in which it committed to developing a greenhouse gas reduction plan (mitigation measure M‐4.8.7a), officially known as a “Climate Action Plan.” The Napa Sierra Club was part of the General Plan advisory group, and trusted that commitment. In anticipation of this plan, the Napa Sierra Club has not appealed or litigated any vineyard projects, but instead has been promoting responsible development by commenting on projects, educating the public, and providing policy input. However, 8 years later, the County still lacks the promised greenhouse gas reduction plan. The current draft of the proposed Climate Action Plan grossly underestimates the extent of planned woodland destruction in Napa County, and fails to propose adequate remediation. Forests and woodlands will continue to be destroyed without replacement.

According to Napa Sierra Club Chair, Nancy Tamarisk, “The County must comply with state law by requiring that Walt and future development projects do not contribute to climate change and environmental degradation. The Walt Project is too big to ignore, and the time for action by the County is long past. We urge the Supervisors to reverse the approval of the Walt project in its current form.”

Sierra Club is working closely with other groups who are appealing Walt Ranch on grounds which include threats to water supply of local residents, soil instability, and insufficient protections for threatened species.

Join us on Saturday Sept. 10, 2016, 10:30 am - 2 pm.

Walt Ranch Demonstration
in front of Hall Winery, St. Helena
401 St Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA 94574

The purpose of this demonstration is to protest the large scale deforestation (24,000 trees) of this proposed project that will create serious impacts to water sources and water availability for people in our community, as well as destruction of wildlife habitat and impacts to our microclimate.

Bring Family and Friends. Let's make this the strongest showing yet.
The flier is here

UN General Assembly Recommendations on Land Use

Patricia Damery, Editor

Nasa Photo, July 6, 2016

In August the United Nations (UN) General Assembly published the recommendations from the 2016 Harmony with Nature virtual dialogue.

The purpose of the dialogue was "to inspire citizens and societies to reconsider how they interact with the natural world in order to implement the Sustainable Development Goals in harmony with nature." 120 experts from 33 countries represented eight disciplines.

There is an urgent, worldwide call to recognize "the need for a holistic worldview rooted in respect for Nature."

The experts in the UN dialogues stress that globally, economic growth for a few has been achieved at the expense of the natural world and of many human populations. They emphasize the need to foster an "ecocentric democracy"— one in which the intrinsic value of non-human Nature is recognized as equal to that of humans. 

The recommendations are very much in concert with the principles of Pope Francis' Laudato Si.  A strong emphasis is placed on the need for human activities to be integrated with all life on the planet.

Attorneys in the group say the first step is to include the rights of Nature in our governing systems. Nature must have "the fundamental legal rights of ecosystems and species to exist, thrive, and regenerate".

Expert theologians underscored the necessity of moving from an attitude of "dominion over" or "stewardship" to one of being citizens of the planet, "earthlings". They also discussed the importance of the spiritual growth in the paradigm shift to an Earth-centric perspective.

Scientists lamented that present regulation is "how much destruction can occur". This new model asks, "What would a healthy system look like?"

Many of the experts talked about the need to return to traditional ecological indigenous knowledge. About one eighth of the world's forests are held by indigenous and forest people who protect 80% of its biodiversity. This knowledge is critically important in re-learning how to live in local ecosystems. Education develops knowledge of the interconnectedness of our ecosystems, which can lead to protection and legal standing of these systems.

The recommendations made can be viewed fully at UN Harmony with Nature.

"We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it."

  — Wendell Berry, The Long-Legged House


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