Wildfires that broke out across northern California on October 8th, 2017 wiped out nearly 7,000 Sonoma County structures, including 2,900 homes in Santa Rosa alone, and over 100,000 acres of land. In addition to leaving in their wake of loss of life, family histories and homes, properties are now layered in hazardous contaminants that threaten our watershed.
From fire retardant, heavy metals and toxic ash to organic byproducts and exposed sediment, increasing rains leave all residents at risk of contamination of our watershed via the 617 streams in fire-affected areas.
Public agencies have partnered with grassroots organizations to create the Watershed Taskforce.
What is needed now is a coordinated infrastructure and partnership for distributing, monitoring, maintaining and removing Best Management Practices (BMPs) around high-risk burn zones.
Sonoma County Conservation Action and Conservation Action Fund for Education have been at the forefront of relief efforts in response to the recent wildfires in northern California. With 26 years of local grassroots organizing in Sonoma County and a strong track record of mobilizing residents to implement environmental policies, we have the history and community trust to work with private landowners, neighborhoods and nonprofit partners to protect our watershed as rains loom.
The Watershed Protection Program fills the essential need to navigate mass coordination across between the County of Sonoma, the Regional Water Boards and a network of grassroots nonprofits including Clean River Alliance, Russian River Keeper, Community Soil, Sonoma Ecology Center and other partners in order to protect our watershed and soils from contamination and long-term harm.
This starts with source control at burn sites, and short-term containment strategies, followed by long term remediation and monitoring.
To volunteer, sign up on SonomaCounty.Recovers.org. To request more information, go to www.conservationaction.org/contact-us or email us HERE.
Thank you to Sonoma Clean Power and Jackson Family Wines for helping support this collaborative effort.