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Take Action

Below are some of the things you can do to take action to protect your watershed.


Complaints and Comments

You can write a letter to a public agency or to decision makers and help affect water policy. CCWI responds to complaints of water pollution and water quality degradation. Click here to go to the Complaints page to see CCWI's recent comments to agencies or organizations which make decisions affecting water quality.

Have you detected water contamination, pollution, or other problems in your area? Click here for the CCWI Water Pollution Complaint Form. Remember to take lots of photos, and to call CCWI or an enforcement agency right away.


Water Quality Monitoring

Become a Citizen Monitor. Find out more here.


Bohemia Ranch, better known to most of us as Waterfall Park, can now be
ours! (sample letter)

As you know, the Open Space District tried to buy the ranch 9 years ago and
the deal fell apart. The owner is now willing to sell the ranch to the
District in a bargain sale and is willing to provide an endowment to help
cover the costs of keeping it as a wild, relatively undeveloped park.

In addition, there is a great opportunity to sell carbon credits from the
rapidly growing commercial timberland on the property to help cover the
costs of the park stewardship.

The property is on Bohemian Hwy. about four miles from Occidental and
fourteen miles from Santa Rosa. Most of the site is moderate to steep
sloping ridges covered with forest or grassy meadows. The ranch is drained
by three creeks that flow into Dutch Bill Creek, which is just off the
property. The famed waterfall is on lower Duvoul Creek.

Over the past 8 years extensive clean-up and restoration work has occurred
on the ranch. All debris has been removed, roads re-graded and resurfaced,
new roads developed, numerous erosion sites repaired, extensive biologic
evaluation and documentation accomplished, and many new water sources
developed.

A conservation easement on the ranch is held by the Sonoma Land Trust, but
the possibility of subdivision into six separate home sites still exists on
the ranch.

The property is 862 acres, with about 400 acres in fir forest with some
redwoods. The forest has an approved Nonindustrial Timber Management Plan in
place, which means that it can be commercially harvested without additional
approvals. As a result of quantifying this timber resource a great
opportunity exists to sell carbon credits to raise funds for supporting the
proposed park while simultaneously preventing any further cutting of trees.

A VITALLY IMPORTANT WATERSHED - ENDANGERED SPECIES

The creeks that drain Bohemia Ranch flow directly into Dutch Bill Creek at
the very heart of its watershed. Bohemia Ranch cover approximately 17% of
the entire watershed of Dutch Bill Creek. Dutch Bill creek supports
federally listed endangered species coho salmon and threatened steelhead and
has been the focus of considerable restoration expenditures over the past
few years.

The Dutch Bill Creek Watershed Council, the Watershed Institute at
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Westminster Woods, and the Goldridge
Resource Conservation District have supplied leadership in implementing
restoration activities on the creek. The Sonoma County Water Agency, CA
Dept. of Fish and Game, NOAA Fisheries, and the University of California
have been actively engaged in restoration on Dutch Bill Creek. Many other
organizations are also involved and are supporting the restoration work on
the creek. All of these organizations support protecting the watershed by
protecting Bohemia Ranch.

READY TO GO, DEVELOPED CAMPGROUND - IMMEDIATE PUBLIC
ACCESS

Bohemia Ranch will make a wonderful park - its all ready to go, with a
developed campground site already in place and good alternatives for
providing stewardship funding. The campsite, on a ridge with great views,
is served by a new road and includes 4 little cabins, a fire ring, outdoor
showers, privy, a proven septic field, and a developed water source.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO GET INVOLVED:


Contact the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District
at 707-565-7360 or openspace@sonoma-county.org. Let them know you support
acquiring the park!


 

Climate Change

What can you do about climate change?

1) Educate yourself about the issue.

Climate change is a very complex topic. The science and politics involved reach from the North Pole to the car you drive.

New- Go see "An Inconvenient Truth"- A documentary movie about climate change featuring Al Gore, who travels across America describing the threat of global warming and how to address it. The film starts the weekend of June 2nd and runs through June 8th at the Rialto theater in Santa Rosa. Visit the information table on opening weekend sponsored by the Climate Protection Campaign and CCWI. Community Clean Water Institute, the Climate Protection Campaign, the Sierra Club, and Solar Sebastopol will have a table in the lobby after the film, where you can learn more about what we are doing locally to reduce green house gas emissions and take action, including endorsing Sonoma's community target for greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 25% below 1990 levels by 2015. For more information, check www.climatecrisis.net.
For more information on local showings contact the Rialto Cinemas Lakeside 707-539-9771 at 551 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa.

News: Katrina and Climate Change

Here are some links to find out more about climate change:
The Climate Protection Campaign's Climate 101 page
ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability: Cities for Climate Protection
Union of Concerned Scientists: About Global Warming

2) Make individual choices

Here are a few effective consumer choices you can make to reduce your use of fossil fuels: 1) Buy a fuel efficient or hybrid car (the Toyota Prius gets ~50 mpg), 2) plant a native plant garden instead of a lawn and use low flow shower heads and toilets, 3) insulate your house better with double pane windows and buy Energy Star appliances, 4) donate money to groups like CCWI that work on this issue. OK, that was easy, now check out the Big Picture Solutions.

3) Talk to people, form a group, join a group, lobby for change!

In 2001, two concerned citizens (just like you) decided to get every city in Sonoma County to pass resolutions to quantify and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. You can do the same in your city and county. Once all the cities had passed the resolution, they approached the regional air quality district to include them in the regional effort. Citizens can be the wind driving the ship of government.

4) Big Picture Solutions

Climate change is a big problem, and here are some big picture solutions, including Contraction and Convergence, and Individual Emissions Entitlements. Click here.


Groundwater

This page contains information on groundwater. For more publications, click "Current Issues" above, and go to "Data" or the topic you are looking for (Example: "First Flush").

Well factsheets:

A critique of the Kleinfelder Report can be found at owlfoundation.net (click here)
The Kleinfelder Report- Groundwater study including Joy Road. (pdf on the County PRMD website)

How to find out about your well:

1. Research Existing Information

Property owners have access to the Well Driller's Report, also called the 'well log'. The well log describes the types of soil and rock the driller found when the well was drilled, the approximate yield of the well at that time, and at what level the pump or intake was installed. The report should be on file with the County Permit and Resource Management Department.

If you are concerned about pesticide use in your area, you can request to review records at the County Agricultural Commissioner's office (707) 565-2371. Commercial and agricultural applicators of pesticides must file monthly pesticide use reports with the Commissioner. Private homeowners do not. For health and safety information on a specific chemical or pesticide, ask the Commissioner's Office, local retailers, or the company which is using the chemical, for a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).

If there are any small water districts in the area also using wells then there will be quarterly monitoring submitted to the state which can be helpful in focusing the
analytical testing list. You can call your local water district, and ask if this information is available. The State Water Quality Control Board has a regional office in Santa Rosa (Region 1), with records open to the public. The State Water Resources Control Board is in Sacramento. Both websites are www.swrcb.ca.gov.

2. Perform a Basic Quantity Test on your Well

CCWI has a well monitoring fact sheet which explains how to do simple tests such as depth and recharge, to measure water quantity. CCWI has a fisherscope, and can assist with the water quantity test.

3. Hire a Lab/ Do Chemical Tests

To do your own tests, you may hire a local water testing laboratory. There are several in the phone book. Local companies which test well water queality include Analytical Sciences, Inc. based in Petaluma (707) 769-3128, and Brelje & Race (707) 544-8807. The County of Sonoma will test for bacteria only, for $20. You must go to their office in Santa Rosa to obtain collection jars, and can expect results in a few days. The Department of Health Services Laboratory phone number is (707) 565-4711.

For further testing, look to private companies such as National Testing Laboratories, Ltd. They perform tests on 75 to 95 parameters including pesticides, metals, and inorganics:
WATERCHECK broad spectrum of 75 contaminants: $125
WATERCHECK WITH PESTICIDE (20 pesticides, herbicides, PCB): $155
WATERTEST for 33 contaminants for municipal water users: $85
Contact: www.watercheck.com (800) 458-3330

What to do about a Contaminated Well

Step 1: Water Testing
Only a laboratory test can tell you the quantity of a contaminant actually present. Knowing what's in your water will help decide which filtering method to select. Testing should always be done by a reputable or certified laboratory. Local private companies such as Analytical Sciences, Inc. (707-769-3128) of Petaluma, and Brelje & Race (707-544-8807) of Santa Rosa perform well water testing. A national company, National Testing Laboratories, Ltd. performs tests on 75 to 95 parameters including pesticides, metals, and inorganics for $125:
WATERCHECK WITH PESTICIDE (20 pesticides, herbicides, PCB): $155
WATERTEST for 33 contaminants for municipal water users: $85
Contact: www.watercheck.com (800) 458-3330

Step 2: Filtration

Activated Carbon (AC) AC filtration is recognized by the Water Quality Association as an acceptable method to maintain certain drinking water contaminants within the limits of the EPA National Drinking Water Standards. Trihalomethanes, benzene, PCB, industrial solvents, and pesticides are some of the chemicals removed.*

Activated Carbon Filter Options:

Counter top ("Brita"): Not sufficient; removes less than 50% of chemicals

Under the Sink (point of use): These relatively inexpensive ($100-$400) systems are very effective in cleaning the water at your kitchen sink. They do need cartridge changes every 3-6 months, and do not clean your bathing or irrigation water. Therefore, these systems are best for households looking for peace of mind in safeguarding against trace chemicals or future contamination. It is still important to regularly test your water. The State certifies these units for health claims, check out a list or products at www.dhs.ca.gov/ps/ddwen/technical/certification/device/table.htm.

Whole-house (point of entry): These will clean all the water coming into your home. There are no CA certified filters for the entire house. Uncertified filters are however available at reasonable cost ($150-$500), at places like Home Depot. Low demand for such filters has kept manufacturers from investing in the costly certification process, so homeowners can not use State safeguards as guidance for choosing a good brand.

Well Cap: For homeowners who have tested above allowable concentrations, the best filter is one that attaches to your well. These not only clean your home's water, but keeps contaminants from entering the water cycle again through lawn runoff and wastewater. These units cost ~$4000, and require regular water testing. However they are the best protection available from harmful chemicals.

Local companies which sell or install water filters:

Weeks Drilling, Sebastopol 707-823-3184
Culligan 707-545-1330
Quality Water Treatment 707-829-4771
Ecowater/Servisoft 707-542-5111

* from: N. Dakota State University Extension Service www.ext.nodak.edu/extpubs/h2oqual/watsys/aelo45w.htm


Overview of Some Chemicals found in Wells near
Witter and Elphick Road, Sebastopol

Tetrachloroethene (PCE)
What: Tetrachloroethene has been used primarily as a solvent in dry-cleaning industries and metal-degreasing, and in smaller concentrations in consumer products.

Health risks: PCE has been reported to damage the liver and the kidneys. The potential long-term health effects from very low levels of the chemical found in some water supplies have not been identified. Studies show that PCE produces liver tumors, kidney tumors, and leukemia in rats and mice. The EPA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services consider it a suspect carcinogen.

Maximum Level of Contamination (MLC): 5.0 ppb (parts per billion).

Carbon Tetrachloride
What: Carbon Tetrachloride has been produced in large quantities to make refrigeration fluid, and also used in aerosol cans, cleaning fluids, fire extinguishers, and pesticides. Because of its harmful effects, many of its uses are now banned.

Health Risks: Exposure to high amounts can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and nervous system. The health effects of long-term exposure to low levels of carbon tetrachloride are not known. It has been shown to cause liver cancer and other tumors in rats, mice, and hamsters. The Department of Health and Human Services, International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the EPA have determined that carbon tetrachloride is a probable human carcinogen.

Maximum Level of Contamination (MLC): 0.5 ppb (parts per billion)

Trichloroethene (TCE)
What: Trichloroethene is used mainly in dry cleaning and metal-degreasing operations.
Health Risks: TCE has been shown to induce lung damage, liver tumors, and kidney damage in mice at high doses. It is uncertain whether people who drink water containing trichloroethene are at higher risk of cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has not classified TCE as a carcinogen.

Maximum Level of Contamination (MLC): 5.0 ppb (parts per billion).

Other chemicals found include: chloroform, toluene, xylene, dichloromethane, nitrate/nitrite as nitrogen, 1,1-dichloroethane, 1,2-dichloroehtane, 1,1,1,-trichloroethane, total trihalomethenes

Sources:
1 World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/GDWQ/Chemicals/orgconstitindex.htm
2 New York State Department of Health, http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/environ/btsa/fs_perc.htm
3 United States Public Health Service, http://www.eco-usa.net/toxics
4 Environmental Protection Agency , http://www.epa.gov/ttn/uatw/hlthef/
5 Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaq.html


 

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