In our March newsletter, we share Assemblymember Bill Dodd's perspective on El Niño and the ramifications of the drought on our environment and our economy. We also give you an update on the Governor's proposed state budget, which supports climate smart agriculture, and on the Northern Inner Coast Range Conservancy Bill.
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March 2016 E-News


F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
Dear friend,

Sometimes it’s easier to find words and sentiments that someone else has written and that suit your own thoughts perfectly. That’s what happened this month when I was working on my CEO letter. I ran across this recent editorial by Assemblyman Bill Dodd. In this op-ed, Assemblyman Dodd discusses our new normal in water conservation and use, and the need for long-term planning despite the significant rains expected by El Niño. I couldn’t have said it better myself.      

El Niño is Not a Silver Bullet
By Assemblymember Bill Dodd

El Niño is here, and some experts are saying this could be one of the most powerful on record. After four long years of drought, increased rainfall this winter is certainly a welcome relief. As the saying goes, “when it rains, it pours,” and we must ensure we are prepared for flooding and mudslides. At the same time, it is absolutely crucial in this wetter year that we continue to focus on water conservation and plan for the long term.

We cannot take our eye off the critical importance of investing in efficiency, water recycling and storage capabilities for future dry years. It’s important that we view this year’s El Niño for what it is – a temporary reprieve. Although these El Niño storms are providing us with a much needed rain, it is not enough to reverse 4 years of drought conditions or erase our long term prospects for hotter, drier weather.

The drought has hurt our environment and our economy. We’ve all been impacted by the drought, from residents working diligently to cut water use 25 percent to farmers fallowing hundreds of thousands of acres. The UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences found the drought cost our state an estimated $2.74 billion and 21,000 jobs in 2015 alone. 

Meeting our water needs is a marathon, not a sprint, and this winter’s El Niño should be seen as nothing more than a cup of water given to a marathon runner at the beginning of the race. Indeed, much of the rain we’ll see this winter will enter our streams and rivers, flow into the Bay and out the Golden Gate. Likewise, we cannot rely on our snowpack as a silver bullet for water storage into the summer. Of the 10 lowest snowpacks on record, five of them have occurred in the last decade, and this year marked the lowest snowpack on record.

When the voters passed Proposition 1 they expected – and rightly so – that the state would work quickly and diligently to make California a more drought tolerant state for our residents and future generations. Proposition 1 authorized $7.5 billion in bonds for water projects, including $2.7 billion for storage.

I am committed to ensuring a holistic approach to improving our state’s water infrastructure. This is what is right for our economy and our environment. It is also critical we develop better ways to account for the flow of water and how it is being used, and we need to improve water rights permitting to increase opportunities to trade water within regions. Our region has helped lead the way in the use of recycled water and have created partnerships through organizations like the North Bay Water Reuse Authority.

Residents across our district have stepped up at home and at their businesses – now it’s time for the state to step up too. The Governor’s administration and the legislature must continue supporting new groundwater banking projects and other measures to ensure our long-term sustainability. Californians deserve an efficient, sustainable, and equitable water system, and I will continue to work for smart water policy in Sacramento. We’re all in this race together.

Assemblymember Bill Dodd represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes all or portions of Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Solano, Yolo and Colusa Counties. Click here for water-saving tips and El Niño preparation.

Until next time,
Jeri Gill
CEO, Sustainable Napa County

Each month CivicSpark fellow Margot Stert provides an overview of her project work for Sustainable Napa County. In this second installment, Margot brings us up to date on on the Electric Vehicle (EV) study progress.  

I have now had the opportunity to meet with staff from Napa County, the incorporated cities, and several organizations like Visit Napa Valley, Napa Valley Vintners, and the Napa Valley Transportation Authority. These meetings have been very insightful and critical to understanding the differences and similarities among the various jurisdictions in Napa with regard to their concerns, needs, and progress with electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS). I’m now working on a summary of results from these preliminary interviews and will share the project’s updated goals with all of the organizations I met with. 

Napa County Roundup

American Canyon
At the 2016 State of the City Address, the City of American Canyon unveiled its new water video, From Source to Tap. Many California cities and water districts struggle to obtain sufficient water to sustain their growing populations and economies. Whether in time of plenty or drought, cities and water districts state-wide face a never-ending challenge to acquire, treat, and distribute water to customers. American Canyon is no exception.

Other news from American Canyon:
  • American Canyon has had an explosion of solar permits in 2015: 134 compared to 76 in 2014 and 36 in 2013. 
  • In December, the City approved an Environmentally Preferable Purchases and Practices Policy, which requires each department in the City to consider environmentally sustainable sources for all products that the City purchases.
  • The City adopted a single-use plastic bag reduction ordinance, which went into effect January 1.
  • The City is just completing a major water pipeline replacement project, replacing approximately 1½ miles of pipeline along Highway 29 and saving approximately 200 acre feet of potable water per year. That is enough water to serve approximately 600 single-family homes!
  • The City has a Zero Water Footprint policy for new development, and recently approved several development projects that will offset their potable water demand with water conservation projects. Two recent projects include Napa Junction III and Napa Logistics Park, both of which will extend recycled water mains so that existing landscaping can switch from being irrigated with potable water to recycled water. Together, these projects will conserve 71 acre-feet of potable irrigation water for more productive use.  
  • The City recently approved a new winery – Miocene Winery. Miocene has an innovative on-site reverse osmosis water facility that will enable 75 percent of the water used for wine production to be reused. The 25 percent of water that cannot be reused for wine production will be used to irrigate landscaping on the winery grounds.

Legislative Update

Governor’s Proposed State Budget Supports Climate Smart Agriculture
Governor Brown's proposed 2016-17 state budget introduced early this year includes more than $100 million in cap-and-trade funds to support agricultural practices and projects that will help the state meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions goals. The governor’s budget proposal comes on the heels of last year’s SB 367, authored by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis). SB 367 included funding for many of the practices endorsed by the governor, and though the bill was held in the Legislature, it can be seen as a major impetus for the governor’s current “climate smart ag” proposal. Read more...

Northern Inner Coast Range Conservancy Bill Introduced
State Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis) and Assemblymember Bill Dodd (D-Napa) have introduced Senate Bill 1396 to establish the Northern Inner Coast Range State Conservancy. Napa County would be eligible for inclusion in the Conservancy, which could bring additional funding and local collaboration in the region for conservation protection and economic development. Read more... 

Making Connections


Customers Can Go 100% Renewable with PG&E Community Solar Program 
Pacific Gas & Electric has launched a community solar program that allows customers to get half or all of their electricity from the sun. The program is tailored to customers that can’t or don't want to put solar on their roof—renters in high-rise buildings, for instance. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, approximately half of U.S. households and businesses are unable to install rooftop solar because of ownership, space, or shading limitations. A recent survey found that more than 50 percent of PG&E customers say they want to go solar. The community solar program allows customers to buy solar power from entirely new, locally sourced projects, which is a priority for many Californians. Click here for more information.
Energize Schools Energy Conservation Competition
Energize Schools is accepting registration for its Spring 2016 Energize Schools Energy Conservation Competition (April 13-May 3), sponsored by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Any K-12 school serviced by PG&E can compete to save energy, all while helping the environment and earning money for their schools. Sign up by March 15 to compete to save energy.
PSA Contest for High School Students
The Water Conservation Programs of the City of Calistoga, City of Napa, Town of Yountville, City of St. Helena, City of American Canyon, Napa County and Napa County Resource Conservation District are sponsoring a video contest for High School Students of Napa County. Prizes are offered to first, second and third place winners. The PSA focus is Every Drop Counts – Water Conservation as the new normal for California. How will your life change now that droughts and floods will be more persistent? What does everyday conservation look like to you? Deadline is April 5. Click here for more information.
Stop Junk Mail
Here are some handy links to reduce junk mail by eliminating unwanted catalogs in your mailbox, getting your name removed from mailing lists, and opting out of credit card and insurance offers. Click here for more info.

Mark Your Calendar

Through March 11
Canned Food Drive

Napa Recycling & Waste Services is sponsoring a canned food drive in association with the Napa Food Bank. Your donation of canned goods will help less fortunate individuals, seniors and children throughout the year. Simply place your donation in a separate bag next to your recycling cart and your donation will be collected

Tuesday, March 15 and Thursday, March 24, 11 am-noon
Water: Where Does it Come from and Where does it Go?

What happens to water once it goes down the drain? Find out Napa Valley CanDo takes us on a tour of Napa Sanitation District's wastewater treatment plant. It's a state-of-the-art wastewater facility that utilizes many complex processes to produce treated waste water and recycled water that can be released to the Napa River or distributed for irrigation as recycled water. On March 24, visit the Edward Barwick Water Treatment Plant and see this remarkable facility off Jamieson Canyon Road that's responsible for much of the City of Napa's water needs. After the tour, you'll have much more respect for the technology that allows us the privilege of drinking clean water right from the tap. Click here to RSVP.
Tuesday, March 15, 7-8:30 pm
Napa Food Project

Always on the lookout for the most successful community-building projects nationwide, Napa Valley CanDo is collaborating with the Napa Food Bank to pilot the Napa Food Project. The goals of the project are to provide a regular supply of food to our hungry neighbors, to create new neighborhood connections and strengthen our community, and to serve as a model for other communities. Attend this organizational gathering at the Food Bank warehouse and learn how, together, we can revolutionize the way our excellent Food Bank keeps groceries on its shelves all year long. Watch the video for more info and click here if you'd like to participate.
Tuesday, March 22, 9 am-6 pm
13th Annual Water Conservation Showcase

The annual Water Conservation Showcase brings together experts, innovative products and services, and the sustainable development community to address one of the largest concerns of Californians: water. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) partners with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) to bring together local and national experts to address water conservation topics including policies, rebates, business case studies, treatment innovations, storm-water management, low impact development, water supply history and future, and water reuse solutions. This free event takes place in San Francisco at the PG&E Pacific Energy Center. Click here for more info.

Saturday, April 2, 4-6 pm
Tasting Event with Amanda Eicher

In conjunction with the di Rosa exhibition Radical Landscapes, artist Amanda Eicher will present a sensory tasting experience to explore how climate change impacts local agricultural practices and the taste of food and wine. Experience the flavors of Napa Valley and participate in a lively discussion about the local environment while browsing the exhibition. Click here to purchase tickets.

Friday, April 8, 1-4 pm (Business)
Saturday, April 9, 9 am-3 pm (Residential)
Hazardous Waste Collection Event

Upper Valley Waste Management Agency is hosting a two-day hazardous waste collection event. Businesses need to schedule an appointment and will be charged a small fee but there is no cost to residential customers of Upper Valley Disposal Service on Clover Flat Landfill. For more information, call 707-259-8330.

April 9 and 10, 10 am-4 pm
California Native Plant Society Plant Sale

Get your water-wise, drought tolerant, habitat-friendly native plants at this annual plant sale. Over 1,000 hard-to-find native plants for sale and over 200 Napa County identified wildflowers on display. Click here for more info.
April and May

Free Home Composting Workshops
Learn how to turn yardwaste and kitchen scraps into wonderfully rich compost to use as a soil amendment or mulch in your garden. Discover the basics of backyard composting, worm composting and grasscycling. Become familiar with tools, techniques and types of bins. Sign up for a free workshop and take home a special gift to get you started right away. Click here for more info and to register. 

Did You Know...

We produce more than 400 million tons of hazardous waste each year. (source)

Public agencies and private water developers have built nearly 1,400 reservoirs in California to capture seasonal runoff, protect against floods and allocate water supplies throughout the year. These reservoirs hold about 42 million acre-feet of water when full. (source)

Did you know that a whopping 43% of solar energy is used just for heating water. (source)

On Sunday March 20, 2016, the day and night will be of almost equal duration at most time zones in the world. (source)
Copyright © 2015 Sustainable Napa County, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
1556 First Street, Suite 102, Napa, CA 94559 
(707) 927-3858 

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