In our September newsletter, we celebrate our CivicSpark fellow Margot Stert's recent graduation, give you an update on climate policy legislation and the new Healthy Soils program, and share ways to support  Prop 67 and help protect the ban on plastic bags.
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September 2016 E-News


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

Oh September, back to school and back from vacations – no more lazy summer days. And to prove that point, this month’s e-news is stuffed and overflowing with news and information. There’s plenty happening locally and in Sacramento – and no shortage of ways to stay updated, be connected, and get involved.  
We normally associate graduation with the month of June, but this month we celebrated a milestone with our CivicSpark fellow Margot Stert as she graduated from the
CivicSpark program. Check out our photos  from the event. We had fun fussing over Margot and were impressed with the quality and relevance of the CivicSpark projects statewide. Over the past two service years, 96 Climate Action fellows have supported over 100 local governments and community groups and worked on more than 60 projects throughout California to help build local government capacity to respond to climate change. Each service year, these fellows contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. Here in Napa County, Margot is finishing up her project to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles by identifying where charging stations are currently and where they might be placed; ultimately, this will increase the comfort level for those considering an EV. Even though she officially graduated, she will be with us for a few more months as we work on the launch of the project and share the results with the community. 
And from the “What the heck?” files – just when you finally got the hang of remembering your reusable bags when shopping, out-of-state interests are attempting to overturn the California ban on single-use plastic bags. In 2014, California passed a law to phase out wasteful, single-use plastic grocery bags, with broad support from local governments, business groups, unions, retailers, and environmental organizations. More than 150 communities across California have already banned plastic bags. And according to Napa Recycling & Waste Services, Napa has seen a 50 percent decrease in plastic bag contamination in our recycling stream since passing our own local ordinances. The law is making a difference here locally and it’s making a difference statewide, with little or no inconvenience to consumers who have adjusted easily and willingly. Check out our Legislative Update 
section for more about the Yes on Prop 67 campaign to protect our state law and find out how you can lend your name and support. 

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 (SNC). In this installment, Margot brings us up to date on the Idle Free campaign.

A critical element of the CivicSpark and AmeriCorps experience involves engaging local volunteers in addressing climate issues that directly affect the community. For this component of my service, I’ve been working with other members of the Napa Valley Clean Air Coalition to implement the Bay Area-wide Idle Free campaign here in Napa County. 

The Coalition has decided to focus initially on reducing idling at elementary schools because the resulting exhaust is harmful to human health, especially to children. Parents often leave their cars on while waiting in drop off and pick up zones, but young students have developing lungs that are extra-susceptible to those pollutants. In addition to these heath concerns, idling also pollutes the air, can actually harm your vehicle, and wastes gas. 
Read more...  

The Napa Green Winery and Napa County Green Business programs help businesses and wineries countywide implement environmental practices that are sustainable as well as profitable.

In order to achieve Green Business/Napa Green Winery certification, applicants must meet program standards and be in compliance with all applicable environmental regulations. The program focuses on five implementation areas: water, waste, energy, pollution prevention, and stormwater. Businesses and wineries complete an online application and program staff connects them with their water, solid waste and energy providers and Sustainable Napa County, to help identify areas where they can save resources and money.
 Read more... 

Napa County Roundup

New Native and Drought-tolerant Park in Yountville
The Town of Yountville recently opened a new park, Oak Circle Park, at the intersection of Oak Circle and Heather Street in the town’s south end. The new park features all native and drought-tolerant landscaping material.  Read more...

Legislative Update

Protect the Ban on Plastic Bags: Vote Yes on Prop 67
Plastic bag companies from South Carolina, Texas, and New Jersey are funding the highly deceptive campaign against Prop 67, the statewide plastic bag ban on California’s ballot this November. They want to kill California’s efforts to rein in plastic bag waste and litter, instead of giving our state’s law a chance to work and build success at the local level. One hundred fifty one (151) California cities and counties—including Napa County, American Canyon, Napa, Yountville and St. Helena—have already banned plastic bags. The results of these locally adopted policies are clear, consistent, and indisputable: lower costs, reduced litter and waste, and the elimination of an unnecessary threat to wildlife and the environment—in fact, Napa has seen a 50 percent decrease in plastic bag contamination in our recycling stream. The Yes on 67 campaign has put together some helpful materials including a website, fact sheet and list of supporters

State Legislature passes climate policy; SB 32 awaits Governor’s signature
Senate Bill 32, by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Calabasas, passed both the Assembly and the Senate. Gov. Jerry Brown has indicated he plans to sign it along with its companion bill, AB197, by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella. Senate Bill 32 would extend and expand California’s target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The current goal is to hit 1990 levels by 2020; the new proposal would require the state to reduce emissions by another 40 percent by 2030. In a guest commentary, Tom Bowman, founder and president of Bowman Change, Inc. and keynote speaker at SNC’s Policymakers Summit in 2013, states that “Whether from a business or social perspective, California’s climate investments are helping people throughout the state. Senate Bill 32 will extend these programs by 10 years and is widely regarded as the critical next step in advancing California’s leadership in combating climate change, advancing a clean energy economy and the jobs that come with it, and creating a level playing field so that renewable energy can compete with polluting fossil fuels. Entrepreneurs like me can now continue to upgrade, invest in our business and in the health of our employees and neighbors.” 

Gov. Brown, lawmakers strike deal on cap-and-trade spending
California will spend $900 million in revenues raised by its cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions and hold back $462 million for later under a deal reached last week by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and Senate and Assembly leaders. Funds will go to local transit and rail; rebates for electric and other clean cars; efforts attacking short-lived climate pollutants; paying for solar, insulation and other energy upgrades on homes of low-income residents; and adding green spaces to low-income neighborhoods.

State lawmakers create Healthy Soils program; provides needed resources for farmers and ranchers
The newly created Healthy Soils Program will reward growers who employ multi-benefit practices that treat their farms and ranches as carbon sinks. SB 859 sets program parameters and updates the Environmental Farming Act of 1995, which guides the Department of Food and Agriculture’s work on these issues. The leadership of Senator Lois Wolk (D – Davis)—who authored multiple bills over the years to create a state climate change and agriculture program, including SB 1350 (2016) and SB 367 (2015)—was critical in the establishment of the Healthy Soils Program. 

Making Connections


DIY Well Monitoring Program
The County of Napa and RCD have launched a new service for County residents interested in monitoring the status of their wells. RCD and County have acquired a Well Sounder Pro, a sonic well-depth measuring device, and it is now available for use by County residents on a short-term loan basis. This is a great opportunity for residents to learn how water depth changes and recharge occurs in their well over the course of a year. The Well Sounder Pro is an easy to use, hand-held device that measures well water depth in minutes. RCD staff will guide residents in operating the Well Sounder Pro during the first use. Contact Charles Schembre or call (707) 252-4189 x 3122  to schedule your free consultation and tool calibration today!

Get Your Cameras Ready
RCD and the WICC are collecting images for the 2017 Watershed Awareness Calendar. The focus of the annual, free calendar in 2017 is on Hiking in Napa County. Anyone may submit photos for calendar consideration. Photos should be high resolution, between 3 – 20 MB. They are looking for photos of beautiful hiking areas (scenery, plants, animals, creeks) from Mt. Saint Helena to the American Canyon wetlands. Other photogenic locations include: Napa-Bothe State Park, Lake Berryessa, Oat Hill Mine Trail, Las Posadas State Forest, Napa-Sonoma Marshes, and any other publicly accessible open space. Submit photos by October 7, 2016. Read more...

Reduce Your Water Footprint
Eating local saves water, but might not be possible 100 percent of the time for everyone in the U.S., with seasonal vegetables and the need to import things like bananas and coffee. However, almost everyone can reduce their water footprint by drinking local. Here are some tips on how to reduce your bottled water footprint.  Read more...

Composting at Home
Instead of bagging, leave the cut grass on the lawn to decompose and return to the soil, helping your lawn stay healthy. Get more backyard composting ideas. Read more...

Compost Conserves Water
Nearly half of our community’s water is used to maintain landscaping—compost limits evaporation and can significantly reduce the amount of water needed. Napa’s local compost is perfect for vineyards, farms, gardens, yards and landscaping projects, and is available for only $10/cubic yard. Read more...

Tips for Driving in Hot Weather
In hot weather and long trips, save money and fuel by rolling the windows down at low speeds but use the vehicle air conditioner at highway speeds. Also, be sure your car is tuned up and the tires properly inflated. Read more...

Danger: Recharge Air Conditioners Properly
If your home or vehicle air conditioner needs to be recharged, be sure to use correct, approved refrigerants. Avoid recharging with unacceptable substitute refrigerants, which may post health or environmental risks, including ozone depletion potential, global warming potential, toxicity, flammability, and exposure potential.  Read more...

Green Power Partnership: Advancing the Green Power Market
Learn how thousands of partner organizations are working to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use by switching to green power. Read more...

Mark Your Calendar

Saturday, September 10, 6 -10 pm
5th annual Fork It Over 
Oxbow Public Market, Napa

"Party with Purpose" at the 5th annual Fork It Over to raise funds in support of the Community Action of Napa Valley Food Bank. Enjoy live music, wine and food at this Oxbow District-wide event featuring a special family-style, market-to-table dinner provided by Michelin Star Chef Ken Frank of La Toque and Executive Chef Victor Scargle of The Culinary Institute of America at Copia. Click here for tickets.

Tuesday, September 13, 6:30-8 pm
Napa Homeowner Workshop on Energy Efficiency Rebates
NVTA Board Room, Napa

Every home has room for improvement when it comes to saving energy and money. Now, through Energy Upgrade California®Home Upgrade, homeowners can improve their home’s energy efficiency, increase comfort, and add value to their homes! Homeowners can receive up to $6,500 in incentives and rebates, plus $300 for a home energy assessment. Learn how you can take advantage of this opportunity for your home at this free workshop, which will include a presentation on different energy upgrades and a contractor who can give you personalized advice. Click here to register.

Wednesday, September 14, 7 pm
Wild Napa: Wildlife and Restoration on the Napa River
Napa County Library, Napa

What’s happening locally to enhance habitat for wildlife and improve the health of our waterways? The Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District are spearheading a variety of projects to make more room for the Wild part of Napa. Project staff have spent countless hours in our riparian corridors, observing how wildlife use and respond to riparian restoration. Join us for a presentation of photos, videos, and stories from those that work every day to improve the Napa River. Click here for more info. 

Saturday, September 17, 9 am-noon
Coastal Clean-up Day
Various locations throughout Napa County

Keep Napa Clean during Coastal Clean-up Day, a statewide effort to clean trash and debris from California’s coast, bays, creeks, rivers, and lakes. There are 15 sites in Napa County, from American Canyon to Calistoga and two at Lake Berryessa. Click here for more info.

Thursday, September 22 (also November 3)
Sustainable Groundwater Management Workshop
NVTA Board Room, Napa

The Watershed Information and Conservation Council (WICC) will host public workshops to learn how Napa County and its groundwater consultant are working to meet the requirements of the California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). There will be opportunity to comment on elements of the Napa Valley Groundwater Sustainability - Basin Analysis Report for the Napa Valley Subbasin. Click here to register.

Wednesday, September 28-Thursday, September 19
Groundwater Resources Association of California Conference
Hilton Concord, Hilton

The Groundwater Resources Association of California will host its 2016 Conference and 25th Annual Meeting, which will provide policy makers, practitioners, researchers and educators the opportunity to learn about the current policies, regulations and technical challenges affecting the protection, use and management of groundwater in in California. This year’s conference contains expanded sessions addressing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.  In addition, there will be several sessions on ongoing and emerging water quality issues. Click here to register.

River Concert and Fundraiser
Saturday, October 8, 5-10 pm
The Culinary Institute of America at Copia, Napa

Friends of the Napa River is hosting an intimate fundraiser and concert featuring the Napa Valley Youth Symphony, a special guest performance by Kellie Fuller, fabulous Napa Valley wines, sumptuous food prepared by renowned CIA chef Victor Scargle and other surprises. Funds raised will support the important work Friends of the Napa River does in our community. Click here to purchase tickets.

Did You Know...

We use 10-25 gallons of water per 5-minute shower and 2 gallons per minute from the average faucet. (source) .

Up to 80% of the plastic in our oceans comes from land-based sources, and an estimated 5-13 million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year from land-based sources. (source) 

Renewable energy is expected to jump to 25 percent of global gross power generation in 2018, a rise on 20 percent in 2011 and 19 percent in 2006. (source)

Groundwater is a vital source of water supply in Napa County. Many residents, businesses and agriculturists rely on groundwater, as do fish, wildlife and natural habitats. (source) 

There are roughly 300 million consumer computers used daily in the United States, nearly one for each person in the country. Together, they consume about 30 powerplants' worth of electricity a year, but just a few tweaks could save consumers about $3 billion annually. (source)  
Copyright © 2016 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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