Developing statistical models and evaluating consequences for the surrounding oak woodland landscape
Policy Analysis related to the Conversion of Native Habitat to Vineyard: Sonoma County’s Vineyard Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance as a Case Study
Many of the policy deliberations on the environmental effects of new vineyard development revolve around the potential application of the California Environmental Quality Act. In particular, some forest and oak woodland conversion has resulted from recent vineyard expansion. Timberland conversions receive CEQA review through the Forest Practice Act (FPA), whereas clearing of oak woodlands and shrub communities generally do not. While a collection of county and city policies target a wide array of oak conservation objectives, these were not generally designed to address land-use conversion resulting from agriculture. In response to the need for more environmental oversight for vineyard development, county governments have developed various regulatory approaches. We used a geographic information system to map the areas in Sonoma County that fall into three levels of regulation with different sets of requirements defined by Sonoma County’s Vineyard Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance. The purpose here was to map and quantify the areas that would be more and less affected by new regulation in order to better evaluate the policy and assist decision-makers.
Adina M. Merenlender, Colin N. Brooks, and Gregory A. Giusti