Letters to the Editor


Clarifying the Report

We are writing in response to Alastair Bland’s article (“The Wrath of Grapes,” Jan. 26). We are staff members and a principal of Prunuske Chatham Inc., an environmental consulting firm mentioned in the article, and would like to correct some errors and misunderstandings in the article.

The scope of our assessment was not an exhaustive biological study of the impacts of all land used on all of the Cornell properties in the Mark West watershed. It was intended to provide an evaluation of the proposed winery development on one parcel on botanical and wildlife resources and to identify recommendations for impact avoidance. This level of analysis is standard at this stage of project review and is meant to guide the county of Sonoma in making initial determinations in complying with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and recommendations for further study.

Bland writes that our biological resource assessment of the project stated that Cornell’s proposed winery “would not damage the immediate environment.” In fact, our report identified a number of sensitive resources on the property and made 20 recommendations for how to adjust project plans to avoid impacts to those resources.

The article also states that “inspectors saw no steelhead in Mark West Creek for one simple reason: the creek was dry at the time of inspection.” In fact, PCI did not state in our report that we saw no steelhead in Mark West Creek, but rather that no steelhead habitat was present on the parcel in question. Mark West Creek does not run through nor adjacent to the property we were asked to evaluate, and thus we did not survey the creek as part of our assessment. We did note that steelhead are known to be abundant in the watershed.

Prunuske Chatham Inc. staff are dedicated to protecting the natural resources of Sonoma County and beyond, and to assisting landowners and regulator agencies in doing the same.

Liza Prunuske

Jennifer Michaud

Joan Schwan

Prunuske Chatham Inc., Sebastopol

Open Letter to Efren Carrillo

Hello, Efren. Now that the holidays are over, I would like to reflect on your (mis)representation of your Fifth District constituents, and specifically your vote to approve the Dutra asphalt plant. Practically everyone I know here in West County was appalled by your vote. In fact, many of us are wondering exactly who supports this plant; surely not the city of Petaluma, surely not the residents in the area, surely not users of the adjacent park, surely not visitors from the Bay Area who love to come to Sonoma County, surely not health-conscious people who are concerned about air quality, noise and traffic congestion, and surely not those who have worked hard on county greenbelt and trails plans. And now the majority of your county neighbors who do not support this plant will have to help pay for a lawsuit to support your unfortunate decision. This is not the kind of representation we want and expect from you, and we have good memories.

Pieter S. Myers


Keep Fish Cheap (And Unnatural)

There’s far too much scaremongering going on here (“Spawn of Frankenfish,” Feb. 2). There would be nothing wrong in approving genetically modified salmon to be farmed in pens, well away from the ocean. Then anyone that wants can eat them, and we get a new source of cheap, nutritious food. But not if Huffman gets his way. He wants salmon to be kept artificially scarce and expensive.

Billy Davies