As we face climate change, wildfires, and the pandemic, protecting natural and working lands is more important than ever! Now is the time to protect our precious open space lands. Please join Greenbelt Alliance in seeking the immediate adoption of the Vital Lands Initiative of the Sonoma County Ag + Open Space District at the January 26 meeting of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.
Vital Lands is the vision for land conservation in Sonoma County. It was completed in 2019 but was never formally adopted by the supervisors, which serve as the governing board of the Ag + Open Space District. Read more here.
Greenbelt Alliance was instrumental in crafting Vital Lands during two years of public workshops. A key element incorporated as a result of our outreach and organizing was the identification of priority greenbelts that are mapped in Vital Lands as a one-mile buffer around the existing cities and towns of the county. A full greenbelt buffer that builds on existing policies and protections is a key conservation goal for lands that provide clean air and water, equitable access to the outdoors, wildlife habitat, food production, and reduced risk of life and home to wildfires.
Email the Board of Supervisors to let them know you support the Vital Lands Initiative! And if you have time, please also give your supervisor a quick call via the main number (707) 565-2241.
The Vital Lands Initiative is a comprehensive plan that will guide the work of the Ag + Open Space District for the next 10 years. Building on nearly 30 years of successful land conservation work, the initiative will outline strategies for protecting our vital open space lands to preserve agriculture, natural resources, recreation, scenic vistas, greenbelt areas, and urban open space.
Priority greenbelts and community separators as well as scenic landscape areas and corridors will remain front and center in county land conservation under Vital Lands and per the voter approved legislation and acquisition plan.
Greenbelt Alliance specifically supports the priority greenbelts that are mapped in Vital Lands as a one-mile buffer around the existing cities and towns, voter-approved Urban Growth Boundaries, and Urban Service Areas. This provides a strong visual and conservation goal for lands most at risk of sprawl development and urban encroachment for the long term.
Vital Lands was on track to be adopted after a final public hearing in December 2019. However, at the last minute, the Farm Bureau blocked Vital Lands by objecting to the proposed allocations of funds for agricultural lands. To address their concerns, specific funding allocations were removed. All lands are preserved for multi-benefits including agricultural land. Vital Lands is widely supported by residents and organizations across the county.
Questions about the Vital Lands Initiative? Contact Advocacy Director, Teri Shore, to learn more.