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. That’s why Greenbelt Alliance was seeking the immediate adoption of the Vital Lands Initiative of the Sonoma County Ag + Open Space District at the January 26, 2021 meeting of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. We are thrilled to report that as a result of that meeting, the Vital Lands Initiative was adopted unanimously!
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. It prioritizes greenbelts around our towns and cities and places climate resiliency and equity front and center! The Initiative was completed in 2019 but wasn’t formally adopted by the supervisors—the governing board of the Ag + Open Space District—until now.
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.
Greenbelt Alliance is thrilled that the Vital Lands Initiative has been adopted and we look forward to working with Open Space District Chair Hopkins and the supervisors to implement this grand vision!