Winery Walk with Otters

otter sonoma

Not long ago, but before Shelter in Place, I spotted three adult river otters swimming in a vineyard pond behind Ram’s Gate Winery at the south end of Sonoma Valley. I was on a late afternoon winter ramble on the walking trail behind the fancy tasting room above the wetlands of San Pablo Bay. I’d never seen river otters around here. I first glimpsed them in the lower pond. Then all of… Read More

City of Sonoma UGB Renewal in Final Stretch

Sonoma City Hall, where the future of the City of Sonoma General Plan will be decided.

The renewal measure for the City of Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) is nearly ready to go to a vote of the people for the November 3, 2020 ballot. If passed, it will renew the existing UGB for another 20 years with stronger provisions for affordable housing exemptions. For more background information on this, click here. The Urban Growth Boundary renewal measure was fine-tuned at a recent City Council meeting when several… Read More

Defend Sonoma County’s Community Separators

Sonoma Solstice threatens greenbelt lands at the site of the old Buzzard's Gulch.

In 2016, Sonoma County voted by 81% to protect community separators, the green spaces between our towns and cities. Now, a luxury resort with hundreds of events is proposed by an out-of-town developer in the community separator between Santa Rosa and Windsor. This oversized hideout for the 1% will put the community separators we voted to protect to the test! Defend the Windsor-Larkfield-Santa Rosa Community Separator from this oversized development by signing… Read More

Wildfire & Greenbelts: Saving Sonoma County

wildfire and greenbelts

Thanks to all of you who joined our most recent webinar highlighting the role that greenbelts and smart growth played in the Kincade Fire. We learned so much from our guests, Town of Windsor Councilperson Deb Fudge and Deputy Fire Chief Matt Gustafson of the Sonoma County Fire Protection District. We don’t want you to miss any of this important content so we put together a summary of the conversation and even… Read More

Climate & Wildfire Resiliency Update

Sonoma Climate and Wildfire Resiliency Update

As we face another dry winter and a long wildfire season ahead, Greenbelt Alliance is delving deeper into the ways that we can help our growing communities become more climate and wildfire resistant.  Greenbelt Alliance has been advocating for climate-healthy growth within existing cities and towns and the protection of our greenbelts for decades. We are now entering an era when the climate crisis makes this solution a matter of life and… Read More

Housing on the Way in the North Bay


Around the Bay Area, more homes are getting built every day. It will take time to fill the need for homes that everyone can afford, but there is relief on the horizon. Here in Sonoma County where I do most of my work in the North Bay, more than 18,000 new places to live are in the pipeline within existing cities and towns — not including the rebuild of 5,000 homes lost… Read More

Bodega Bay in the Rain

Teri Shore, our North Bay Regional Director, shares her experience tracking a bobcat and tips for visiting Bodega Bay—even in the rain.

Trails Open but Doors Closed at Sonoma Developmental Center

Sonoma Developmental Center

Last year we were thrilled to learn that more than 700 acres of open space and wildlife habitat at the now-closed Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC), near Glen Ellen in Sonoma Valley, were being prioritized as open space in a new $40 million planning agreement between state and county officials!  Since then, Greenbelt Alliance joined several hundred people to share visions for the future of the beautiful oak-studded lands and campus at a… Read More

To Love Our Coast: To Love The Coast We Had to Save It

Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan

By Richard Retecki and Carol Benfell, Published in Sonoma County Gazette It’s taken the efforts of hundreds of people, organizations and government agencies, working together for more than sixty years, to preserve our magnificent, dynamic, and unique Sonoma County coast. Now the Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan, an integral part of that decades-long preservation effort, is being revisited by county officials, and changes will be made. It will be important to be… Read More

The SMART Train That Can

SMART Train Measure I

Greenbelt Alliance was instrumental in generating public support to build the SMART train that connects Marin and Sonoma counties to the rest of the Bay Area. Now we need to keep the train on track toward completion. Please vote Yes on Measure I to renew the existing quarter-cent sales tax. For a full briefing on the train and why we need to keep it alive, read the following piece by Steve Birdlebough,… Read More