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Napa Farm Bureau will oppose oak woodlands initiatives

Napa Farm Bureau will oppose oak woodlands initiatives

Farm Bureau

Napa County Farm Bureau is opposing both proposed versions of an oak woodlands and watershed protection ballot measure, saying such legislation should be a community collaboration.

One version of the proposed initiative was filed Sept. 1 by Napa Valley Vintners and local environmentalists Mike Hackett and Jim Wilson. Wilson and Hackett filed another version on Wednesday. The goal is to have a version on the June 2018 ballot.

On Friday, the Farm Bureau issued a statement that focused on the proposal co-authored by Napa Valley Vintners.

“We remain concerned that this initiative was filed without proper collaboration with industry groups, resources conservation experts and without sufficient public input,” the Farm Bureau said in a statement.

The group wants to work with interested stakeholders to achieve the goals of environmental preservation and agricultural protection, the statement said.

Among other things, the two ballot initiatives would restrict how much oak woodlands could be removed in the agricultural watershed zoning district. One version sets a 795-acre limit, after which county-issued permits would be required. Agriculture is not listed as among the activities allowed under the permit.

The Napa Valley Vintner-supported measure “appears to be a ban on agriculture” in the agricultural watershed after the limit is reached, the Farm Bureau said. This zoning district includes local hills and mountains and the Carneros area, though not the Napa Valley floor.

Wilson expressed disappointment with the Farm Bureau position.

“It’s too bad,” he said. “It’s not unexpected. I feel sorry and I feel a sense of loss about coming together as a community to do what obviously needs to be done for water and climate.”

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Napa County Reporter

Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He has worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield.

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