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Dear Chair Wagenknecht and supervisors: Friends of the Napa River acknowledge and applaud your efforts to reach out to the community and to hear folks’ concerns about a host of issues.

Unfortunately, as intriguing as the current ‘Strategic Plan” listening sessions might be, there doesn’t appear to be sufficient room for science in the truncated opinions being offered in these public sessions, especially as related to our woodlands and watersheds.

The June election results clearly demonstrated the community’s strong concerns about our watersheds and woodlands. During that fractious election campaign, many arguments were made on both sides.

Proponents argued that oak woodlands are rapidly being lost to vineyards, roads, and wineries. Opponents argued that the Initiative was not based on science specific to our Napa woodlands and watersheds.

Without a timely and focused consensus and science-based process related to these issues, we are concerned that another initiative is just around the corner. It, again, has the potential of a divisive and costly battle.

We have known firsthand that the 1996 Flood Control Coalition united our community and produced long lasting tangible results. It was scientifically informed and cutting edge without any of the participant agencies or organizations dominating the consensus driven process.

We may plan strategically now, but ought to work fully toward community solutions for our woodlands and watersheds.

We think it is time that our county leaders acknowledge that the work of consensus, especially with a scientific approach, is hard sustained work that takes real effort and real time. We at Friends of the Napa River are committed to working toward a shared consensus about the future of our woodlands and watersheds.

Our community is capable of doing this, we know we are. It’s fine to get started with the current strategic planning, but it is vital to conclude with coalition and consensus drawn remedies.

Bernhard Krevet, President

Friends of the Napa River Board of Directors

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