Center for Biological Diversity

Would You Trade a Redwood Forest for a Glass of Pinot Noir?

Steelhead trout
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Two wineries are proposing to clear-cut more than 1,900 acres of redwoods and Douglas firs in Northern California near a critical salmon stream in order to plant new vineyards. Artesa Winery (owned by the Spanish corporation, Codorniu) wants to clear-cut 154 acres of coastal redwood forest near Annapolis, Calif., for grapes. Premier Pacific Vineyards has petitioned the state to destroy thousands of acres of nearby redwoods to cultivate more Pinot Noir grapes and build 60 high-end residential estates.

The two projects represent one of the largest forest-to-vineyard conversions in California history. The California Department of Forestry's draft "environmental impact report" claims the project will have no significant adverse environmental or cultural impacts.

We see it differently. The second-growth redwood and fir forests near Annapolis in Sonoma County are recovering from historic logging. Vineyard conversion would harm stream flows, water quality and habitat in the Gualala River, home to endangered salmon, steelhead trout and other imperiled wildlife. It would increase greenhouse gas emissions by cutting forest ecosystems that are carbon sinks and provide a significant contribution to carbon storage and sequestration. Redwoods-to-vineyards conversions are arguably worse than clear-cutting, because the tree loss is permanent. The vineyards would also be built on lands with spiritual and cultural significance to the Kashia Pomo tribe.

Tell the Department of Forestry you oppose destroying coastal redwood forests, endangered salmon streams and American Indian heritage for financial gain.

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Please take action by December 1, 2011.

Steelhead trout photo courtesy National Park Service.