ventura ventura, August 21, 2020

Sign and share the Climate Coalition Petition

CLICK HERE To review all 40 recommendations our coalition submitted last week to the Supervisors (42 pages with some extensive rationale and citations)  

CLICK HERE To learn all the ways to comment on this for the VC2040 General Plan. Please email your concerns to Susan Curtis <[email protected]> no later than Monday, August 31, 3:30 p.m. 

This page of 25 Big Asks is a condensed set of the more bold and impactful of the 40 recommendations. It’s for people with less time to read, but if you see something below and you want to learn more, such as the organization chart for climate leadership or scientific references:   CLICK HERE FOR TOP 40 LIST.

How big? Which are the biggest? Dozens of us worked on this short list of big ideas on climate, health, ecosystems, safety, and resilience.

As you scroll through:   Underlined words  are what we added; words with strikethrough we deleted.

Five  of the bolder or more impactful are in this color. 

Send comments to: [email protected] by August 31, 3:30 p.m; she will deliver to Supervisors.

Instructions: How to Comment Live and by Email to the VC Board of Supervisors on September 1.

                Table of Contents –  VC Climate Coalition “25 Big Asks” 


          Single Use Plastics Phase Out

2          Tree Planting
3          Oil Well Distance 2500′ from Homes, not just 1500′
4          Tree Protection Ordinance with Strong Code Compliance and Cooperation with                          Cities to Ensure Illegal Harm to Trees Anywhere in the County is Quickly Stopped
5         Tree Planting Implementation Program 
6         Oil and Gas Tax must apply to ALL oil wells, not just new oil wells
7          GHG Inventory (including methane and refrigerants; calculations using full                                  warming potential of methane)
8         Climate Action Council representing all stakeholders
9         Office of Climate Action and Sustainability (OCAS)  with broad authority
10         OCAS Director – A transformational leader getting everyone going
11          Pesticide Risk Communication Concerning the Ecosystems
12         Decarbonize (Electrify) Existing Buildings (Replace Natural Gas)
13         Local Energy Development and Community Microgrids
14         Oil Producer Performance Clean-Up Bonds
15         Oil Facilities Inspections
16         Pesticide Risk Communication Concerning Public Health
17          Farmworker Protection – OSHA Certified and Bio-Monitoring to Study Exposure to                   Dust and Pesticides
18         Flood Plain Management Preparing for Extreme Rain Events (Atmospheric Rivers)
19         Small-Scale Farmer Land Access
20         “Ventura-County Grown” Products Sales Incentives
21         County Food Service Buys More Local Products to Support Local Farmers
22         Carbon Farming ( put it in a Regenerative Agriculture Framework)
23         Regenerative Agriculture Incentives, Assistance, Access to Markets
24         Socially Disadvantaged Farmers to Learn Regenerative Ag Practices

         Stormwater Management Accountability – Use to Reward  Regenerative Farmers


25 Big Asks: Recommended additions & deletions, new policies & programs and why


1  NEW Policy PFS 7.8 NEW. Single Use Plastics and Plastic Bags. The County shall phase out single use plastics and plastic bags by January 1, 2023, for County facilities and contracts, and by January 1, 2024, for all businesses and organizations.

RATIONALE:  Added to address an overlooked source of atmospheric and environmental pollution on a fast timeline. 


3 Policy COS-1.15 Countywide Tree Planting The County shall establish and support a countywide target for the County, cities in Ventura County, agencies, organizations, businesses, and citizens to plant two million trees throughout the county by 2040 to include species selection informed by best available science, a mapping and tracking program to report tree survival, and increasing local commercial and volunteer capacity for tree propagation by locally harvested seeds and cuttings.

RATIONALE: Added to ensure science-based decisions about species selection, accountability for tree survival, and building local jobs and volunteer capacity for propagation. 


7 Policy COS-7.2 Oil Well Distance Criteria The County shall require new discretionary oil wells to be located a minimum of 1,500 feet from residential dwellings and 2,500 from any school or residential dwelling.

RATIONALE: Modified to ensure protection of children when they are studying at home as well as many older people, elderly and pregnant mothers with compromised health and at risk of serious infections. The wide range of susceptibility to Covid-19 suggests compromised immune systems in all age groups living near polluted air. Children at risk at school are more at risk at home, especially when they cannot go to school. Elders and immune-compromised people of all ages must be protected from the documented negative health impacts from living within 2,500 feet of oil wells. Studies are lining up and all pointing in the same direction toward first and second trimester exposure to oil and gas production resulting in significantly increased numbers of preterm births. 


9 PROGRAM COS-C Update Tree Protection Ordinance The County shall update existing Tree Protection Regulations in the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance to further enhance conservation of our trees, urban forests, and trees in nearby riparian resources.  and the preservation of the County’s oak woodland resources. Updates shall include incorporation of Board-adopted recommendations from the Ventura County Oak Woodlands Management Plan (2007), which include tree replacement offsets for ministerial development projects that remove protected trees, revisiting mitigation ratios for tree removal and oak woodland impacts for discretionary development projects. There must be adequate staffing for code compliance and law enforcement for unpermitted tree removal, enforcement of timely offset replacements with mapping and tracking the effectiveness of tree planting, a standard tree valuation rubric to generate revenue for support of programs that may include volunteer “Tree Watch” and public education about planting, care, protection of trees and reporting of tree abuse. There must be a reciprocal agreement with cities for code compliance and law enforcement to ensure that when a violation is reported it is stopped quickly and standard fines are levied. The update shall make use of the best available science existing protections regarding for invasive native plant selection and non-native trees and the degree to which select non-natives may provide benefits for Existing Communities.  habitat for a species during critical life stages (e.g., colonial roost sites, breeding sites, etc.), In addition, the evaluation shall also include anticipated effects of climate change on the urban forest environment.

RATIONALE: Added to broaden the scope and considerations for updated tree protection ordinance based on science, and including reciprocity agreements with the cities for standard, effective code compliance and law enforcement, fines, tree valuation, and assurance of accountability.


10 Program COS-H County Tree Planting Program The County shall plant at least one thousand trees annually with formation of an ad hoc Advisory Committee to guide species selection informed by best available science, adoption of a mapping and tracking program for tree survival, and supporting capacity for Ventura County grown commercial and volunteer tree propagation by seeds and cuttings.

RATIONALE: Added to ensure science-based species selection, accountability using the latest GIS smart phone technology to track tree survival, and support for local nursery companies and volunteers for propagation.


11 COS-M Oil and Gas Tax  The County shall evaluate the feasibility of establishing a local tax on new oil and gas operations located in the unincorporated county to be used to help fund GHG reduction and climate adaptation measures.

SHORT RATIONALE: Added “new” oil and gas programs to make the policy and proposed program meaningful as a Pigouvian tax on ALL oil and gas production and a revenue source for climate programs. Taxing fossil fuels coming into the economy is very important to help correct the cheap price distortion of products that is destabilizing the atmosphere and to send a signal that the transition must be accelerated. 


12 COS – AA Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory The County shall contract with VCAPCD to produce an up-dated GHG inventory for the County and the cities that can be the basis for future inventories every five years.The County shall update the County’s GHG emissions inventory at least every five years. The inventory shall include bottom-up accounting of the significant fixed sources of anthropogenic methane plumes, a more accurate account of emissions from fertilizer use, the County’s share of hydrofluorocarbons, and use of the latest science for the Global Warming Potential (GWP) for methane rounded to 100.

RATIONALE: Added because a comprehensive accurate inventory is essential for prioritizing actions; a GHG inventory requires “radical transparency”; VCAPCD is experienced in inventorying air pollution for the county and cities.

We have asked that the inventory include all sources of GHGs,  particularly methane, which we argue was under- and not over-reported in the FEIR. CFROG is correct to assert that the proper calculation of GWP of methane must be the latest IPCC calculation of GWP because it represents the actual warming impact of methane over the 10 to 20 year period that it is in the atmosphere. It is incorrect that our methane inventory is best determined by the values that the CA Air Resources Board (CARB) uses to account for methane. CARB uses those values for consistency and does not recommend using them in policy-making.  Experts agree that a local CAP must reflect science and the truth. Not counting emissions we are responsible for is just kicking the can even further down the road.

Methane has a total radiative forcing of one third that of CO2 emissions. Most of the methane driving global warming is from other than burning fossil fuels.  But, we must reduce natural gas use to reduce fugitive fossil fuel methane emissions to stop global warming in the short term. The warming already measured today of 1.0 C has initiated significant climate tipping. This is the real climate emergency. The path back to climate stability requires immediate action to cut the emissions to halt the rise in global temperature. Every possible action toward net zero carbon is a priority. However, methane emissions reduction is paramount right now.

  • Decarbonize (or ‘electrify’) the energy supply. “Clean natural gas” is cooking the planet. 
  • Get rid of natural gas in buildings and for transportation. 
  • Restore the wetlands. 
  • Greatly reduce meat and dairy consumption.
  • Do not put biodegradable or compostable items in the trash! 

Another powerful GHG is the refrigerants that the consultants refused to include in the inventory saying it is the state’s responsibility. So, the inventory does not include our share of hydrofluorocarbon emissions. People need to know how their use of refrigerators and air conditioners and potential release of refrigerant gases is related to climate change. 


13 COS CC Ex. 2.5a p. 6-27 Climate Action Council The County shall establish a Climate Action Emergency Council (CAC)  to advise the Board of Supervisors on climate action planning and implementation of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) goals, policies, and programs.The CAC will provide recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on methods to implement the policies and programs identified in the General Plan, present funding opportunities, and update the BOS periodically on the latest findings in scientific research related to climate change.  The CEO and the Director of the Office of Climate Action and Sustainability (OCAS) shall ensure that the CAC is It shall be composed comprised  of interested stakeholders from communities within the county with time and desire to volunteer and who are willing to submit conflict of interest statements and other disclosure obligations of appointees, and who represent sectors that are anticipated to be impacted by climate change, as well as individuals with backgrounds in social and/or natural science that include the following:  

Disadvantaged communities representing geographically distinct communities in top 25%-35% score/segment CalEnviroScreen

Coastal environments at risk due to rising sea levels

Climate change

Climate adaptation

Biology and natural sciences 

Regenerative farming practices 

One Youth appointee under 24 years of age and one alternate under 21 years of age

A representative of the Barbareño/Ventureño Band of Mission Indians representing the native Chumash people

Distributed renewable energy generation and storage project development 

Green Building Council Representative


Producer of GHG emissions being reduced

Public policy  

[Source: New Program] CAP

RATIONALE: Added to characterize the diversity of stakeholders whose input should be sought in successful implementation of the CAP.


14 COS-DD Ex. 2.5a p. 6-28 (NEW language) Office of Climate Action and Sustainability (OCAS) – Within four months from plan adoption the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) shall create a budget and staffing plan for an Office of Climate Action and Sustainability (OCAS) to oversee the implementation of the Climate Action Plan (CAP).  The OCAS shall operate within the CEO’s office and be staffed with a Director and necessary staff to work with all applicable parties, within and outside County Government, to encourage and monitor the implementation of the CAP goals, policies, and programs.  This office shall support the CAC, provide recommendations to the Board of Supervisors about implementation approaches and update them periodically on the latest science about climate change; present funding opportunities and an annual progress report by the various responsible and supporting agencies. The OCAS may be funded through interdepartmental budget transfers to ensure prompt, robust staffing, and may convene where useful ad hoc committees of County departments, experts and impacted individuals or groups.


RATIONALE: Added to ensure the specified focus on Climate Action goal-setting by every responsible and supporting agency identified in the CAP under oversight of the CEO’s office, recognizing the existence of a Sustainability Officer and the need to pursue CAP strategies within a sustainability paradigm. 

Read more  explanation about this on August 9 post.


15 NEW PROGRAM COS-EE. Director of the Office of Climate Action and Sustainability (OCAS)The County shall employ a Director for the Office of Climate Action and Sustainability with the mandate, qualifications. and authority to lead, coordinate and rigorously monitor progress by all responsible and supporting agencies and departments toward the CAP goals.  The Director shall provide encouragement and coaching for those responsible for implementing CAP measures.  The Director shall communicate regularly to the public, the Cities, and  Joint Powers Agencies, such as the VCREA (Ventura County Regional Energy Alliance) and VCAPCD (Ventura County Air Pollution Control District) about the responsibilities of every sector to mitigate and prepare for climate change.

RATIONALE: Added to specify qualified leadership and capability regarding speedy implementation of the full scope of the CAP, continuously highlighting the most impactful goals, and having the authority inherent in working directly for the CEO. The Director of the Office of Climate Action directs an office that has the capacity to apply science to the setting of benchmarks toward the continued development and progress of the CAP through a cooperative network of relationships within and outside of the County government. The director must have ample authority inherent through direct chain of command to the CEO to be able to do what is necessary.  With strong leadership Ventura County can be a leader in development and speedy achievement of its CAP. 


18  NEW Program COS-II Environmental risk communications and availability of alternatives to pesticides labeled Hazard and Warning. The County shall develop a risk communication program about the potential harmful impacts from DANGER and WARNING label pesticides on ecosystems including impacts from synergistic and cumulative effects. 

RATIONALE: Added to provide scoping for environmental risk communication to the public about effects on biodiversity, ecosystem function, and climate change beyond what is covered on pesticide labels.


19 NEW PROGRAM COS-JJ Decarbonization of Existing Buildings  The County shall establish performance-based standards that incentivize decarbonization of existing buildings with consideration to the following guidelines:

  • align with state goal of 50% of commercial buildings retrofit to zero net energy (ZNE) by 2030;
  • focus on programs that are equitable, forward-thinking, consistent, data-driven, innovative and grid friendly;
  • set a minimum efficiency standard for buildings and apartments when they are sold and when the cost can be recouped in lower utility costs over a specified timeframe; 
  • incentivize changes from natural gas to all-electric energy through possible programs, such as tax abatements, low-interest loans, reduced fees, rebates, “cash for clunkers”, and fast-track permitting, with a priority on replacement of gas stoves in low-income homes;
  • encourage and facilitate voluntary energy use reports with a priority for buildings or parcels with multiple units that total more than 50,000 sq ft; and, consider a mandatory reporting and reduction of annual energy or GHG intensity if incentives are aligned;
  • allow rent to be raised under conditions of rent controls, but not to exceed modeled savings on utility bills. CAP, EJ, HC

RATIONALE: Adding a program to focus necessary action to achieve the state goal of 50% retrofit of  existing commercial buildings by 2030 and to alleviate inside air pollution from gas stoves in homes.

The largest sources of emissions within existing buildings are space and water heaters which last between 8 and 20 years.

Indoor air pollution is a serious problem from gas cooking stoves making this an Environmental Justice issue to assist low-income families in DACs to at least expand electric panel capacity enough to replace gas stoves. However, full electrification must be accomplished to achieve the desired goals of emissions reduction and air quality with the desired cost savings. The Building Decarbonization Institute provides principles to guide jurisdictions in writing ordinances that can overcome the barriers to achieving this complex goal with equity.

Energy efficiency, affordability, customer awareness of better options and getting programs going quickly are all important. The California Energy Commission found that “to decarbonize heating demands in buildings through a transition to electric heat pumps, without requiring early retirements of functional equipment, this transition must start by 2020 and achieve significant market share by 2030… new heat pump sales must represent no less than approximately 50% of new sales of HVAC and water heating equipment by 2030.” California is moving fast and the County must keep up to achieve the imperative full decarbonization goal by 2045.


20 NEW Program COS-MM : Remove Barriers to Distributed Energy Resources and Community Microgrid Development  The County shall make agreements for and remove barriers to development of local Distributed Energy Resources, especially community microgrids, including but not limited to the following measures:

  • Require the Clean Power Alliance and Southern California Edison to implement a robust Feed-In Tariff (FIT) with a Dispatchability Adder
  • Advocate that the Clean Power Alliance promote renewables-driven microgrids, through behind-the-meter (BTM) and front-of-meter (FOM) incentive programs. 
  • Allow the construction of solar on rooftops, parking lots, and parking structures without a Coastal Development Permit (CDP). 
  • Expedite permitting for solar+storage projects on built environments. 
  • Require County properties to prioritize renewable resilient backup power. 
  • Conduct a Solar Siting Survey for the County CAP

RATIONALE  Developers require renewables-driven behind-the-meter (BTM) and front-of-meter (FOM) cooperation in order to be cost-competitive in development of local solar, solar+storage and community microgrids that we need for long-term energy cost-effectiveness and resilience.


22 New Policy HAZ 7.2  Increased Bonding Requirement and Remediation Plans. The County shall require decommissioning and abandonment standards for oil extraction and exploration projects as a condition of approval, to include a cost estimate for decommissioning and site restoration following the cessation of extraction activities, and the posting of a bond for the estimated amount, inspection after decommissioning and site restoration to ensure dismantling of all structures that cannot be effectively reused and disposal of all hazardous waste, including electronics or toxic materials, in accordance with applicable health and environmental safety standards.

RATIONALE: Added to help with the cost of decommissioning wells and site restoration that is likely to largely fall on taxpayers.


23 New Policy  HAZ 7.3  Inspection and Monitoring of Oil and Gas Facilities. The County shall require that new discretionary oil and gas development and any proposed expansion of or changes to existing oil and gas operations be monitored through installation of continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS) for air quality emissions and continuous effluent quality monitoring system (CEQMS) for water pollution, or equivalent monitoring measures (including but not limited to thermal imaging cameras) capable of detecting and recording emissions and plumes in real time.

RATIONALE: Added to ensure that equipment and pipelines are checked to help prevent aging and vulnerable infrastructure from leaking and rupture especially where chemicals might pollute aquifers. Applications for new wells that will be on discretionary permits with CEQA review of negative impacts must consider air, water and climate impacts from fracking, cyclic steam injection and other extreme extraction methods, as well as injection wells through aquifers, unsafe storage of produced wastewater, and assurance that produced oil and gas wastewater will not be used on farmland. Chemicals involved in oil production can pollute water resources if fluids are allowed to migrate through underground pathways opened by the extraction process. In Santa Barbara County a survey of the Orcutt Oil Field found evidence of mixing between oil-field fluids and groundwater in four of the 16 wells sampled. Similar contamination has since been found in the Fruitvale, Lost Hills, and South Belridge oil fields in Kern County.


24 NEW Program HAZ-Y Public health risk communications and availability of alternatives to pesticides labeled Danger and Warning. The County shall develop a risk communication program about worker safety and consumer risks from exposure to DANGER and WARNING label pesticides. 

RATIONALE: Added to describe the needed scope for risk communication and pest control alternatives for worker safety and public health concerning pesticide exposure beyond what is covered on pesticide labels.

There is increasing awareness and concern among scientists and the public that chemical pollutants can suppress immune processes and thus cause increased development of neoplastic and infectious diseases in the food chain. Studies are likely to show that compromised human responses, such as to Covid-19, are correlated with the amount of pesticides in someone’s body and/or urine. 

There is  proven causality of Roundup and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Legal cases related to glyphosate will continue to increase. The label is far from adequate to ensure that people are trained to protect themselves. The public has no idea when they may be exposed to a carcinogen when they lie down to relax on the grass, pick up a ball or play frisbee with their dog. Any entity that buys and oversees the use of pesticides has potential liability and should be proactive educating pesticide handlers and unsuspecting members of the public by communicating risks.

Read more  explanation about this on August 9 post.


25 NEW Program HAZ-Z Farmworker Protection Standards. The County shall employ a Certified Industrial Hygienist to communicate work hazards to farmworkers according to OSHA worker protection standards, and seek funding and research for opt-in biomonitoring when farmworkers are exposed to hazard and caution label pesticides, and to characterize lifetime exposure to conditions in the field, ranging from dust particulates to inhalation of pesticides. EJ, HC

RATIONALE: Added to focus OSHA-level worker protection standards for farmworkers including data gathering to ensure protectionsFarmworker protection standards are set by the US EPA Worker Protection Standard (WPS) requiring:

  • A designated representative to be made available to communicate risks and hazards inherent to one’s job. This representative should be well versed in OSHA worker protection standards to elevate the quality of the WPS. 
  • An OSHA-level Ergonomic expertise is also needed to mitigate the risk for work-related musculoskeletal disorders. 
  • Funding and research for opt-in biomonitoring of workers should be offered when hazard and caution label pesticides are used. 
  • Gathering quantitative data will enhance our understanding of pesticides for public health goals. 

Read more explanation about this on August 9 post.


26 NEW PROGRAM HAZ-AA Amend Ventura County Floodplain Management Ordinance The County shall amend the Floodplain Management Ordinance No. 4521 (dated 3/27/2018) to define and prioritize floodplain preservation measures using the latest watershed-based science for water resiliency and integrated ecological benefits, and to cease approval of inappropriate development. 

RATIONALE: Added to amend the ordinance using the latest watershed-based science in consideration of projected drought and flooding, loss of property, loss of floodplain acreage, water, ecological and resiliency benefits.  The current Floodplain Management Ordinance does not adequately assure water resiliency, protection of water quality, averting harm to existing development, and maximizing biodiversity protection and carbon sequestration. The ordinance must use of the latest watershed-based science in the face of climate models showing increasingly severe rain events, flood risks, longer periods of drought, as well as consideration of new criteria for a collaborative watershed perspective across county political boundaries and watershed jurisdictions, essential to end continued loss floodplain acreage and all the associated water and ecological benefits. There is an advisory team from the Army Corps of Engineers and the California Department of Water Resources that can help in the amendment process. 


27 Policy AG-1.8 Land Access for Beginning Small-Scale Farmers  The County shall support increasing land access for small-scale commercial farming on blocks from one to ten acres that avoid tillage by using minimally disruptive tools, such as a broadfork, and maximize crop diversity and productivity.

RATIONALE: Current zoning ordinances do not support and may be an unnecessary barrier to access for young, beginning, and socially disadvantaged farmers who can make a livelihood on one to ten acres of land.   


28 Policy AG-1.9 Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture near Existing Communities  The County shall support small scale urban and peri-urban farming when the practices are compatible with any land use in and near Existing Communities. CAP

RATIONALE : Current zoning ordinances may be an unnecessary barrier to access for farming on small blocks of one to ten acres of land near Existing Communities 

There is a global trend recognizing the precarious lack of access to food supplies in or near most populated centers including in Ventura County where the long distance our food travels puts residents at serious risk of not having food during a crisis.  Access to land is a barrier in Ventura County, especially for young and socially disadvantaged farmers. There has been a perception of incompatible land use between farms and where people live, work and play, because industrial or conventional large-scale farming has been characterized as a source of air pollution, noise, and vulnerability to theft because of the typical use of toxic inputs and large equipment.  

These negative impacts are not characteristic of small-scale urban and peri-urban farms that use organic and regenerative methods that offer social, ecological, and economic value to the neighboring community, such as the many benefits shown in the diagram below, but also including reducing food miles and food packaging, reducing urban poverty,promoting social inclusion, reducing heat island effects, reuse of urban wastes, and in the case of orchards, reducing particulate air pollution, especially near roads.  Read more explanation about this on August 9 post.

Food, environmental, economic, and ecosystem service benefits of home gardens and urban agriculture (R. Lal, 2


    • 32B Program B Ventura-County Grown Products Sales Incentives The County shall develop a program that encourages sales and distribution of regionally-grown (in Ventura County Grown or neighboring counties of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, or Kern) produce products to local retailers, restaurants, and markets, and encourage chain stores to develop local distribution centers that includes amendments in zoning ordinances to expand available sites for food processing, such as on in. The program will encourage residents to select locally grown food products for freshness, local economic development benefits, and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

RATIONALE: Modified to suggest building a buy-local VC brand for economic growth and localizing the food supply.


32C Program AG-C County Procurement The County shall develop a program with quantitative benchmarks to identify opportunities to continue to provide organic and locally grown foods into cafeteria services, the jail, Ventura County Medical Center, and other County sponsored services and events that provide food service, to the extent feasible.

RATIONALE: Modified to ensure accelerated development of local markets for local food production that are essential for increasing food security.  Currently most of the production in the county is exported and most of what is consumed is imported. Food security must be a top priority goal that can be accelerated if the county invests increasingly in local farmers growing a diversity of products needed by county institutions. The county must put its money where its goals are by stimulating a much-needed market signal toward localizing our food supply. The goal will not be achieved by solely aiming to “identify opportunities…to the extent feasible”.


34 AG-L Encourage and Facilitate Carbon Farming in a Regenerative Agriculture Framework The County shall collaborate with University of California Cooperative Extension to develop a program to encourage and facilitate carbon farming projects, including development of demonstration projects and site-specific carbon farm plans,  promote carbon farming accreditation, and guide implementation of carbon farming practices in a regenerative agriculture framework throughout the county, when feasible. Unless otherwise precluded by State law, the County will consider carbon sequestration farming operations to be eligible for an Open Space Easements or Land Conservation Act contracts with 25 per cent set aside for socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, as defined in Section 512 of AB-2377 

RATIONALE: Modified to ensure that carbon farming develops as part of a holistic regenerative farming benefits framework, that may qualify for favored tax treatment, addressing tenancy barriers, and not just about farmers selling carbon credits. To help owners of farmland benefit from Land Conservation Act contracts by themselves or their tenants earning income from carbon farming accreditation, and from other benefits of regenerative agriculture for land owners and tenants, such as climate and economic resilience and profitability.  


35 NEW PROGRAM AG-R: Incentivize farmers to adopt regenerative agriculture practices that sequester carbon and  reduce pesticides and artificial nitrogen. The County shall study how to help farmers adopt regenerative farming practices that sequester carbon and infiltrate water, reduce toxic pesticide and artificial nitrogen fertilizer use, and increase equity and profitability in a continuum of learning about living soils, natural fertility and healthy plants that resist pests and disease. Incentives may include but not be limited to helping obtain Organic, Regenerative Organic, and/or Biodynamic (BDA) certification, discounting taxes, backing for favorable loans, and supporting training and/or cooperative access to services and markets. 

RATIONALE: Added to make clear that regenerative agriculture is the best description of sustainable policies and programs that include climate, environmental, economic and resilience value for all farmers. Farmers need financial support to build living soil, pay certification fees, especially during the first three years of transition. The community benefits from the success of local farmers who learn regenerative practices that increase climate and economic resilience and profitability. Acquiring certifications recognizes their regenerative stewardship practices to minimize negative environmental impacts on the land. 


36 NEW Program AG-S: Promote demonstration and training for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to use organic and regenerative practices. The County shall encourage collaboration for grant applications to provide demonstrations and training for socially disadvantaged farmers on research and demonstration projects that meet the farmers’ needs and economic interests, including use of organic and regenerative agriculture practices.

RATIONALE: Socially disadvantaged farmers on small holdings are ideal contributors to all of the goals of the Agriculture Element and Environmental Justice goals.  A study of 225 U. S. counties that have “organic hotspots” — high levels of organic agricultural activity with neighboring counties with high organic activity — revealed how these organic hotspots impact key county-level economic indicators.

Economic Benefits of Organic Hotspots:

  • Boost household incomes and reduce poverty levels — and at greater rates than general agriculture activity, and even more than major anti-poverty programs.
  • Being an Organic Hotspot increases median household income by over $2,000
  • Being an Organic Hotspot lowers a county’s poverty rate by as much as 1.35 percentage points


38 NEW Policy WR-5.3 Stormwater Management Accountability The County shall ensure that development adheres to best practices for stormwater treatment, use, infiltration to groundwater, and storage, that may include making stored stormwater available for use as a reward for water conservation practices.

RATIONALE: Added to ensure attention to best use of stormwater including metrics and methods for capture and its possible use as an incentive for farmers; to ensure compliance with laws, codes and permit conditions. 


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