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Report could serve as a template for other districts

[caption id="attachment_25732" align="alignright" width="229" caption="Lisa Micheli"][/caption]

SANTA ROSA – Pepperwood Preserve, the nature preserve and research facility in Santa Rosa, has had a lot of activity since its opening this year.

A climate change conference with researchers from large California universities took place last month, and an upcoming draft climate projection report on local watershed will come out for public review in January.

Lisa Micheli, the executive director of the preserve, is a hydrologist and is working on the draft, which was requested by the North Bay Watershed Association, a group of 15 regional and local public agencies located throughout Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties.

The report will look at the main watersheds that go into the bay and provide four scenarios with projections of what behavior could be expected from those watersheds given certain metrics.

“We are developing a future scenario that will look at the vulnerability of the area,” said Ms. Micheli.

This will be used for watershed management purposes, river restoration projects, wastewater treatment plants and for agricultural needs, she said.

Ms. Micheli said this will be a pilot and after approved will serve as a template for other districts to perform watershed studies.

The watershed association consists of The Bay Institute, Bel Marin Keys Community Services District, Central Marin Sanitation Agency, Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District, County of Marin, Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program, Marin Municipal Water District, City of Mill Valley, Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Napa Sanitation District, North Marin Water District, City of Novato, Novato Sanitary District, City of Petaluma, City of San Rafael, Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin, City of Sonoma, County of Sonoma, Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District and Tomales Bay Watershed Council.

Pepperwood Preserve is the 3,117-acre property in Sonoma County southeast of Santa Rosa that Herb and Jane Dwight donated to the Pepperwood Foundation they established in 2005 for education and research.

The preserve is under the umbrella of the Community Foundation Sonoma County. One of the challenges for the preserve is the funding.

“To help match Herb and Jane Dwight’s generous donation on Pepperwood, we are trying to match their interest,” said Ms. Micheli.

Jean Schulz made a challenge grant for anyone who will donate more than $1,000 on a three-year pledge, said Ms. Micheli.

“Our target for this year is $250,000,” she said. “We are close to halfway there, and our fiscal year ends in June, so we are hopeful that we will reach it.”

The community foundation is equipped to take any kind of donation, she said, so it can handle stock donations, estate planning and money left in people's wills.

“My goal is to bring in $500,000 a year in five years,” she said.

There is a membership program and events for the public, including a fall speaker series.

On Sept. 10 there was a lecture called "Gardens in Eden: Nurturing the Land of the Pomo, Miwok and Wappo" by Ben Benson, environmental anthropologist, museum director and author.

Oct. 1 featured "A Time Traveler’s Tale: Interpreting the Paleobiology of the Ruling Reptiles of the Mesozoic" by Nick Geist, professor of zoology and paleontology at Sonoma State University.

Nov. 5 will host "Finding Connection in Nature: The Coast Range of California" by John Muir Laws, author of "Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada" and contributor to Bay Nature magazine.

For more information, visit www.pepperwoodpreserve.org.