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For Immediate Release

Permit Sonoma announces policy and technical working groups for well ordinance update

SANTA ROSA, CA | November 16, 2022

Permit Sonoma, Sonoma County’s natural resources management department, today announced the formation of technical and policy working groups to assist staff in revising the county’s well ordinance. The two working groups will have a joint inaugural meeting that will be open to the public on Nov. 17 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 4 approved a moratorium for new well permits while the county updates its ordinance in response to evolving California case law that requires local governments to protect the health of rivers and other public trust resources. To comply with a 2018 decision by the state Court of Appeal, the county will evaluate and require mitigation of impacts of well permits on public trust resources in navigable waterways, such as the Russian River, along with the habitat and wildlife they support, including the endangered coho salmon. Permit Sonoma expects to bring a revised ordinance to the Board of Supervisors for consideration in spring of 2023.

Permit Sonoma is convening both a policy working group and a technical working group to aid in development of an updated well ordinance. The groups will assist in the creation of a new framework for evaluation of environmental impacts during the review of permit applications for drilling new or replacement groundwater wells.

The policy working group members represent diverse stakeholder interests and will make policy recommendations based on input from stakeholders and the technical working group. The policy working group includes: 

Mike Martini, Co-Chair - Ag and development interests 
Rue Furch, Co-Chair - Sonoma County Water Coalition 
Brock Dolman - Occidental Arts and Ecology Center 
Monty Schmitt - Nature Conservancy 
Charlie Schneider - Trout Unlimited 
Gary Michelson - Well driller  
Sandi Potter - Petaluma Groundwater Sustainability Agency Administrator 
Mike Sangiacomo - Vineyard manager 
Rob Cantu - North Coast Builders Exchange 
Lisa Badenfort - North Bay Association of Realtors 
Dayna Ghirardelli - Sonoma County Farm Bureau 
Carolyn Wasem - North Bay Water District

The technical working group will develop and assess policy recommendations using scientifically accepted theory, methods and practices. Members of the technical working group include:

Jay Jasperse - Water Resources Consultant, Retired - Sonoma County Water Agency 
Sam Boland-Brien - California State Water Resources Control Board 
Jessica Maxfield - California Department of Fish and Wildlife 
Rick Rogers - National Marine Fisheries Service 
Andy Casarez - Office of the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner 
Marcus Trotta - Sonoma County Groundwater Sustainability Agencies 
Matt Peterson - Well driller 
Laurel Marcus - Agricultural practices 
Brad Peterson - Vineyard manager 
Melissa Rohde - Environmental consultant 
Bruce Abelli Amen - Environmental consultant 
Ken Johnson - Environmental and geotechnical consultant

After the inaugural joint meeting, separate meetings of the technical working group and policy working group will take place on alternating weeks through February or March 2023. 

For more information on the well ordinance update visit Permit Sonoma’s well ordinance update webpage.

Media Contact: 
Bradley Dunn, Permit Sonoma Policy Manager 
(707) 321-0502 
2550 Ventura Ave. 
Santa Rosa, CA 95403