At Sonoma Ecology Center, we are affected as both community members and staff, whose life’s work is dedicated to these now-charred hills, creeks, and forests. Our role in helping this community recover started long before the October fires, with the mission of working with our community to enhance and sustain the ecological health of Sonoma Valley. 

There is much more to be done: over a quarter of Sonoma Valley was burned, and we must act now to protect our streams, prevent erosion, restore habitat for local wildlife, and ensure that tomorrow’s communities are built with sustainability in mind. No one is better qualified to accomplish these goals than Sonoma Ecology Center—and we’re only able to succeed with your help.

We need your help!

It may be months or years before we understand the full impact of the October fires on our Sonoma Valley community. What we do now will help shape the outcome.

 

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At Sonoma Ecology Center, our post-fire priorities are education, active response and prevention

EDUCATION

  • Empower people to understand and mitigate the impacts of the fire.
  • Be a local voice helping steer government agencies and philanthropists to take an informed approach to post-fire recovery.
  • Integrate fire ecology into our science education programs, which reach 1,200 local fourth, fifth and sixth graders. 
  • Train our research and restoration teams on fire ecology so we can work with numerous agencies and nonprofits on a rebuilding effort that will make our communities stronger, more fire-adapted and more sustainable.
  • How do we learn from this? We are working to understand how infrastructure and fire-prevention practices can inform what we do now in order to prevent wildfires from having such a devastating impact in the future.

ACTIVE RESPONSE

  • Co-lead efforts to coordinate across multiple agencies and NGOs to get the fastest possible assessment of burn intensity, erosion potential, water quality, stream protection and site remediation.
  • Restore sites we actively manage (Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve, Nathanson Creek Preserve, Montini) to prevent excess erosion, support wildlife, and re-open to the public as soon as possible.
  • On-the-ground services and knowledge: – Stabilize sources of toxic runoff into our watershed 

    – Restoration team available for ecologically sensitive land repair and cleanup 

    – Explore application of biochar for soil remediation for agriculture and home sites.

PREVENTION

  • To move our community forward—together—after the fires, the first Sustainable Sonoma Council meeting convened nearly 20 wide-ranging interest groups to share post-fire experiences and priorities with one another. With this Council meeting, Sustainable Sonoma is enabling community leaders to identify shared goals that we can only achieve as a group.
  • Joining and co-leading new collaborative groups across the Valley, the County, and the North Bay, to coordinate immediate response, and set the foundation for better public decisions like those coming up in the City and County general plans. The goal is a rebuilding effort that will make our communities stronger, more fire-adapted and more sustainable.