Gravel Mining Action in Russian River

Hello River Friends,

Syar Industries has proposed a massive 350,000 ton per year 15-year instream mining project for Alexander Valley near Geyserville that would extract 5.25 MILLION tons of gravel from the Russian River. The EIR is being rushed through the review process so that outgoing Supervisors Kelley and Kerns can vote on it. It certainly appears to us that Syar wants to cash in their past political donations to these Supervisors and keep the project from the new Board that has a current mandate from the community. The FEIR was produced in record time of 84 days – DEIR to FEIR normally takes 6 months minimum for instream mining projects.

We need your organization to submit comments opposing the Syar Instream Mining Project to the Planning Commission by September 22nd close of business (PC hearing is Thursday Sept 23rd at 1:10pm) and hope to have your support when it goes to the Board of Supervisors which is scheduled for October 26th. We have drafted a template letter below and provided key points if you have time to draft a letter in your own words.

Thank you for thinking of the River!


Sonoma County Planning Commission Members
Sonoma County PRMD
2550 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

(Via E-mail to:

RE: PLP08-0116 Syar Alexander Valley Instream Mining EIR & Use Permit – Oppose

Dear Madam Chair Cook and Members of the Commission,

I/we are writing to oppose the Syar Alexander Valley Instream Mining Project FEIR (Project) and Use Permit because the FEIR is inadequate and the proposed project creates too many adverse environmental impacts on the community and Russian River. The Project is simply too large.

Syar Project Will Create Too Many Adverse Impacts to the Community including:

• 411 to 480 daily haul truck trips between the Russian River near Geyserville and Syar’s Healdsburg Plant during mining that will decrease public safety
• Haul trucks will create up to 958 TONS of Co2 each year and tons per day of PM10 and PM2.5 fine particulate emissions that will affect the health of residents in the area and lead to increases in respiratory disease
• Adverse economic impacts to existing wine and tourism businesses by creating an industrial atmosphere in Alexander Valley and visual blight during peak summer months for tourism
• Increases in downstream erosion by creating bedload traps at each mined bar that will reduce downstream sediment supply despite claims by Syar consultants to the contrary
• Adverse impacts to the River from driving dirty haul trucks long distances on the riverbed

Syar Project EIR is Inadequate due to:

• Changing project description with no public review almost guaranteed by Adaptive Management Strategy and Conceptual but not final mining plans in EIR
• Insufficient cumulative impacts analysis for air quality failing to consider increased plant emissions from processing project gravel and other projects such as Casino expansion
• Changes in FEIR project description with no new analysis after elimination of two haul truck routes and that are replaced by up to 2 miles of haul trucks driving along riverbed
• Contradictory and misleading statements about annual gravel replenishment rates and the potential for increases in downstream erosion
• Failure to quantify “local North county” aggregate demand that project is intended to supply
• Failed to address cumulative impacts of potential for NCRA railcars to increase exports of Russian River gravel outside the watershed, while claiming to serve only North Sonoma market

The proposed Project EIR has failed to demonstrate that our community needs the volume of gravel extraction proposed and the Project will create adverse impacts, some that can not be mitigated. For these reasons and those listed above we oppose the proposed project as being far too large to be in our community’s or the Russian River’s best interest.

Thank you for your consideration.


Your Name