Draining Our Rivers Dry, Will Parrish, Mar. 3, 7 pm

To All,

Here is a worthwhile event on how our streams are being dewatered destroying salmonids and other wildlife.


The North Coast Wine Industry:

Draining Our Rivers Dry

Thursday, March 3, 2011, 7:00 p.m.

Gualala Arts Center

Investigative reporter, Will Parrish

Friends of the Gualala River sponsors a special public presentation on Thursday, March 3, 7:00 p.m., at the Gualala Arts Center by hard-hitting, investigative reporter Will Parrish on the ecological toll of California’s wine industry.

His recent series for the Anderson Valley Advertiser documents consequences of the wine industry’s environmentally destructive and political march across northern California’s coastal counties. Will’s presentation will emphasize the rapacious vineyard development planned for the Gualala River watershed.

“In the past two decades,” says Parrish, “as the regional economies of the North Bay, North Coast, and Central Coast have been increasingly restructured to supply into a global market for high-end premium wine, the land base itself has been subjected to a corresponding reconfiguration: mountain-top removal for vineyards, deforestation, pesticide use, and massive amounts of water diverted for irrigation and frost protection.” Parrish continues, “It has been a classic case of an unsustainable resource rush, driven by large financial institutions working in concert with out-of-town grape rush prospectors whose overriding interest is not the well-being of local cultures and eco-regions, but rather simply to strike it rich.”

Parrish’s well-researched series of articles (see: the Gualala River website for links) feature one of the biggest players in this speculative rush. Parrish writes, “One regional poster child for this particularly reckless version of prospector capitalist economics is vineyard developer William Hill: perhaps the main Napa Valley pioneer of the use of massive bulldozers in the development of premium grape vineyards in the coarse, rocky, and well-drained soils commonly found high up on ridge tops.” Hill, with financing obtained from CALPERS, is presently preparing a massive 20 thousand acre development called “Preservation Ranch” in the middle of the Gualala River watershed. Parrish asks, “What lessons can we draw from these past instances of destructive vineyard development, which have sucked dry entire watersheds, forever transformed entire valleys and mountain ranges, and sterilized what were previously more vibrant local cultures?”

Parrish’s presentation includes numerous insights and slides from his detailed analysis of the political economy of North Coast wine industry as well as his extensive research into current trends in vineyard development throughout the North Bay and North Coast including Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Solano counties.

The event is free and refreshments will be served.

Wheatfield Fork downstream of Haupt Creek

August, 2008

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Thank you,

Chris Poehlmann

Friends of the Gualala River