SoCo spends $10 million on strategic and climate priorities
Written by Marc Albert
The Sonoma County administration building in Santa Rosa. photo credit: Marc Albert/KRCB
County officials Tuesday approved a $10 million dollar funding plan, aimed at tackling both climate-related and strategic priorities.
Barbara Lee is director of climate action and resiliency at the Sonoma County Administrator's office. She said this is a serious and real commitment.
"Usually when a government agency, often many entities, when they adopt a strategic plan, it isn't really strategic, it's really just something that gets posted on a website or filed in a cabinet, but there's no really money put behind its implementation, and so it doesn't result in measurable change," Lee said. "The Sonoma County board of supervisors put real money behind the change it wants to see happen and the change it wants to see happen is directly from input from the people of Sonoma County."
In all, 21 items on the county's strategic plan will receive money, including electric vehicle charging stations and replacing the probation department's case management software.
Several environmental priorities will also move ahead. These include extending bike trails, waste diversion and encouraging homeowners to capture and store rain. Money was also dedicated to studying flooding, and separately, groundwater. Lee said the aim is to find the best methods and sites for recharging aquifers.
"The best place we can store a whole lot of water is in the existing groundwater system," Lee said. "What this study will do is look at where we can get the best water saving returns for the money that we put into recharge efforts."
That may result in using natural processes, such as settling ponds--places where water seeps into the ground or involve engineered solutions such as pumping water down, instead of up.
"How the overall system is working, so that they can maximize their efforts to take the water that we get in the rainy part of the year, and make sure it is stored in a way that we can access it in the dry part of the year, and that's what the recharge is all about," Lee said.
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