Who We Are:
The Clean Water Coalition of Northern Sonoma County is an organization comprised of local groups and concerned individuals within the agriculture valleys in Northern Sonoma County. The Coalition represents citizens who live in the Alexander Valley, Dry Creek watershed or Middle Reach of the Russian River, and who depend on high-quality groundwater supplies for drinking, domestic uses and agriculture.
The Coalition is focused on preserving both groundwater and surface water quality and availability in the agricultural valleys upstream from the Sonoma County Water Agency drinking water collectors. These valleys are characterized by highly permeable alluvial soils and shallow groundwater resources. We advocate for stewardship of this public trust resource as our valleys form the drinking water aquifer that supplies the towns of Geyserville, Healdsburg, Windsor and the customers of the Sonoma County Water Agency.
Pure, naturally filtered water is essential to the health of the 20,000 people who rely on groundwater supplies in this aquifer, as well as the 700,000 municipal water customers in Sonoma and Marin Counties. Likewise, clean water is vital to agriculture, and agriculture is important to the economic health of Sonoma County.
Mission: To provide a strong voice for local citizens and civic organizations in public discussions about water and wastewater projects.
What We Believe:
1. Wastewater reuse is an important goal in water-constrained California. All wastewater reuse should be appropriate to the specific conditions of the disposal site and taken by the landowner on a voluntary basis.
2. For potable water offset, wastewater should be reused in the urban areas where it is generated as a priority before consideration of transporting urban wastewater to other locations or watersheds.
3. Wastewater discharge and reuse projects should not result in degradation to soils, surface water or groundwater, and as a baseline, should meet groundwater recharge reuse standards. Exceptions to this standard should be made on the basis of technical studies.
4. Current State regulations treat all tertiary treated wastewater as equal when, in fact, the concentrations of organic chemicals, metals, salts, and nutrients vary significantly from source to source or season to season.
a)All proposed projects must thoroughly and adequately study each wastewater source and the conditions at the disposal or reuse site (soils, hydrology and geology) for the potential of a direct discharge to groundwater or long term contamination.
b) For example, the same wastewater discharged to different sites could result in very different impacts. Irrigation with wastewater can adversely affect groundwater when applied to highly permeable alluvial soils or in areas with shallow groundwater tables.
5. Municipalities generating wastewater should fully mitigate the impacts within their urban growth boundaries, including limiting the number of building permits, not merely transport their waste to another location outside their jurisdiction.
6. All projects need to address the impacts and protect private wells as well as municipal water systems. There are over 20,000 rural residents in Northern Sonoma County who rely solely on groundwater for potable water supply.
7. Wastewater reuse projects need to assess the public reaction or perception, and the potential for unintended economic consequences, associated with wastewater use on premium grapes and organic vegetables and other food crops.
8. Projects that include large scale construction projects, such as pipelines and reservoirs, must address both the temporary and permanent effects on tourism, commerce and traffic flow.
9. We advocate using incentives to fund infiltration repairs, which would reduce the need for wastewater infrastructure.
Board of Directors
Headquartered in Healdsburg, California, the Clean Water Coalition represents the Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and the Russian River Valley in its mission to educate the public about the implications of major urban water and wastewater projects proposed for the rural region.
Judith Olney, Chairman
Judith Olney has been a community advocate since the turn of the century. She is the Chair of the Clean Water Coalition of Northern Sonoma County, advocating for the protection of Sonoma County’s drinking water aquifer. Judith is also the planning and zoning chair for both the Westside Community Association and the Dry Creek Valley Association, and the legal liaison for the Westside Association to Save Agriculture - working tirelessly to preserve the rural character of our agricultural valleys.
Dennis Hill, Vice Chairman
Dennis Hill, longtime resident of Sonoma County, is committed to preserving Sonoma County’s agricultural and environmental heritage. He serves on the boards of the Clean Water Coalition of Northern Sonoma County and Westside Association to Save Agriculture. Hill has over 40 years experience as winemaker with both northern Sonoma County estate wineries and international wine companies. He is a founder and owner of Cannonball Wine Company. Guided by sustainable practices, he operates a wine grape vineyard in the middle reach of the Russian River Valley.
Dave Ring, Secretary
Dave’s career started in Silicon Valley where he worked in manufacturing and finance for ROLM, a telecommunications company. He joined Cisco Systems as VP Manufacturing, a position he held while the company grew from startup to Fortune 500. He was also on the board of Cisco and several other venture-backed startups. Dave and his husband Stu Harrison have lived and grown grapes in Alexander Valley since 1994. Dave is a board member of the Soda Rock Neighborhood Association and the Community Foundation Sonoma County Healdsburg Area, for which he also co-chairs the Grants Committee. Dave is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford University’s MBA program.
Nabeel Al-Shamma, Treasurer
Nabeel Al-Shamma and his wife live on their vineyard in the Alexander Valley. Nabeel involves himself with local issues such as water and conservation in an effort to preserve Sonoma County for future generations. He is a principal scientest at Adobe Systems focused on new technology development. He began his twenty-some years at Adobe working as senior developer and architect on Adobe Acrobat and PDF. Prior to Adobe, he worked at large companies such as Xerox, and startups such as Surface Science Instruments and Prometrix. Nabeel has a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley. When he’s not focused on his work or local issues he spends time in his vineyard or hiking in the backcountry of Sonoma County.
Fred Corson is from the fifth generation of a Northern California farm family. His education includes a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of California at Davis. He worked for the Dow Chemical Company for 31 years in research, research management, and business and corporate management positions. Before retiring, his position was Corporate Vice President of Research and Development. Specific job activities during his career included management of research on trace chemicals analysis, impacts of chemicals on people and the environment, and membrane separation systems. He and his wife, Mary Jane, live in the Dry Creek Valley. He grows grapes and is a timber owner and operator on family property in Mendocino County.
Don McEnhill is Riverkeeper and Program Director with the Russian Riverkeeper organization, whose mission is to preserve, restore and enhance the natural systems of the Russian River through citizen action, scientific research and expert advocacy. Mr. McEnhill is a Healdsburg resident with a business background who grew up on the Russian River spending his summers at the family cabin on Fitch Mountain. Working with citizen groups and attorneys, he has researched water supply, water quality and land use issues in the Russian River for the past 5 years. Don is an avid canoer, white water paddler and recreational fisherman.
Mary Kelley currently serves as the Alexander Valley Association Liaison to CWC. Mary is the former Manager of the Healdsburg Certified Farmers' Market, where she helped to raise awareness of Foss Creek and the Riparian Corridor that borders the market, as well as the importance of supporting the fishermen who sold fresh, local, seasonal salmon. She worked with Trout Unlimited to teach Steelhead in the Classroom at Sonoma Country Day School, and taught English and History with a watershed perspective in classrooms ranging from her hometown in the ancient delta of the Colorado River, to the Sacramento River Valley. Mary served on the board of Friends of the Russian River, is currently the Corresponding Secretary for Friends of the Healdsburg Farmers' Market, and is a Healdsburg Rotarian. While a student a UC Berkeley, she studied with Hydrologist Luna Leopold and Agroecologist Miguel Altieri, and she was also a river guide who led Sierra river trips with Cal Professor Richard Norgaard, and ran many rivers from the Rouge to the Kern. Upon graduation with a BS in Natural Resource Economics from UC Berkeley, she worked with former California Natural Resource Secretary, Huey Johnson, at the Resource Renewal Institute. Mary gardens on her small farm in Alexander Valley where she cultivates California Native plants.
(AVA)The purpose is to preserve for posterity the natural, rural and agricultural values of the hills, plains and river which so richly endow the Alexander Valley.
Dry Creek Valley Association (DCVA) The mission of the Association is to protect and enhance the natural resources, rural aspects and agricultural heritage of the Dry Creek Valley and its watershed while safeguarding the interests of the valley’s present and future community.
Westside Association to Save Agriculture (WASA) The primary goal of WASA is to promote stewardship of the land and to protect both agricultural uses and natural resources of the Middle Reach of the Russian River.
Russian Riverkeeper Russian Riverkeeper advocates, educates, and upholds our environmental laws to ensure the protection and restoration of the Russian River for the health and benefit of all who use and enjoy it!
Bishop's Ranch A retreat and conference center owned since 1947 by eighty Episcopal Churches in the Bay Area, its purpose is to promote renewal of spirit, mind and body for people of all walks of life by providing comfortable accommodations, healthy meals, inspiring programs and access to a 300 acre nature preserve.
Soda Rock Neighborhood Association (SRNA): The purpose for which SRNA is organized is to preserve the character and quality of life in the Southern Alexander Valley, and to have an open line of communication between this community, government agencies, and other neighborhoods.