EDITOR: A lawsuit filed Jan. 6 challenges the Alexander Valley in-stream mining project. This project would last 15 years and allow gravel miners to mine a 6?-mile stretch of the Russian River.
Removing 350,000 tons of material per year from the river may negatively affect the spawning habitat of coho salmon and steelhead. By allowing the project, Sonoma County supervisors (defendants) ignored scientific research that illustrates how excessive mining degrades critical habitat utilized by endangered fish.
The board also ignored studies that illustrate the negative consequences to homeowners downstream as well as the increase in traffic, wear on public roads and pollution from the constant running of large gravel-hauling trucks.
The Russian Riverkeeper organization should be praised for challenging this project. Preventing the destruction of necessary habitat and the onset of unnecessary downstream erosion should take priority when the members of the Russian River Property Owners Association reconsider their support in the matter.
CYNTHIA DE LA ROSA