Sonoma County Climate Change Forum

March 16, 2015

On April 8 Sonoma State University is hosting the Sonoma County Adaptation Forum, the nation's first county-level climate adaptation forum. The focus is on keeping Sonoma County vibrant and resilient in a changing climate, and attendees will learn how to make climate friendly decisions and share what they have learned with others to explore new and innovative solutions for adapting to climate change.

"We know that the future is likely to bring more droughts, floods and fires," said Susan Gorin, Chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. "The forum will bring together policymakers across the county to discuss how we can make our community resilient and safer in light of these challenges."

This event comes on the heels of the recent White House Climate Action Champion award given to Sonoma County's Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA), lauded as the nation's "first local government agency created specifically to address climate change." As one of only 16 communities nationwide to receive this award, Sonoma County is now eligible for additional federal dollars and other resources for county departments and agencies to bolster local programs and policies.

The closing keynote speech will be delivered by Dr. Glenda Humiston, California State Director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development.

"Sonoma County is on the cutting edge of communities nationwide looking at climate change," said Rohnert Park City Councilman Jake Mackenzie, who is also chair of the Local Government Commission and a director of RCPA. "This forum is an opportunity to take another proactive step in determining how we can prepare for the change that we know is coming."

Presenters include nationally acclaimed research scientists Dr. Marty Ralph, director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Dr. Julie Kalansky from the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The forum also features local leaders actively researching effects of climate change in the aspects of Sonoma County: Dr. Lisa Micheli is executive director of Pepperwood Preserve, co-founder of the North Bay Climate Adaptation Initiative and co-founder of Terrestrial Biodiversity and Climate Change Collaboration (TBC3); Jay Jasperse is chief engineer and director of groundwater management at the Sonoma County Water Agency.

"Businesses need to proactively consider how climate change could affect their bottom line," said Justin Witt, a panel moderator at the forum with Brelje and Race Engineers. "Successful adaptation means preparing for both threats and opportunities. Planning is a long road and we need to get started now."

The Sonoma County Adaptation Forum is presented by an alliance of nonprofits, agencies and businesses working together to increase awareness around climate change, climate adaptation and future impacts on Sonoma County. Participating organizations include the Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA), Local Government Commission, Sonoma County Water Agency, Sustainable SSU at Sonoma State University, County of Sonoma Energy & Sustainability Division, County of Sonoma Public Health Division, Brelje & Race Consulting Engineers, Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy, and Sustainable North Bay.

The Sonoma County Adaptation Forum takes place in the Student Center Ballroom at Sonoma State University Wednesday, April 8, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. For details and to register, visit