Strategic progress on Climate Action & Resiliency

Board of Supervisors applauds progress

on climate action and resiliency

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors held a half-day workshop on Aug. 29 to review progress with implementing the Climate Action & Resiliency Pillar of the county’s five-year Strategic Plan. The Climate Action & Resiliency Division of the County Administrator’s Office was joined by the Agricultural Protection and Open Space District, Permit Sonoma and Sonoma Public Infrastructure to present progress updates and answer questions from the Board. The considerable progress is the result of hard work by many county staff and partner agencies in addition to those presenting, including Sonoma Water and the U.C. Cooperative Extension.  

Read the summary of progress made and view the presentation slides and workshop video

Board of Supervisors approves municipal greenhouse gas inventory

On Aug. 29, the Board also approved a study that evaluated greenhouse gas emissions associated with county government operations in 2017, 2019 and 2021. The report, prepared with support from Cascadia Consulting Group, also includes a forecast of emissions by county government in 2030, considering the impact of planned federal and state actions and evaluates the impact of potential actions to reduce emissions.

Energy emissions decreased 43 percent from 2017 to 2021, driven in part by the decommissioning of the Sonoma County Fuel Cell at the end of 2020. Transportation emissions decreased 18 percent during the same period, in part because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which began disrupting county operations in March 2020 and reduced emissions as employees worked from home. Solid waste emissions decreased 49 percent from 2017 to 2021. Here is a breakdown of the county’s emissions by source in each evaluated year:

The “business-as-usual” forecast in this analysis shows the county’s projected emissions growth if all operations remain unchanged from 2021 and taking into account projected employee and population growth. If no federal, state or local climate action is taken, the county’s emissions (excluding closed landfills) are projected to increase 3 percent by 2030. A “wedge analysis” of future emissions shows the impact of federal and state policies, as well as actions the county could take to reduce emissions. The analysis, below, illustrates the effect over time of each policy and action.

 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Results summary
Greenhouse Gas Inventory full report

County to develop Climate Resilience Master Action Plan

The Climate Action & Resiliency Division is leading the effort to develop a Climate Resilience Master Action Plan to achieve the Board’s goals for the county to be carbon neutral, zero waste, and resilient by 2030. The Master Action Plan will build on findings from the Municipal Greenhouse Gas Inventory, the Zero Waste Audit and Characterization Study (see below), a Carbon Inventory and Sequestration Potential Study (coming in October), and a Master Energy Plan (expected this winter). Input from the community will inform the Master Action Plan: we invite you to participate in a Climate Resilience Town Hall and to share your thoughts through a survey. The Board will provide policy guidance to staff in December on actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste from county operations, and to increase carbon sequestration and resiliency. The Climate Resilience Master Action Plan will go before the Board in spring of 2024.

Information on the upcoming Climate Resilience Town Hall

Below, you will find new information on our work to increase resiliency and efficiency, reduce waste, increase carbon sequestration, and develop wastewater solutions. 

Climate resilient buildings

Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building.

Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building

gets energy and resiliency upgrades

On Aug. 22, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved $3.5 million to make the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building more energy efficient and resilient to power outages and climate change. This is the first energy upgrade project resulting from investment-grade energy audits that are underway at existing county buildings through the PG&E Sustainable Solutions Turnkey program. The program audits building systems and provides recommendations for upgrades that will reduce energy and water use, utility operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions while also increasing resilience.

The county’s five-year Strategic Plan includes goals to make all county facilities carbon neutral and resilient, and to invest in electrical power resiliency projects at county facilities, including Veterans Memorial Buildings used for evacuation sites and warming/cooling centers.

The upgrades to the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building will save 157,920 kWh of electricity and 1,770 therms of natural gas each year while creating a reliable source of electricity to power the building during blackouts and other emergencies. In addition, the project will allow the building to be used as a public cooling center during extreme heat events. The project will pay for itself with $588,410 in incentives and generate more than $4.9 million in energy savings over the useful lifetime of the equipment. The improvements approved by the board include:

  • Installing a 110.7 kW solar photovoltaic canopy in the parking lot, with the capacity to add Level 2 chargers in the future for electric vehicle charging.
  • Adding an 80 kW battery energy storage system that will allow the facility to operate as a fully-powered island during electricity outages. The system will also save money, enabling facility managers to charge the battery when electricity rates are lowest and use the stored energy from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. when energy is more expensive.
  • Replacing the auditorium’s existing natural gas-powered heating system with electric heat pumps, which will also operate as air conditioners during extreme heat events. Currently, the building is not equipped with central air conditioning.
  • Installing high-efficiency LED lights throughout the building.
  • Installing new digital building management controls for all lighting, solar photovoltaic, battery storage and HVAC systems, which will allow for automatic and remote management to reduce waste.

The project also includes changes to energy loads at the Central Mechanical Plant that will save roughly $125,000 each year in energy costs.

Sonoma County's 'Zero Waste' plan

The county’s Strategic Plan calls for transforming all county facilities into "Zero Waste" entities by 2030. The idea is to prevent and repurpose waste through a variety of strategies with the objective of reducing the amount of garbage sent to landfills. The county’s strategic goals are also a commitment to meet state mandates to reduce organic waste in landfills by 75 percent by 2025.

With support from SCS Engineering and Zero Waste Sonoma, the county completed a Zero Waste Audit and Characterization Study to quantify the amount of waste county facilities generate while analyzing the types of materials going into the waste streams. 

The insights gained from this study provide a clear road map to achieve zero waste from county operations:

  • Establish and Enhance Composting Programs: At all county-operated facilities, the study suggests ramping up our composting efforts. This not only reduces landfill waste but also transforms organic materials into valuable resources for our community.
  • Education and Outreach: It's essential that everyone be involved in the journey toward zero waste. The study suggests launching education and outreach programs targeting county staff and visitors. One particular aim is to teach which items belong in each disposal receptacle.
  • Incentivizing Zero Waste Actions: The study suggests considering incentives for project partners or contractors who have practices that align with zero waste goals. This encourages collaboration and commitment to our shared objectives.
  • Seasonal Education and Programs: The study highlights the importance of meeting seasonal surges in waste production at county facilities. For example, increased recreation in summer. Suggestions include seasonal education and zero waste programs to help maintain momentum and adapt to changing needs.
  • Deconstruction and Reuse: The study suggests prioritizing deconstruction, salvage and reuse in all construction and demolition activities.

The study underscores the County of Sonoma’s commitment to reducing waste, recycling, and composting and making our county a model in the zero waste movement. As we move forward with implementing these suggestions, we are excited about the positive impact it will have on our environment, our community, and our future. 

Climate resilient lands

Kick-off of the Sonoma-Marin Ag and County Climate Coalition

The Sonoma-Marin Ag and County Climate Coalition leverages successful carbon farming programs and local and regional food systems partnerships across Sonoma and Marin counties to create a regional supply chain, innovative tracking system and marketing campaign for climate-smart agricultural products. The initiative is tied to achieving the ambitious climate mitigation goals established in the 2030 Marin County Climate Action Plan Update and the Sonoma County Climate Mobilization Strategy. As of August, a $10 million grant agreement with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the County of Sonoma has been approved. Efforts will kick off with 18+ partners across Sonoma and Marin counties this month.

Natural and working lands will play a significant role in supporting carbon neutrality goals because of their ability to act as a carbon sink by sequestering carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in vegetation and soils.

This is a tremendous opportunity to strengthen and expand our agricultural conservation partnerships. We will be looking for ways to provide the necessary program supports (e.g., natural resource inventories, conservation planning and project design, GHG reduction quantification, and monitoring, reporting, and verification services) to accelerate the growth of regional supply chains and markets, as well as integrating agricultural climate solutions into county-level climate action plans and goal setting.

Water stream

Russian River – Looking downstream near Villa Grande.

Studies underway to develop wastewater solutions

In anticipation of new septic systems regulations, the Climate Action & Resiliency Division (CARD) continues to develop projects to address the needs of residents with septic systems. In August, we kicked off the septic mapping study and analysis, a countywide study examining septic system infrastructure. With the assistance of Arup US Inc., the county will produce an interactive, web-based map as well as a report that will examine potential governance options and wastewater treatment alternatives. The report and map are expected to be complete in the first half of 2024. This project is also anticipated to provide critical baseline data for subsequent work to improve wastewater treatment and secure funding.

The Russian River Pathogen Reduction Planning Project is one project that will benefit from the septic system mapping study. In mid-July, the county received notice from the Water Resources Control Board that CARD’s grant proposal under the Clean Water Act Section 319(h) was approved for funding. This project will evaluate and develop solutions addressing pathogen pollution from septic systems, animal grazing, recreation, and homeless encampments in the Russian River watershed. It is expected to commence in early 2024.

CARD is assisting with another study that will benefit from the septic system mapping study: a regional feasibility study spearheaded by Sonoma Water. This study will examine potential regional wastewater projects in west Sonoma County that could help residents comply with new septic system regulations, improve water quality and recycled water supply, and address ratepayer costs. The work on this project is estimated to take place over the next couple years.

Lastly, Sonoma Water and Brelje & Race Consulting Engineers are performing a feasibility study to analyze potential wastewater solutions for the community of Monte Rio-Villa Grande, including onsite and small community septic systems as well as sewered alternatives. This study aims to lay the groundwork for project implementation, with the added intention to help inform other communities facing similar challenges. CARD’s Clean Water Ombudsman is working with an interagency team, including the Lower Russian River Wastewater Citizen’s Advisory Group, to organize and plan a community meeting for later this year that will address this study and other septic related topics.

Sonoma County finances home resiliency

Your Energy Efficient and Resilient Home – a free workshop

The Climate Action & Resiliency team has announced a new in-person workshop series for homeowners beginning in October.

The workshops will focus on improvements that will make your home more energy efficient, safe, and resilient. Information on rebates, incentives and financing will also be featured. Participants can enter a drawing for a free home energy score valued at up to $450.

The Climate Action & Resiliency Division’s energy and sustainability program is a one-stop shop for residential and commercial property owners to find resources to help them save energy and water. It provides a variety of services including Property Assessed Clean Energy financing.

The workshops are being held in partnership with the Sonoma County Library at locations throughout the county. For more information or to register for one of the workshops, contact [email protected] or call (707) 565-6470.

The County’s Clean Commute Program

As directed by the Strategic Plan, the county has been investing in its Clean Commute Program to promote our employees’ use of alternate modes of transportation, including bike and carpool incentives, and last-mile solutions connecting bus and train stations to county worksites. This quarter, county staff saved 123 metric tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere by clean commuting. Check out the impact of the Clean Commute Program below.

Upcoming workshops and events




Sign-Up Link

Your Energy Efficient and Resilient Home


Oct. 9

11 a.m-12:30 p.m.

Cloverdale Regional Library

Cloverdale Resilient Home workshop registration

Your Energy Efficient and Resilient Home

(En español)


Oct. 11

6-7:30 p.m.


Regional Library

Your Energy Efficient and Resilient Home - en Español

Your Energy Efficient and Resilient Home


Oct. 28

2-3:30 p.m.

Sonoma Valley Regional Library

Your Energy Efficient and Resilient Home

Your Energy Efficient and Resilient Home


Nov. 5

3-4:30 p.m.

Sonoma County Library: Central Library

Your Energy Efficient and Resilient Home

Your Energy Efficient and Resilient Home


Nov. 14

3-4:30 p.m.

Cotati Regional Library

Your Energy Efficient and Resilient Home

Staffing updates

We've grown!

The Climate Action & Resiliency Division has grown! The team welcomed Marcus Clarke and Simone Albuquerque this summer. Read more about Marcus and Simone below:

Headshot of Marcus

Marcus joined the Climate Action & Resiliency Division as a grants analyst. Marcus holds degrees from the University of Washington and UC Berkeley. He will be focused on finding grant opportunities in the climate and resilience area, building the teams to apply for those grants, and leading the application. When we’re successful in receiving awards, Marcus will help set the project team up for equally successful implementation. Many grants now are focused on collaborative work between local governments and communities, so Marcus will also foster the long-term relationships we need internally in the county and with our external partners to be successful.  

Simone joined the Climate Action & Resiliency Division as a climate resiliency analyst. Simone holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from UC Santa Cruz as well as a master’s degree in environmental science and management from the UC Santa Barbara, where she focused on water resources management. Simone is facilitating the Carbon Inventory & Potential Sequestration Study and managing the kick-off of the Sonoma-Marin Ag and County Climate Coalition – a $10 million grant with nine county partners. Simone will also be coordinating presentations of Climate Resiliency Strategic Goals. 

We're recruiting!

The Climate Action & Resiliency Division is currently recruiting for a Principal Climate Analyst. Coming soon: Climate Resilience Project Analyst (look for it on

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The Climate Action and Resiliency Division (CARD), within the County Administrator’s Office,

is dedicated to helping the County and the community address the climate crisis

and achieve its climate-related goals and objectives.