I am afraid

Letter to the editor - Napa Valley Register by Joe Castro


Watersheds are reservoirs. They grab rainwater and hold it, releasing it slowly. As a recent report from the state’s water agency says, the most important part of the water system in California is the watershed. Protecting watersheds prevents the need for more downstream storage and for increased expenditures of protecting the quality of water.

The most important parts of the watersheds are the forests and woodlands. They serve a special function of holding soil and storing more in the aquifer than if they are developed into any other use, even replanting as a timber resource.

Let that soak in; cutting down a forest has lasting damage in the form of erosion and lowered water retention in the soil, even if you replant it as a forest.

We have an opportunity to protect the Napa watersheds on the ballot. It’s a very mild measure. It actually lets land owners continue cutting trees down at the same rate until about 2030 before it says “that’s enough.” Nothing drastic, and probably not aggressive enough in light of climate change projections.

The opponents are spraying messages designed to make you fearful of protecting the watershed. It appears as though they got a list of all the things that Napa County residents don’t want, and then said, “protecting the watershed will make all those bad things happen.”

More traffic? Give me a break.

Endanger the hillsides if they can’t cut the trees down? It defies logic. They want us to be afraid of the “unforeseen outcomes” – a message that indicates you should just be afraid, even if they can’t tell you why.

What are they trying to make you afraid of? Not cutting trees down. They want you to be afraid of not deforesting the watersheds. They want you to be afraid of trees.

When you see the million dollars worth of ads and signs, the bottom line is that they want you to be afraid of nature, of trees, of protecting the watershed. They want you to be afraid to think things through yourself.

What are they afraid of? Not being able to mow down forests to develop vineyards that they can sell at enormous profits. They are afraid that the electorate will be wise enough to see through the fear and doubt campaign and see them for what they really are.

What am I afraid of? Them. That’s why I’m voting 'yes' on Measure C.

Joe Castro