A race to beat the rain in Wine Country

- With winter rains on the way, people up here, private and public officials alike, are in a rush to make serious decisions. The Regional Water Quality is racing against time and more serious rains as crews are out protecting drains from debris. 

"We've been cutting into the straw waddles, making small holes, then inoculating the straw with the mushroom mycelium, and so when it gets wet, it acts like an added layer of filtration," said Maggie Robinson of the Regional Water Quality Control Board. 

The mushroom is very effective in adhering to and restraining toxic heavy metals for easy collection and haul away. The good thing about today's very light rain is that it not only dampens the ash but it kind of tamps it down. And there's no runoff, meaning this stuff isn't getting into the drains which pollutes habitat. 

Also, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors got a sobering number from FEMA on how many people have applied for help in the wake of the fires. "The current registration for numbers submitted for Sonoma County is 14,777 applicants," said FEMA's Robert Pesapane

Then the Board voted today on two major issues. It passed a measure to allow the county to rent space on the County Fairgrounds and other sites to place temporary housing units for up to 18 months for 200, perhaps 500 units, if needed. How many and what kind of units will be chosen soon, but everything from tiny homes to RVs, to travel trailers to long term house rentals are expected.

"That actual number of units that will come here are based on the interviews that FEMA does with the applicants. Travel trailers are not always most suitable housing method," said FEMA's Don Price.

The Board also voted to make final the November 13th deadline for property owners to all FEMA and the state to clean up allow the debris from their property without charge. This is critical because of the 6000 destroyed properties in the county less than 25% have signed the form giving the government permission to enter and do the cleanup. 

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