Caryl Hart | Interim General Manager

Photo of General Manager Caryl hart standing in front of row of treesI am grateful and excited to serve as the Interim General Manager of Ag + Open Space as we transition to a new era. Of course, first and foremost, I’d like to acknowledge departing General Manager Bill Keene for the incredible accomplishments of Ag + Open Space during his tenure. I know you join me in wishing Bill all the best in his future endeavors.

I have met many of you, as I have been involved with Ag + Open Space almost since it started. I served on the Advisory Committee from 1994-2006, was very involved in the Measure F campaign, and was the Regional Parks Director from 2010-2017. I have always felt, and continue to feel, that the visionary creation of Ag + Open Space, and its renewal, have been among the most important and consequential decisions that county voters have ever made. As we look around Sonoma County, we see the results of Ag + Open Space’s work everywhere. Large portions of Sonoma Mountain, Taylor Mountain, Hood Mountain, the Mayacamas, much of coastal Sonoma County, and our community separators have all been preserved as a result of Ag + Open Space’s actions. The coastal agricultural belt along Bodega Highway, farmlands throughout the county, tribal reserves, and significant projects within the Russian River watershed and the Laguna have all benefited.

Clearly, we have done much as a community; but much remains as we face new challenges as a planet, a state, and in our county. Like many of you, I have evacuated my home in West County multiple times from the threat of wildfire. As a member of the California Coastal Commission, I have become more aware than ever of the increasing impacts of sea level rise on our coast and the San Francisco Bay. Our farmers and working farms are under constant pressure from the impacts of COVID-19, all in addition to the day-to-day pressures faced in maintaining a sustainable business with innumerable economic and environmental threats. Ag + Open Space can and should be a key partner in addressing these challenges, as it has during the last 30 years, and if successful, will continue to do through renewal measures supporting it into the future.

I am committed to working as hard as possible with the incredible staff at Ag + Open Space, its Board, Fiscal Oversight Commission and Advisory Committee, other county departments, and stakeholders to accomplish as much as possible during my six-month tenure, and to provide a smooth and successful transition to the permanent General Manager. I very much look forward to working with all of you in the months to come.

Onward,
Caryl Hart, Ph.D