SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) -- Sonoma County is considering new regulations on grape growers seeking to turn forested hillsides into vineyards.

The county released draft regulations on Thursday that would require growers to prove their projects won't damage waterways, prohibit tree removal on the steepest slopes and keep vineyards 50 to 100 feet away from unstable hillsides.

County Agricultural Commissioner Tony Linegar tells the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa ( the goal is to protect water quality.

But Nick Frey, president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, says the regulations would increase the costs of developing new vineyards and be particularly harmful to small farmers.

County supervisors have placed a moratorium on hillside vineyard planting, as the new rules are crafted


Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat,

Copyright 2012 The AP.

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