Our Mission and History

Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS)

Our Mission

Our mission is to achieve regional and community sustainability and a healthy environment for existing and future residents.

By working proactively with our members, member organizations, local government, and community groups, ECOS energizes and brings positive change to the Sacramento region as we strive to develop thriving communities.

Our Organization

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a coalition made up of both member organizations and individuals who come together to create a united voice for local environmental concerns. Click here to learn more about establishing or renewing organizational memberships

Our Objectives

While ECOS (and Habitat 2020) does its day-to-day work as the region’s primary watch dog of land use and transportation project development, we operate with 5 overarching policy objectives:

  1. Promote and reinforce Smart Growth principles
  2. Improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow climate change
  3. Establish a regionally coordinated conservation strategy
  4. Establish a sustainable regional water supply for both ecological and municipal needs
  5. Achieve equity in housing, public health, and economic opportunity

Our History

ECOS was formed in February of 1971 at the suggestion of the Sacramento-Emigrant Trails Tuberculosis and Health Association (predecessor to the American Lung Association of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails) for the purpose of providing a vehicle whereby groups and individuals concerned with environmental problems may more effectively study and jointly communicate their recommendations to the general public and its elected representatives in government for action. Initial members included the Sacramento-Emigrant Trails Tuberculosis and Health Association, Sierra Club, Ecology Information Center, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the League of Women Voters, the Audubon Society and the Medical Society. Our first president was chairman of the Air Pollution Committee of the Sacramento-Emigrant Trails Tuberculosis and Health Association.

In the 1970s, ECOS was involved in supporting improved air quality by challenging the open burning of waste from our region’s rice fields, establishment of the American River Parkway, adoption of a Natural Streams Policy, and an end to nuclear power for our region with SMUD’s closing of Rancho Seco.

In the 1980s, ECOS fought for protection for Bushy Lake at Cal Expo, the founding of an independent Sacramento Metropolitan Air District, preventing development in the floodplain, increased local commitments to cleaner fueled vehicles, light rail and transit funding from local sales taxes, and against urbanization of the Natomas floodplain.

In the 1990s the adoption of an urban services boundary (the urban growth boundary) in the Sacramento County General Plan, the establishment of the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, a transportation system to reduce air pollution, and the formation of Habitat 2020 to unite groups working on behalf of wild plants and animals.

In the 2000s major ECOS efforts and successes include:

  • Developing the “ECOS 50-Year Transportation Vision”
  • Coordination of the annual Sacramento Earth Day
  • Spearheading a grant-funded neighborhood community planning and urban revitalization project on Hurley Way in Arden Arcade
  • Supporting a vision for the new “Heartland Conservation Project”
  • Developing the “Smart Growth Leadership Recognition Program” with the American Institute of Architects, Central Valley Chapter, to review and endorse specific development proposals representing the best in design and public engagement
  • Using advocacy and litigation to ensure protections for threatened species, farmland, watersheds, and neighborhoods facing environmental degradation
  • Creating the “ECOS Volunteer Action Corps” to build a regular public presence at community events around the region
  • Partnering with the Sacramento Housing Alliance and other community organizations to develop the Coalition on Regional Equity (CORE) to work on regional land use and health issues
  • Awarding and celebrating the “Environmentalist of the Year” for the last 45+ years to recognize outstanding efforts by local individuals and groups

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit organization that gives Sacramento environmental leaders a place to come together to create a visionary forum and an action-oriented coalition for the region. Initially formed to coordinate the activities of member organizations, ECOS reformed itself in 1991 to become a hybrid organization that has both organizational and individual members.

View our Strategic Plan by clicking here.

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