Comments re Sacramento’s Transportation Priorities Plan

On March 14, 2022, ECOS, along with several other environmental groups, submitted a letter to the City of Sacramento about the City’s Transportation Priorities Plan.

Once again, we write to implore you to act swiftly to take comprehensive and bold action to transform transportation in the City and the region. Such a transformation is nonnegotiable if we are to begin to respond to the imminent threat of climate change; it is also essential in fostering equity, addressing traffic safety, increasing the livability of our neighborhoods, and improving air quality.

Just a few weeks ago the Council held a workshop titled Climate and Transportation. Yet the Transportation Priorities Plan before you, which proposes analyzing 700 transportation projects that have been proposed by council members over the past twenty years, would appear to adopt the status quo and does not establish addressing climate change as one of the criteria. Our city is in dire need of a transportation plan that reflects the current century. Again, we urge you to direct your City Manager to set aside staff and resources to develop and implement a comprehensive active transportation and public transit framework for the city.

Click here to read our letter in full.

ECOS Letter of support for transportation improvements at Sac Valley Station

February 25, 2022

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) supports the application by Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) to the 2022 Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) grant program. The transportation investments proposed in the application are key to achieving the interconnectivity goals of the California State Rail Plan, and GHG reductions required by local policies and state legislation.

Click here to read our letter.

Support of SacRT’s 2022 TIRCP application for zero emission buses

February 21, 2022

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) supports the Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) application to the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) for the purchase of twenty-seven electric zero emission buses (ZEBs) and related charging infrastructure.

These new ZEBs, along with those already in use by SacRT, will reinforce the region’s commitment to greenhouse gas reduction and be a good example for others. Since the transportation sector is responsible for about half of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions, replacing gas powered buses with electric buses is a necessary and important climate action step. It will help improve the region’s air quality, reduce greenhouse gas and other harmful emissions, improve the health of residents and visitors, and demonstrate the effectiveness of clean transportation to the public.

Click here to read our letter in full.

Coyote Creek Agrivoltaic Ranch Project

On February 17, 2022, the Environmental Council of Sacramento, Habitat 2020, the Sacramento Group of the Sierra Club, and Sacramento Audubon offered the comments with respect to the preparation of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Coyote Creek Agrivoltaic Ranch Project.

Below is an excerpt.

Our concern is that Blue Oak Woodland is an imperiled habitat in California, and it was recently highlighted as such in the draft “Pathways to 30 x 30” document. Such an important and imperiled habitat would not have necessarily been a top pick for constructing such a facility if the habitat values involved had been considered in the context of other potential locations in our region.  We acknowledge that there are limited options for the placement of such a facility, but we are not aware of a comprehensive analysis and compendium of suitable locations for solar farms prepared by SMUD for the region, so there is no resource to compare and contrast the Coyote Creek project. 

Click here to read the letter in full.

On February 21, 2022, the Environmental Council of Sacramento, Habitat 2020, the Sacramento Group of the Sierra Club, and Sacramento Audubon sent an addendum to our previously sent Coyote Creek Agrivoltaic Solar Project NOP comment letter.

Click here to read the addendum letter.

ECOS letter on Water Agencies’ Participation in Sacramento Area Turf Replacement Study

On February 14, 2022, the Environmental Council of Sacramento submitted a letter to Sacramento Area Water Agencies regarding their participation in a Sacramento Area Turf Replacement Study. Below is the content of the letter.

To: Sacramento Area RWA Water Agencies

The Environmental Council of Sacramento’s Water Committee has begun a project to calculate the potential water savings from conversion of ornamental grasses (turf) to drought-tolerant landscaping in the American River water purveyor area (i.e. Regional Water Authority member agencies). We are interested in your input and participation in this study. This letter describes the study plan. For more information or to participate, please contact Katrina Harrison, PE, ECOS Water Committee member and Project Manager, at kandchf[at]gmail[dot]com or (408) 644-9108.

The Water Committee has met with representatives of the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to share methodologies and inquire about data sources. DWR staff has been helpful but has suggested relying on publicly available datasets. Therefore, Water Committee plans to calculate the area of current ornamental grasses using 2019 or 2020 publicly available fine scale (~1 foot pixel size wherever possible) aerial and infrared imagery. Aerial images include National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP), Bing imagery, Planet, and NearMap.

This imagery dataset will be analyzed using the machine learning, or neural net, algorithms of the software program eCognition to determine turf grass area. Land classifications will be digitized in several sample areas, and the computer model will be trained using those areas including calculating the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as well as a Tree Grass Difference Index. The aerial imagery processing will be validated manually to develop a calculation of the accuracy and estimated error bounds of the analysis.

Following calculation of the area of turf grass, ECOS Water Committee members plan to use California Native Plant Society information on the evapotranspiration and density of different plant palettes – lawn versus drought-tolerant landscaping – to determine the difference in water use. This difference will be multiplied by the area to determine potential water savings.

We appreciate any insight or methodology suggestions you may have. We would like to share our draft results with study participants and will make the final product available to the Water Forum for its consideration in the ongoing Water Forum 2 discussions. If you have an interest in participating, please contact Katrina Harrison at kandchf[at]gmail[dot]com or Ted Rauh at tnrauh[at]att[dot]net. We would appreciate hearing from you before the end of February so that your input can be included in the study.

Click here to view a PDF of the letter.

ECOS letter in advance of Sac City Council transportation workshop

On February 7, 2022, the Environmental Council submitted a letter to the City of Sacramento in regards to their transportation workshop, scheduled for February 8, 2022.

The Council has acknowledged the need to address the impacts of climate change by declaring a climate emergency in December 2019. However, we are far from meeting the City’s carbon neutrality goal – we need plans and funding. The City is making progress on building electrification, but the most important sector for meeting our climate neutrality goal is transportation, which accounts for over half of our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Click here to read the letter in full.

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