Why We Should Save Farmland and Habitat in Natomas

It is not good that proposed large master plan projects are located outside of the County’s Urban Services Boundary. “The county zoned [this] area as agricultural and has numerous policies in place to protect agricultural land. These projects would eliminate the remaining farmland and habitat of the Natomas basin, in Sacramento County, and weaken the Natomas Basin Habitat Plan.”

By Heather Fargo and Susan Herre | The Natomas Buzz | May 9, 2022

In response to the Sacramento Bee article “Washington sending millions to fight Natomas Basin flooding” by David Lightman and Michael McGough:

Portions of the front page article on April 18 regarding Natomas Basin Flooding were inaccurate and misleading. It’s important to correct the record.

The need for strengthening the levees along the Sacramento River are well known, not just for Natomas, but all the way to South Sacramento. And we all appreciate the support of the federal government to help keep Sacramento safe from flooding.

It’s important to recognize that much work has been completed in Natomas and the previous moratorium on construction has been lifted. Natomas now has a similar level of flood protection to the rest of the city. Thousands of housing units have been built, and thousands are currently under construction. But they are all in areas previously planned for housing within the city limits of Sacramento.

Housing developments in the adjacent farmland, outside of the city, are prohibited currently by Sacramento County’s Urban Services Boundary, approved in 1993. And that’s a good thing. It allows agricultural uses to continue, endangered species to survive in protected habitat areas, and contributes to the region’s economy and quality of life, and the build out of Natomas.

The article erroneously states that “The levee improvements are expected to help trigger important economic benefits, allowing more construction to occur.” This is not true. It goes on to say that “The Sacramento River flood threat has choked off development on new homes on the acres west of Interstate 80 and El Centro Road, and south of San Juan Road.” This is also not true.

The project area referred to includes proposed, but not approved, projects. The county zoned the area as agricultural and has numerous policies in place to protect agricultural land. These projects would eliminate the remaining farmland and habitat of the Natomas basin, in Sacramento County, and weaken the Natomas Basin Habitat Plan. This plan which requires one half acre for acre that is developed with the city limits was a state and federal requirement to allow North Natomas to be developed in the first place. The future of North Natomas along with the protected species will be endangered if new projects of thousands of acres are ever approved.

The abandoned Joint Vision for Natomas, approved by both the city and county of Sacramento, called for development to occur only in the city limits, and agriculture and habitat to be done in the unincorporated areas of the county. It still makes sense.

While it’s a developer’s dream to buy prime farmland for cheap, and have it approved for development, the “highest and best use” in unincorporated North Natomas is farming and habitat.

Click here to view the article.


Photo by Edith Thacher

ECOS Climate Committee 5/12 Focus on Transportation

ECOS Climate Change Committee – Focus on Transportation, THURSDAY, MAY 12 6:00 pm

Co-hosted by Ralph Propper, Climate Committee Chair and John Deeter, Transportation Team Lead

Agenda

6:00 Let’s chat — Zoom break-out rooms

6:05 Welcome and brief introductions

6:10 Sacramento Regional Transit (Sac RT) staff will discuss plans for the coming year. RT’s fiscal status has improved, as ridership is increasing again.

Craig Norman (Director of Engineering) will discuss more frequent service on Folsom line, electric buses, low-floor light rail stations/vehicles, new LRT stations (Dos Rios station; Horn Rd. station near Rancho Cordova’s Kassis property)

6:30 SacRT and TOD – Traci Canfield will provide high level overview of the SACOG-SACRT Transit-oriented Development Action Plan written in 2020

6:50 CapCity Freeway Lawsuit Update – Betsy Weiland of SARA (invited contributor) to discuss impacts to river

7:05 Transportation Ballot Measure for November election – Steve Cohn of SacMoves (invited contributor)

7:20 UPDATES

  • Climate Action Plans for County and City of Sacramento
  • For July presentation — Valley Rail, San Joaquin JPA, by Dan Leavitt, Manager of Regional Initiatives, will update us on the Stockton to Sacramento segment of Valley Rail w/maps, station areas, station designs. Valley Rail is on the Sacramento Subdivision from Stockton to Natomas — on separate, parallel UP track(s) to Sac RT from Cosumnes River Blvd to R Street in Midtown. Service will extend to Natomas (Elkhorn Blvd), but planning work is being done with Butte CAG and SACOG for a future extension to Butte County (Chico).

7:30 Adjourn

Thursday, May 12, 2022, 6:00pm

Link to join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6656164155

To phone in: 669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 665 616 4155

California Energy Commission Opportunities

Greetings!

The California Energy Commission has two great opportunities for individuals looking to engage with their communities:

1. If you’re interested in advancing energy equity and environmental justice, please consider joining the Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group (DACAG)!

a. The DACAG was created by Senate Bill 350 and is the principal advisory body for the CEC and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and advises the agencies regarding the development, implementation, and impacts of clean energy and transportation programs in disadvantaged communities.

b. More information about the DACAG and how to join can be found in the attached PDF titled, “DACAG Solicitation 20220411,” or on the CPUC’s DACAG webpage and the CEC’s DACAG webpage.

2. If you’re interested in transportation efforts, please consider joining the CEC’s Clean Transportation Program (CTP) Advisory Committee!

a. CTP Advisory Committee Members will provide input on the development of the Clean Transportation Program Investment Plan, which establishes program priorities and funding allocations.

b. More information on how to join the Advisory Committee can be found in this PDF titled, “Notice of Opportunity to Serve on the Investment Plan Advisory Committee of the Clean Transportation Program”

Office of the Public Advisor, Energy Equity, and Tribal Affairs
California Energy Commission
Office: (916) 957-7910
Email: publicadvisor[at]energy[dot]ca[dot]gov
Web: https://www.energy.ca.gov/about/divisions-and-offices/office-public-advisor

California Energy Commission
715 P Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

Candidate Forum – Sacramento County Supervisor District 5 Candidates

May 17, 2022 at 6 pm

Join Sacramento Metro Advocates for Rail and Transit (SMART) on May 17 at 6 PM for a virtual forum on Zoom and Facebook with candidates for Sacramento County Supervisor District 5! The topic will be their take on transportation – vision, priorities, and the benefits of public transit and rail improvements and expansion – in Sacramento County. You can copy and paste the link below into your web browser search bar. At the Zoom screen, enter the meeting ID and passcode below to join the Candidate Forum. For more assistance, send an email to info[at]sactosmart[dot]org. We can’t wait to see you there!

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86522991260?pwd=TjN2Tkg1ajYrdE1aR21qekVaWHlRZz09

Meeting ID: 865 2299 1260
Passcode: 545914

Sac City Council Meeting, April 26, 2022, Item 19 Quarterly Climate Update 

On April 26, 2022, ECOS submitted a letter to the City of Sacramento Council Members regarding their Council Meeting on April 26, 2022, Item 19: Quarterly Climate Update. Below is an excerpt from our letter.

Sacramento can be a leader in sustainable and equitable growth and reducing of GHG emissions. The Sacramento region is the home of the Blueprint, upon which was modeled the landmark law SB375 linking land use and transportation. The concept of coordinating or integrating land use and transportation was right in 2008 and it is still right today. The key is to implement it.

Therefore, ECOS urges the City to use SacRT’s transit system as the backbone for redevelopment. Five- to seven-story buildings should frame the light rail station areas. Streets with existing high-ridership bus routes should be transformed into boulevards with consistently high street walls, wide sidewalks, protected bikeways, street trees on park strips, and curb parking. New parks and public plazas should be inserted.

Click here to read the letter in full.

American River Bridge Deck Replacement Project

On April 21, 2022, ECOS submitted a letter to the California State Lands Commission regarding the American River Bridge Deck Replacement Project. Below is an excerpt of our letter.

ECOS requests you pull this item from your consent calendar to enable a full discussion of this item. ECOS further requests that the Commission deny Caltrans’ application for a public agency permit and approval of a right-of-way map for the American River Bridge Deck Replacement Project.

In 2021, ECOS filed a lawsuit against Caltrans for this Project, asserting that their Mitigated Negative Declaration is inappropriate, for reasons cited below. Our subsequent settlement negotiation for this Project has not led to a resolution.

Click here to read the letter in full.