Implementing California’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan in Sacramento County

November 11, 2019

ECOS and Habitat 2020 have submitted the following letter to the Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority regarding their application to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program. ECOS/Habitat 2020 look forward to participating with the Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority in the implementation of the Grant Proposal and the ongoing efforts to develop a Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the South American Subbasin in Sacramento County.

Ramon Roybal
Assistant Engineer
Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority
827 7th Street Room 301
Sacramento CA, 95814

Subject: South American Subbasin Prop 68 Round 3 Grant Proposal for Evaluating GDEs and Surface Water Depletions (Grant Proposal)
Dear Mr. Roybal,
The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to achieve regional and community sustainability and a healthy environment for existing and future residents. ECOS member organizations include: 350 Sacramento, Breathe California Sacramento Region, Friends of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, International Dark-Sky Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility Sacramento Chapter, Sacramento Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Sacramento Electric Vehicle Association, Environmental Democrats of Sacramento County, Sacramento Housing Alliance, Sacramento Natural Foods Coop, Sacramento Audubon Society, Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, Sacramento Vegetarian Society, Save Our Sandhill Cranes, Save the American River Association, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1000 and the Sierra Club Sacramento Group.
Members of Habitat 2020, a committee of ECOS, include: Friends of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Friends of Swainson’s Hawk, International Dark-Sky Association Sacramento Chapter, Sacramento Area Creeks Council, Sacramento Audubon Society, Sacramento Valley Chapter California Native Plant Society, Save Our Sandhill Cranes, Save the American River Association, Sierra Club Sacramento Group and Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue.
We want to express our thanks for the opportunity to review and comment on the Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority’s (SCGA) Grant Proposal. We are very concerned about how the South American Subbasin’s (Subbasin) Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDE) and Groundwater/Surface Water Interfaces (GWI) are identified, evaluated, and managed as part of SCGA’s development and administration of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) for the Subbasin. We commend SCGA for opening its grant development process to include public comment. We are encouraged by this action and look forward to working with SCGA and the other Subbasin GSAs in implementing the grant’s workplan. In addition, in the coming months we look forward to working with all parties to develop a GSP for the South American Subbasin (SAS).
We support the overall workplan proposed in the Grant Proposal. Specifically we endorse the workplan’s support for the completion of the numerical integrated groundwater surface water CoSANA model. We support the technical approach proposed for the identification and analysis of GDEs and GWIs. Finally, we support and commend SCGA for the identified efforts to include public input throughout the project. SCGA has included the potential formation of a Cosumnes Surface Water Group if such a group is found useful by those concerned and affected by decisions in the region. We see this group playing an important role in the analysis of the river basin and riparian forested areas and agricultural lands. We also endorse the workplan’s inclusion of and call for cross-basin coordination between each of the subbasins that share a river boundary
Finally, we urge both the South American Subbasin and the Cosumnes Subbassin GSAs to work with their common stakeholders to establish the lower Cosumnes River basin as a “Management Area”  under SGMA in each Subbasin’s GSP. This designation will allow the lower Cosumnes River basin’s critical resources to be managed effectively.
ECOS/Habitat 2020 look forward to participating with SCGA in the implementation of the Grant Proposal and the ongoing efforts to develop a GSP for the Subbasin.  
Rob Burness and Sean Wirth, Co-chairs of Habitat 2020

Click here to view the letter in PDF.

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Jackson Township DEIR Comments

On October 31, 2019, Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS), Habitat 2020, 350 Sacramento, and Sierra Club provided comments on the Jackson Township Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Below are some excerpts from the letter, followed by a link to the letter in full.

Agricultural Resources

There is insufficient mitigation for farmland lost in the Jackson Township Specific Plan DEIR [Draft Environmental Impact Report]. By converting all this farmland to urban/suburban uses, the GHG emissions will increase due to the increased number of motor vehicle trips (more vehicle miles traveled). Moreover, loss of agricultural resources will reduce the potential for carbon sequestration in the soil by application of compost or regenerative agriculture methods, in addition to the natural processes of plant growth and soil microbial action from farming. There needs to be better mitigation measures to ensure carbon soil sequestration occurs at least as much as it would if the agricultural resources were preserved.

Biological Resources

Use of the South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan (SSHCP) was offered as one of the options for dealing with California Endangered Species Act (CESA) and Federal Endangered Species Act (FESA) impacts, and it was clearly stated that the hardline preserves identified in the SSHCP conservation strategy would be provided. Since the SSHCP now has its permits and is in the implementation phase, we are assuming that the Jackson Township will be affected by and compliant with the SSHCP.

Climate Change

We appreciate the opportunity to comment on Chapter 9, “Climate Change”, of the County’s Jackson Township Specific Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). Our greenhouse gas (GHG)-related comments are presented in the following seven sections. We first discuss the County’s past GHG-reduction commitments, because the DEIR:
I. does not accurately describe County climate planning;
II. uses inappropriate baseline data based on past planning;
III. applies inappropriate thresholds of significance; and
IV. is inconsistent with the County’s 2011 General Plan Update, associated Final Environmental Report (GP/FEIR), and Phase 1 CAP.
We also present,
V. other DEIR-related concerns.
We conclude:
VI. the DEIR is legally insufficient
VII. the County’s failure to provide promised mitigation is contrary to the General Plan.

Click here to read the letter in full
Attachment 1
Attachment 2
Attachment 3
Attachment 4
Attachment 5

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Transportation Funding and Priorities for the City of Sacramento

Action Alert

The Sacramento City Council has scheduled a workshop on “Transportation Funding and Priorities” for Tuesday, October 29, starting at 5 pm, before the regular City Council meeting at 7 pm. This meeting has a great deal of relevance for developing the City’s stance on the allocation of funding in Measure A-plus, the possible county-wide sales tax currently under consideration by the Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA). Several organizations, including the SacMoves coalition have been invited to make short presentations at the workshop, and we understand that others will be allowed to comment as well, subject to the usual two minute limit. You are urged to attend to show your support for progressive transportation policies and priorities.

Here is a link to the agenda, and note that this Web page contains further links to a printable agenda and the staff report.

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