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

Sacramento among California cities with filthiest air in the US, new study says. What to know

By Brianna Taylor | April 22, 2022 | The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento has some of the filthiest air, according to a new air quality study. The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2022” is based on the data of air quality throughout the United States, obtained from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality System. The study focuses on the years 2018 to 2020. According to the 155-page air quality report, the area ranked No. 7 out “25 Cites Most Polluted by Daily Particulate Matter.” The 11 other state cities ranked include: Fresno, No. 1, Bakersfield, No. 2, San Jose, No. 4, Redding, No. 5, Chico, No. 6, Los Angeles, No. 8, Visalia, No. 9, San Diego, No. 13, Salinas, No. 14 and San Luis Obispo, No. 22.

Read more at: https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article260636232.html#storylink=cpy

We suggest you also read a letter to The Sacramento Bee written by 2021 Environmentalist of the Year Anne Stausbol, written in response to this article.

Kudos to The Bee for bringing attention to Sacramento’s ranking, once again, as one of the country’s regions with the worst air pollution. The American Lung Association report also shows that we rank ninth worst for ozone pollution. Both particulate and ozone pollution have serious health impacts, especially for vulnerable populations. The report tells us the first thing local governments must do is adopt a climate action plan that supports walking, biking, transit and zero-emission-vehicle infrastructure, with supportive building and parking policies. The Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change made this exact recommendation to the City Council in June 2020. Yet almost two years later, the city has not produced its climate action plan. How can our leaders allow Sacramento to remain on this list year after year? The city must act now to address this public health crisis by enacting a plan that embraces and funds our recommendations.

– Anne Stausboll, Sacramento

Read more at: https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/article260876367.html#storylink=cpy

Get into State Parks With Your Library Card

April 14, 2022

Calling all Californians! You can now check out a FREE vehicle day-use pass at your local public library.

In partnership with the First Partner’s Office and the California State Library, State Parks is providing free vehicle day-use entry to over 200 participating state park units operated by State Parks to library-card holders. The California State Library Parks Pass is valid for entry of one passenger vehicle with capacity of nine people or less or one highway licensed motorcycle.

Click here to learn more.

A deep dive on the health impacts of air pollution

This blog takes a deep dive into the vast array of impacts that air pollution has on human health, exploring how poor air quality affects nearly every area of the human body — from head to toe. Research shows that air pollution is a major environmental risk factor for a slew of diseases, from Alzheimer’s disease to lung cancer to osteoporosis, and can significantly lower lifespan and quality of life. Air pollution accounts for extensive damages to public health, as well as vast economic losses due to healthcare costs and lost school and workdays. While air pollution exposure can impact everyone, its damage is not distributed equally. Children, elderly individuals, those with pre-existing conditions, and those living in low socioeconomic neighborhoods or environmental justice communities bear a disproportionate burden of its impacts — emphasizing the need to protect vulnerable populations by taking better care of our air quality.

Click here to view the article.

California calls for more local water conservation

By Kathleen Ronayne, Associated Press | March 29, 2022 | The Sacramento Bee

Californians will be asked to further cut back on their water use, state officials said Monday as they warned water scarcity will shape the future of the drought-stricken state. But those cut backs would come from cities and local water districts, not the state, with members of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration saying allowing local retailers to set conservation needs is the best approach in a state of nearly 40 million people where water needs vary.

Read more at: https://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article259883770.html#storylink=cpy