Collaboration and persistence bring South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan to life

By J. Paul Bruton
September 9, 2019
US Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District

Multiple agencies and stakeholders from the Sacramento area gathered recently at the Sacramento County Administration building to acknowledge and celebrate the formal adoption of the South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan (SSCHP).
The project has been twenty years in the making, and is a first-of-its-kind project. But what exactly is it? The SSHCP is a 50-year plan under the federal Endangered Species Act that balances the conservation of important species with planned development in a 317,655-acre area within Sacramento County.
While hundreds of habitat conservation plans exist in California, this is the first in the nation to include Clean Water Act permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in addition to the Endangered Species Act permits that are issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“This is a real groundbreaking permitting strategy with the Corps of Engineers that’s never been done anywhere in the country,” said Norris. “This is the first!”
The Habitat Conservation Plan area includes wetlands, natural grasslands with vernal pools and oak savannas, and covers 28 species, most of which are wetland dependent, including vernal pool fairy shrimp, California tiger salamander, giant garter snake and Swainson’s hawk, among others.

“One of the biggest difficulties in getting one of these plans done is that it’s an absolute marathon. It’s not a sprint,” said Sean Wirth, co-chairperson for Habitat 2020 with the Environmental Council of Sacramento. “It took 24 years to get the South Sacramento HCP from idea to completion.”
“When we’re done, we’re going to have a preserve network that works …That’ll last in perpetuity,” said Wirth.

Read the full article by clicking here.

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Sacramento Two Rivers Trail Bike Trail

On September 12, 2019, ECOS and Habitat 2020 submitted a comment letter on the Sacramento Two Rivers Trail (Phase II) DEIR.

The Two Rivers Trail Phase II project will provide a 2.4 mile long multi-use path between Sutter’s Landing Park and H Street, by Sacramento State. The trail will provide residents of River Park and East Sacramento a safe, convenient, and protected path into downtown Sacramento. The overall vision is to eventually have the trail connect to the Sacramento River Parkway and create a continuous trail system along both sides of the Sacramento and American Rivers. In addition, the project will environmentally clear the next phase of the trail between Sutter’s Landing Park and the Sacramento Northern Bike Trail.

https://www.cityofsacramento.org/Public-Works/Engineering-Services/Projects/Current-Projects/Two-Rivers-Trail-Phase-II

There are many habitat issues that remain unaddressed in the Draft Environmental Impact Report.

The bottom line is that a bike trail on a levee is not only feasible, but it is the best option for the Two Rivers Trail if we want to protect the American River Parkway and its ecosystems. There are numerous other benefits to putting the trail on top of the levee as well, such as better access during winter floods.

Click here to read the letter in full.

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Placer County Sustainability Plan Comments

On September 05, 2019, ECOS and 350 Sacramento wrote a comment letter to the Placer County Community Development Resources Agency in regards to the Placer County Sustainability Plan.

Below are a couple of excerpts from the letter, click the link below to read the full letter.

We encourage all efforts to expedite the transition to a carbon-free economy and are gratified by the County’s aspiration to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We offer these comments in the hope they will help the County reach that goal.

It is evident from the draft Plan’s strong monitoring and update commitments that it is meant to be a “living” document, subject to ongoing community dialogue and further refinement. We look forward to working with the County to advance the Plan’s important role in mitigating climate change.

Click here to view the comment letter in full.

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