On November 28, 2023, ECOS submitted a letter of support for the City of Sacramento’s proposal for the missing middle housing ordinance as part of the General Plan Update. Below is an excerpt from our letter.
For over 50 years, ECOS has urged our region to increase infill housing as opposed to sprawl development, in order to preserve habitat and make our air healthier to breathe. More recently it has become clear that this is needed to limit greenhouse gas emissions that jeopardize the future of our species, and to deal with our #1 local issue: the lack of affordable housing and concomitant homelessness. For these reasons, ECOS has consistently promoted investment in public transit and light rail, and the development of transit-oriented infill development. Additionally, ECOS recognizes that our past discriminatory housing policy has caused a development pattern that must be adjusted to promote environmental justice and equity.
“We think the annual Farm to Fork month, with so many people celebrating the locally grown food in the region, is a perfect time to highlight how important farms are to people and wildlife.” stated Heather Fargo, former Mayor of Sacramento and lead of the Natomas Campaign for the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS).
ECOS is calling on the public to protect Natomas open space and embarking on a major campaign to educate the community about how important the Natomas farmlands and open space are to wildlife in our region and beyond. Natomas is a special place; it is a vital part of the Pacific Flyway and home to 22 protected species, in addition to providing food for our region and the world.
The Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan was established in 1997 to ensure the basin’s natural resources are not lost with the growth of the Natomas community. Unfortunately, loss of these resources is likely to happen because of proposed residential and industrial development projects covering more than 8,200 acres of land intended to remain in agriculture.
The first of those projects is the Airport South Industrial Project, a 450-acre warehouse district proposed for land south of I-5 and adjacent to the West Lake neighborhood in North Natomas. If approved, it would put over 6 million square feet of warehouses on foraging habitat for the endangered Swainson’s Hawk.
“ECOS wants Sacramento to remember the value of open space and farmland as a way to support wildlife and combat climate change. We Sacramentans have a role in protecting one of the Earth’s biodiversity hotspots,” said Fargo.
A new message is on display on a digital billboard along I-5 in downtown Sacramento. It has a simple message – save Sacramento’s wildlife habitat and farmland.
Targeted to those who enjoy the local dining experience offered in the city, it simply says, ““There’s no Farm to Fork without farms” and “Natomas farmlands feed people and wildlife”.
The billboard is timed to coincide with the annual Farm to Fork Festival that includes the Tower Bridge dinner and the street festival on Capital Mall on Sept 22-23.
The billboard kicks off a major new campaign by ECOS, continuing its 50 years of efforts to protect the environment.
“The establishment of the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan was important for regional sustainability thirty years ago. Now with climate change, it is essential that we stop sprawl and protect biodiversity in this area. The NBHCP provided for development on 17, 500 acres, and the proposed projects are outside of that,” said Susan Herre AIA AICP, President of the ECOS Board of Directors. ECOS is partnering with Sierra Club, Habitat 2020, Audubon Society, Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk and California Native Plant Society.
Map of the Natomas Basin The proposed projects are in red and are labelled.
The ECOS Mission: Our mission is to achieve regional sustainability, livable communities, environmental justice, and a healthy environment and economy for existing and future residents. ECOS strives to bring positive change to the Sacramento region by proactively working with the individual and organizational members of ECOS, neighborhood groups, and local and regional governments.
In case you missed this special presentation about Measure A at the ECOS Climate Committee meeting on Thursday September 14, 2023 at 6:00pm, you can request a recording of the meeting. Just send an email to office[at]ecosacramento[dot]net for a copy of the recording.
6:00 Welcome and Introductions
6:10 Existing Sacramento County Measure A: What It Said, What It Has Done, What It Will Do
Sacramento County voters passed Measure A in 2004, a sales tax to fund transportation improvements through 2039. This presentation is designed to provide us with a basis of understanding and point of reference for a possible November 2024 ballot measure. Also, is there any flexibility to modify how future Measure A revenues may be used?
6:10 Sacramento Metro Air District & Climate Pollution Reduction Grants Program The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (SMAQMD) is leading a regional effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with a grant from the US EPA’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grants Program (CPRG). Once developed, their regional Climate Action Plan will enable our 7-county region to receive major funding from last year’s federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The goals include reducing vehicle miles traveled as part of SACOG’s “Green Means Go”, promoting energy production and energy efficiency with SMUD, establishing mobility hubs in disadvantaged communities, improving water efficiency, managing forests, and mitigating urban heat islands.
Brianna Moland, SMAQMD’s Climate Coordinator, will discuss some of the suggested GHG reduction measures recommended by CPRG’s steering committee. With an advanced degree in Climate and Society, Brianna advocates for clean air and climate resiliency and works with local agencies to foster new climate solutions. Kacey Lizon, SACOG’s Deputy Executive Director of Planning & Programs, will provide SACOG’s perspective, and participate in the discussion.
The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (Sac Metro Air District) is receiving a planning grant from the EPA to develop a Priority Climate Action Plan, a Comprehensive Climate Action Plan, and a Status Report for the seven-county Sacramento region (El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba). As the lead agency for this regional climate pollution reduction grant opportunity, it is the responsibility of the Sac Metro Air District to coordinate with our jurisdictional partners to not only develop an attainable vision for a low-carbon region, but also prepare for the second phase of this program, where a total of $4.6 billion in competitive grants will be available nationwide to implement greenhouse gas reduction measures from the Priority Climate Action Plan.
Attend this webinar to learn more about the grant program and how you can participate in the planning process. Review the attached Priority Climate Action Plan Roadmap for program details, a timeline, and additional background information on the Climate Pollution Reduction Grants program.