ECOS 2022 End-of-Year Letter and Report

November 2022

At this time of thanksgiving, we will remember Mother Earth, and give thanks for her beauty and her bounty. We will reflect upon global and national efforts to fight climate change, and we will pledge to do more locally.

Over this past year, partners and members of ECOS have worked together to further the sustainability of our land, water, and air in the Sacramento region. As we have for many years, we leveraged our advocacy efforts and relied upon each others’ expertise and good will.

This coming year, we pledge to collaborate again, and support our major jurisdictions and transit agency as they develop programs of projects related to community infrastructure, transportation, and green building to address climate change and take advantage of federal funding now available.

With the climate crisis escalating, we need to be even more effective in our advocacy. We need to persuade our elected leaders to take bold steps to reduce GHG emissions as fast as possible. To do this, we need your help.

We invite you to join us in 2023 and share your time and talents. But for today, please consider supporting ECOS with a tax-deductible donation by Dec. 31, either by check to ECOS, PO Box 1526, Sacramento, CA 95812 or online at https://www.ecosacramento.net/donate/. Thank you so much for your generosity.

Report on Activities in 2022

Climate Action Plans (CAP)

Over the past two years, our advocacy resulted in improvements to Sacramento County’s CAP, however many of the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction measures are still vague and unquantifiable. Although we remain concerned the CAP relies too heavily on SMUD’s 2030 clean energy goal, we applaud the County’s collaboration with the City and SMUD on building electrification. We continue to push for an explicit prioritization of infill development near transit over sprawl; requirements for water conservation and transition to drought-tolerant landscapes; and a requirement for new development to be carbon neutral. We support Sacramento County’s Climate Emergency Task Force and look forward to its recommendations. We reviewed early draft chapters of the City of Sacramento climate plan and will soon comment on the adaptation chapter.

Measure A

We are glad to report that Measure A, the sales tax initiative sponsored by large-scale housing developers, has been voted down. This initiative sought to fund the Southeast Connector and road expansion projects that would have spurred sprawl development and hindered our region’s ability to curb GHG.  ECOS opposed the measure and thanks the “Measure A Not OK” campaign.

Affordable living

We continue to support Sacramento Investment Without Displacement and its discussions with the City of Sacramento to develop an ordinance for a community benefits agreement (CBA). To stave off displacement effects of new large projects, the ordinance would require rent supports, affordable housing, complete streets, transit, and prioritization of the local workforce for jobs.

Induced travel demand analysis

We settled our suit against Caltrans for widening the CapCity Freeway (Business 80) bridge over the American River. We were concerned about the growth in air pollution, GHG emissions, sprawl development from induced travel, and damage from bridge construction to bat and plant habitats on embankments. The settlement requires Caltrans to analyze, as part of CEQA, the impacts of induced travel demand (per SB743), and to provide additional structures for bat habitat.

Natomas Projects

Our Natomas Team is leading the charge on three projects that would threaten the future of the Natomas Basin Conservancy, habitat, and farming. The Airport South Industrial and two others are proposed for land zoned for agriculture, outside the City, and outside the County’s Urban Service Boundary.

Water and Habitat

ECOS’ Water Committee advocates for a safe and reliable water supply that supports people, rivers and wildlife, recreation and aesthetic values, and agriculture. Our committee, with 40 others, is a member of the Water Forum, where water priorities are negotiated. As part of the Environmental Caucus, our committee developed a statement of principles for the upcoming negotiations of the Water Forum 2.0 agreement. The Water Committee supports a regional approach to ensure supplies of groundwater and surface water are sustainable for both the community and the environment.

ECOS’ Habitat Committee (Habitat 2020) works to protect our land, water, native plants, and wildlife. Our committee commented on the Delta Conveyance Draft Environmental Impact Report, highlighting problems with how the impacts on our region’s terrestrial species were addressed in the analysis. In eastern Sacramento County, we are working on a campaign to relocate the Coyote Creek Solar Voltaic Project so it will not imperil Blue Oak Woodland habitat. In Rancho Cordova, we are working to preserve a key habitat area in the American River flood plain, opposing a proposed housing development there.  We continue to review implementation of the South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan, which will conserve more than 40,000 acres.

Partners and members with whom we worked in 2022, in addition to government entities:

350 Sacramento
Breathe CA Sacramento Region
California Mobility Center
Citizens’ Climate Lobby Sacramento
Civic Thread
Civic Well
Cleaner Air Partnership
ClimatePlan
Community Resource Project
Environmental Democrats Sacramento
Friends of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
Friends of Swainson’s Hawk
Green Incubator
Impact Foundry
International Dark-Sky Association
Legal Services of Northern California
Mark Berry of Rancho Cordova
Measure A Not OK
Organize Sacramento
Physicians for Social Responsibility Sacramento
Regional Rail Working Group
Sac Area Congregations Together (SacACT)
SacMoves Coalition
Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates
Sacramento Area Creeks Council
Sacramento Audubon Society
Sacramento Building Healthy Communities
Sacramento Climate Coalition
Sacramento Community Land Trust
Sacramento Electric Vehicle Association
Sacramento Environmental Justice Coalition
Sacramento Housing Alliance
Sacramento Investment Without Displacement
Sacramento Metro Advocates for Rail + Transit
Sacramento Natural Foods Coop
California Native Plant Society, Sacramento
Sacramento Vegetarian Society
Save Our Sandhill Cranes
Save the American River Association
Sierra Club Sacramento
Splash
Sunrise Movement Sacramento
The Water Forum
The Xerces Society
United Latinos
Valley Vision

Comments re Sacramento’s Transportation Priorities Plan

On March 14, 2022, ECOS, along with several other environmental groups, submitted a letter to the City of Sacramento about the City’s Transportation Priorities Plan.

Once again, we write to implore you to act swiftly to take comprehensive and bold action to transform transportation in the City and the region. Such a transformation is nonnegotiable if we are to begin to respond to the imminent threat of climate change; it is also essential in fostering equity, addressing traffic safety, increasing the livability of our neighborhoods, and improving air quality.

Just a few weeks ago the Council held a workshop titled Climate and Transportation. Yet the Transportation Priorities Plan before you, which proposes analyzing 700 transportation projects that have been proposed by council members over the past twenty years, would appear to adopt the status quo and does not establish addressing climate change as one of the criteria. Our city is in dire need of a transportation plan that reflects the current century. Again, we urge you to direct your City Manager to set aside staff and resources to develop and implement a comprehensive active transportation and public transit framework for the city.

Click here to read our letter in full.

Want to help improve transportation in Sacramento?

Do you walk, bike or roll using a wheelchair or mobility scooter? Or if you don’t, do you have thoughts on how to make transportation more effective?
Would you like to help improve our sidewalks, bikeways, crosswalks and access to transit?

If the answer is yes, here’s your opportunity to help.

The City of Sacramento is looking for community members to apply to be part of one of the three Sacramento Active Streets community planning teams.

The three planning teams will focus on North Sacramento, Fruitridge/Broadway and South Sacramento areas.

“Each plan will identify locations to improve walking, biking, and access to transit – like sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes and more,” said Leslie Mancebo, the City’s transportation planner. “A critical part of the planning process will be community engagement, and we are currently putting together these community planning teams to serve as local experts/advisors throughout the process.”

The City’s Active Streets plans are designed to improve safety and comfort for walking, biking, rolling and accessing transit.

Members of the community planning teams will advise City staff throughout the process to ensure that community voices and priorities are heard. As a member of a community planning Ttam, selected participants will be responsible for:

  • Attending up to seven approximately one-hour meetings between March 2022 and June 2023
  • Suggesting opportunities for community engagement events (e.g., farmers markets, school resource fairs, etc.)
  • Helping spread the word about the plans and about ways to get involved
  • Advising City staff to ensure voices of all residents are captured in the plan
  • Each planning team member will receive a $75 gift card for each meeting attended.

Those interested in applying can do so on the City’s website. Applications close March 4.

A new transportation sales tax? Come learn more Nov 4

The principal topic for ECOS’s Transportation, Air Quality and Climate Change Committee (TAQCC) meeting this Thursday, Nov. 4th will be will be an effort led by the Sacramento business community to put a transportation sales tax measure on the November 2022 ballot using a citizens initiative process. We understand that this measure would be very similar to Measure A+ prepared by the Sacramento Transportation Authority (STA) in 2020 but withdrawn before the election, and would require only a simple majority for passage. Roger Dickinson and Steve Cohn will provide us with details about this initiative.

Link to join this Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85805612058
To phone in: 669 900 6833, Meeting ID: 858 0561 2058

Click here for the agenda.

In addition, Susan Herre (ECOS President-Elect) will present a proposed reorganization of ECOS committees, with the goal of making ECOS a more effective organization.


Image from https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=382425&picture=clouds-sky-blue-cumulus

in distant photo of tree on landscape field

Protect Folsom Oaks — Immediate Action Needed

PG&E plans to remove (Clearcut) a number of mature Oak Trees in the powerline corridors next to walking and biking paths. Over 300 trees in all (Oaks and others) Work is scheduled to start on NOVEMBER 1. Many of these Oak Trees are in the Oak Avenue Parkway (The Bike Trail Corridor) between Natoma Street and Blue Ravine – leading to BT Collins Park. The Corridor also extends across portions of the City and into American River Canyon. Some trees are on Private Property, some on City Land and some on PG&E property. In July 2020 PG&E clearcut a number of mature oaks near St. Johns without any Notice to the City or the Public. It appears PG&E is ready to Clear Cut the rest of the Corridor. NOTE – the plan and documents provided by PG&E are not clear, so more information is needed by the City and the Public – Before Removal can Occur.

CITY COUNCIL MEETING – THIS TUESDAY OCTOBER 26 AT 6:00 pm. – City Council Chambers 50 Natoma Street – Folsom

Click here for more info.