On December 5, 2022, ECOS submitted a letter to the City of Sacramento regarding their Sacramento City Climate Adaptation Plan Preliminary Draft. Below is the content of the letter.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this chapter.
Flooding: The Draft highlights the high flooding risk in Natomas. Proposed developments in the Natomas basin such as South Airport Industrial, Grand Park, and Upper West Side, would increase flooding threat to Natomas because these lands currently are agricultural, and can absorb significant water should flooding occur. In addition to increasing flooding risk in the Natomas Basin, another climate risk associated with these developments is the loss of habitat land and related species (giant garter snake and Swainson’s hawk), which would mean failure of the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan. Therefore, the City should find a mechanism to influence the County’s process of development approvals in these areas. One possibility might be a “Sphere of Influence” application to LAFCo, which has the charge to preserve agricultural land.
Trees: The City of Sacramento has both the Parking Lot Tree Shading Design and Maintenance Guidelines and a tree ordinance. These should be updated to allow for larger shade trees and larger planting areas. We note that Crocker Village has planted “lollypop trees” that don’t provide much shade, and trees on Crocker Drive have insufficient planting radius to allow for mature growth. In contrast, neighboring Curtis Park has tree plantings that shade the entire streets by foliage meeting in the middle. The City should develop programs to guide urban forestry within communities, with a focus on increasing canopy in underserved communities. Tree planting should be required as part of major roadway or utility projects. The City should establish a resource database to help staff select tree species based on maintenance costs, structural integrity, and the most appropriate planting locations.
Water: The City should actively participate in the Sacramento Regional Water Bank, to store water during high precipitation years, for use during droughts. This is especially important with models showing more extremes of precipitation, and much earlier Sierra snow-melts. Because the City relies on a combined sewer system for the older parts of the city, the City needs to budget for upsizing pipes in that water system.
Electrification: The City should move forward rapidly on an ordinance requiring existing building electrification, rather than burning natural gas that accentuates the heat island effect.
Land Use: The City should consider land use as an adaptation; e.g., rezoning around transit for higher density, creating community public spaces and parks.
Structures: The City should consider incentivizing green walls and green roofs that cool buildings and provide food in urban settings, as well as shaded bus shelters, including passive-cooled shelters, such as developed by JCDecaux. The City should develop green building programs that require institutional and commercial buildings to have cool roofs. These strategies can be phased in based on square footage and allow for flexible compliance between cool roofs, green roofs, and rooftop solar PV to help alleviate cost concerns.
Roadways: The City should have code requirements for both new roadways and maintenance activities to ensure that roadways are designed and built at the outset to support heat-resilient paving materials. The City should also require high albedo and permeable pavements for transit stations, centers, and corridors.