The drought is different this time. Everyone in the Sacramento region must conserve water.

By Ralph Propper And Tom Gray | July 31, 2021 | Special To The Sacramento Bee

ECOS Board President Ralph Propper co-authored this op-ed, published in the Sacramento Bee on July 31, 2021.

Vigilance is required to reduce water consumption and water waste. Water your lawn less and early in the day to minimize evaporation; don’t let sprinklers run off onto sidewalks; fix household leaks; take shorter showers and wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.

You should also, however, be sure to efficiently water your trees. Many trees were lost in the last drought, an unintended casualty from reduced lawn watering. Let’s give them special care this time.

Invest in long-term water efficiency measures, like removing or reducing your lawn by half in favor of water-sipping native plants, or adding high-efficiency appliances, WaterSense-labeled smart sprinkler timers, high-efficiency sprinklers and drip irrigation. Many local water agencies offer rebates and other incentives to help residents pay for these improvements — some have recently even doubled rebate amounts.

Water providers are doing their part to preserve water in our lakes and rivers by sustainably shifting to using more groundwater.

Saving water today could leave some carry-over storage in Folsom Reservoir for next year. We don’t want to drain that bank account in case next winter is dry, too.

https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/article253036003.html

Click here to read the article in full.


Featured Photo of tree shadows by Jill Burrow from Pexels

Developers funded Sacramento County climate action plan

Environmentalists see a conflict.

By Michael Finch II | June 10, 2021, Updated JUNE 11, 2021 | The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento County leaned on developers last year to help fund its long-delayed climate action plan, raising conflict of interest concerns among environmentalists who say the early drafts do not have enough detail to be an effective blueprint for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In the eyes of some environmentalists, the financial arrangement suggests a conflict of interest. Each of the five firms wants the Board of Supervisors to expand the boundaries of where new development is allowed to include their projects. And that decision is in conflict with the aims of the climate plan.

“I know some environmentalists were concerned that the county’s staff was compromised in this way,” said Ralph Propper, president of the Environmental Council of Sacramento. “There were a lot of concerns about that but the county was pleading poverty.”

https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/environment/article252009793.html

Click here to read the full article.


Photo by Pok Rie from Pexels

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.

SacRT to modernize light rail system, increase train frequency to Folsom

August 14, 2019
Emily Hamann
Sacramento Business Journal

“Sacramento Regional Transit District is in the beginning stages of a multiyear, multimillion-dollar project to upgrade its light rail system, which will include more frequent service to Folsom.

Most of SacRT’s current light rail cars are reaching the end of their useful life, and will start costing SacRT more money in maintenance and repair costs. So SacRT is upgrading to new low-floor cars. The doors on low-floor cars are level with the street, which eliminates the need for elevated platforms at light rail stops.

Most of the state funding for the project is directed toward upgrading the Folsom line, which is aimed at reducing traffic congested corridors. Some of the funding is also coming from the settlement of a lawsuit between Caltrans and the Environmental Council of Sacramento. The environmentalist group had sued Caltrans over a plan to add carpool lanes on Highway 50. As part of an out-of-court settlement, Caltrans agreed to pay $7 million toward improving the Gold Line, which parallels the freeway. “

Read the full article here.

Residential downsizing

Some residents say the property near planned Aggie Square is suited for infill development

By Dylan Svoboda
March 21, 2019
Sacramento News and Review

Amid a worsening housing shortage, a Manhattan Beach-based property management company is seeking to sharply reduce the number of homes it would need to build on a key property in an up-and-coming neighborhood.
Located on the former State Fair site near Tahoe Park, the undeveloped 8.68-acre lot at 325 Fairgrounds Drive would be down-zoned from multi-unit zoning—requiring at least 18 units per acre, or nearly 160 units—to single-unit zoning for future construction of 68 single-family homes.
The property is blocks from economic hubs in the UC Davis Medical Center and planned Aggie Square, the highly-anticipated technology and innovation campus. The move toward less future residential development has some nearby residents concerned.
“This is a prime infill opportunity,” said Tahoe Park resident Zach Miller. “If we want to avoid gentrification effects from Aggie Square, we should be looking at building more homes, not less.”
Nestled between newly-built single-family homes to the north and townhouses to the south, a multi-family development on the property would make for an awkward fit, says City Councilman Eric Guerra.
“There’s no question we need more housing,” Guerra said. “But I would like to look at places like Stockton Boulevard—higher transit frequency spots—for multi-family construction. Trying to squeeze a couple hundred units [at 325 Fairgrounds] wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it just doesn’t fit.”
Alex Kelter of the Environmental Council of Sacramento took the opposite view, noting the lot’s central location, along with its proximity to two light-rail stations and multiple bus lines running up and down Broadway and Stockton Boulevard.
“This not Roseville or Rancho Cordova,” Kelter said. “It’s the middle of our metropolitan area. If we don’t put density here, where are we going to put it? It just doesn’t make sense for this property, especially with the current housing market.”
Jim Perley of Western American Properties, the listed applicant, didn’t respond to written and phone inquiries from SN&R.

Svoboda, Dylan. “Residential Downsizing – Beats – Local Stories – March 21, 2019.” Sacramento News & Review, Sacramento News & Review, 21 Mar. 2019, www.newsreview.com/sacramento/residential-downsizing/content?oid=27883568.

Click here to view this article online.

Click here to view the letter about this property, co-signed by ECOS.