ECOS Accomplishments 2021

We hope this message finds you and yours in good health.

This is a time of uncertainty, both with increasingly obvious climate change and the pandemic. Continued sprawl development jeopardizes wildlife and habitat and worsens climate change. We need to protect the most vulnerable, both human and wild, in our communities and landscapes, and we must protect future generations. To face the climate challenge, we will need to step up, both personally and collectively.

As President of ECOS, I am impressed with the dedication of our volunteers, their long hours on climate action plans, habitat protection, transit advocacy, housing, and so much more. These efforts include analysis of environmental documents, preparation of comment letters, and many meetings with allies, media, and decision-makers.

Following are some recent ECOS accomplishments and ongoing work:

Climate: We reviewed Sacramento County’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) drafts, but found many of the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction measures vague and difficult to measure. We urge the County to obtain GHG reductions by prioritizing infill development near transit, rather than sprawl development. Sprawl increases GHG emissions due to longer vehicle trips, and consumes greenfields that sequester carbon. County staff is revising the CAP again for presentation to the Supervisors early next year. We met with the Sacramento Bee editorial board, which resulted in articles on the inadequacy of the County’s CAP. Besides the County, we also focus on Sacramento City’s CAP, expected to be released soon.

Land Use: We advocated for reduced GHG emissions for County master plan projects along Jackson Road: NewBridge and Jackson Township. ECOS urges the County to prioritize quality infill developments with higher density, transit-orientation, and affordability; this has been a focus of many of our educational efforts. We advocate for the building of accessory dwelling units – secondary dwellings on single-family residential lots.

Affordable Housing: ECOS helped spawn the nonprofit, “Sacramento Investment Without Displacement,” which settled its lawsuit against the UC Regents after they agreed to a Community Benefits Agreement, This CBA will provide affordable housing and improved transit near the UC Davis Medical Center by Oak Park, and will provide a blueprint for CBAs in future development projects.

Transportation & Transit: We sued Caltrans in April, challenging its plan to widen the CapCity/Business 80 bridge over the American River by more than 50%, with no environmental review. This expansion is likely to induce more vehicle trips, causing more air pollution and GHGs. We understand the need to improve traffic flows there, but believe induced travel should be mitigated, such as by increased public transit. In addition, ECOS spawned the SacMoves Coalition, which, in 2020, urged more funding for transit and active transportation in the proposed Sacramento County sales tax measure; however, it was pulled from the ballot due to the pandemic. We expect it to resurface soon as a “citizens’ initiative” for the 2022 election, sponsored by the business community. We will evaluate their measure based on its support for transit.

Habitat: Our Habitat 2020 coalition works to protect our land, water, native plants, and wildlife. We successfully opposed a major new hospital and heliport adjacent to Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, in the heart of the Pacific Flyway. We also worked to acquire critical habitat by the Cosumnes River floodplain. In addition, we successfully advocated for changes to the proposed Delta Conveyance tunnel to protect species in a nearby wildlife refuge and a preserve. Through our work, the South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) was approved – more than 40,000 acres will be conserved. We are confronting challenges to the Natomas Basin HCP, especially a new development application to annex conservation lands. We are opposing a proposed development in the American River floodway in Rancho Cordova. As a member of the Water Forum’s Environmental Caucus, we work to protect American River habitat and fisheries, and to protect groundwater basins, as both are challenged by climate change.

Organizational: We are reorganizing ECOS to focus on slowing climate change and increasing our climate resiliency, and setting priorities for action. Here are our new committees:

  • Our Climate Change Committee will include teams on land use, transportation, green building, and environmental justice. Team members will advocate for aggressive climate action by Sacramento jurisdictions.
  • Our Water Committee will focus on water-related climate change impacts, and capacity in surface and ground water. These impacts include drought, snowpack, and flooding risk.
  • Our Strategy Committee will work with partner organizations to prioritize regional issues and build engagement with our individual and organizational members.

For the past fifty years, ECOS has been a powerful advocacy organization in the Sacramento region, working to curb sprawl, to expand transit, walking and biking and to protect open space and habitat lands. Now, with the climate crisis escalating, we need to be even more effective in our advocacy. We need to persuade our regional leaders to take bold steps to reduce GHG emissions as fast as possible. To do this, we need your help.

In Summary: We at ECOS are immensely grateful for your support during these past two pandemic years, as we had to cancel our two major fundraisers. Thanks to vaccines, we hope to host our annual Earth Day event this April 24th, to be held in Southside Park. However, we may not be able to host our annual indoor Environmentalist of the Year event.

We so value your help in keeping ECOS moving forward. Although our hard-working volunteers do most of our work, supporting our paid staff is vital. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to ECOS in your giving plans.

To donate, simply mail a check made out to the Environmental Council of Sacramento and mail it to us at P.O. Box 1526, Sacramento CA 95812. Alternatively, you can use the green Donate button in the margin of this website.

Ralph Propper
President, ECOS

Unique Opportunity to Invest in Some Fine Art and Help Save the Environment

Long-time regional environmental champions Mike Eaton and Charity Kenyon have moved from their Delta home and organic farm to the Bay Area. Mike was President of the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS in 1985-86) and went on to serve as Director of the Cosumnes River Preserve for over a decade. As a parting gift to the region, they have donated to ECOS three original Roman Loranc photographs of the Cosumnes River Preserve with the express understanding that we would sell them and use the money to fund the active lawsuits against Elk Grove (see expanded description of lawsuits at the end). Mike and Charity also gave ECOS three Roman Loranc photographic posters with the same understanding.

Consultation with a gallery in the Delta that sells Roman Loranc’s work indicates that the photos are worth between $1500 and $2000 each, the framed poster is worth $500, and the unframed posters are worth $200 each. The gallery would charge a fairly high premium to sell them. We are hoping to make a direct sale to a buyer without having to dilute the return by using a gallery’s services.

If you are willing to pay $1000.00 or more for one of these original photographs, please contact Alexandra Reagan at office[at]ecosacramento[dot]net. We would also be interested in offers on the posters. The photos and the posters will be at the ECOS office if you want to make an appointment to see them.

These photos were taken with a large format (4 x 5) film camera and were developed by hand by the artist himself. They would be a beautiful addition to anyone’s living space, and they are likely a savvy investment in fine art.


Biography of Roman Loranc

Roman Loranc is a living, modern-day master of fine art black and white photography. He was born in the city of Bielsko-Biala, southwestern Poland, in 1956 during the communist era. In 1982, at 26 years of age, he immigrated to Madison, Wisconsin, and in 1984 he moved from the Midwest to Modesto, California. Much of his early, better-known photographic work was created in California’s Central Valley. He moved to Northern California near Mt. Shasta in 2006 where he currently resides.

Before arriving in the United States he did not have access to the high-quality photographic books that are found so readily in America. What he remembers most about the work he saw in Poland was that it had a general dullness to the prints; so when he first saw original works by the great photographers Ansel Adams, the Westons and Morley Baer, he was in awe of the richness of tone, the depth of the blacks and the glowing light that seemed to come from the prints. He immediately knew that this is what he wanted to produce technically with his own work.

Loranc’s first inspiration as a visual artist came from the paintings of Chelmonski, Stanislawski and Pankiewiz. He was drawn to the richness of their work, their sense of drama and use of light and dark. A painter interprets his subject before it is painted, filtering the scene using his skill and artistic sensibility. This was something that he wanted to achieve with his photography.”

He enjoys photographing meditative things, like tule reeds, when the light is soft and just right for such photography. Such smaller intimate subjects, which are often overlooked because of their commonplace nature, he finds to be quietly expressive. He believes that minimizing what is included in the frame not only helps focus the viewer’s attention, but more clearly conveys the message of the photograph.

“I appreciate that light is a messenger,” he says, “revealing the world at every instant.” “The magic of photography is its ability to slice a moment out of time, which you can later hold as a print in your hands. There are special moments when I know that I have connected with something bigger than myself, when I have focused the camera on the essence of my subject. At that moment I feel a fullness that I cannot describe in words. It is a visual experience, and I can only refer you to my finished print to explain the fascination and connection I feel for the place I have photographed.”

Loranc first began photographing river tules at the Nature Conservancy (Consumnes River Preserve) in Galt, part of the Great Central Valley of California. His aim was to show the subtle beauty of the disappearing wetlands. Many people overlook this beauty because it is not easily accessible, but Loranc likes the idea that this area is being preserved more for wildlife than for people. He hopes that when people see his photographs they will want to help protect and preserve these fragile lands. This is the crucial impetus behind his efforts with the camera.

Today, Roman says he faces different challenges than he did many years ago when he first decided to make fine art photography his vocation. Originally, when he began to work solely on photography, he was challenged by not having a secure source of income. Now his biggest challenge is time. It is the essence of everything in life and how we spend it determines our happiness and personal fulfillment.

The work of Roman Loranc is not digital in any respect. Everything is done by his own hand and the toned, silver-gelatin prints he crafts are the final result. A computer display cannot convey everything that he is able to capture in his prints – not the depth or richness of blacks, the sparkle of the highlights, the subtlety of the tonality. There is a presence one feels when standing in front of a hand-printed photograph, it’s as if one can bear witness to the soul of the photographer. The computer display and the hand-printed silver-gelatin print are not equivalents!

Loranc doesn’t follow the traditional theory that one must have all the shades of gray plus complete black and complete white in order to have a great photograph. Each photograph demands a unique print interpretation in order for it to have voice and be compelling. The only thing all great art, including photographs, has in common is the intense passion of the artist for his or her work. Technical skills must be secondary to the overall impression of the photograph because they are craft and great art is more than technical skill. A great photograph is one that is infused with the artist’s passion.

Roman Loranc photographs with a Linhof 4×5 field camera. A good deal of his work is done with a 210mm Nikkor lens. He only uses Kodak Tri-X film, which he stockpiles in a freezer because he feels uncertain what the availability of film may be in the not-to-distant future. He develops his negatives with the Gordon Hutchings PMK formula from Photographer’s Formulary using a Jobo processor and then prints with Ilford glossy paper which is archivally washed, selenium and sepia toned and then archivally dry mounted. All work is done by the artist.


What Are The Two Lawsuits About?

The first is an effort to overturn a Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCo) decision to allow an expanded sphere of influence (SOI) that is the first step for Elk Grove to expand south of its current borders into an area that is invaluable to many of the species that call the Cosumnes River Preserve home. The lower reach of the Cosumnes River floods every seven to ten years inundating large swaths of the Preserve and surrounding areas. Migrants like Sandhill Cranes rely on the important upland habitats south of Elk Grove during these stochastic events, and with climate change and predicted sea level rise the need may be constant. LAFCo made this decision despite the fact that it was clearly evident that there was no demonstrated need for an expanded SOI at this time, and probably not for the next 30 years. LAFCo also completely ignored substantial evidence about the lack of available water.

The second lawsuit challenges Elk Grove’s decision to ignore its Swainson’s Hawk ordinance and allow for mitigation of their Southeast Planning Area to be twenty miles away in an area known to be at the very fringe of the hawk’s usable range in the Central Valley. Essentially Elk Grove wants to allow the destruction of an area that boasts usage by ten pairs of hawks for an area that has only one pair using it. If Elk Grove successfully makes an end run around its Swainson’s hawk ordinance we can expect that they will continue to do so on a regular basis because these mitigation lands are half the price of appropriate lands.
Gallery


Part 1: The Photos


Original photograph number 1 – SOLD
Description: Photo of a forest at the Cosumnes River Preserve
Frame size: 29” x 23”
Photo size: 19” x 14 ½”



Original photograph number 2 – SOLD
Description: Photo of a foggy forest at the Cosumnes River Preserve
Frame size: 22” x 38”
Photo size: 16” x 20”


Original photo number 3
Description: Photo of oak trees in water at the Cosumnes River Preserve
Frame size: 16” x 20”
Photo size: 9 ¼” x 11 ¼”


Part 2: The Posters



Framed poster (unsigned)
Frame size: 30” x 24”
Image size: 21” 16”



Poster number 1 (signed)
Description: Wetland
Poster size: 31 ½” x 27”



Poster number 2 (unsigned)
Description: Lithuanian church
Poster size: 27” x 34”

For this information in PDF, please click here.