Homegrown Habitat Comments for Sacramento’s General Plan/Climate Change strategy

On November 11, 2019 the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) and Habitat 2020 submitted a letter to the City of Sacramento to bring the Homegrown Habitat Program to their attention and to urge them to incorporate some of its native plant guidelines into the City’s General Plan and Climate Change strategy updates.

Below is our letter in full.

November 11, 2019
Scott Johnson, Senior Planner
Community Development Department
300 Richards Boulevard, Third floor
Sacramento, CA 95811
Email: srjohnson [at] cityofsacramento [dot] org
Subject: ECOS/Habitat 2020 Homegrown Habitat program comments for inclusion in the City of Sacramento’s General Plan and Climate Change strategy updates
Dear Mr. Johnson,
The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to achieve regional and community sustainability and a healthy environment for existing and future residents. ECOS member organizations include: 350 Sacramento, Breathe California Sacramento Region, Friends of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, International Dark-Sky Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility Sacramento Chapter, Sacramento Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Sacramento Electric Vehicle Association, Environmental Democrats of Sacramento County, Sacramento Housing Alliance, Sacramento Natural Foods Coop, Sacramento Audubon Society, Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, Sacramento Vegetarian Society, Save Our Sandhill Cranes, Save the American River Association, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1000 and the Sierra Club Sacramento Group.
Members of Habitat 2020, a committee of ECOS, include: Friends of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Friends of Swainson’s Hawk, International Dark-Sky Association Sacramento Chapter, Sacramento Area Creeks Council, Sacramento Audubon Society, Sacramento Valley Chapter California Native Plant Society, Save Our Sandhill Cranes, Save the American River Association, Sierra Club Sacramento Group and Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue.
The Sacramento Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), in coordination with State CNPS, ECOS and Habitat 2020, has embarked upon an ambitious regional campaign, called Homegrown Habitat, to promote the preferential use of California Native Plants in home and civic landscaping. Local native plants provide habitat within the build environment that promote regional biodiversity and help create pathways for local insects, pollinators, birds and animals through our built environment. CNPS’s Homegrown Habitat team has prepared a list of appropriate annual and perennial plants, shrubs and trees (HH Plant List) for use in the City of Sacramento’s private and public landscapes. CNPS is currently building the capacity to ensure that these landscaping options are widely available locally.
City wide utilization of these plants will directly contribute to several of the City’s major long-term goals including climate change adaptation and regional biodiversity. Utilization of the local native plants found on the HH Plant List in public spaces, residential areas, and commercial/industrial landscapes within the City will lower water consumption, provide carbon sequestration benefits (even during extended periods of drought when many non-native plants, shrubs, and trees perish), and contribute to regional biodiversity by providing homes and year-round food for pollinators and beneficial insects, local and migratory birds, and animal populations. Nearly all the region’s beneficial insect populations are in decline and many of our bird and animal populations that depend on them are suffering the same fate. We urge the City of Sacramento to adopt the goal of the Homegrown Habitat program and the HH Plant List within the relevant parts of the City’s general plan and climate action plan, and in so doing, take the steps listed in the attached comment document to ensure the planting of these local native plants throughout the City.
Chris Lewis CNPS’s Homegrown Habitat program chair would be pleased to meet with you to more fully describe the program’s goals, objectives, and activities, and to discuss how the program can be implemented within the City. Chris will be following up within the week to set up a meeting with you to further explore implementation of the program within the City of Sacramento.
Sincerely,
Ralph Propper Sean Wirth
President, ECOS Co-Chair, Habitat 2020
Cc: Chris Lewis, Homegrown Habitat Program Chair

Click here to read the letter in PDF.
Attachment 1

Photo from calscape.org, of Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis)
https://calscape.org/Cercis-occidentalis-(Western-Redbud)?srchcr=sc5dca249f9a5c2

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Save Hinkle Creek

Preserving the Hinkle Creek Nature Area is vital to the success of the Hinkle Creek Center. The Hinkle Creek Center was built with a $740,000.00 public investment and a promise that the Hinkle Creek Center Nature Area would be preserved to interpret the natural, cultural and historical resources, and provide a recreational program space.  Save Hinkle Creek is actively working with Folsom City to finally fulfill the mission and purpose of the Center with upcoming nature, history and cultural programs, as well as guided hikes. Cutting down the oak woodland would greatly diminish the many stories waiting to be brought to life and enjoyed by everyone. The trees are our past, present and future!

HOW YOU CAN HELP!
We need all lovers of trees, creeks, wildlife and history to come and speak up for Alternative #1, the no-dig, increased maintenance and monitoring alternative, which ensures that the existing sewer line is maintained to the highest degree while still preserving the Hinkle Creek Nature Area.

The Folsom City Council meeting is on Tuesday, September 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Located on 50 Natoma Street, Folsom, CA 95630.

If you cannot attend the meeting, please contact the City Council members and simply state:
“I support Alternative #1, the no-dig, increased maintenance and monitoring alternative, to save the oak trees in the Hinkle Creek Nature Area. As far back as 1984 the value of this creek corridor was recognized by the Folsom City Parks and Recreation Commission along with the local neighborhood associations, and it remains just as important, if not more so today.”

For more detailed information on Hinkle Creek, please go to:
https://www.savehinklecreek.com/

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Welcome Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue!

The Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue has joined Habitat 2020 as a member organization! Habitat 2020, the Habitat committee of ECOS, voted to approve membership of the Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue on September 3, 2019.

Sleep Train Arena Pond

In August 2019, Christy Berger of Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue presented to Habitat 2020 on an active wildlife habitat that has been discovered the Sleep Train Arena property in Natomas. At this time, the property is owned by the owners of the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team.

Here’s a summary from Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue’s website:

We were stunned when we first viewed the huge numbers of herons and egrets nesting at the pond, and overjoyed that they were nesting in a much better site than in a city neighborhood like many other nesting colonies, and are safe from cars and people. But they may not be safe for long if the property owners fail to preserve the pond. Below are some views of the pond and the wildlife that call it home (there are more than just herons and egrets!) You will notice some concrete structures and rebar. We found out that this site is an unfinished baseball stadium built in 1990. Because of the high water table in North Natomas, the excavated area filled in and over the years with trees and other foliage, creating nice wetland habitat.

Learn more

Click here to visit the website of Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue. There you can learn more about the birds living at the old arena site and why the plans for this property should include preservation of this habitat chosen by the birds themselves, rather than further destruction of their habitat opportunities.

Photos by J. Roberson Photography

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