LAFCo Hearing May 2 re Elk Grove Expansion

Dear Advocates for Farmland and Wildlife, as summarized by our partner, the Friends of Swainson’s Hawk:

It is time again to stand up for sound planning. LAFCo will hold a hearing on whether to reconsider their 4-3 decision 2/7/18 to allow a landowner Sphere of Influence amendment to Elk Grove. This approval to allow conversion of 1,156 acres of farmland is actually a huge change in planning for growth. The staff report recommends denying the reconsideration hearing due to lack of new information. Reconsideration has been requested both by Suzanne Pecci (Elk Grove resident) on water issues, and by environmentalists on a number of issues.

You can help by sending an email to LAFCo Commissioners commissionclerk[at]saclafco[dot]org urging that the Commissioners grant a reconsideration hearing because the issues are big and complex and there are 22 significant and unavoidable impacts of the decision that won’t ever be fully mitigated. These include negative impacts on farmland and agriculture in Sacramento County.

It is always helpful for people to show up at the hearing to show their concern and interest.

Here is the link to our webpage with more references. You can find our letter asking for reconsideration there and also the link to the staff report.
http://www.swainsonshawk.org/Kammerer99.html

PLEASE COPY US ON YOUR EMAIL at swainsonshawk[at]sbcglobal[dot]net.

Thank you for your support.

Can Sacramento County save its farmers? Not if Elk Grove expands

By Judith Lamare and James P. Pachl

May 01, 2018

Special to The Sacramento Bee

On Feb. 7, four Sacramento LAFCo commissioners began unraveling of decades of agricultural protection, orderly urban growth and open space planning that relied on a firm urban limit at Elk Grove’s southern boundary.

The split decision by the Local Agency Formation Commission — three commissioners voted no — gave Elk Grove the go-ahead to plan development on 1,156 acres of farmland. Elk Grove’s presentation made clear that it intends to pave over much more than this in coming years.

Environmental groups have asked the commission to reconsider its decision on Wednesday, based on a state law that requires it to ensure orderly growth and preserve farmland and open space when it considers changes in city boundaries.

Vacant land within existing city limits is supposed to be a key factor in calculating whether a sphere of influence expansion onto farmland is needed to accommodate growth. In Elk Grove, there are about 4,000 acres of vacant land zoned and available for development, including 1,800 acres where residential projects remain unbuilt, some for more than a decade. The LAFCo executive director’s report misled the public and commissioners by counting as “vacant” only the land that did not have project approvals. Plenty of vacant land exists inside Elk Grove’s present boundaries for growth.

The commission adopted a statement prepared by staff to dismiss 22 significant and unavoidable impacts that cannot be fully mitigated, including loss of farmland and open space and further groundwater depletion. Also, the sphere of influence amendment conflicts with the Metropolitan Transportation Plan that underpins all federal and state funding. Notably not discussed by the commission was the additional cost to the public to acquire right of way for the planned Capital Southeast Connector bordering the expansion area due to land speculation it causes.

At the core of this decision is the future of farming and Sacramento County’s agricultural economy. One commissioner implied that the decision would not harm farming because so little of the land is defined as “prime.” Yet the environmental report identified significant impacts on agriculture that cannot be mitigated.

If we are only prepared to save “prime” farmland, then California’s agricultural fabric will become more tattered and unsustainable. That fabric includes different kinds of farmland and an infrastructure supporting an industry that produced more than $500 million in revenue last year in Sacramento County.

If the commission doesn’t reverse its decision, we are facing a dramatic loss of farmers in our region.

Click here to view the article on the SacBee website.

2017 Habitat 2020 Accomplishments

Habitat 2020 is ECOS’ Habitat & Conservation committee. Habitat 2020 is a coalition that works to protect the lands, waters, wildlife and native plants in the Sacramento region. The great Central Valley of California has been identified by the World Wildlife Fund as one of North America’s most endangered eco-regions. Preserving its remaining open space and agricultural land is essential for sustaining native plants and wildlife, and ensuring a high quality of life for ourselves and future generations.

In 2017 Habitat 2020 had a continued engagement in a broad range of Sacramento regional environmental protection efforts that no singular organization could address alone.

These crucial activities include:

  • Continued promotion of the Heartland Project Vision for a regionally coordinated and connected system of parks, preserves and working lands:
    • Successfully negotiated a new contract in with the UCD Information Center for the Environment and the Capitol Southeast Connector JPA to continue development of the Sacramento regional natural resources data inventory and modeling project, in accordance with the ECOS-Connector JPA Settlement Agreement.
    • Aided in visioning and oversight of the SMUD carbon sequestration inventory for Sacramento County, the first application of the UCD-Heartland Natural Resource inventory.
    • Aided in the acquisition of a $600k Federal Environmental Protection Agency grant for UCD to continue a second phase of development for the natural resource inventory to cross analyze public health factors with environmental sustainability factors to better illustrate relationships between human and ecological health in the Sacramento Region.
  • Continued a decade-long resistance to irresponsible expansion of the City of Elk Grove in an effort to protect critical habitat for myriad species in the Cosumnes River corridor, including Sandhill Crane and Swainson’s hawk. Elk Grove is currently updating its General Plan and has three current Sphere of Influence Expansion Applications. A primary concern is the Kammerrer-99 SOI proposal, outside of the long-standing County Urban Services Boundary and the Regional Sustainable Communities Strategy. Habitat 2020 engagement and commentary has so far led to the decision to recirculate the Draft Environmental impact report to better address important concerns raised with the EIR’s initial analysis. The Final EIR has recently been released and great concerns for the project remain. The Local Agency Formation Commission hearing to consider approval of the project is scheduled for February.
  • Continued critical representation of the environmental community in development of the final South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Report and Statement released this year, after decades of evolution. Habitat 2020 engagement was essential to this process, being the only group to review the entire public draft of the Plan and the environmental documents, over 3300 pages. The extensive commentary Habitat 2020 has provided is aimed at correcting some long standing issues that remain before certification.
  • Partnered with Friend’s of the Swainson’s Hawk to negotiate an agreement with the City of Sacramento to preserve the integrity of the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan in mitigation of their approval of the Greenbriar project.
  • Provided expert testimony to the ongoing CA WaterFix hearings concerning important terrestrial impacts posed by the proposed Delta tunnels project with H2020 partners, including Friends of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and SOSCranes.
  • Tracked initial local implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, offering in depth commentary on the pros and cons of the Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority’s proposed Groundwater Management Plan Alternative, with the aim to outline a constructive path forward to address current deficiencies with increased public participation and oversight. We continued our active presence at the Environmental Caucus of the Water Forum, and this last year Ted Rauh of our Water Group became an alternate South Central Groundwater Committee Board member representing environmental interests.
  • H2020 Partner, SOS Cranes, continued participation in the Statewide Sandhill Crane Conservation Strategy Technical Advisory Committee in development of a plan due for release in 2018.
  • Continued participation in the Sacramento Area Council of Governments “Sounding Board” advisory committee for development of the 2020 Metropolitan transportation Plan Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS), emphasizing the need for smart, more compact regional growth that simultaneously provides greater, more equitable access to non-auto modes of travel, and preserves natural and agricultural resources. Habitat 2020 has also offered important representation in the SB 375 target revision process currently underway at the CA Air Resources Board, with an aim to determine the most ambitious GHG reduction targets feasible for the Sacramento Region’s MTP/SCS.
  • Supported Audubon Society efforts to preserve essential Purple Martin nesting habitat in the City of Sacramento’s I St bridge replacement project.
  • Supported International Dark Sky Association recommendations to the Cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento for reducing light impacts to aquatic and terrestrial habitat on the Sacramento Riverfront.
  • Supported Folsom community residents in a campaign to develop an alternative plan for storm/waste water infrastructure improvements to minimize impacts to Hinkle Creek and its surrounding forest.
  • Coordinated broad regional stakeholder input into a robust set of recommendations for the City of Sacramento for the consideration of investment in a regional educational facility focused on the region’s unique natural resources.

Film Program Announced for the Wild + Scenic Film Fest in Sac!

Wild and Scenic Film Festival Sacramento 2017 – Films

Thursday, September 28th, 2017. Doors Open at 6:00 pm, Films run from 6:30 pm-9:30 pm
24th Street Theater at the Sierra 2 Community Center (2791 24th St, Sacramento, CA 95818)

Check out these amazing films you can see and be inspired by at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival On Tour in Sacramento 2017 – click here for the full film program!

Upcoming Sponsorship Opportunities with ECOS

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) requests your support for our two annual fall events: the Environmentalist of the Year Awards and the Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour in Sacramento. Your sponsorship allows us to successfully present these landmark events, provides you with significant recognition, and is an investment in the ongoing success of ECOS.

As you may know, ECOS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization comprised of a broad range of organizations and individuals who unite to create a single voice for local environmental concerns. Our mission is to achieve regional and community sustainability and a healthy environment for existing and future residents. ECOS works proactively with our members, member organizations, local government, and community groups to energize and create positive change in the Sacramento region as we work to develop thriving communities.

In addition to our day-to-day work as the region’s primary watch dog of land use and transportation project development, ECOS and Habitat 2020 (our Habitat and Conservation committee), operates with five overarching policy objectives:

  1. Promote and reinforce Smart Growth principles
  2. Improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow climate change
  3. Establish a regionally coordinated conservation strategy
  4. Establish a sustainable regional water supply for both ecological and municipal needs
  5. Achieve equity in housing, public health, and economic opportunity

43rd Annual Environmentalist of the Year Awards

ECOS has been hosting the Environmentalist of the Year awards since the early 1970’s. The awards ceremony is a time to celebrate and recognize the past year’s regional champions and community sustainability successes. It is also a time to reflect on the work we still have in front of us in the year ahead. We are currently considering nominations for this year’s awards. The 2015 award categories and honorees included: Richard Guerrero (Environmentalist of the Year), Veronica Beaty (Housing Advocacy), Sacramento Urban Agriculture Coalition (Environmental Justice) Michael O’Sullivan (Volunteer of the Year) and Dana Gray (Artist Recognition). All profits from this event will directly support the operations of the Environmental Council of Sacramento.

Environmentalist of the Year Awards Sponsorship Levels

John Muir – $2,500

  • Your name, logo and a link to your website on the ECOS website
  • A listing in the event program in the largest sponsor font size
  • Your logo on event signage
  • 10 tickets
  • Verbal recognition during the awards ceremony

Rachel Carson – $1,000

  • Your name and a link (if applicable) on the ECOS website
  • A special listing in the event program
  • 6 tickets
  • Verbal recognition during the awards ceremony

George Washington Carver – $500

  • Your name and a link (if applicable) on the ECOS website
  • A special listing in the event program
  • 4 tickets
  • Verbal recognition during the awards ceremony

Ansel Adams – $250

  • Your name and a link (if applicable) on the ECOS website
  • A special listing in the event program
  • 2 tickets
  • Verbal recognition during the awards ceremony

7th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour in Sacramento

The great Central Valley of California has been identified by the World Wildlife Fund as one of North America’s most endangered eco-regions. Preserving its remaining open space and agricultural land is essential for sustaining native plants and wildlife, and ensuring a high quality of life for ourselves and future generations. Habitat 2020 is the Habitat & Conservation committee for ECOS, and a coalition that works to protect the lands, waters, wildlife and native plants in the Sacramento region. Habitat 2020 has designed a conservation vision for our region called the California Heartland Project; and through it, we seek to create a connected network of parks, preserves and conservation easements on working farms and ranches. The main goals of the California Heartland Project include increasing access to open space for education and recreation, protecting the unique biological diversity found in the Sacramento Valley and conserving our agricultural heritage. The beneficiary of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour in Sacramento is the California Heartland Project.

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival stands out as a film festival that inspires and motivates community members to go out and make a difference locally and beyond. ECOS specially designs the Sacramento festival program to address issues that are relevant to our local community, featuring short films that look at themes of water conservation, sustainable development and energy, food and local agriculture, wildlife protection, environmental activism, and outdoor recreation. We continue to make this film festival a lasting and rewarding annual event to inspire communities in Sacramento to enjoy and protect wild and scenic places close to home. Over the years, the festival has become an important event in our community’s calendar and we aspire to continue bringing this service to our local residents and neighbors.

Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour Sponsorship Levels

Executive Sponsorship – $500

  • Recognition at the annual film festival
  • Logo on our website and Facebook page with a link to your site
  • Logo and link to your website inserted in our pre-festival e-blasts
  • Name in all of our press releases
  • Logo on the film festival poster
  • Prime location of your logo in the film festival program
  • 10 second onscreen slide in our sponsor reel, played on loop before the film program
  • Personal acknowledgment from stage prior to the film screening
  • Your own table at the event for your organization (limited space)
  • Two passes to the film festival
  • 20 raffle tickets

Associate Sponsorship – $350

  • Recognition at the annual film festival
  • Logo on our website and Facebook page with link to your site
  • Logo and link to your website inserted in our pre-festival e-blasts
  • Logo on the film festival poster and program
  • 5 second onscreen slide in our sponsor reel, played on loop before the film program
  • Personal acknowledgment from stage prior to the film screening
  • The ability to have promotional materials on a table at the event
  • Two passes to the film festival
  • 10 raffle tickets

Supporter Sponsorship – $200

  • Recognition at the annual film festival
  • Logo on our website and Facebook page with link to your site
  • Logo and link to your website inserted in our pre-festival e-blasts
  • 5 second onscreen slide in our sponsor reel, played on loop before the film program
  • Two passes to film festival
  • 5 raffle tickets

In-Kind Sponsorship

Benefits depend on the value of your donation. These may include:

  • Logo on the website and Facebook page with a link to your site
  • Recognition on the poster
  • On-screen slide credit prior to the film program
  • Personal acknowledgment from stage prior to the film screening
  • Pass(es) to the film festival

How to Sponsor

To donate online, just go to our website at www.ecosacramento.net, and click on the ‘Donate’ button on our homepage, or in the menu bar at the top. Please indicate the intent of the check (Environmentalist of the Year award and/or Film Festival and sponsorship level).

Alternatively, you can mail a check to Environmental Council of Sacramento, P.O. Box 1526, Sacramento, California 95812-1526. Please indicate the intent of the check (Environmentalist of the Year award and/or Film Festival and sponsorship level). Since we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, your donation is tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Thank you very much for your consideration and please remember that your generous support makes a significant difference in our day to day operations. Please feel free to contact us with any questions at office[at]ecosacramento[dot]net.