City Council member calls hospital’s opening plan ‘awfully optimistic’

February 19, 2020
By Lance Armstrong, Staff Writer
The Elk Grove Citizen

Elk Grove City Council Member Pat Hume on Feb. 11 referred to California Northstate University’s (CNU) proposal to build a $750 million to $800 million teaching hospital in the Stonelake neighborhood by November 2022 as “awfully optimistic.”

“I know that OSHPD (Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development) and some of the standards that are put on (the construction of) hospitals are pretty onerous and that the oversight is pretty strict,” he said. “So, I don’t know. I know that they like to be aggressive and assertive in what they do. If they think it’s realistic, okay. But it seems awfully optimistic.”

Hume additionally told the Citizen that he has a variety of concerns regarding California Northstate University’s proposal to build a teaching hospital in the Stonelake neighborhood.

“I’ve got all kinds of concerns,” he said. “Does it fit? Do they address some of the concerns that were raised here (at the meeting) tonight with respect to traffic and circulation and flooding and floodplain and neighborhood issues?

Click here to read more.

Arco Arena Reuse Comments

December 9, 2019

On December 9th, ECOS/Habitat 2020 partnered with Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue to submit comments to the city regarding the Arco Arena Reuse Plan. Click here to learn more about the huge pond we are trying to preserve at the site.

Below is an excerpt from the letter:

The ideas presented in the PUD completely ignore that there is a fully functioning aquatic resource (the Sleep Train Arena pond) in the Plan area that is currently providing habitat and nesting opportunities for hundreds of waterfowl.  The PUD presents a completely people oriented urban landscape without any consideration for the local species that we share the region with.  This paradigm ignores the appeal that such an aquatic resource would have for the new residents of the project area.  It also demonstrates a lack of creativity because it is not even considered for use as part of the drainage basins that the Plan area will need to include.  The grassy-sloped drainage basin depicted in the PUD, with anticipated residents recreating there, presents a vastly inferior option to a biologically dynamic pond supporting a large healthy nesting population of herons, egrets, cormorants, and other local avian species.

If this pond is eliminated, the over 1,000 herons and egrets that nest from April to August each year would very likely move to the surrounding neighborhoods to roost and nest, creating issues for residents and businesses. This would also result in hundreds of injured baby birds each year that would greatly strain local wildlife rescues, which are doing the work that our local shelters would otherwise be dealing with. The pond would provide the area with a nature viewing experience that would serve as a recreational and educational opportunity. It would allow residents access to nearby nature, which has been shown by research to have mental health benefits.

Click here to view the comment letter.

SMUD Roseville Water Transfer comments

On September 10, 2019, the Environmental Council of Sacramento and Habitat 2020 sent a letter to Sacramento Metropolitan Utilities District (SMUD) a letter regarding a proposed water transfer between the City of Roseville and SMUD. Below are some excerpts from the letter, followed by a link to the letter in full.

Recently the Environmental Council of Sacramento and Habitat 2020 became aware of the pending temporary water transfer between the City of Roseville and SMUD. Our review of the environmental assessment and decision document prepared by the Bureau of Reclamation found specific deficiencies in the analysis and a casual dismissal of the transfer’s cumulative significance. We believe that the proposed transfer of water does not contain the necessary safeguards to protect Lower American River fisheries. We request that the SMUD Board direct its staff to include provisions in the contract that will address these concerns.

We believe the transfers must be governed by the standards and requirements contained in the Modified Flow Management Standard. These standards and requirements would much better ensure that the transfer would not negatively impact the American River flow and temperature standards.

Click here to read the full letter.

Photo by George Nyberg of the American River

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.

Sacramento Two Rivers Trail Bike Trail

On September 12, 2019, ECOS and Habitat 2020 submitted a comment letter on the Sacramento Two Rivers Trail (Phase II) DEIR.

The Two Rivers Trail Phase II project will provide a 2.4 mile long multi-use path between Sutter’s Landing Park and H Street, by Sacramento State. The trail will provide residents of River Park and East Sacramento a safe, convenient, and protected path into downtown Sacramento. The overall vision is to eventually have the trail connect to the Sacramento River Parkway and create a continuous trail system along both sides of the Sacramento and American Rivers. In addition, the project will environmentally clear the next phase of the trail between Sutter’s Landing Park and the Sacramento Northern Bike Trail.

https://www.cityofsacramento.org/Public-Works/Engineering-Services/Projects/Current-Projects/Two-Rivers-Trail-Phase-II

There are many habitat issues that remain unaddressed in the Draft Environmental Impact Report.

The bottom line is that a bike trail on a levee is not only feasible, but it is the best option for the Two Rivers Trail if we want to protect the American River Parkway and its ecosystems. There are numerous other benefits to putting the trail on top of the levee as well, such as better access during winter floods.

Click here to read the letter in full.