They thought it was a permanent nature preserve. Now developer Tsakopoulos wants to build there.

The Sacramento Bee

December 11, 2017

By Hudson Sangree

Residents of Sacramento County’s Vineyard area are angry about the prospect of losing open space they thought the county had protected permanently more than 25 years ago.
It turns out the land, known as Silver Springs Lot P, has been owned all along by developer Angelo K. Tsakopoulos, whose company now wants to build houses on it.

“The applicants argued that they had never intended for Lot P to be preserved in perpetuity,” a county report said.

The developer has proposed constructing 48 houses on half-acre lots near Calvine and Excelsior Roads in the semi-rural area southeast of the city of Sacramento.
The plan is scheduled to be heard Monday by Sacramento County’s planning commissioners.

Residents of the Vineyard area thought the 91.5 acres in question had been preserved long ago to protect seasonal wetlands. Buyers paid premiums for houses adjacent to the land, believing it would always be open.

Click here to read the full article

Kammerer Road-Highway 99 Sphere Of Influence Amendment DREIR

On September 11, 2017, ECOS submitted our comments on the Draft Recirculated Environmental Impact Report (DREIR) for the Proposed Kammerer/Highway 99 Sphere Of Influence Amendment (SOIA) Application for the City of Elk Grove.

Click here or on the image above to read the comment letter.

Summary

We appreciate the added attention to detail offered in the recirculated draft EIR, but rather than alleviate our concerns expressed in our original letter, the DREIR only further confirms those concerns. ECOS remains strongly opposed to the proposed Kammerer-99 Elk Grove SOI expansion and stands by our initial observation summarizing the project: Elk Grove’s anticipated growth can be accommodated within the existing City limits, and we find no justification for expansion beyond the Sacramento County Urban Services Boundary (USB) established in 1993 to be the ultimate growth boundary within the County. The proposal is inconsistent with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments’ (SACOG) Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS) for meeting State mandated greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, Federal mandates for Air Quality Attainment under the State Improvement Plan (SIP), as well as myriad regional goals for social equity, public health and natural resource conservation. There is an extreme lack of certainty that municipal water can be provided to this area without severe regional impacts, and the impacts to invaluable agricultural and biological resources by the proposal are potentially impossible to mitigate. The RDEIR confirms significant and unavoidable impacts in all these above-mentioned areas, with the exception of less than significant biological impact after mitigation which is a finding we disagree with. The question is, what justification is there for these impacts? We, again, find that there is not, and we strongly recommend that LAFCo decline the proposed Kammerer/99 SOIA.

Click here to read our comment letter to the Draft Environmental Impact Report, submitted March 31, 2017, which is referenced in our letter.

Click here for the Friends of Swainson’s Hawk’s comment letter on the Draft Recirculated Environmental Impact Report, submitted September 11, 2017, which is also referenced in our letter.

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!

City Light Impacts on Declining Salmon Populations

March 21, 2017

ECOS submitted the following letter with concerns about outdoor lighting on the Sacramento riverfront and its effects on local salmon populations, such as the endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, which are particularly important among California’s salmon runs because they exhibit a life-history strategy found nowhere else on the West Coast.

Read the full letter by clicking here.

Update on the Status of a Lower American River Conservancy (AB 1716)

June 14, 2016

From our friends at the Save the American River Association (SARA)…

ACTION ITEM: Help make a state conservancy happen for the Lower American River. AB 1716 has passed the Assembly and moved on to the Senate where it will be heard in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee:

June 28, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 112

Please join SARA on the 28th to show your support. SARA and our many partners, as well as the County of Sacramento, have submitted amended language to the bill that we feel would help strengthen the intent of the Conservancy to protect the natural resources of the lower American River Parkway and ensure that local control is not compromised. Click here to view the bill with proposed submitted amendments.

BENEFITS OF A CONSERVANCY

Over the past twenty years, conservancies have directed hundreds of millions of state dollars to acquire and restore land and improve public access to key resources including the coast, Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Nevada, and several rivers including the San Joaquin, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Gabriel, and others.

The proposed Lower American River Conservancy would be a state partner that would provide grants to the County of Sacramento, nonprofit organizations, and others to:
– Restore lands along the lower American River that have been severely damaged by fire and invasive weeds;
– Acquire and restore additional lands to further advance the American River Parkway values;
– Improve public access.

THE CONSERVANCY’S ROLE

AB 1716 does not change the current management of the American River Parkway and expressly protects the existing authority of the County of Sacramento and other local agencies. The Conservancy’s role would be to fund projects that strengthen the natural and recreational values of the American River Parkway consistent with the American River Parkway Plan. A very exciting benefit of the Conservancy would be to acquire critical funding for the Natural Resources Management Plan.

June 7, 2016

Assembly Bill 1716 is the proposed legislation to create a state conservancy for the lower American River. The American River Natural History Association, the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, the Environmental Council of Sacramento, Habitat 2020, Sierra Club, Planning and Conservation League, the California Native Plant Society, the County Parks Department, etc., have been working diligently with the bill’s co-authors, Assembly Members Kevin McCarty and Ken Cooley, to make sure our identified amendments make the final bill. The goal is to ensure a bill that will bring all of the promised conservation benefits to the lower American River Parkway by potentially providing millions of dollars of state funding for projects such as habitat restoration, invasive plant eradication/management, projects improving water quality and trail access to the Parkway, as well as fund projects that provide for continued education and interpretation of the American River’s and Parkway’s cultural and natural resources.

While the legislative process is more a marathon than a sprint, the bill is moving along and soon will be the time to write letters of support. More details will follow at the appropriate time.

AB 1716 TIMELINE TO DATE

January 28, 2016
Assembly Members Kevin McCarty, Ken Cooley, Senator Richard Pan, Sacramento City Council Member Jeff Harris and County Supervisor Phil Serna held a press conference at Discovery Park announcing AB 1716, proposed legislation to establish a state conservancy for the lower American River Parkway.

March 3, 2016
First public workshop at the Clunie Clubhouse in McKinley Park. More than 100 members of the public attended and expressed support for AB 1716.

April 25, 2016
AB 1716 passed out of the Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee with three amendments.

May 4, 2016
Appropriations Committee heard AB 1716 and referred it to the suspense file.

May 27, 2016
Second public workshop at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Ancil Hoffman Park. Approximately 75 members of the public attended and expressed support for AB 1716.

May 28, 2016
AB 1716 passed out of the Appropriations Committee.

June 1, 2016
AB 1716 passed the Assembly. Ordered to the Senate.

The bill probably will move on now to the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. This is the committee that will take up the amendments we submitted.

Please keep your networks informed. The Save the American River Association is offering to meet with anyone or group who would like more information regarding AB 1716. You can contact Save the American River Association (SARA) to arrange a presentation.

The requested amended language that Sacramento County has sent to the State can be found by clicking here. These amendments reflect the desired changes identified by our coalition of stakeholders and changes the County identified as important. Please read the requested amended language carefully and let us know what you think.

Participation in this issue is critical to the future of the lower American River Parkway.

Sincerely,

Betsy Weiland, Facilitator
American River Parkway Coalition

The Mission of the American River Parkway Coalition is to provide a forum for continuing communication, collaboration, and coordination in order to better protect and preserve the natural and recreational resources of the American River Parkway and monitor and implement the American River Parkway Plan.

[Photo by George Nyberg]