To say the South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan has been a long time coming is a vast understatement.
Two decades after the seeds were first planted, the plan is finally ready for Sacramento County supervisors to consider on Wednesday. They should approve it.
Developers would get a simplified and predictable process for federal and state environmental permits. And conservation groups would get large, interconnected areas of protected habitat, open space and undeveloped farmland.The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board, 2018
Swainson’s Hawks in California
The Swainson’s hawk (Buteo Swainsoni) was listed as a threatened species in 1983 by the California Fish and Game Commission. This listing was based on loss of habitat and decreased numbers across the state.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released an analysis of Kamilos’ Swainson’s Hawk Foraging Habitat Mitigation Proposal at Van Vleck Ranch. They have advised the City of Elk Grove not to use this mitigation program.
June 29, 2018
Elk Grove News.net
In a lengthy presentation and public comment that was followed by a relatively short deliberation period, the Elk Grove City Council approved a change to the environmental impact report for the city’s Southeast Policy Area (SEPA) at their Wednesday, June 27 meeting.
By a unanimous 4 – 0 vote (council member Stephanie Nguyen was absent) the city council changed the manner in which mitigation can be handled for the Swainson’s Hawk. Specifically, at the Behest of Kamilos Development, the city amended the certified EIR so that mitigation land set-aside for the threatened species can be placed on the 4,768-acre Van Vleck Ranch near Rancho Murieta, California, which is further away from the SEPA than initially approved in the SEPA EIR.
Under previous requirements for SEPA projects, the mitigation land was geographically closer. In both cases, the standard replacement continues to be that each acre of lost habitat must be mitigated with one acre of conservancy.
During the staff report from Antonio Ablog, it was noted a review of the change by California Department of Fish and Wildlife highlighted that the new habitat is 18 miles from the SEPA project, which exceeds the recommended distance of 10 miles. Additionally, the CDFW said the new mitigation area on the Van Vleck ranch was lower quality foraging for the hawks.
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