Hospital Construction near Stone Lakes Refuge Stopped

By Nancy Hughett, ECOS Board Member | July 2021

A coalition of environmental and community groups applying pressure on Elk Grove decision-makers was instrumental in stopping the construction of a 13-story hospital with helipad next to a sensitive habitat area. While California Northstate University (CNU) previously proposed building the hospital at the edge of the Stone Lakes National Refuge, it recently announced its relocation to the Sleep Train Arena in North Natomas (June 16, 2021).

The coalition, including ECOS’ Habitat 2020, the Audubon Society, Sierra Club and the Friends of Stone Lakes, met with Elk Grove Planning Commissioners. Coalition members expressed concerns about noise, light pollution and construction activity that would harm refuge wildlife such as Swainson’s Hawks, Sandhill Cranes and Burrowing Owls, particularly during roosting periods. In addition, helicopter flights and the massive hospital building itself would pose a danger for bird strikes; helicopter-bird strikes could also lead to loss of human life. The Stone Lakes Refuge sits within the Pacific Flyway, a major North American migration route for birds.

The environmental coalition, along with neighbors, also argued that placing a level 2 trauma center hospital in a 200-year flood plain despite existing city prohibitions would be a very bad idea. (Additionally, flooding could increase due to climate-induced sea level rise and possible atmospheric river events.) This issue proved to be a major factor in Elk Grove Planning Commissioners’ 5-0 recommendation to deny the project. The project’s proponents subsequently elected to seek other sites for their hospital.

An incidental wetlands and habitat area has developed at the Sleep Train Arena site in the excavated area for a failed baseball stadium; the pond is surrounded by mature trees and has become a resource for wildlife, including many bird species. ECOS’ Habitat 2020 Committee is drafting a letter to support its protection.

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Tree-Mendous Tips for Watering Your Trees

July 2021 | Be Water Smart

Do you LOVE trees? Do you get nutty over walnut trees? Weepy at the sight of a willow? Want to cuddle with a conifer?

Be Water Smart wants YOU to make sure our urban forest stays with us for generations to come, even as climate change is projected to bring more frequent drought years.

Here are some tips for efficiently watering your trees when the weather is dry, and be sure to visit sactree.com to learn even more about caring for trees!

Here are a few of the Be Water Smart videos that can help get you started!


Image by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay

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Caltrans Active Transportation Survey (July 16 deadline)

Do you live in any of the following counties: Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba?

If so, please fill out this survey for Caltrans by July 16, 2021.

Your survey response will help Caltrans plan for biking and walking near you. Please click through the following screens to identify concerns that you believe need to be addressed to improve walking and biking on and along State Routes near you.


Photo by PNW Production from Pexels

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