South Airport Industrial annexation proposal in North Natomas: ECOS Comments

On July 15, 2021, ECOS, along with Habitat 2020, Friends of the Swainson’s Hawk and the Sierra Club Sacramento Group sent a letter regarding the South Airport Industrial annexation proposal in North Natomas.

Below is an excerpt from our letter.

We urge you to delay consideration of the proposed LAFCo MOU until you have an approved Memorandum of Understanding with the wildlife agencies for the process you will follow to comply with the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (NBHCP) while considering annexation of 450 acres outside your permit area. The NBHCP is a contract between the City and state and federal wildlife agencies that sets the terms of its permits to develop in Natomas. The purpose of the Plan is to preserve the populations of threatened wildlife in the Basin while allowing some City and Sutter County development. This contract states that “Because the effectiveness of the NBHCP’s Operating Program is based upon CITY limiting total development to 8,050 acres within the City’s permit area . . . , approval by either CITY or SUTTER of future urban development outside of their respective Permit Areas would constitute a significant departure from the Plan’s Operating Conservation Program.”

Click here to read the letter in full.


Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

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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.

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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.

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