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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Save Hinkle Creek

Preserving the Hinkle Creek Nature Area is vital to the success of the Hinkle Creek Center. The Hinkle Creek Center was built with a $740,000.00 public investment and a promise that the Hinkle Creek Center Nature Area would be preserved to interpret the natural, cultural and historical resources, and provide a recreational program space.  Save Hinkle Creek is actively working with Folsom City to finally fulfill the mission and purpose of the Center with upcoming nature, history and cultural programs, as well as guided hikes. Cutting down the oak woodland would greatly diminish the many stories waiting to be brought to life and enjoyed by everyone. The trees are our past, present and future!

HOW YOU CAN HELP!
We need all lovers of trees, creeks, wildlife and history to come and speak up for Alternative #1, the no-dig, increased maintenance and monitoring alternative, which ensures that the existing sewer line is maintained to the highest degree while still preserving the Hinkle Creek Nature Area.

The Folsom City Council meeting is on Tuesday, September 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Located on 50 Natoma Street, Folsom, CA 95630.

If you cannot attend the meeting, please contact the City Council members and simply state:
“I support Alternative #1, the no-dig, increased maintenance and monitoring alternative, to save the oak trees in the Hinkle Creek Nature Area. As far back as 1984 the value of this creek corridor was recognized by the Folsom City Parks and Recreation Commission along with the local neighborhood associations, and it remains just as important, if not more so today.”

For more detailed information on Hinkle Creek, please go to:
https://www.savehinklecreek.com/

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Welcome Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue!

The Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue has joined Habitat 2020 as a member organization! Habitat 2020, the Habitat committee of ECOS, voted to approve membership of the Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue on September 3, 2019.

Sleep Train Arena Pond

In August 2019, Christy Berger of Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue presented to Habitat 2020 on an active wildlife habitat that has been discovered the Sleep Train Arena property in Natomas. At this time, the property is owned by the owners of the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team.

Here’s a summary from Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue’s website:

We were stunned when we first viewed the huge numbers of herons and egrets nesting at the pond, and overjoyed that they were nesting in a much better site than in a city neighborhood like many other nesting colonies, and are safe from cars and people. But they may not be safe for long if the property owners fail to preserve the pond. Below are some views of the pond and the wildlife that call it home (there are more than just herons and egrets!) You will notice some concrete structures and rebar. We found out that this site is an unfinished baseball stadium built in 1990. Because of the high water table in North Natomas, the excavated area filled in and over the years with trees and other foliage, creating nice wetland habitat.

Learn more

Click here to visit the website of Sacramento Heron and Egret Rescue. There you can learn more about the birds living at the old arena site and why the plans for this property should include preservation of this habitat chosen by the birds themselves, rather than further destruction of their habitat opportunities.

Photos by J. Roberson Photography

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