Trees for Sacramento is a group of community members formed to promote a strong tree ordinance with City Staff and Council members. It’s been found from comparing studies in the 1990s to today that Sacramento City has been losing tree canopy. Our current Urban Forestry Management Plan (adopted in 1994) measured Sacramento’s tree canopy at 28 percent and it set a goal of 50 percent canopy cover. Today, Sacramento’s tree canopy is measured as 23.66, more than a 15 percent decline. This decline occurred despite thousands of new trees being planted.
Pause the Capitol Annex Project
July 20, 2020 Update from Dick Cowan, of the Public Accountability for Our Capitol group:
Public Accountability for our Capitol is delighted that the Capitol Annex Project has been paused and that demolition and removal of some trees in Capitol Park will not start, perhaps until November. But neither our group nor the public know whether the Joint Rules Committee is using this pause for re-planning the Parking Garage to avoid loss of Capitol Park, for re-planning the Annex space needs to avoid demolition of the historic Capitol Annex, or for re-design of the Visitor Center to avoid loss of the west public gathering area in front of the Restored Capitol.
Over two-thousand concerned citizens have signed our petition at https://www.change.org/p/california-state-legislature-save-california-state-capitol-park
Please sign the petition and write and call your California legislators, as well as the two Legislative leaders who can really guide the project’s re-planning:
- Senator Toni Atkins, President pro-Tempore of the Senate, 916 651 4039 and senator [dot] atkins [at] senate [dot] ca [dot] gov
- Assembly Member Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the Assembly, 916 319 2063 and speaker [dot] rendon [at] assembly [dot] ca [dot] gov
June 4, 2020 Update: We have learned that the general fund monies that were appropriated for the Capitol Annex project will be swept back to help offset Coronavirus revenue losses. But the Joint Rules Committee has and intends to use authority to sell bonds to pay for the project. This will add about $27 million in interest payments to the cost of the project.
What’s at risk?
This project will remove up to 100 trees in the project footprint in the historic Capitol Park. Many of the tree species planted in our Arboretum are rare, and many are now endangered in their native countries.
The National Register-listed East Annex will be demolished and replaced with a new building for state legislators and staff. The surrounding Capitol Park will be excavated to construct an underground parking garage for legislators and a Visitor’s Center.
Two key points
- The project cost is $750 million. The pandemic and associated recession leave California with no choice but to cancel this project due to cost and lack of resources.
- Delay additional spending on Capitol Annex Project construction until a redesign with lower cost- alternatives is completed.
Remember that big trees help reduce the urban heat island effect, store carbon in their trunks, improve the air quality of our city, and provide a beautiful, shaded park for Sacramentans and visitors to enjoy.
The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) does not include consideration of off-site locations for this project, to save our historic trees. It does not provide a new landscape plan, including plans to plant trees to replace those that are removed. It does not provide information for how the trees outside of the construction zone will be protected during the excavation and building process.
The Environmental Council of Sacramento supports the work by Trees for Sacramento to protect our State Capitol and its surrounding park.
Please review this April 16, 2020 letter from Public Accountability for our Capitol (PAC) to understand the latest appeal to state leadership to back off the costly and harmful project.
Act Now for Capitol Park Trees
We hope you will write letters to your legislators asking them to pause the project and re-plan it to avoid damage to Capitol Park, save the historic Annex, preserve the western Plaza, and save money.
And to sign the petition.
Who is PAC?
PAC means “Public Accountability for our Capitol.” This group includes an alliance of expert individuals and organizations, including Trees for Sacramento, concerned about the impact of a replacement Capitol Annex, its underground parking garage and visitor center.
2016 Tree Ordinance Revisions
California’s Street Trees Are Worth About $1 Billion – City Lab
If the state has a better grasp on the dividends it reaps from trees, it might support investing in them.
By Laura Bliss, June 15, 2016
Don’t mess around with trees – Sac Bee
The City of Trees should be very careful about changing the tree ordinance.
By Foon Rhee, January 13, 2016
Other cities have found ways to create more transparency and better monitoring by citizens. For example, in Portland:
Tree loss spurs Portland residents to action
Tree Project Oversight Advisory Committee
Get in Touch
Get in touch with Trees for Sacramento by emailing them at trees4sacto [at] sbcglobal [dot] net.
Visit the Trees for Sacramento Facebook page at www.facebook.com/trees4sacto.
Check back on this page for updates.