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YOLO SUN NEWS REPORT :

Public comment on the newly released Yolo Habitat Conservation Plan is now engaged and will close on August 30.

This Plan, the product of Yolo Habitat Conservancy, a joint-powers agency comprised of the county and its four cities, seeks to comprehensively manage requirements of state and federal environmental law within a county-wide framework, to protect 12 specific species (1 plant, 1 beetle, 1 salamander, 1 turtle, 1 snake and 7 birds), which are subjects of state / federal law.

Newly protected / restored lands, within which to best protect and preserve these 12 species of wildlife, are projected to be about 25,000 acres in this Plan, adding to the present 8,000 acres of conserved habitat land in the county.

This Plan’s Executive Summary states (in part):

The Yolo [Habitat Conservation Plan] will protect, enhance, and restore natural communities and cultivated lands, including rare and endangered species habitat, and provide for the conservation of covered species within Yolo County. In place of the current system of separately permitting and mitigating individual projects, the Plan creates a conservation and mitigation program that comprehensively coordinates the implementation of permit requirements through the development of a countywide conservation strategy, including identification of priority acquisition areas in riparian zones or other locations with important species habitat. The Plan also requires additional habitat conservation that is otherwise unlikely to take place in Yolo County. Effects on natural resources and associated mitigation requirements for at-risk species are addressed more efficiently and effectively than the current piecemeal mitigation process. This approach benefits both listed species and project proponents.

The [Plan] strikes a sensible balance between natural resource conservation and economic growth in the region. In addition to strengthening local control over land use and species protection, the [Plan] will provide a more efficient process for protecting natural resources by creating new habitat reserves system that will be larger in scale, more ecologically valuable, and easier to manage than the individual mitigation sites created under the current approach. The [Plan] also will result in additional habitat conservation that is unlikely to happen in the absence of the Plan. The [Plan] will further provide for a large, interconnected reserve system that maximizes species and habitat benefits, as well as performance based monitoring and adaptive management. The Plan Area will maintain a rural character, consisting almost entirely of open space and working agricultural landscapes, with both existing and planned development clustered primarily in the incorporated cities and unincorporated towns.

This 50-year Plan would be primarily funded through permit fees on development projects (~$240 million), with additional funding from local, state and federal sources (~$124 million) and other funding sources (~$9 million), for a total cost of $371,399,000.

About $248 million would be budgeted for establishment of a new “land reserve system” of conservation easements and acquisitions, alongside “restoring natural communities.”

The total cost of this Plan amounts to an average, annual price-tag of ~$7.5 million for 50 years.

Permit fees on new development projects would be $11,231 per acre for regular / ordinary land conversions and from ~$50,000 to ~$70,000 per acre for various forms of wetland / riparian land conversions.

The following elected officials are members of the Executive Board of Yolo Habitat Conservancy and will be voting to accept or reject this Plan:

Jim Provenza, Chair, Yolo County Supervisor; jim.provenza@yolocounty.org

Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor; don.saylor@yolocounty.org

“Skip” Davies, City of Woodland Councilmember; skip.davies@cityofwoodland.org

Chris Ledesma, City of West Sacramento Councilmember; chrisl@cityofwestsacramento.org

Lucas Frerichs, City of Davis Councilmember; lucasf@cityofdavis.org

Pierre Neu, City of Winters Councilmember; pierre.neu@cityofwinters.org

Marjorie Dickinson, Assistant Vice Chancellor Governmental and Community Relations UC Davis; mmdickinson@ucdavis.edu

If you have questions / opinions regarding this Plan, please contact your elected official and express your thoughts / concerns — as well as commenting on the official record of public comment to Yolo Habitat Conservancy.

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  • The Yolo Habitat Conservation Plan is accessible for viewing at the following internet location:

https://www.yolohabitatconservancy.org/documents

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  • Comments should be directed to:

Shawna Stevens, Assistant to the Director

Yolo Habitat Conservancy

611 North Street, Woodland, CA 95695

info@yolohabitatconservancy.org

 

[Yolo Sun will present a series of in-depth articles about this Plan, during the course of its public comment period.]

 

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