City of Elk Grove Swainson's Hawk Mitigation Policy History

The City of Elk Grove is a prime example of how our Sacramento area population of Swainson's Hawks is threatened by expansion of the urban area. . . and what can be done about it. FOSH and other environmental organizations continue to oppose any further southward expansion of the City because of impact s on important habitat and the Cosumnes River preserve.

• In 2006, the City of Elk Grove provided documents to FOSH to show how its mitigation program is working. FOSH legal counsel has reviewed the documents and asked for further information from City of Elk Grove. For more information, contact FOSH Legal Counsel, Jim Pachl, at 916-446-3978.

• In 2005, Elk Grove acquired a 700 plus acre vineyard south of the City to convert to Swainson's Hawk habitat. The site will provide mitigation for Elk Grove projects when it is converted to hawk habitat.

• Elk Grove adopted a mitigation ordinance in 2004 to correct deficiencies in its mitigation program. The past deficit though was not addressed.

• Laguna Ridge Specific Plan in 2004 established a new Swainson's Hawk mitigation policy for Elk Grove that ensured all large projects would mitigate with land, not fees.

Positive Action in Elk Grove September 3, 2003.

City of Elk Grove Council adopted Swainson's Hawk mitigation fee increase to over $4,000 on September 3, 2003

• City of Elk Grove initiated a process to develop agreements with conservancies and California Department of Fish and Game to acquire land or easements to provide preserve lands for Swainson's Hawk population affected by Elk Grove development.

• City Council did not act to adopt a resolution authorizing a poor mitigation choice in East County with its mitigation fee account, which now totals over $1.3 million.

LAFCO adopted conditions [see conditions #14 and #16 attached resolution] on the Elk Grove annexation of West Laguna to ensure Elk Grove implements Swainson's Hawk mitigation. It required a report back in 4-6 months regarding the status of Elk Grove's promised mitigations upon incorporation. LAFCO required Elk Grove to contribute to regionally coordinated habitat conservation.

Thanks to everyone who helped achieve these positive actions for Swainson's Hawks in South County, especially our legal counsel, Jim Pachl and Board members, Vicki Lee and Alta Tura.

South County Mitigation Ratio. Four to One Vote Increases Mitigation Fee for Swainson's Hawk

An Update on South Sacramento County Swainson's Hawk Mitigation Fee:
Making a place for wildlife to thrive in our region is a key to our future quality of life, and the survival of threatened species, such as the Swainson’s Hawk.
The County of Sacramento, and Supervisor Don Nottoli specifically, made a decision on August 19 to increase the mitigation fee and remove the cap on the amount of mitigation land to be provided. Thank you to everyone who helped persuade the County Supervisors to support the County Staff, Calif. Fish and Game and The Nature Conservancy's recommendation on the fee.

New Action Item: Elk Grove now has its draft general plan and EIR on the web for citizen review, with comment due by September 25. You can find these items at Please review the inadequate sections on protection of Swainson's Hawk and other wildlife and comment about your desire for stronger protections.

Background: The City of Elk Grove is a prime example of how our Sacramento area population of Swainson's Hawks is threatened by expansion of the urban area. . .

Elk Grove has collected $1.3 million in fees to mitigate for loss of Swainson's Hawk foraging habitat, but no habitat has been purchased. The fees collected are inadequate to mitigate for the land paved over. Meanwhile new development in the this prime foraging habitat is driving land prices up.

Elk Grove has required new development to avoid killing Swainson's Hawks, but this summer it did not fully implement and enforce the mitigation measures adopted.

In late June, 2003, several construction sites impinged on Swainson's Hawk nests. Friends of the Swainson's Hawk had to complain to California Fish and Game enforcement because measures to avoid "take" were not being implemented. Pictures here show possible nesting sites with construction encroachment.

After the complaint, some construction crews relocated their equipment and put some distance between their heavy equipment activities and nesting Swainson's Hawks. However, the situation remains very serious and the potential for "take" in the next month is very real. The buffers established are inadequate to protect fledglings. Qualified biologists should be monitoring these sites to avoid disturbance. To date, only one of the sites has begun to put in place safeguards. This year is a very late year for Swainson's Hawks to fledge because of late Spring rains.