Land Use - the battle continues

Preservation of wildlife is all about land use and preserving habitats. Cities have consistently expanded into farmland and open space in California, destroying wildlife habitat and reducing opportunities to enjoy wild California and protect all its wildlife. Now green energy projects --wind and solar-- are claiming agricultural and natural areas for expansion, removing important wildlife habitat.

Friends of the Swainson's Hawk has been battling land use changes that hurt Swainson's Hawks since 1994, primarily in the Sacramento-Yolo-San Joaquin County core area of Swainson's Hawk reproduction in California. We have

• ensured implementation of required mitigation requirements when developer proponents and cities and counties have tried to evade or find loopholes to avoid their responsibility;

• reviewed and critiqued habitat conservation plans and evaluated mitigation programs;

• filed law suits when all else failed;

• achieved permanent protection of Swainson's Hawk habitat.

Our current concerns include:

Elk Grove Proposals to expand outside the County's urban services boundary onto farmland with the highest density of nesting Swainson's Hawk in its range. Our most current letter on the Kammerer/99 SOI pending at Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission.

Solar and wind energy projects gobbling up foraging habitat and threatening migration corridors;

Greenbriar in 2008 Sacramento LAFCo permitted the City of Sacramento to annex 577 acres in North Natomas for urban development beyond the Urban Services Boundary for the County and outside the permit area of the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan. FOSH and ECOS challenged the highly flawed environmental impact report. FOSH and allies lost the CEQA lawsuit in 2012. The City is amending its EIR to alter the conservation program and applying to the wildlife agencies for take permits to enable development to proceed.

photo credit - Reis Santana