Placer celebrates one-year anniversary of historic Placer County Conservation Program
Published on April 21, 2022
On April 22, 1970, the very first Earth Day celebration sparked a global environmental movement, so it’s quite appropriate that the Placer County Conservation Program began implementation on Earth Day last year, after 20 years in the making.
Even more appropriate is that Earth Day’s theme this year is ‘Invest in our Planet’; the Placer County Conservation Program does just that.
By proactively balancing the long-term conservation and development needs of the county, the Placer Conservation Authority is responsible for the implementation of the Western Placer County Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan; providing a conservation framework to protect, enhance and restore open space, agriculture, wetlands and habitat for 14 state and federally listed species over the next 50 years.
Covering more than 200,000 acres in western Placer County and the City of Lincoln, over 47,000 acres are part of the planned interconnected reserve system that will protect state and federally listed fish and wildlife species and restore their habitats. The program will strengthen local control over land use and provide greater flexibility in meeting the county’s social and economic needs for the future.
The program strikes a balance between conservation of the county’s open spaces and responsible land development while providing a framework to achieve conservation goals and comply with state and federal regulations.
In its first year of being fully implemented, the PCA is in the process of adding 22,039 acres to the 3,866 acres that were acquired as jump-start lands, prior to implementation.
The program’s initial success stories include:
· Recording a conservation easement; protecting almost 6 acres of vernal pools and over 17 acres of wetlands within the total 108.53-acre easement area.
· Receiving $5.2 million in federal funds from the Endangered Species Act Section 6 Grant Program, along with $1.311 million in state funds from the Wildlife Conservation Board; helping purchase 997 acres of vernal pool complex grasslands, aquatic/wetland complexes, and 8,400 linear feet of the riparian corridor in western Placer County.
· Receiving $74,328 from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Natural Community Conservation Plan Local Assistance Grant; funding a restoration project on one of the “jump-start lands” to create Western Burrowing Owl nesting habitat.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are two of the first government agencies focused on the environment that were created after the original Earth Day over 50 years ago.
These two agencies, along with four more state and federal agencies, have partnered with the Placer Conservation Authority’s four permittees to implement the PCCP and invest in the future of western Placer County for the next 50 years.