Nearly 300 acres of restored wetlands and endangered species habitat near Lincoln will be permanently conserved with the Placer County Board of Supervisors yesterday approving a purchase and sale agreement for $2,354,711 to buy a conservation easement over the land.
The property, owned by Westervelt Ecological Services, represents a unique opportunity to preserve a piece of land that has multiple benefits for open space preservation, floodwater detention and habitat and agricultural conservation. The property holds approximately 50 acres of restored wetlands, riparian areas and vernal pools, including portions of Markham Ravine.
Preserving the property also provides habitat for fish and migratory birds, including the tricolored blackbird and Swainson’s hawk, both California endangered species.
The board’s decision authorizes the Placer County Department of Public Works to execute a purchase and sale agreement to acquire the conservation easement. The easement area is located west of Lincoln and is bound by South Brewer Road to the east and Markham Ravine to the north.
The board also approved a contract agreement in the amount of $7,870,431 with Westervelt Ecological Services to perform conservation land studies and other necessary services to return the portions of the irrigated pasture and Markham Ravine’s floodplain into wetlands and species habitat.
Funding for the project is offset by public and private project mitigation fees collected through the Western Placer County In-Lieu Fee Program and supports the proposed Placer County Conservation Program. The in-lieu fee program allows a project proponent to mitigate its impacts on endangered species and wetlands through the payment of a fee in lieu of implementing the mitigation activity on their own.
“This project serves as a precedent-setting private-public partnership in land conservation,” said District 2 Supervisor Robert Weygandt. “Land conservation projects such as the Markham Ravine property are critical to preserving our open space, endangered species and their habitats, and our county’s land legacy.”
The PCCP is a progressive and proactive strategy for identifying where development should occur in western Placer County while preserving important natural and agricultural resources. If approved, it would streamline the federal, state and local permitting process. The PCCP would also ensure up to 47,000 acres of permanent land conservation in Placer County.
Placement of a conservation easement over the property also helps accomplish the Placer Legacy Program’s open space and agricultural conservation goals and complements the PCCP.
Last year, the board approved the Western Placer County In-Lieu Fee program and submitted the public review draft PCCP documents to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for final review, listing in the Federal Register, and concurrent local public review, which is anticipated in 2019.
More information about the PCCP and Placer Legacy is available by calling the Planning Services Division at 530-745-3000 or visiting the Placer Legacy website, here.