The latest draft of a Mitigation Policy for the Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (APOSD) prohibits private mitigation on most District conservation easements or property. Laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act require compensation, or mitigation, when an activity harms habitat or waterways. Mitigation may be in the form of money, or it may require long-term protection of other at-risk habitat.
The District has needed to set policy guidelines for mitigation – this was made clear by the Roblar Road quarry proposal in 2010. A complicated exchange was worked out by quarry proponents which included mitigating for the loss of a California Tiger Salamander breeding pond on the quarry site by constructing habitat on a nearby property protected by an Open Space conservation easement. This deal was criticized for several reasons, but especially because the mitigation would occur on land that was already protected by the conservation easement. However, there was no Open Space District policy on mitigation at the time and the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the quarry. Lawsuits have stopped the project for the last couple of years, giving the District time to put together the new Mitigation Policy.
The second draft of the Mitigation Policy contains the following guidelines:
- The District will not accept mitigation funding from private parties or accept acquisitions that result from third party mitigation projects.
- Existing conservation easements that expressly allow habitat mitigation will be able to do so, but new easements will mostly expressly prohibit mitigation.
- Mitigation-related funding (that is, when mitigation requires paying money rather than buying land) from public projects only, may be used by the District to buy land or to fund habitat-enhancement projects on District land.
This Policy, if adopted and followed by the Board, will close the door to most private mitigation projects on Open Space District land, but will still allow some kinds of mitigation for public projects.
APOSD Mitigation Policy draft
Greg Beato, THE NEW YORK TIMES
The waterfall that is the best-known feature of the Bohemia Ecological Preserve is currently nothing more than a picturesque spill of bone-dry rocks. The shaggy grasslands that carpet the preserve’s rolling terrain are a parched golden brown.
But as Craig Anderson, 51, leads a group of hikers up gravel roads toward a hilltop campground, the fact that the landscape is at something less than peak splendor after several rain-free months does little to diminish his enthusiasm. And why should it? In California’s economic climate — also fairly parched — Bohemia Ecological Preserve is that rarest of specimens: a recently opened park. In May, it celebrated its official grand opening.
via Benefactors Create and Maintain a Private Park in California – NYTimes.com.
Thursday, February 9, 2012 @ 5:00 pm
The Glaser Center, 547 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa
A joint public meeting of the Open Space District Fiscal Management Commission and the Citizen’s Advisory Committee will be held at which District staff will present a draft overview of the District’s 3-year work plan. Following refinement and approval from the District’s Board of Directors, the plan will guide the District’s priorities, staffing and funding allocation for 2012 through 2015 to ensure that the diverse mission of the District is achieved during the life of Measure F.
Saturday, Mar. 3, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Sebastopol Veteran’s Auditorium • 282 S. High Street, Sebastopol
Paloma Pavel, President of Earth House Center and Exec. Dir. of Breakthrough Communities, will speak on Building Healthy, Just & Sustainable Communities in the Face of Climate Change. There will be a silent auction and raffle and a gourmet dinner.
Tickets are $40, $50 after 2/20 at www.envirocentersoco.org
Benefits the Sierra Club and Environmental Center of Sonoma County
A zero-waste and low impact event Please carpool!
2012 Sonoma County Environmental Awards
Sponsored by the Sonoma County Conservation Council
Nomination form and list of previous awardees and nominees:
www.envirocentersoco.org/awards or http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DW9DSBB
Here is your chance to pay homage to the Sonoma County environmentalists and programs whose work you most respect – especially those that are not well known. Though the nomination form is available via email and regular mail, we request you submit nominations via the web site listed above. You will need contact information for your nominee plus a paragraph or two on why you think this person or program deserves to be honored. The nominations deadline is 2/6/2012.
Portia Sinnott, SCCC Awards Committee Chair (2002-2012)
Executive Director of LITE Initiatives, email@example.com, www.liteinitatives.org