Zone 7 is participating in a regional effort to prepare an Eastern Alameda County Conservation Strategy aimed at addressing conflicts between development and infrastructure maintenance activities and the continued survival of endangered or threatened species. The idea is to better coordinate and streamline mitigation requirements for habitat preservation, and to help focus those mitigations in the Valley -- and in areas of strategic biological value.
To see the EACCS website, click here.
The conservation strategy involves a collaborative effort involving Zone 7; Alameda County; the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency; the cities of Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin; the Alameda County Resource Conservation District; and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The EACCS will be developed in close coordination with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game, and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. It will help streamine the permitting process for various projects, including Zone 7 water-supply and flood-protection infrastructure projects, and be based on the needs of specific species of concern and their habitat.
Photos above: The endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox, and the federally protected Golden Eagle
Photo to left: A large and genetically diverse population of palmate-bracted bird's beak, an endangered plant, grows in the Springtown Alkali Sink area of north Livermore.
The current process in obtaining environmental permits and project mitigation lands is done on a project-by-project basis and has been costly and time-consuming not only for project proponents, but for regulatory agencies as well. The limited capacity and scope of the two mitigation "banks" in Alameda County have led to some mitigation for development or infrastructure projects occuring outside the county -- contrary to permitting and local-agency preference. A regional conservation strategy is seen as a solution to facilitate coordination and acceleration of many mitigation projects and conservation programs.
Some key outcomes of the conservation strategy will include:
- Regional maps that identify land suitable for voluntary mitigation or conservation.
- Mitigation ratios for various resources deemed acceptable to the regulatory agencies.
- Standards for habitat restoration.
- Best management and maintenance practices for conservation sites.
- Standards for monitoring.
- Guidelines for adaptive management that provide flexibility in implementing the conservation strategy.
This regional approach to conservation will save time and money, while improving overall species habitat within eastern Alameda County. It will also provide participating entities, including Zone 7 for its water-supply and flood-protection infrastructure projects, with the following benefits:
- Streamline the permitting process by directing individual mitigation actions toward mitigation that regulatory agencies will support.
- Streamline the environmental review process by providing a vehicle for comprehensive mitigation for direct and cumulative impacts to biological resources.
- Create partnerships with regulatory agencies, local landowners, public entities and municipalities that will improve relationships among the parties.
- Provide opportunities to secure state and federal funding to help implement the strategy and secure more open space and recreation sites in the County.
To view Zone 7's main Watershed & Environment page, click here.