El Dorado County supervisors discuss biological update policy
April 1, 2015
PLACERVILLE — The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors voted to move forward on staff recommendations regarding the Biological Policy update project, which aims to identify and protect important habitat in the county, during a special meeting Monday.
The meeting focused on direction given by the board on Decision Points 8 through 10 of the general plan. The board had taken action on the first seven Decision Points during previous meetings. Monday's vote directed Community Development Agency and Long Range Planning Division staff on what to study and did not set policy.
In Decision Point 8, the board directed staff to continue an approach to use the Important Biological Corridor (IBC) overlay standards – which focus on lands identified as having high wildlife habitat value – for lands within the IBCs to address wildlife habitat value, function and connectivity.
The decision point included determining specific standards applicable to development within the IBCs, such as minimum parcel size, contiguous areas and minimum corridor widths.
The recommendation included requiring discretionary site-specific biological resources technical reports to determine presence of special-status species or habitat.
In Decision Point 9, the board went with the staff's recommendation and opted to allow developers to identify conservation opportunities outside of Priority Conservation Areas (PCA) and IBCs within or outside of identified important ecological areas identified by the Plant and Wildlife Technical Advisory Committee, for example aquatic environments, important habitats for migratory deer herds, Pine Hill areas and valley oak woodland. Developers, the board clarified, could include anybody that impacts the land with a discretionary project.
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Possible conservation criteria for establishing additional conservation lands would include prioritizing important ecological areas and a minimum parcel size of 20 acres. The recommendation also stated that woodland, forest and shrub communities shall be diverse in age and structure and include large trees and dense canopies, the area would have to provide opportunities for active land management to enhance or restore natural ecosystem processes and provide potential support for special status species.
For Decision Point 10, staff recommended to implement a requirement passive solicitation program related to the county's maintenance of a database of willing sellers within the PCAs and the IBCs, as well as other important biological areas.
The board directed staff to include provisions that the county could manage the database as a voluntary program. Landowners must opt in by contacting the county to be included.
The database could identify appropriate mitigation land for acquisition and be used by developers, the county, third-party land conservancy and non-governmental organizations.