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Davis, California

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Gov. Gavin Newsom signs Davis climate action bill

Newsom signs Davis habitat and climate action bill from State Senator Bill Dodd

 

By ALMA CULVERWELL city@theaggie.org 

 

On Oct. 4 Gov. Gavin Newsom passed Senate Bill (SB) 256, allowing the city of Davis to create endangered species preserves and further climate action. The bill was introduced by Sen. Bill Dodd (Senate District 3).

SB 256 modifies Proposition 70, which was passed in 1988 and approved $776 million to fund acquisition and rehabilitation of park and wildlife areas in California, allocating $1.97 million for the city of Davis. The bill allows the city of Davis to collaborate with Yolo Habitat Conservancy to put easements on specific properties in need of preservation or rehabilitation. 

Tracie Reynolds, manager of the Davis Open Space Program, which is devoted to protection of farmland and habitat areas in the community, described the effect of SB 256. 

“Basically the legislation […] allows the city to put a habitat conservation easement on those eight properties if we want to,” Reynolds said. “[…] I mean, nothing’s been approved, it would still have to go through the community process and be approved by the city council and all of that but before we couldn’t do it and so now we can if we want to.”

Reynolds described that this is a crucial step in moving forward to implement the Yolo Habitat Conservation Plan, a plan first introduced in the 1990s that works to conserve endangered habitats and species in Yolo County.

Reynolds talked about the initial process for developing and coming up with the bill, which has been in the works for a while.

“Several years ago I talked with the Yolo Habitat Conservancy […] they actually approached me about possibly putting a habitat […] on some of the cities properties that the city owns along the South Fork of Putah Creek and [..] so at that time I kind of tried to work with the state on that, but given the language that was in Proposition 70 it basically prevented us from doing that, and so I kind of put it aside because we couldn’t do [it],” Reynolds said. “They basically said we couldn’t put a habitat easement unless we had an active legislature and so I said ‘Well, that’s kind of a lot, I’m going to put that aside for now.’” 

Reynolds explained long-term goals for the bill as well as the Yolo Habitat Conservation Plan. 

“Primarily what I try to do is […] slowly try to conserve farmland — you know, working with farmers around the city to put conservation easements on their property […] Some of my goals there are trying to acquire more land along the south fork of Putah creek to make it more of a habitat and public access area and to protect more farmland around the city,” Reynolds said.

She also encouraged community members who are passionate about the cause to get involved through volunteer work and support of the city’s open space program as well as Measure O, which is a parcel tax devoted to habitat restoration.

 

Written by: Alma Culverwell city@theaggie.org