Our Mission

The Conservancy acquires and manages land for the purpose of meeting the objectives of the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan.

Our Vision

The Conservancy envisions implementing the NBHCP in a manner that successfully meets the Plan’s biological goals, makes efficient use of fee payer funding, and facilitates permit holder activities covered under the Plan over the long term.

Our Goal

The Conservancy will maintain itself as an effective organization, and will at all times be capable of serving as the Natomas Basin Habitat conservation Plan’s plan operator.

Our Objectives

  1. Apply principles of sound science in the creation and management of habitat reserves.
  2. Review and focus on the NBHCP long-term finance model to insure the Conservancy is financially capable of fully performing its plan operator responsibilities.
  3. Seek opportunities to help insure the long-term persistence of species covered under the NBHCP.


What does the Conservancy do?

Each and every day, the Conservancy provides sanctuary and refuge to species displaced by urbanization in the Natomas Basin. By acquiring land, converting or restoring it to habitat, and then managing that land in perpetuity, the Conservancy conducts “mitigation.” This is a process by which urban development impacts are offset via the acquisition, restoration, enhancement and perpetual management of habitat lands.

More formally, the authorizing documents which guide the Conservancy’s program of work note the Conservancy is the “plan operator” of the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (NBHCP) and the Metro Air Park Habitat Conservation Plan (MAPHCP). The purpose of the HCPs is “to promote biological conservation along with economic development and the continuation of agriculture within the Natomas Basin.”

How do I mitigate for an urban development project?

Implementation of the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (NBHCP) and Metro Air Park Habitat Conservation plan (MAPHCP) provides mitigation for urban development in the Natomas Basin by establishing a system of reserves composed of managed marsh, uplands habitat, and rice farms. Acceptable mitigation under the HCPs requires maintenance of a 0.5-to-1 mitigation ratio. That is, for each one acre of habitat disturbed, one-half acre of mitigation land must be provided for.

For details on specific project mitigation, please see the Conservancy’s project mitigation page.

Can I visit the Conservancy’s preserves?

The incidental take permits issued by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Wildlife do not authorize or cover incidental take resulting from public use, access, or recreation on the Conservancy’s mitigation preserves. The permits in essence designate mitigation land solely as refuges and sanctuaries for “Covered Species” displaced by urban development and activity.

The public may view many of the preserves in Natomas from public roads. With a Conservancy “base map” in hand, viewing points from preserve land perimeters are available.

What are the species covered under the HCPs?

The Conservancy is charged with providing and managing habitat for 22 “Covered Species” as noted in the NBHCP and MAPHCP. These Covered Species are cataloged in a publication produced by the Conservancy, free and readily available on the Conservancy’s web site at natomasbasin.org/education/the-nbhcp-species.

What are the various land uses under the NBHCP?

The HCPs provide for a general division of habitat types within the Conservancy’s system of reserves as follows: 25% managed marsh; 50% rice production; and, 25% upland habitat.

How can I connect with the Conservancy?


2150 River Plaza Drive
Suite 460
Sacramento, CA 95833

When is your next Board meeting?

With minor exception, the Conservancy’s Board of Directors meets on the first Wednesday of each month. Please check the Conservancy’s Board Meeting page for meeting notices and agendas.

Executive Director’s Blog

De colores

BeeI am still a bit stung (pun intended!) by a statement I heard many years ago that there wasn’t much color on the Conservancy’s preserves.

Okay, the preserves have matured a lot since those days, but there is LOTS of color. Color everywhere. You just have to look for it.

This photo, taken yesterday on the Conservancy’s preserves, provides a gorgeous display of color. It has not been enhanced. It captures the image exactly as it appeared. This is very vivid, and is just another example of the richness of color on the preserves.

Rata de agua

BeaverThese little guys–muskrats—are both a headache and are essential to productive Giant garter snake habitat. This photo was just taken on the Conservancy’s flagship BKS preserve.

I say “headache” because they are constantly creating burrows in water control structures that sometimes “blow out” and de-water an entire marsh or wetland. This renders that aquatic habitat as “non-functional” for its intended us. That is, as habitat for Giant garter snakes and Pacific pond turtles. Plus it costs money to repair. On the other hand, their work is essential to the success of the habitat in that the burrows they create or expand provide habitat for the over-wintering Giant garter snake.

This is where this reptile “brumates,” or what mammals like bears does, but in that case, the biologists call it “hibernate.” In any case, it’s a fact of nature, and we have to live with it. The little guys (which the Spanish language field workers call “rata de agua”) are part of the ecosystem, and are here to stay.

Collaboration elaboration

USACE scientistsThe Natomas Basin HCP requires that the Conservancy collaborate with other scientific entities to promote understanding about issues relevant to the implementation of the HCP.

In this case, the Conservancy has cooperated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (see scientists photographed here on Conservancy preserves gathering readings from their instruments).

Since the Conservancy has some of the least disturbed soils in the Natomas Basin, it is a perfect laboratory for scientific inquiry. In this case, the Corps of Engineers is conducting a multi-year study of wetland soils in the Natomas Basin. The information generated by this research will be shared with the Conservancy, helping add to the knowledge the Conservancy holds about its preserves.

Minky way

Mink There are some times when Conservancy field personnel get photos of various creatures on the preserves that are just too good not to share. While we focus on the NBHCP’s 22 “Covered Species,” if we are successful in creating and managing habitat, other species of wildlife will use the preserves as well.

In the case of the adjacent photo, you can see that mink have recently set up shop on one of the Conservancy’s preserves. Yes, there are many other species as well. But can you top this for the blue-ribbon “cute” prize? We’re glad the preserves are helping sustain a diverse population of species in Natomas. Hopefully these are source populations that will eventually colonize future marsh habitat.

Friday the 13th

Red-tailed hawkWe’re told that Red-tailed hawks bring good luck. So on this Friday the 13th, it is with great pleasure that the Conservancy shares with you this beauty, captured on the Conservancy’s preserves. While not one of the 22 “Covered Species” in the NBHCP, its presence suggests there is plenty of prey on Conservancy preserves to feed on. We’re happy to help!

Autumn’s bees and the butterflies

Autumn's bees and the butterfliesIf you look for it, there is color everywhere this time of year. As is abundantly evident from the photos associated with this post, there not only color, but abundant color. This is most appreciated, one has to assume, by the bees and butterflies. At least that is true for those that have taken advantage of the blossoms and color on the Natomas Conservancy’s preserves.

Public Notices

Learn about the NBHCP Covered Species

We created a guide to be used as an educational tool for field personnel, consultants, and researchers and anyone with an interest in the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The guide provides detail about each of the 22 plant and animal species “covered” by the Natomas Basin Conservancy. Please download and spread the word!

Common Downloads

Here is a selection of some of the Conservancy’s most requested pdfs. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, please check other sections of the website, including Helpful Documents, Public Notices, Project Mitigation, Education or About Us.