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

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.

Big wheels keep on turning

HarvesterEach year at rice harvest time, it never ceases to amaze me just how huge the harvesting equipment is. When standing next to a rice harvester, a human basically looks minuscule in comparison. The ground actually shakes as the equipment lumbers by as it scoops up the rice grain dangling from the stalks of the rice plant. This is very large, very sophisticated and very expensive equipment.

The motivation for all this “bigness” is to get the grain off the field in a timely manner. One California rice industry executive said once that for purposes of getting high quality rice to the consumer, farmers had about a 48-hour harvest window. How do you get that much rice harvested in such a short amount of time? The answer seems to be with bigger and more efficient equipment.

The context? This equipment is used to feed both humans (rice is the most basic food on Earth, with just over 50 percent of the world’s population consuming it each day) and several of the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan’s “Covered Species.” That is, when rice harvest is over, several species of wildlife feed on what remains on the ground, having been lost to the harvester’s maws. Humans and wildlife benefit accordingly, as each are happy to get this valuable nutrition. All made possible by big, efficient, harvesting equipment.

Nice kite

white tail kite hawk Sometimes there is no better reason to post on this blog other than having the opportunity to document some very beautiful creatures using the Conservancy’s preserves.

Today, Conservancy field crew staff got an excellent photo of a passing white-tailed kite (Elanus leucurus). It was seen foraging over the Conservancy’s Betts tract in Sacramento County. Really catches your eye.

Food production and GGS habitat resources on reclaimed land

Brookfield groundworkIn far northern portions of the Natomas Basin, the Conservancy is producing food for humans and at the same time is providing habitat resources for the Giant garter snake. The property shown in the adjacent photo was soil mined for the recent Natomas Levee Improvement Project, a massive flood protection effort conducted by the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA).

SAFCA officials engaged the Conservancy on the property, and Conservancy teams began the process of reconditioning the soil, improving drainage and adding soil nutrients into the fields. Already, rice has been produced on the property, but efforts continue to improve the land and put it into increasingly productive use.

The Conservancy has learned that wherever rice production has ended, Giant garter snake populations have been decimated. The effort on the field shown here is to place rice agriculture back into active production. Doing this work on soils that have been mined as deep as 10 feet below grade has required a team of experts, including top-rate rice farmers. The successes on these fields accrue to the benefit of the Giant garter snake, rice consumers and the local economy

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.