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.

Busy as a beaver

NBC160516photobeaverdamage (1)People wonder why we get so frustrated with beaver on the Conservancy’s managed marsh complexes. This photo reveals the answer: they muck things up! This water control structure was, in a very short period (hours, not days), completed dammed up by beaver on one of the Conservancy’s marsh complexes.

If allowed to remain as is–with the water completely dammed up–much of the rest of the marsh would ultimately be non-functional for Giant garters snake and Pacific pond turtles among other of the NBHCP’s Covered Species.

Simply stated, if the marsh complexes aren’t fully functional and flowing, then we risk jeopardizing Conservancy successes in mitigating for the loss of GGS elsewhere, and that means failure. We’re not going to let that happen. Which means…you got it! Someone has to go and clean this muck out. And that is a very difficult and costly job.

It’s cryin’ time

Giant garter snakeJust remembering that when they were little, my kids would cry when treated at the doctor’s office. In this photo, we have a young Giant garter snake (GGS) being “doctored” by the Conservancy’s biological monitoring team. Wonder how it is taking all this? The snake’s vital statistics will go into the record and this animal’s health will be monitored, hopefully for a long time.

After a tough May 2015, May 2016 is turning out to be an amazing year for GGS counts. Please refer to the video we’ve recently posted of GGS swimming in a marsh pool on one of the Conservancy’s preserves for some action in this regard.

Cinnamon in the morning

Cinnamon teal This example of a Cinnamon teal (Anas cyanoptera) is a perfect specimen for this area. Happily watching things on the Conservancy’s preserves, field crews photographed it yesterday. You can find this bird in far distant locations around the world.
Even though it is not one of the NBHCP’s “Covered Species,” we’re glad it has made a stop on the Conservancy’s preserves again this summer.
I have no idea why this is, but whenever I see this rust-colored bird on the preserves, it always catches my eye.

They’re back!

Insects butterflySince the Conservancy’s preserves are meant as sanctuaries and refuges for plant and animal species, it’s often easy to overlook insects. Yet they are instrumental in pollination and generally adding to the diversity of life on the preserves.

We’ve got an increasingly healthy system of preserves based on this year’s observations of insect life. Yes, the wetter winter helps. But we haven’t seen such abundance on the preserves.

Again, as stated before, I suspect that the difference is that the preserves are maturing, and maturing nicely.

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.

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.