Friday, April 18, 2014
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Danelle Stylos elected Board President

Danelle Stylos was elected as President of the Board of Directors of the Conservancy at its recent Annual Meeting of the Corporation. Stylos has been on the Conservancy’s Board since 2011, and previously served on the Board from 2003 through 2007. She serves as Sutter County’s Community Services Director and was appointed to the Conservancy’s Board of Directors by the Sutter County Board of Supervisors. She is the third Board President to have served the Conservancy, following David Christophel and Anne Rudin.

Stylos replaces David Christophel as Board President. Christophel has served as Board President since 2003 and has been on the Conservancy’s Board since 2001. He also serves as Board President of Reclamation District 1000.

During its elections, the Board also re-elected Mike Bradbury to be the Board’s Vice President, William Edgar as Chief Financial Officer, and elected Christophel as Corporate Secretary. John Roberts was elected as Assistant Secretary.

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2014 HCP Fee Established

Slide graphic fee recent

The Conservancy Board of Directors made its annual HCP fee recommendation to the City of Sacramento and County of Sutter recently. The required recalculation of the NBHCP Finance Model indicated a raised fee, largely attributable to increased land price estimates. With the February 4, 2014 approval of the fee by the Sacramento City Council, the Conservancy Board’s fee recommendation for 2014 has been set.

This year's fee is $32,259 per disturbed acre. (The HCP fee for 2013 was $27,419 per disturbed acre.) For mitigation conducted with land dedication, the HCP is changed from $18,669 per disturbed acre (2013) to $21,009 per acre (2014). The HCP fee had been trending downward for the last several years (see charts) due to the expected reduced costs for mitigation land acquisition. This was largely attributable to the building moratorium that was put in place in the Natomas Basin due to flood concerns of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The slow economy is thought to also be a contributor. 

Slide graphic fee recent

Now with progress made on protecting the property and lives in the Natomas Basin by the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA) as well as action taken in the U.S. Congress, experts engaged by the Conservancy indicated higher land costs going forward. These costs were largely responsible for the end of the downward trend in the fee, although the fee for 2014 is the second lowest fee since the fee for the year 2005.

The Conservancy expects little or no mitigation activity for 2014.

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Conservancy Board of Directors amends land dedication policy

The Conservancy’s Board of Directors recently amended the organization's “Land Dedication Checklist” to account for changes in the Sacramento International Airport’s policies regarding land use in proximity to the airport. The Land Dedication Checklist was first developed to make clear the Conservancy’s terms for accepting land to satisfy that portion of the NBHCP fee that accounts for land acquisition. Its preparation and adoption by the Conservancy’s Board of Directors was a result of numerous questions about the process posed by those seeking mitigation using the land dedication process.

The Checklist was amended to note that land proposed for dedication to the Conservancy in lieu of payment of the Land Acquisition Fund portion of the NBHCP fee must not conflict with restrictions associated with Sacramento International Airport. These new restrictions were made a part of the Comprehensive Land Use Compatibility Plan for Sacramento International Airport. The Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) facilitated the process which made the changes.

A copy of the Conservancy’s Land dedication Checklist can be found on the "Project Mitigation" section of the Conservancy’s website.

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Seasons of the Natomas Basin Conservancy

The Conservancy’s “Seasons of the Natomas Basin Conservancy” booklet contains 26 photos by Gerry Tsuruda, noted landscape and nature photographer.

The photo booklet and note cards that showcase the rich photography of the Conservancy preserves, will be obtainable soon.

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2012 Implementation Annual Report

2012 Annual Report

Each year, the Conservancy must file an Implementation Annual Report with the state and federal Wildlife Agencies as well as to all "parties" to the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (NBHCP). The Metro Air Park Habitat Conservation Plan is also included in the circulation. These reports extend to nearly 1,000 pages, but an Executive Summary Report is available and nicely capsulizes the highlights of this report. This 2012 Executive Summary report is now available by clicking on the adjacent image. Past year reports are available in the Helpful Documents section.

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Conservancy’s Annual Audit for year-ended December 31, 2012


With another “clean opinion” from its auditors, the Conservancy’s Board of Directors moved to accept the audited financial statements for the 12-month period ended December 31, 2012. The Conservancy’s auditor for the 2012 audit report was Gilbert Associates, Inc. of Sacramento.

Gilbert met with the Conservancy’s Audit Committee, including independently. The Audit Committee recommended to the Board of Directors that the auditor’s report be accepted. The Board action took place at the Board of Director’s April 3, 2013 meeting. Under California’s Non-Profit Integrity Act of 2004, an audit of annual financial statements is required. An annual audit is also required by the 2003 Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan. Audits of Conservancy financial statements are posted on the Conservancy’s web site (see here) dating back to 1999.

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2013 NBHCP fee established

Slide graphic fee recent

With the required updating of the NBHCP Finance Model, Conservancy Board members made their annual HCP fee recommendation to the City Council of the City of Sacramento. This time as in recent years, the HCP fee recommendation to the City Council was for a lower fee. Now, the Council has acted on the HCP fee recommendation and the fee for the May 1, 2013 season is known.

While last year's (2012) HCP fee was $32,861 per disturbed acre, this year's fee is set at $27,419 per disturbed acre. For mitigation conducted with land dedication, the HCP is reduced from $21,611 per disturbed acre to $18,669 per acre. The HCP fee has trended downward for the last few years due to the expected reduced cost for mitigation land acquisition. Other lesser fee components made up for a small part of the balance of the reduction.

Slide graphic fee history

In 2012, there were three fee-paid mitigation actions. These included the Elverta Road and U.S. Highway 99 intersection, the Riego Road and U.S. Highway 99 intersection and a park in the City of Sacramento portion of the NBHCP Permit Area. Other development has been virtually stopped due to the current building moratorium in the Natomas Basin set by federal flood control authorities.

The Conservancy expects little mitigation activity for 2013.

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Year-end 2012 LANDSAT image of Natomas posted

Year-end 2012 LANDSAT imageEach year, the Conservancy uses a photographic image of the entire 54,000-acre Natomas Basin. The image is usually drawn from year-end satellite images provided by the LANDSAT. This satellite is a leading tool in providing imagery of the Earth's surface. By doing this each year, changes in land use can be documented. Ducks Unlimited's cartography section has typically helped the Conservancy capture the best LANDSAT image, as there are typically many passes and images to choose from. It's important to secure an image that is free of smoke, haze and clouds. In this year's version, it is easy to see the urbanized area of the City of Sacramento in the lower parts of the image, and also the easy-to-spot Sacramento International Airport in the center left. Conservancy preserves are bordered in red. The LANDSAT images are an integral part of each year's Implementation Annual Report.

Click here to open LANDSAT image

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Biological Effectiveness Monitoring Report for the Natomas Basin HCP Area

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Danelle Stylos appointed to Conservancy Board of Directors

Danelle Stylos

Sutter County Community Services Director Danelle Stylos has been appointed by the Sutter County Board of Supervisors to fill the seat on the Conservancy's Board that was recently vacated by Paul Junker. With this appointment, the Conservancy's Board now has all 10 of its Board seats filled.

Danelle Stylos has an especially good understanding of the Conservancy's role as Plan Operator for the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (NBHCP), as she previously served on the Conservancy's Board between 2003 and 2007. Prior to her appointment as Director of Community Services for Sutter County, she served as Planning Manager for the County. Her specialty is in land use planning. She holds a Master's Degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutger's University.

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