January 13, 2020
The latest Conservancy land acquisition, the “Richter tract,” adds 80 acres to the organization’s Central Basin Reserve Area. This is the portion of the Natomas Basin where rice production is the dominant land use.
“This is a perfect acquisition for the Conservancy,” noted John Roberts, Conservancy Executive Director. “In the latest Giant garter snake (GGS) biological monitoring report, populations in that area are at record numbers. This acquisition capitalizes on the prior acquisitions and adds to critically-needed habitat for this important aquatic snake.” The property, acquired as a fee simple holding, affords the Conservancy an opportunity to assemble still more contiguous acres where it is using an aquatic crop to expand GGS populations.
The acquisition, completed with the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) fee payment at Metro Air Park, added to Conservancy land holdings in the Sacramento County portion of the Natomas Basin. It also extended even further the informal green belt along the Sacramento and Sutter county line.
“The key here,” noted Roberts, “is that this acquisition expands the protected movement corridor for the GGS. Migration opportunities for the GGS helps the species adapt to temperature changes, water availability, prey availability and escape options when predators threaten.” The HCPs for the Natomas Basin also make note of the importance of migration corridors for the HCPs’ “Covered Species.” Successful implementation of the HCPs includes assembling these corridors, along with larger expanses of contiguous habitat.
The acquisition advances land acquisition for the Conservancy to 4,200 acres. Nearly all of the acreage is owned in fee simple form. A very small portion of the Conservancy’s holdings are controlled by conservation easement.