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22
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Advocacy

A woman holding a sign that says "CONSERVATION" at a political rally

 

How can YOU get involved?

 

Sign up to receive BEC’s monthly e-newsletter for updates on the our Land Advocacy topics and stay informed about the work BEC is doing in the community.

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Voulnteer to help review environmental documents.

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Attend public hearings and demonstrations. Remember to bring your friends!

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Donate to BEC and support our work protecting the land from irresponsible development, urban sprawl, and pollution.

 

 

BEC has championed Butte County's environment since 1975. In that time, we have built relationships, established trust, and inspired a wave of young people who have worked with us as interns and volunteers. We've also protected wetlands, open space, and human health; fought project proposals like the M&T Gravel Mine alongside farmers and orchardists; and spoken out on behalf of the environment consistenly through the Chico and Butte County general plan process.

Threats to habitat, species, ag land, air quality, watershed health, environmental justice, and open space are continual, and can be overwhelming. BEC tracks and assesses all of these areas, providing comment to give the environment a consistently strong and reliable voice.

The reason BEC is so effective as an advocacy organization is not because we're the most lavishly funded, or have the biggest staff.  Instead, our success is based on the strength and integrity of this community. Our advocacy work is an ongoing celebration of the many voices that make up BEC's one strong and unified voice.

We need YOU to keep speaking out, we need you to keep supporting BEC, we need you to keep caring, and we need you to believe that we can fight for the environment and win. We'll be here as long as we need to be, to protect our home.

Stand with us. Together we make an advocacy force to be reckoned with. 
To support BEC, go here.

 

 

 

 

Advocacy Hot Topics

 

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

Could this be CA's future?  Planning to sustainably manage groundwater in CA protects wild areas all over the state.

In 2014 the State of California passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The goal of SGMA is sustainable management of groundwater supplies by local authorities. Under SGMA Counties, Cities, water districts, and others with land or water authority must form local groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) that must evaluate the conditions of their local water basins and create locally-based groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs).
In Butte County, GSA eligible entities have begun meeting in an effort to determine the boundary lines that will determine representation within our County as the GSP is created.
BEC, along with other local groups and concerned citizens is requesting a voice for underrepresented agricultural and domestic groundwater users in Butte County, and for local non-profit organizations dedicated to environmental advocacy. On September 7th the Water Commission was presented with a letter signed by 18 groups and individuals concerned with representation in the SGMA process. Download a copy of the letter here.
In response to the letter, and a similar request from the Butte County Farm Bureau a meeting was called to develop a proposal for representation of the environmental community and groundwater users in unincorporated areas of the County. The Butte County Board of Supervisors is expected to consider a proposal to form an Advisory Committee at the meeting on October 11, 2016.

 

Chico350

 Chico climate rally Nov 2015 - Photo by Goffrey Wood  Oil Trains Press Conference July 2016

Chico350 BEC’s newest Fiscal Sponsorship, leading the way in Climate Change awareness, education and action. Find out more at http://chico350.org/

 

 

 

Stonegate Development

 

Nicolai Larsen's rendition of one of the vernal pools seen right from East 20th  Vernal Pool ecosystems support countless wildlife living in and migrating through Butte County

 

The proposed Stonegate development, threatens more than 300 acres of vernal pool wetland habitat vitally important to a wide variety of native species including the Endangered Butte County Meadowfoam and jeopardizing the chance for planned species recovery outlined in the Butte Regional Conservation Plan (BRCP) through remarkable collaborations between US Fish and Wildlife Services, CA Fish and Wildlife Service, Lassen Chapter of the CA Native Plant Society, and others. This site needs to be used for permanent conservation, not for further development and degradation of our watershed and natural habitats. To learn more about vernal pools in Butte County and how they benefit local habitat, click here.

 

Skyway and Bruce Rd. - Project site map from Stonegate Notice of Preparation - click for more info Skyway and Bruce Rd. - Proposed Chico Butte County Meadowfoam Preserve from Butte Regional Conservation Plan Final Public Draft - click for more info

 

 

 

Oil By Rail

 

A unit train caring TONS of crude oil along over burdened, crumbling rail infrastructure  Department of Transportation Placard 1267 - Petroleum crude oil

 

Oil trains rocking through Butte County carry hazardous materials through our cities, towns, and countryside bringing along with them a risk to our water supplies and railway adjacent populations. Trains passing through the high hazard rail route in the Feather River Canyon carrying volatile crude oil risk contamination of Lake Oroville, a supplemental water supply for 25 million Californians.

 

 

 

Butte Creek Canyon Conservation Overlay

 

 

As part of the County’s General Plan Conservation and Open Space Element Action Item COS-A6.2, the County has been working with Butte Creek Canyon residents and local groups in an effort to preserve the numerous historical and ecological features of Butte Creek Canyon and to allow for continued responsible recreation and residential uses. Click to view the map or draft ordiance.

 

A public workshop was held on June 30th by the Butte County Planning Commission, and a second workshop was scheduled during the Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, October 27, 2016.

 

Please join BEC in supporting the efforts to put long-term protections in place for Butte Creek Canyon. For more information please visit the Butte County Development Services website: https://www.buttecounty.net/dds/Planning/NotableProjects/ButteCreekCanyonOverlay.aspx

 

 

 

 

Oroville Dioxin Education Committee (ODEC)

 

Community Outreach and Education - click for more info

 

Oroville Dioxin Education Committee (ODEC) is rebooting after a transition in leadership and continuing efforts to test for toxic soil contamination and educate citizens about Dioxins in populated areas of Oroville and surrounding communities.

 

 

 


Last updated 8/23/2016

 

 

Land

 

Get involved in BEC's Land Advocacy!

An excited environmentalist, ready to get involved!

  • Sign up to receive BEC’s monthly e-newsletter for updates on our Land Advocacy topics and stay informed about the work BEC is doing in the community.
  • Voulnteer to help review Environmental documents.
  • Attend public hearings and demonstrations. Remember to bring your friends!
  • Donate to BEC and support our work protecting the land from irresponsible development, urban sprawl, and pollution.

 

 

 

 

 

Stonegate Subdivision

"Vernal pools seen from East 20th Street" a painting by Nicolai Larsen
"Vernal pools seen from East 20th Street" - Nicolai Larsen

 

Background

  • A local developer (EPICK Homes) has applied to subdivide and rezone a 313 acre site, in order to allow for future development. This site is home to endangered species, and vitaly important Vernal pool habitat.

    The proposed development sight in the summer. An empty field with historic rock walls and a small riparian area

  • Project maps of the Stonegate subdivision show converting what has been mostly untouched wild space to:

    • 108.2 acres of open space

    • a 2.6 acre park

    • 460 single-family residential lots (105.2 acres)

    • 12.4 acres of multi-family residential, and

    • 35.2 acres of commercial uses

  • In June of 2016, public notice was given that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was being prepared for this project. BEC submitted a comment letter arguing against the development of this important Butte County Meadowfoam habitat.

  • A public scoping meeting was held on July 12, 2016. (CN&R article)

  • The Draft EIR is expected to be made available for public review in early 2017.

 

The proposed Butte County Meadowfoam preserveLocation of the proposed Stonegate Development

Conflicting Futures

(Left) The proposed Chico Butte County Meadowfoam Preserve from the DRAFT Butte Regional Conservation Plan (BRCP).     

(Right) The location of the proposed Stonegate development. The same property is seen at the bottom of the Chico Butte County Meadowfoam Preserve map.

 

Why is BEC involved?

  • BEC has been speaking out for the protection of the Endangered Butte County Meadowfoam population and Vernal pool wetlands for decades. We are not going to stop now!
  • Vernal wetlands and their supportive surrounding grasslands perform many valuable functions for humans and  wildlife. They assist in storm water detention (minimizing flooding and filtering out pollutants). The open grasslands provide passive recreation opportunities (e.g., hiking, photography, bird watching, wildflower viewing). The species that live in vernal pools provide food chain support for migratory waterfowl and other native animals that depend on the grassland habitat and numerous listed bird species rely on the grasslands surrounding the vernal wetlands for foraging.
  • This 313 acre property has been repeatedly identified by the USFWS, CDFW and Lassen Chapter of CNPS as a Primary and Occupied Butte County Meadowfoam habitat. Long-term collaboration between these groups and others resulted in a plan to recover the endangered Butte County meadowfoam species through the creation of the Chico Butte County Meadowfoam Preserve as described in the Butte Regional Conservation Plan Formal Public Draft. Unfortunately this plan has yet to be approved, and will likely not be finalized until after a decision has been made for the future of the Stonegate site.

 

Butte Creek Canyon Conservation Overlay

 

The Butte Creek Canyon Conservation Overlay Map

Background

  • For the past 6 years, concerned citizens from Butte Creek Canyon Coalition, Centerville Recreation & Historical Society, and Friends of Butte Creek have been working with the County to complete the Butte Creek Canyon Conservation Overlay. Click to view the draft ordiance.

  • The overlay was designed in response to the County’s General Plan Conservation and Open Space Element Action Item COS-A6. The goal of the overlay is to preserve the numerous historical and ecological features of Butte Creek Canyon and to allow for continued responsible recreation and residential uses. The approval of the overlay will result in:

    • Setbacks for Ridgeline Development - addressing fire safety issues, erosion and run-off control, viewshed protection

    • Prohibition of Clustered Development - inappropriate for steep canyon walls, limited water supply, impacts on traffic

    • Watershed Protection - addressing maximum impervious surfaces, maintenance of vegetative buffers, and erosion and sediment control plan

  • A public workshop was held on June 30th by the Butte County Planning Commision, and a second workshop has been scheduled during the Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, October 27, 2016.

 

Butte County Planning Commission - Public Workshop to Recommend Inclusion of the Butte Creek Canyon Conservation Overlay

Thursday, October 27th, at 1:00

Butte County Board of Supervisors Chambers - 25 County Center Dr, Oroville, CA

Attend the hearing and voice your support for long-term protection of Butte Creek Canyon

OR

Send a letter with your support comments to:

Dan Breedon, Principal Planner - Butte County Development Services Department

email:DBreedon@buttecounty.net

 

Why is BEC involved?

  • BEC has been committed to environmental protection for more than 40 years. The inclusion of the Butte Creek Canyon Conservation Overlay in to the County’s General Plan will secure the canyon and its natural treasures for generations to come.

  • Please join BEC in supporting the efforts to put long-term protections in place for Butte Creek Canyon. For more information please visit the Butte County Development Services website:

https://www.buttecounty.net/dds/Planning/NotableProjects/ButteCreekCanyonOverlay.aspx

 

Butte Creek Canyon

Butte Creek Canyon

 

 

Paradise Sewer Project

 

Background

  • The Town of Paradise has been awarded a grant by the State Water Resources Control Board to study the feasibility of installing a sewer system in the most densely populated areas of the town. The service area includes large portions of the Skyway and portions of Clark and Pearson, most importantly the commercial areas where poor soil, high water tables, difficult topography and small lots makes septic systems problematic.

  • A sewer system is needed to resolve a growing problem of failing septic tanks, leaking tanks that create environmental hazards, and development constraints that preventing the Town’s economic growth.

  • There are several treatment option being considered, from building a local wastewater facility in or around the Town of Paradise, to building a pipeline and transporting wastewater to the City of Chico’s existing treatment plant.

  • In order to determine the best option, the Town of paradise has formed a Stakeholder group that meets monthly. The group provides feedback to the project team, helping to establish a set of objective criteria to evaluate the options and giving valuable input to insure community concerns are addressed.

 

looking over the railing at wastewater Why is BEC involved?

  • The decisions that are made will have a big impact on the local environment.
  • It is important to consider the future of water availability in California. Changing regulations and climates demand that any water systems be designed with long-term sustainability in mind.
  • BEC is participating in the Stakeholder group for this project to ensure that the environmental community has a voice in the process, and to advocate for the most sustainable and water-wise option.

 

  • Look for updates on this project and opportunities to get involved as the project is presented for public review. A public workshop has been tentatively scheduled for October. More at paradisesewer.com

 

 

 

Durham Villas Subdivision

Backgroundalmond orchard in bloom

  • The Durham Villas is a proposed subdivision in the Durham area, East of the train tracks and South of Durham-Dayton Hwy. The existing 118 acre lot would be split to build 139 single-family residential lots, a commercial lot, neighborhood park, and community center. The existing home and 67 acres of almond orchard would remain.

  • In 2015 the Agricultural buffer requirements were reduced from 300’ to a minimum of 25’ for orchards and vineyards. This allows for the development to be built while leaving portions of the existing orchard in close proximity to the new homes.

  • Members of the Durham community have spoken out against the Durham Villas Development with concerns about the impact this will have on the community, infrastructure and the local environment. Community meetings were held in the Spring of 2016 to gather community input and guide the content of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

  • On October 6th Durham Irrigation District held a Public Hearing to review the completed water supply assessment. The assessment stated that there is enough supply to meet this developments needs for the next 20 years and it was accepted by the District Board.

  • The Draft EIR is expected to be released for public review and comment soon!

  • The Butte County Planning Commission will be responsible for the acceptance or rejection of the Draft EIR after they receive comments from the public.

  • More information, and regular updates on this project are available on the County's website.

Why is BEC involved

  • BEC promotes citizen advocacy and good land use and development planning.

  • BEC will help spread the word about the opportunity to provide input and we will provide any concerned citizens with the tools they need to engage in decision making process.

  • We have a proud history of submitting comments on environmental review documents in an effort to change, slow, or stop any project that will likely harm environmental quality.

  • Along with local citizens, we review impacts to roadways and air quality from increased traffic, changes in water quality that are caused by new storm and wastewater systems, and the long-term sustainability of any project.

 

 

Butte Regional Conservation Plan (BRCP) 

we are currently working on this section please check back soon for updates! 

Sustainable Ag Lands Conservation (SALC)

we are currently working on this section please check back soon for updates! 

Power Butte (Solar Overlay Zone)

we are currently working on this section please check back soon for updates! 

 

Community Gardens 

BEC proudly operates two Community Gardens in Chico:

Humbolt Community Garden

Oak Way Community Garden

 

A proud community gardener

 

Click here to learn more about the BEC Community Gardens

 

 

 

Chico Tree Advocates (CTA) Save Oroville Trees (SOT)

volunteers planting a tree A row of large trees with yellow ribbon around them and a yellow sign that reads "NO Cutting"

BEC is able to support the work of amazing groups in our community by acting as a fiscal sponsor.
BEC sponsors two groups that are focused on land use by increasing healthy tree populations and avoiding the unnecessary removal of trees in their communities:

Chico Tree Advocates
Save Oroville Trees