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


Current Advocacy Issues

last updated Sept. 10, 2018

Stonegate Development

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

Oak Woodland Mitigation Ordinance

Butte Regional Conservation Plan (BRCP)


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.


Volunteer 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.



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, click here!



Stonegate Development

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


The Stonegate project proposes to subdivide 313-acres of virtually untouched vernal wetland habitat that is currently home to the Federally Endangered Butte County Meadowfoam, a number of rare or threatened species, and countless other wildlife. The project reduces the existing habitat to 137 acres of open space preserve, in order to create 423 single-family homes, 13 acres of multi-family units, and 36 acres of commercial development.

Butte Environmental Council is opposed the development as currently proposed, in part, due to the following concerns and considerations:

  • Development should be limited to the West side of Bruce Road in an effort to preserve this ecological treasure. With only a tiny fraction of California’s historic wetlands still in existence, viable habitats should be preserved in an effort to conserve and protect our states natural resources. The 2006 Vernal Pools Recovery Plan calls for preservation of 99% of all occurrences of Butte County Meadowfoam.
  • This 313 acre property has been repeatedly identified by the US Fish and Wildlife Services, CA Fish and Wildlife Service, Lassen Chapter of the CA Native Plant Society, and others 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. The Stonegate project jeopardizes the chance for planned species recovery outlined in the Unfortunately this plan is still under development, and will likely not be finalized until after a decision has been made for the future of the Stonegate site.

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.


  • This site is needed for permanent conservation, not for further development and degradation of our watershed and natural habitats. Vernal wetlands and their supportive surrounding grasslands perform many valuable functions for humans as well as wildlife. They assist in storm water detention, minimizing flooding. The open grasslands also provide passive recreation opportunities (e.g., hiking, photography, bird watching, wildflower viewing). The wetlands also filter pollutants from stormwater runoff, enhancing local water quality. To learn more about vernal pools in Butte County and how they benefit local habitat, click here.
  • Appropriate mitigation can not currently be guaranteed. The currently proposed on-site mitigation efforts plan to use salvaged topsoil from vernal pools that will be destroyed by this project. The topsoil will be used in an effort to enhance habitat in the created preserve. If this plan fails because the preserve can not support a larger population of Butte County Meadowfoam, or for other reasons, there are currently no State approved mitigation banks for Butte County Meadowfoam. Without a currently approved mitigation bank, there is not a reliable backup plan should on-site mitigation efforts ail.
  • There is a need for hydrologic studies to ensure long-term viability of the established preserve, and confirm that there will not be impacts beyond what is described in the environmental review documents.
  • Impacts from California’s recent 5-year drought should be considered. Current mapping and survey results may not accurately capture the extent of the vernal pool complex and/or species present on this site due to the recent drought.

​For more on BEC's concerns with this project please read the comments submitted in response to the Draft Environmental Impact Report

Visit the City of Chico's Planning Services website for more information about the Stonegate Development, or to read the Environmental Review Documents.


UPDATE 9/11/2018: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District has posted Public Notice SPK-1994-00040 to

Bruce Road Associates, LP has applied for a permit to place dredged or fill material and/or work in approximately 9.13 acres of waters of the United States to construct a mixed use development.  The approximately 314-acre project site is located on the Butte Creek Diversion Channel, in Sections 31 and 32, Township 22 North, Range 2 East, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian, Latitude 39.718372°, Longitude -121.784312°, Chico, Butte County, California, and can be seen on the Chico USGS Topographic Quadrangle.
Written comments and/or a request for a paper copy of the notice may be submitted to project manager Laura Shively at 1325 J Street, Room 1350, Sacramento, California, 95814-2922, by email, or by telephone (916) 557-5258. Comments must be received by September 22, 2018.
The Corps is particularly interested in receiving comments related to the proposal's probable impacts on the affected aquatic environment and the secondary and cumulative effects. Anyone may request, in writing, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests shall specifically state, with particularity, the reason(s) for holding a public hearing. If the Corps determines that the information received in response to this notice is inadequate for thorough evaluation, a public hearing may be warranted. If a public hearing is warranted, interested parties will be notified of the time, date, and location. Please note that all comment letters received are subject to release to the public through the Freedom of Information Act. If you have questions or need additional information please contact the applicant or the Corps' project manager Laura Shively, (916) 557-5258,



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). SGMA is designed to motivate meaningful and inclusive public engagement in an effort to devise a plan that fits local communities values as they strive for sustainability.

Butte County is currently proposing to be divided in to three sub-basins (Vina, Butte, and Wyandotte Creek), each with a number of local GSA's. 

The agencies in the Vina and Wyandotte Creek sub-basins have been meeting to discuss governance structures, in order to develop and implement GSP's. The GSA's in each of these sub-basins have proposed to form a Joint Powers Athority (JPA) in order to work together to develop and implement the GSP's.  Governance structures are still be considered for the Butte sub-basin.


Upcoming opportunities to engage in SGMA

Groundwater Pumpers Advisory Committee
Monday, September 17, 2018, 8:30am
Chico State Farm311 Nicholas C. Shouten Ln., Room A009Chico, CA

Water Commission Meeting
Wednesday, October 3, 2018, 1:30pm
Board Chambers, 25 County Center Dr., Oroville, CA


Butte County Resolution 18-131 identifying BEC as a partner in the SGMA process, and as a representative for the local environment.

BEC's Executive Director, Natalie Carter appointed Environmental at large representative for Butte County's Groundwater Pumpers Advisory Committee (GPAC)


Butte County Oak Woodland Mitigation Ordinance

To be updated soon...



Butte Regional Conservation Plan (BRCP)

To be updated soon...


Get involved in BEC's 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.







Last updated 9/10/2018