Editorial from the Executive Director…
For almost nine years, the Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG) has been working on behalf of the cities of Biggs, Chico, Gridley and Oroville and Butte County to develop the Butte Regional Conservation Plan (BRCP.) The BRCP is a federal Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and a state Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP). It reportedly is supposed to provide streamlined state and federal endangered species act and wetlands permitting for transportation projects, land development and other covered activities over the 50 year term of the state and federal issued permits. It also provides comprehensive species, wetlands and ecosystem conservation and contributes to the recovery of endangered species within Butte County.
The BRCP Formal Public Draft is currently closing in on the conclusion of its 180 plus day public comment period that ends on June 8, 2016. The Butte County Farm Bureau would encourage you to consider sending in your comments about this environmentally motivated plan.
The plan will be executed through in perpetuity contracts with land owners who voluntarily wish to sell a conservation easement on their land, or sell their land in fee title for conservation purposes.
The drafted plan identifies an estimated $377 million dollars in plan costs. Of these costs $139 million will come from direct mitigation or developer fees to carry out the program. The remaining $238 million required for acquisition of land for the conservation portion of the plan to be executed will be derived from state and federal grants according to the plans draft. This places the burden directly on tax payers. Moreover the plan was written using figures generated in 2011 and does not take into account inflation and the 50 year term of the plan and the likely increase in costs.
What the plan draft does not tell you is who it will impact and how. The Butte County Farm Bureau believes the BRCP will create unnecessary permanent burdens on our most valuable ag land and for that reason should not be approved in its current form.
The written plan is more than 1000 double sided pages and is not written in a format designed to be casual reading for the general person in my opinion. BCAG has created some easier to understand fact sheets that you will find at www.buttehcp.com that we encourage you read.
We would also encourage you to read the Butte County Farm Bureau comment letter we submitted on the Formal Public Draft of the Butte Regional Conservation Plan. Read it here. Have questions about our letter? Feel free to call me at (530) 533-1473 or send me an email.
If you wish to submit your own letter, you must do so by June 8, 2016 to the following:
Chris Devine, Planning Manager
Butte County Association of Governments
326 Huss Drive, Suite 150
Chico, CA 95928
Fax (530) 879-2444
Thanks for reading!
Colleen Cecil has served as the Executive Director of the Butte County Farm Bureau since 2006. As Executive Director, Colleen advocates for the more than 1300 family members of the Butte County Farm Bureau on issues such as land use, rural crime, and water and manages the day-to day operations of the organization with guidance from the 26-member volunteer Board of Directors.