Final
Wetland Resource
Planning Recommendations
for Chico, Clovis, Fresno, and
Surrounding Areas of
Butte and Fresno Counties
Submitted to:	Submitted by:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency	Jones & Stokes Associates, Inc.
Region DC	Sacramento, California
San Francisco, California
*=6<6E>axao
September 30,1994

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Final
Wetland Resource Planning Recommendations
for Chico, Clovis, Fresno, and
Surrounding Areas
of Butte and Fresno Counties
Submitted to:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region IX
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Contact: Jane Freeman
415/744-1978
Submitted by:
Jones & Stokes Associates, Inc.
2600 V Street, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95818-1914
Contact: Paul Cylinder
916/737-3000
September 30, 1994

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This document should be cited as:
Jones & Stokes Associates, Inc. 1994. Wetland resource planning recommendations for
Chico, Clovis, Fresno, and surrounding areas of Butte and Fresno Counties. Final.
September 30,1994. (JSA 93-196.) Sacramento, CA. Submitted to U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, Region IX. San Francisco, CA.

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Table of Contents
Page
Chapter 1. Introduction and Objectives		1-1
INTRODUCTION		1-1
OBJECTIVES OF STUDY		1-1
WETLAND TYPES MAPPED 		1-2
DEVELOPMENT MAPPING CATEGORIES		1-3
Chico Study Area 		1-3
Fresno-Clovis Study Area 		1-4
STUDY AREA BOUNDARIES 		1-4
Wetland Mapping Study Areas 			1-4
Development Mapping Study Areas		1-5
Chapter 2. Mapping Methods 	 2-1
WETLAND MAPPING METHODS	 2-1
Fresno County Study Area Materials	 2-1
Butte County Study Area Materials	 2-1
Aerial Photography Interpretation	 2-1
Land Cover Classification 	 2-2
Descriptions of Habitat Types Mapped 	 2-2
Geomorphic and Soil Habitat Subtypes Mapped 	 2-9
Habitat Cover Classes Mapped 	2-10
Distinctive Features Mapped	2-11
Ground Truthing	2-11
Geographic Information System Data Entry	2-13
DEVELOPMENT MAPPING METHODS 	2-13
Chico Development Mapping	2-13
Fresno and Clovis Development Mapping 	2-15
Geographic Information System Data Entry	2-18
Chapter 3. Results	 3-1
WETLAND MAPPING	 3-1
Butte County	 3-1
Fresno County	3-13
DEVELOPMENT MAPPING	3-14
Chico Study Area 	3-14
Clovis Study Area	3-14
Fresno Study Area	3-15

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CONFLICTS BETWEEN WETLANDS AND FUTURE
DEVELOPMENT	3-15
Chico Study Area 	3-15
Clovis Study Area	3-16
Fresno Study Area	3-16
Chapter 4. Planning Recommendations	 4-1
INTRODUCTION		 4-1
WETLANDS REGULATION	 4-1
PLANNING TOOLS	 4-2
Regional Plans 	 4-2
City and County General Plans 	 4-6
General Plans	 4-6
Specific Plans . 		 4-7
Zoning Regulations		 4-7
Transfer of Development Rights 	 4-8
Federal-Local Partnerships for Wetland Planning	 4-9
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE CHICO STUDY AREA 	4-14
Background Information 	4-14
Existing Wetland Conservation Tools Used in the
Chico Study Area 	4-15
Recommended Planning Programs for Chico	4-17
Conclusions	4-22
RECOMMENDATION FOR THE FRESNO-CLOVIS STUDY AREA	4-23
Background Information 	4-23
Existing Wetland Conservation Tools Used in
Fresno-Clovis Study Area 	4-23
Recommended Planning Programs for Fresno and Clovis	4-24
Conclusions	4-28
CLOSING REMARKS 	4-28
Chapter 5. Citations 	 5-1
PRINTED REFERENCES 	 5-1
PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS	 5-2
Chapter 6. Report Preparation 		6-1
JONES & STOKES ASSOCIATES, INC		6-1
Technical Team		6-1
Production Team		6-1
Appendix A. Habitat Conservation Concepts 	 A-l
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List of Tables
Page
2-1. Wetlands Land Cover Classification and Legend for Geographic
Information System Database for Fresno and Butte Counties	 2-3
2-2.	Wetland Delineation Reports Consulted for Ground Truthing
Effort for Central Valley Habitat Mapping	2-13
3-1.	Butte County Study Area Wetland Acreage 	 3-2
3-2. Acreage of Vernal Pool Areas by Water-Restricting Soil Layer
in the Butte County Study Area	 3-3
3-3. Acreage of Vernal Pool Areas by Geologic Formation in the
Butte County Study Area	 3-4
3-4. City of Chico General Plan Area Development and Wetland Acreage-	 3-5
3-5. Fresno County Study Area Wetland Acreage 	 3-6
3-6. Acreage of Vernal Pool Areas by Water-Restricting Soil Layer
in the Fresno County Study Area	 3-7
3-7. Acreage of Vernal Pool Areas by Geologic Formation in the Fresno
County Study Area 	 3-8
3-8. City of Clovis General Plan Area Development and Wetland Acreage 	 3-9
3-9. City of Clovis Northeast Urban Center Specific Plan Area
Development and Wetland Acreage	3-10
3-10. City of Fresno Sphere of Influence Development and Wetlands 	3-11
3-11.	City of Fresno General Plan Update Northeast Study Area
(Copper-Friant Triangle) Wetlands . 		3-12
4-1.	Development Information Provided by the City of Chico for
Projects in the Chico General Plan Area 	4-18
iii

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List of Figures
Follows page
1.	Butte County Wetland and Planning Study Areas	 1-2
2.	Fresno County Wetland and Planned Development Study Area 	 1-2
iv

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Chapter 1. Introduction and Objectives
INTRODUCTION
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks to support local wetlands
conservation planning by providing data on the locations of wetland resources and future
development in rapidly growing portions of Butte and Fresno Counties and the Cities of
Chico, Fresno, and Clovis. Wetlands were mapped within the Sacramento Valley region of
Butte County (Figure 1-1) and within the San Joaquin Valley east of Fresno Slough in
Fresno County (Figure 1-2). Planned development was mapped for areas surrounding the
Cities of Chico (Figure 1-1), Fresno (Figure 1-2), and Clovis (Figure 1-2). These study areas
were chosen because of the large amount of wetland resources, especially vernal pools,
present; the rapid development expected; and the receptivity of local agencies to wetlands
planning. Mapping the locations of vernal pools in relationship to potential future
development was a prime goal of this project. Vernal pools are a uniquely Californian
wetland resource that has been greatly reduced in extent from historical times. The loss of
vernal pools is continuing under the pressure for urban expansion.
EPA seeks to provide local planning agencies with a range of wetland conservation
and land use planning programs and techniques that effectively address the retention of
wetland resources in urbanizing areas. An overview of habitat conservation concepts as they
may be applied to wetlands is presented in Appendix A.
OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The objectives of this study were to:
	map the locations of wetland and riparian habitats;
	map the locations of parcels that are planned for future development, classified
by the point in the planning process (i.e., the stage in the approvals and permit
process) that each development site has reached as of September 1994;
	identify a range of planning programs and techniques for addressing wetland
resource issues; and
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 provide recommendations to local agencies on wetland conservation planning in
the Chico area and the Fresno-Clovis area.
The resulting maps can be used to identify potential land use conflicts and identify suitable
conservation planning programs.
The purpose of this report is to encourage advanced planning and effective
implementation for wetland resource preservation and management in areas proposed for
development and to provide information on applicable planning programs and techniques.
Compiling an integrated wetland resource and land development database is an effective
technique to identify where urbanization may encroach into areas where wetlands exist.
Wetlands preservation and long-term management can occur if the appropriate planning
programs and techniques are applied in a timely manner.
This report provides a range of planning programs and techniques for addressing
wetland resource issues. A variety of programs are discussed to give local planners the tools
necessary to address wetland issues at all stages of planning and development review.
WETLAND TYPES MAPPED
Natural wetlands, riparian habitats, and open water bodies that have not been
substantially disturbed by human activities were the focus of the mapping effort. Depending
on the size of specific wetland sites, wetlands were mapped either individually or as high
density (greater than 1% of areal cover) areas supporting many small wetlands scattered
through upland habitats. The following types of wetlands were mapped in this effort:
	concentrations of vernal pools and swales,
	other seasonal wetlands,
	alkali wetland complexes,
	riparian forest and scrub habitats,
	freshwater marsh (perennial herbaceous wetland), and
	isolated open water bodies (excluding maintained excavated water bodies, such
as flood detention basins, evaporation or percolation ponds, and sewage
treatment facilities).
Artificial and disturbed wetlands were not included as part of the mapping effort.
Wetlands and other water bodies excluded from the mapping effort are:
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	farmed wetlands,
	agricultural or other irrigation and drainage ditches,
	stream systems (except where significant riparian habitat is present), and
	disturbed wetlands within developed areas.
No attempt was made to map nonwetland waters, such as stream systems, in either
a natural or disturbed condition. Some open water habitats were included in the mapping.
In addition to sites supporting wetlands, sites supporting large stands (greater than 10 acres)
of riparian habitats were mapped.
The wetland maps were produced for general plan-level and regional-level planning
and should not be used for site-specific planning. Areas where wetlands have not been
identified in this study may support wetlands and other water bodies. Sites outside of
mapped wetland areas may support artificial, farmed, and disturbed wetlands of various sizes
and small, natural, undisturbed wetlands at low density. The locations and extent of these
wetlands and their importance to wildlife and plants cannot be determined based on these
maps. The wetland mapping was not intended to be, nor was any attempt made to conduct,
a delineation of jurisdictional wetlands under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Methods
used to map wetlands are described in Chapter 2, "Mapping Methods".
DEVELOPMENT MAPPING CATEGORIES
Existing, future, and potential future development sites were mapped for areas
surrounding Chico, Clovis, and Fresno.
Chico Study Area
In the Chico study area, land uses were divided into the following categories:
	existing development,
	projects approved or permitted for construction,
	projects in the planning stages,
	potential development areas,
	preservation areas, and
	parks.
These development categories are defined below in Chapter 2, "Mapping Methods".
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Fresno-Clovis Study Area
In the Fresno-Clovis study area, land uses were divided into the following categories:
	existing development,
	projects approved or permitted for construction,
	pending development,
	planned for development, and
	planned open space.
These development categories are defined below in Chapter 2, "Mapping Methods".
STUDY AREA BOUNDARIES
Wetland study areas were defined to include the lowland portions of Butte ai
Fresno Counties likely to support vernal pools and riparian habitats. Development stui
areas were defined to include the areas expended to grow most rapidly.
Wetland Mapping Study Areas
The Butte County wetland study area encompasses the Central Valley alluvial areas
and terraces to the upper elevational limit of geologic formations and soil associations that
typically support vernal pools (Figure 1-1). The study area is bounded on the west by the
Sacramento River, on the north by the Butte-Tehama County line, on the south by the
Butte-Yuba County line, and on the east by the upper elevational limit of the portions of
the Tuscan, Red Bluff, and Laguna geologic formations that support vernal pools. The
eastern limit of the study area roughly corresponds to the edge of the oak woodland belt
that surrounds the Central Valley.
The Fresno County wetland study area encompasses the Central Valley basin, alluvial
areas, and terraces, extending from east of Fresno Slough to the upper elevational limit of
geologic formations and soil associations that typically support vernal pools (Figure 1-2).
The study area is bounded on the north by the Fresno-Madera County line, on the south by
the Fresno-Kings County line, on the west by Fresno Slough, and on the east by the upper
elevational limit of the portions of the Laguna and Riverbank geologic formations that
support vernal pools. TTie eastern limit of the study area roughly corresponds with the
Friant-Kern canal; however, some areas east of the canal with suitable geologic formations
for vernal pools were also mapped.
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Development Mapping Study Areas
Chico Study Area
The Chico study area is the Chico General Plan area, which includes all land east
of the Sacramento River, south of Rock Creek, west of the Sierra Nevada foothills, and
north of the Durham-Dayton Highway (Figure 1-1).
Additional Study Area in Butte County
Planned development was mapped for a portion of Butte County along Route 99
southeast of Chico (Figure 1-1). This study area was added to the project at the request of
the City of Chico and Butte County Planning Departments.
Fresno Study Area
The Fresno study area is the Fresno Sphere of Influence, which includes all land west
of DeWolf Avenue, south of the San Joaquin River, east of West Lawn Avenue, and north
of American Avenue.
Clovis Study Area
The Clovis study area is the Clovis General Plan area, which includes all land west
of Academy Avenue, south of Copper Avenue, east of the Fresno city limits, and north of
East Shields Avenue (Figure 1-2).
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Chapter 2. Mapping Methods
WETLAND MAPPING METHODS
Fresno County Study Area Materials
For the Fresno County wetlands study area, an iterative process was used to
determine the location and boundaries of areas supporting wetlands. The first step was to
~ review black-and-white aerial photographs at a scale of 1 inch = 800 feet that were taken
in March 1992 for the Fresno-Clovis area and black-and-white aerial photographs at a scale
of 1 inch = 2,000 feet that were taken in October 1992 for the remainder of the study area.
Signatures on aerial photographs at a scale of 1 inch = 2,000 feet were examined under a
magnifying stereoscope for ease of interpretation. All aerial photograph interpretation for
Fresno County was correlated with information from the Fresno County Soil Survey
(Huntington 1971). Maps of wetlands in Fresno County were also checked against National
Wetland Inventory (NWI) maps prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
to identify wetlands that may have been inadvertently overlooked in the review of the aerial
photographs.
Butte County Study Area Materials
For the Butte County wetlands study area, an iterative process was also used to
determine the location and boundaries of areas supporting wetlands. The first step was to
review blueline copies of black-and-white aerial photographs at a scale of 1 inch = 400 feet
(1 inch = 300 feet for the Chico planning area) that were taken on March 20 and 21, 1990.
Aerial Photography Interpretation
Aerial photograph signatures were interpreted by analyzing gross landform
morphology, soil type, and landscape position. Further refinement was achieved through
interpretation of signature tone, texture, and density.
The location and extent of low-lying areas that function as drainage or ponding
components of the study areas' surface water system were readily identifiable on the
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photographs. Wetland components of the surface water system were then divided by type
and transfer-mapped onto U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) 7.5-minute quadrangle maps at a
scale of 1 inch = 2,000 feet. The minimum mapping unit size used for individual or
aggregations of wetlands was 10 acres. To ensure accurate spatial placement of transferred
polygons, the polygon edges were scaled from landmarks visible on both the aerial
photograph and USGS map.
Since the aerial photographs for Butte and Fresno Counties were taken, some
wetlands may have been filled and others created as mitigation for fill activities. No attempt
was made to correct for these activities, and all mapped wetland information reflects the
conditions present when the source aerial photographs were taken.
Land Cover Classification
A land cover classification was developed and used to attribute mapped polygons.
The classification system included eight habitat types, 16 geomorphic and soil subtypes,
seven habitat cover (percent aerial cover) classes, and two distinctive features (Table 2-1).
Unattributed areas do not support natural, undisturbed wetlands of large size (greater than
10 acres) or at high concentration (e.g., vernal pool areas larger than 10 acres with > 1%
wetland cover). Unattributed sites are mostly upland habitats of grassland and oak
woodland, agricultural land, and developed land. As discussed above, these areas may
support artificial wetlands, farmed wetlands, disturbed wetlands, and small natural wetlands.
The units of this classification system are described below in more detail.
Descriptions of Habitat Types Mapped
The following text describes the mapped habitat types used in this project and the
means by which sites supporting these habitats were identified.
Vernal Pool Areas
Description of Habitat. Vernal pool areas support concentrations of seasonal
wetlands that have been called vernal pool "terrains", "landscapes", and "archipelagos".
Vernal pool area habitat is a mosaic of wetland and upland habitat types and includes:
	vernal pools,
	swales,
	ephemeral drainages,
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Table 2-1. Wetlands Land Cover Classification and Legend for Geographic
Information System Database for Fresno and Butte Counties
A.	Habitat Type
0 and 1 Upland (nonwetland)
2	Vernal pool areas
3	Other seasonal wetland
4	Perennial herbaceous wetland
5	Riparian forest
6	Riparian scrub
7	Open water
8	Managed wetlands (e.g., wildlife refuges)
B.	Geomorphic and Soil Subtype
0	Floodplain, basin, and alluvial fan; includes artificial wetlands
1	Basin rim; saline-sodic (alkali) soil, playas, lime-cemented hardpans, endoaquic (rising groundwater
saturation) within associated sand dune depressions (Fresno County only)
2	Young terrace, Riverbank Formation; claypan soil with no hardpan
3	Young terrace, Riverbank Formation; soils with silica-cemented hardpans with or without overlying
claypans
4	Young terrace, Riverbank Formation; combination of soils 2 and 3
5	Old terrace, Red Bluff Formation; claypan soil with no hardpan (Butte County only)
6	Old terrace, Red Bluff Formation; soils with silica-cemented hardpans with or without overlying
claypans (Butte County only)
7	Old terrace, Red Bluff Formation; combination of soils 5 and 6 (Butte County only)
8	Old terrace, Turlock Lake Formation; claypan soil with no hardpan (Butte County only)
9	Old terrace, Turlock Lake Formation; soils with silica-cemented hardpans with or without overlying
claypans (Butte County only) (with underlying volcanic sediment - Fresno County only)
10	Old terrace, Turlock Lake Formation; combination of soils 8 and 9 (Butte County only)
11	Old terrace, Laguna Formation; claypan soils with no hardpan
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12	Old terrace, Laguna Formation; soils with silica-cemented hardpans with or without overlying
claypans
13	Old terrace, Laguna Formation; combination of soils 11 and 12
14	Volcanic bedrock, Tuscan Formation; no claypan or hardpan (Butte County only)
15	Other bedrock; miscellaneous soil types (Fresno County only)
C.	Habitat Cover Class
1	(number not used)
2	1-5% wetland or riparian cover
3	6-10% wetland or riparian cover
4	11-25% wetland or riparian cover
5	26-50% wetland or riparian cover
6	51-75% wetland or riparian cover
7	76-100% wetland or riparian cover
D.	Features
1	Mima mounds present (vernal pools only)
2	Alkali wetland (saline/sodic)
Note: Numbers refer to the attribute number code in the G1S. The attribute number coding in the GIS is
arranged in the format "A.B.C.D" (i.e., type.subtype.cover.feature). For example, a polygon labeled
"2.6.3.1" circumscribes an area that supports vernal pools (likely in association with swales and
drainages), on old terrace Red Bluff Formation with a hardpan water restricting soil layer, with
vernal pools comprising 6-10% cover within an upland matrix, and with Mima mound relief present
within the mapped unit.
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	intermittent drainages, and
	grasslands.
Each of these habitats is described in the following sections.
Vernal Pools. Vernal pools are seasonally flooded landscape depressions that
support a unique plant community adapted to periodic or continuous inundation during the
wet season and the absence of ponded water and wet soil during the dry season. Plant
species that are commonly found in vernal pools include coyote thistle (Eryngium spp.),
goldfields (Lasthenia spp.), popcornflower (Plagiobothrys spp.), downingia (Downingia spp.),
foxtail (Alopecurus spp.), and spikerush {Eleocharis spp.). Vernal pools that frequently pond
water or support saturated soil for a long duration meet the criteria for Section 404
jurisdictional wetlands. Most areas that support large numbers of vernal pools contain a
mosaic of seasonal wetlands and drainages, including swales, ephemeral drainages, and
intermittent drainages.
Swales. Swales are broad, shallow, seasonally wet areas that convey water in
a somewhat defined channel during and shortly after rain events; they are often connected
to vernal pools. Surface runoff collects in swales, wetting and saturating the soil for short
periods. The primary distinction between swales and other seasonal wetlands, such as vernal
pools, is that water ponds in the latter, while swales are inundated for short periods during
and immediately after rainfall as water drains. Often, swales drain into ephemeral
drainages. Swales are vegetated across their bed, while ephemeral and intermittent
drainages are not. Typical plant species found in swales include Italian ryegrass (Lolium
spp.), Mediterranean barley (Hordeum geniculatum), popcornflower, and clover (Trifolium
spp.). Swales or portions of swales that frequently pond water or support saturated soil for
a long duration meet the criteria for Section 404 jurisdictional wetlands; however, many
swales do not meet the hydrologic or soil criteria for wetland status.
Ephemeral Drainages. Ephemeral drainages are small, shallow unvegetated
or sparsely vegetated watercourses with well-defined beds and banks that convey surface
runoff during and shortly after rainfall. Ephemeral drainages often drain into local
intermittent drainages. Many of the ephemeral drainages have eroded to the hardpan or
claypan, leaving gravel, stone, and cobble mixed with remaining soil material that supports
only sparse vegetation. Ephemeral drainages support many of the same plant species
associated with swales, including Italian ryegrass and Mediterranean barley. Ephemeral
drainages may meet the criteria for jurisdictional waters of the United States, with some
vegetated portions qualifying as jurisdictional wetlands.
Intermittent Drainages. Intermittent drainages are defined channels, V or U
shaped in cross section, that carry storm runoff during the wet season but are dry for the
remainder of the year. Some intermittent drainages are connected to seasonal wetlands,
ponds, or freshwater marshes and fill and drain these wetland features. Where vegetation
occurs in intermittent drainages, it is typically dominated by a mixture of the same plant
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species found in ephemeral drainages and freshwater marshes. Intermittent drainages may
meet the criteria for jurisdictional waters of the United States, with some vegetated portions
qualifying as jurisdictional wetlands.
Grasslands. Grasslands are nonwetland habitats dominated by annual grasses
and forbs. Typical dominant species are bromes (Bromus spp.), wild oats (Avena spp.), wild
barleys (Hordeum spp.), and filarees (Erodium spp.). Grassland is the most extensive habitat
in vernal pool areas and is the matrix within which vernal pools, swales, and drainages are
distributed.
Mapping Method. The mapping category vernal pool areas habitat type includes
vernal pools, swales, ephemeral drainages, occasionally intermittent drainages, and
grasslands as described above. Sites mapped as vernal pool areas support vernal pools and
associated wetlands at various densities in a matrix of annual grassland and occasionally oak
woodland. The vernal pools and swales are wetlands, and the grassland and woodland are
upland habitats. Vernal pools are found on surfaces with slopes in the range of 0-3% that
are cut by ephemeral and intermittent drainages. Vernal pool terrain is generally found on
landscapes well above the present and historically recent floodplain of nearby rivers and
their tributaries.
On black-and-white aerial photographs, aggregations of vernal pools exhibit a
dendritic pattern, and pool basins appear as light gray to nearly white at higher elevations.
Vernal pools at lower elevations tend to be wetter and display darker gray colored basins
on aerial photographs. In both cases, upland vegetation between pools tends to be medium
light gray with a grainy texture, whereas pool textures tend to be smooth. Swale signatures
varied from light gray, similar to that of adjoining vernal pools, to dark gray or black in
broad swales that exhibit a high clay content.
Other Seasonal Wetland
Description of Habitat. Seasonal wetlands are ponded or saturated during the wet
season and dry the remainder of the year. The category of "other seasonal wetland" includes
all seasonal wetlands that are not part of the vernal pool area category described above.
Seasonal wetlands occur within the annual grassland matrix in swales and shallow
depressions underlain by slowly permeable soils. These wetlands may occur in isolation
from other wetland habitats; within drainage systems; or adjacent to, and upslope from,
permanent wetlands. Typical vegetation found in seasonal wetlands includes annual
bluegrass (Poa annua), knotweed {Polygonum spp.), Italian ryegrass, Mediterranean barley,
dock (Rumex spp.), sedge (Cyperus spp.), rushes (Juncus spp.), bird's foot trefoil (Lotus
corniculatus), and spike primrose (Epilobium spp.). Seasonal wetlands may also contain
components of the vernal pool vegetation described above. Seasonal wetlands are
differentiated from vernal pools and swales by plant composition and landscape position.
Seasonal wetlands are often found fringing seasonal water bodies in the zone of seasonal
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water level fluctuation. Similarly, seasonal wetlands can be found in swales where the
natural hydrology has been modified by blockage of the swale outlet. Other seasonal
wetland may also include small areas of open water where the wetland does not completely
dry out by the end of the season.
Mapping Methods. Interpretation of seasonal wetland signatures relied more on
landscape position, landform morphology, and soil type than on signature tone, texture, or
density. Seasonal wetland tone, texture, and density were similar to those of vernal pools.
Seasonal wetlands were mapped within vernal pool terrain when there was evidence of
modified hydrology that has increased significantly the duration of saturation or inundation
of any vernal wetland feature. Typically, this occurred when roads were constructed through
a swale or other gently sloping depression, creating a dam and preventing normal drainage.
Seasonal wetlands were also mapped in floodplain depressions where vegetation was
evident. Floodplain seasonal wetlands pond water during heavy storms or during flood
events for sufficient duration to support hydrophytic vegetation.
Perennial Herbaceous Wetland
Description of Habitat. Perennial herbaceous wetlands are habitats characterized
by a dominance of herbaceous emergent vegetation growing in permanently flooded or
saturated soil conditions. Typical plant species include bulrushes or tules (Scirpus spp.),
cattail (Typha spp.), arrowhead (Sagittaria spp.), and sedges (Carex spp.). Perennial
herbaceous wetlands are often found fringing permanent lakes, ponds, or waterways. Within
perennial herbaceous wetland there may be small inclusions of upland or open water that
were too small to identify or segregate.
Mapping Methods. Perennial herbaceous wetlands are found on level to gently
sloping landforms that permit permanent or semipermanent ponding. Generally, this
wetland type is found in the lower landscape positions well below most of the local
watershed. Aerial photograph signatures generally exhibited a mosaic of open water and
vegetation. Vegetation generally had a mottled appearance and was relatively easy to
discern. The presence of perennial herbaceous wetlands often corresponded with marshes
mapped by USFWS and USGS.
Riparian Forest
Description of Habitat. Riparian forest habitats are characterized by a dominance
of woody arborescent vegetation. Riparian forest lies within the floodplain of rivers and
streams or fluctuating lake margins. Undisturbed mature riparian forest can be thought of
as having three somewhat distinct vegetative layers: overstory, midstory, and understory.
The overstory is dominated by winter deciduous trees that are adapted to frequent flooding
and/or saturated soil conditions. Common trees in the overstory include Fremont's
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cottonwood (Populusfremontii), black willow (Salixgoddingii), sycamore (Platanus racemosa),
Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia), and, on less frequently flooded sites, valley oak (Quercus
lobata). Midstory trees, shrubs, and vines include Oregon ash, poison-oak (Toxicodendron
diversilobum), boxelder (Acer negundo), California wild grape (Vitis californica), California
blackberry (Rubus ursinus), and, close to the water's edge, buttonbush (Cephalanthus
occidentals). The understory is comprised of scattered forbs, such as miner's lettuce
{Claytonia perfoliata), beggar's ticks (Bidens spp.), mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana), and
western aster (Aster chilensis), and grasses, such as ripgut brome (Bromus diandrus) and
creeping wildrye (Leymus triticoides). The riparian forest mapping category may also include
small areas of riparian scrub, open water, seasonal wetland, or perennial herbaceous wetland
that was too small to segregate or was obscured by the forest canopy.
Mapping Methods. Riparian forest is found along the bank and rarely in the bed
of riverine systems. It is occasionally found bordering inland bodies of water and within
dredge tailings deposited during placer mining operations early in the century. The riparian
forest signature on aerial photographs was easily identified based on landscape position,
texture of the forest canopy, and shadows thrown by the tall trees. Riparian forest often
occurs on surfaces that do not undergo a significant amount of scouring during flood events.
The texture of the riparian forest was rough and undulating because various species and
ages of trees comprise the forest.
Riparian Scrub
Description of Habitat. Like riparian forest, riparian scrub is found within the
floodplain of rivers and streams. Riparian scrub often occurs at sites that are more
frequently flooded and subjected to scouring flows than is riparian forest. It is often found
on sand or gravel bars or on riverbanks within a river system. Often, riparian scrub is
successional to riparian forest and persists only in the presence of periodic disturbance. It
is often comprised of a dense assemblage of willows (Salix spp.) with little or no understory.
Sandbar willow (Salix hindsiana) and Arroyo willow (Salix lasiolepis) are typically dominant
and often form impenetrable thickets. Riparian scrub can also contain components of
buttonbush, California blackberry, and young cottonwood and willow trees. The riparian
scrub mapping category may also include small areas of open water, seasonal wetland, or
perennial herbaceous wetland that was too small to segregate or was obscured by the shrub
canopy.
Mapping Methods. Riparian scrub signatures on aerial photographs were identified
based on landscape position and texture of the shrub canopy. Riparian scrub is often found
in areas that undergo a significant amount of scour during flood events. Riparian scrub can
also be found growing in disturbed areas that once supported riparian forest. The texture
of the riparian scrub signature was generally smooth and uniform in areas that were scoured
by large flood events, creating an even-aged stand of shrubs.
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Upland
Description of Habitat. Uplands are areas that are not frequently saturated or
inundated for a significant duration during the growing season and that do not support
hydrophytic vegetation. Uplands in the study area include urban areas and appurtenances,
agricultural fields, grasslands, and oak woodlands. Common natural upland plant species
include bromegrasses (Bromus spp.), wild oats (Avena spp.), wild barleys (Hordeum spp.),
filaree (Erodium spp.), and oaks (Quercus sp.). Small areas of wetlands may be present
within grasslands and woodlands identified as uplands in this study. These wetlands are
expected to amount to less than 1% of the total area mapped as upland.
Mapping Methods. Sites were mapped as uplands when the aerial photographs
showed no indications of wetland vegetation or the presence of water at the sites.
Open Water
Description of Habitat. Open water habitat is characterized by unvegetated
permanent or semipermanent ponded or flowing water. Open water habitat may be the
result of constructed impoundments or naturally occurring water bodies. Open water
typically has a water depth greater than 2 feet and intergrades with perennial herbaceous
wetland or other seasonal wetland at its fringes. Although the open water is relatively
unvegetated, it occasionally has free-floating and submerged aquatic plants, including
pondweeds (Potomogeton ssp.), duckweed (Lemna ssp.), mosquito fern (Azolla filiculoides),
and water-milfoil (Myriophyllum spp.). The open water mapping category also may include
small areas of perennial herbaceous wetland that was too small to segregate.
Mapping Methods. Open water habitat exhibited a dark blue texture on blueline
prints of aerial photographs or was uniformly black on black-and-white photographs and
usually was indicated on the USGS quads as open water bodies. In identifying open water,
the rule used was to map only natural open water bodies or water bodies that were the
result of the impoundment of a natural tributary system. The distinction between natural
and maintained open water bodies was determined by consulting several sources. The aerial
photographs were compared with NWI maps and older USGS maps. NWI maps include
special modifiers that indicate whether the wetland was excavated or created by an
impoundment. Older USGS maps were compared with aerial photographs to see if the
water body in question existed at the time of USGS mapping, usually 20-30 years before the
aerial photograph dates.
Managed Wetlands
Description of Habitat. Managed wetlands include wildlife refuges and sanctuaries
operated by federal or state agencies, such as USFWS and California Department of Fish
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and Game (DFG). Managed wetlands include wetland types such as perennial herbaceous,
other seasonal, riparian scrub, riparian forest, and open water habitat. The managed
wetland type was developed because many wildlife refuges and sanctuaries manage their
wetlands in a variety of configurations that may change in type and location from year
to year.
Mapping Methods. Wetland sites known to be under artificial hydrological control
were mapped as managed wetlands.
Geomorphic and Soil Habitat Subtypes Mapped
Geomorphic and soil subtypes were used to differentiate wetlands that occur on
different geomorphic surfaces and soils (Table 2-1). The development of the subtype
category allowed for recognition of the variety of vernal pool habitat present in the study
area. Sixteen subtypes were developed for use in this study. Ten of these 16 subtype
categories are applicable in Fresno County, and 13 are applicable in Butte County.
The diversity of landscapes and soil types on which the remaining wetlands in Fresno
and Butte Counties occur are a determining factor in the diversity of wetland types and
associated floral and faunal species. Geomorphological formations and associated soil types
determine a diversity of wetland types by variations in biogeochemistry, hydrology,
microclimate, soil mineralogy, soil fertility, soil formation processes, and evolutionary
timescale.
Holland (1986, 1990) recognized seven subtypes of vernal pools: northern hardpan,
northern claypan, northern basalt flow, northern volcanic mudflow, southern interior basalt
flow, San Diego mesa hardpan, and San Diego mesa claypan. Four of these seven vernal
pools subtypes are represented in the two county study area: northern hardpan, northern
claypan, northern basalt flow, and northern volcanic mudflow types.
Six different geomorphic formations still containing wetlands were identified within
the two-county study area (Table 2-1). Two, the Red Bluff and Tuscan Formations, were
identified only in Butte County; two others, the basin rim and other bedrock types, were
identified with remaining wetlands only in Fresno County. Four formations, the Riverbank,
Red Bluff, Turlock Lake, and Laguna, were subdivided according to varying associated
water-restricting soil layers: claypan without hardpan, silica-cemented hardpan with or
without overlying claypan, or a combination of claypan and hardpan.
In Fresno County, the primary source of information for geomorphic and soil
substrate classification was the soil survey of the eastern Fresno area prepared by the U.S.
Soil Conservation Service (SCS) (1971). The fieldwork for the survey was completed in
1962 but was conducted according to modern survey methods still in use. Correlation of soil
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types with geomorphic formations was made based on information within the survey. Maps
delineating wetland areas were compared to the soil survey maps, and attribution of
geomorphology and soil type was made. Some wetland areas were subdivided along
substrate boundaries. Mapped wetland areas may contain up to 20% of the total area as
inclusions of other substrate types not attributed.
In Butte County, the sources of information for geomorphic and soil substrate
classification as wetland attributes were a combination of geomorphic mapping and historic
and modern soil surveys. The principal source of geomorphic mapping is the Helley and
Harwood (1985) geologic map of late Cenozoic deposits of the Sacramento Valley. Existing
soil surveys and correlation of geomorphic formations with soil types were a primary source
of information for their mapping. In the case of Butte County, historic soil surveys
conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Chemistry and Soils during the 1920s were used (Watson
1929, Carpenter 1930); no complete modern soil surveys are available for Butte County. A
modern soil survey conducted by SCS is in progress. A soil-vegetation mapping program
conducted by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has also mapped
soils in Butte County but mostly in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range foothills with only
small portions mapped within the wetland mapping project boundary.
Correlation of wetland areas with soil types and geomorphic formations was made
based on the information described above. Maps delineating wetland areas were compared
to the draft soil survey maps currently being prepared by SCS and the Helley and Harwood
map, and attribution of geomorphology and soil type was made. The currently available
draft soil survey maps for the most part cover the floodplain, basin, and alluvial fan areas
of Butte County, which are primarily in agricultural production. Alluvial terrace lands have
so far been mapped only in the Honcut to Palermo area. For portions of the Butte County
project area that are not covered by the draft soil survey maps, the historic soil survey maps
from the 1920s were used. A discrepancy arose between the historic maps and the Helley
and Harwood geomorphic maps. The latter maps identify many areas as Tuscan Formation
that the soil surveys identified as Red Bluff Formation. The interpretation based on the
historic soil surveys was given precedence. Some mapped wetland areas were subdivided
along substrate boundaries. Mapped wetland areas may contain up to 20% of total area as
inclusions of other substrate types not attributed.
Habitat Cover Classes Mapped
Six habitat cover classes were employed in mapping wetlands and riparian habitat for
this project (Table 2-1). Cover class indicates the approximate areal coverage, measured
as percent cover, of wetland or riparian habitat within polygons attributed as the given
habitat type. The remaining area within the polygon is comprised of other land cover types,
such as upland or open water habitats. Visual estimates were used to establish cover class
for each habitat polygon. Black-and-white pattern graphics of known percent cover were
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used as aids to estimating cover values. Cover estimates were routinely verified by direct
measurement from the aerial photograph using either a digital planimeter or stratified
random transects where linear distance occupied by wetlands was compared to linear
distance occupied by uplands.
Distinctive Features Mapped
Two distinctive features of vernal pool areas and other seasonal wetlands were
attributed to polygons where they occurred: Mima mound relief and alkali wetland
(Table 2-1). Mima mound relief is also known as "patterned ground" or "mound-intermound
topography" and appears as a regular array of small mounds across a landscape.
Intermound areas typically support vernal pools. The alkali wetland feature category applies
to seasonal wetlands in the Fresno County wetland study area only and encompasses both
saline and sodic conditions.
Mima Mound Relief
The alternate shading of the regular pattern of Mima mound relief was readily
recognizable on aerial photographs. Mima mound signatures tend to show up as darker
colored circular-shaped patterns (mounds) and light gray intermound areas. Mima mound
relief usually occurs on the relatively flat mesa tops on old alluvial terraces and is usually
associated with vernal pool/swale complexes.
Alkali Wetland
Aerial photographs were examined for areas that exhibited bright white bare areas
interspersed among areas with grassland or scrub vegetation. These areas were then verified
as being saline or sodic using the soil map unit as indicated in the Fresno County soil survey
(U.S. Soil Conservation Service 1971). Vernal pool areas found on soils that were indicated
by SCS as being mildly or strongly alkaline were attributed as alkali wetland.
Ground Truthing
Indirect ground truthing of wetland data was conducted by comparing wetland
signatures on aerial photographs with maps from existing on-ground wetland delineation
reports (Table 2-2). Ground truthing was conducted to verify wetland types and cover
classes. Direct on-ground truthing was also conducted by Jones & Stokes Associates staff
when mapping personnel were incidentally at various sites within the study area.
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Table 2-2. Wetland Delineation Reports Consulted for Ground Truthing
Effort for Central Valley Wetland Habitat Mapping
Corps File	Wetland Types Identified
Number	Year	Name	in Delineation
Butte County
19010989	1988
199000034	1990
199000108	1990
199000172	1990
199000655	1990
199101115	1991
199200327	1992
199200837	1992
199300085	1993
199300175	1993
199300447	1993
199300534	1993
199300695	1993
N/A	1994
Fresno County
199300067	1993
North Michigan Exploration
Schmidbauer Property
Forks of Butte
Pleasant Valley Assembly of
God
Bidwell Ranch
Drake Homes, Foothill Park
Nelson Avenue, 6th Street
Project
Oroville Airport Expansion
McDaniel, Ned Jr.
Sanctuary 1-Llano Seco
Unit-WI
Firing Range Highway 149
Butte County
Blakely Western
Magalia Dam, Pond, and
Pipeline
Chico Airport-Western Section
Hughes Creek Diversion/
Fresno
Emergent Marsh, Seasonal Wetlands
Vernal Pools, Seasonal Wetlands
Miscellaneous Wetlands
Vernal Pools, Seasonal Wetlands
Vernal Pools, Seasonal Wetlands
Vernal Pools, Seasonal Wetlands
Miscellaneous Wetlands
Vernal Pools, Seasonal Wetlands
Seasonal Wetland
Emergent Marsh?
Vernal Pools, Seasonal Wetlands
Vernal Pools, Seasonal Wetlands
Miscellaneous small wetlands
Vernal Pools, Seasonal Wetlands
Riparian Scrub, Riparian Woodland
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Geographic Information System Data Entry
Wetland and riparian habitat boundaries (polygons) were digitized from the
7.5-minute USGS quadrangle sheets using state plain grid ties as tie-ins for the coordinate
system. Polygons in the coverage were then attributed with the four-number coding system
of the wetland landcover classification system (Table 2-1).
DEVELOPMENT MAPPING METHODS
Chico Development Mapping
Development mapping of Butte County involved mapping the extent of existing and
planned development in the Chico General Plan planning area. City of Chico and Butte
County planning staff assisted in identifying the developed areas in their jurisdictions as well
as indicating the future plans and directions of development (Sellers and Hogan pers.
comms.). The study area for this project, for development mapping purposes, included the
City of Chico and portions of Butte County within the Chico General Plan planning area
(Figure 1-1). In addition, planned development was mapped in a portion of the county
along the Highway 99 corridor (Figure 1-1).
Definition of Development Types
Individual parcels and groups of parcels were categorized by type. Lands in the study
area were defined as land that was either set aside for open space or in continued
agricultural use, developed, proposed for development, in the process of development, or
designated for future growth. These parcels and groups of parcels were placed into
development categories as defined below.
Open Space/Agricultural Lands. These are parcels that are in agricultural or open
space use. This designation also identifies areas that are considered for agricultural
preservation; however, this designation does not distinguish between parcels that do not
have any designations and those that are to be preserved for agricultural use. Parcels west
of developed portions of Chico are mostly agricultural and parcels east of Chico are not
designated or are mostly used for grazing and minor agricultural uses.
Existing Development. These are existing developed parcels within the study area.
The extent of development was based on a review of aerial photographs taken of the area
and information obtained from general plans and planning staff.
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Projects Approved or Permitted for Construction. This designation includes parcels
that have been approved and/or permitted for development or are currently under
construction. This information is based on input from planning personnel and permit
activity.
Parcels with this designation would be expected to have only minimal changes to their
designated land uses based on construction and use modifications and would be expected
to be built within the next couple of years. This category includes properties for which a
final map has been submitted or is currently being drawn, as well as parcels where permitted
grading activities are currently underway.
Projects in the Planning Stages. This designation includes parcels with some form
of development submittal, but with no existing approvals or permits. This designation also
includes parcels with anticipated submittals, including specific plan proposals, or that have
been the subject of discussions for development. This information is based on input from
planning personnel.
If permitted for development, parcels with this designation would be expected to be
developed by the year 2000. This category includes properties for which a tentative map has
been submitted, as well as those parcels whose owners have discussed development options
with the city and have indicated that site planning is in progress.
Potential Development Areas. This designation includes parcels that have the
possibility of being developed within the general plan timeframe, as well as parcels that have
been identified for future studies to assess development potential. General plan maps and
planning staff have designated these parcels as areas with potential for development, but
currently they remain undeveloped with no specific plans in progress.
Many of these parcels have been designated and/or zoned for future residential land
uses by the City of Chico or by Butte County. These areas may also be a part of special
study areas that have been identified by the jurisdiction as areas where development may
occur within identified constraints. This category includes parcels that have gone through
or are currently in the preapplication process.
Preservation Areas. This designation applies to areas that are either planned or
existing wetlands preserves, including Butte County meadowfoam preserves. Locations of
preservation areas are based on information obtained from Chico planning staff.
Parks. This designation includes major park areas such as Bidwell Park and the
Bidwell Park buffer.
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Aerial Photography Interpretation
Aerial photographs obtained from the City of Chico were used to determine the
extent of the existing developed portions of the study area. The photographs were taken
in March 1990 and had sufficient detail to determine the edge of development, as it existed
in March 1990. This information was then transferred to a USGS 7.5-minute quad map that
was used as the base map for all development mapping.
Classification
Through the use of aerial photographs, the developed areas of the study area were
defined as they existed in 1990. Meetings with the planning director of the City of Chico
and the planning manager of Butte County provided more detailed information, including
an update of the developed portions of the study area as of early 1994 (Sellers and Hogan
pers. comms.). These meetings also provided information and locations of projects that had
approved permits, parcels with development potential, and future development study areas.
All information obtained was transferred to the USGS 7.5-minute quad sheets that were
used as the base for our mapping efforts.
The development categories were defined with the assistance of Chico and Butte
County planning staff to encompass all possible development scenarios for undeveloped
parcels in the study area. Development was not classified by type of development, such as
industrial, commercial, or residential, but only by whether the parcel would be disturbed by
some form of activity related to development of the parcel.
Fresno and Clovis Development Mapping
For development mapping purposes, the study area for this project included the
Clovis General Plan area and the Fresno Sphere of Influence. These areas include
unincorporated portions of Fresno County. Planning staff members from the City of Fresno,
City of Clovis, and Fresno County assisted in identifying the developed areas within their
jurisdictions and indicating the future plans and directions of development. (Brock, Waiczis,
and Tweedie pers. comms.)
Definition of Development l^pes
Individual parcels and groups of parcels were categorized by type. Lands in the study
area were defined as nondesignated, developed, in the process of development, proposed
for development, designated for future growth (including areas for further study), or land
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that was either set aside for open space or in continued agricultural use. These parcels and
groups of parcels were placed into one of five development categories as defined below.
Nondesignated Lands. These are parcels that do not have any land use designations
based on reviews of general plans and conversations with planning personnel.
All of the parcels with this designation were located within the City of Fresno sphere
area. These areas were identified as vacant parcels on the Planned Land Uses for
Agricultural and Vacant Lands map, which was prepared by the City of Fresno Planning
Department.
Existing Development. These are existing developed parcels in the study area. The
extent of development was based on a review of aerial photographs taken of the area and
information obtained from general plans and planning personnel.
Parcels with this designation are primarily located within what is considered the
greater urbanized areas of Fresno and Clovis. Most parcels with this designation are
contiguous, and only in a few areas are these parcels isolated from the rest of the developed
areas.
Approved/Permitted Development. This designation includes parcels that have been
approved and/or permitted for development or are currently under construction. This
information is based on input from planning personnel and permit activity.
Parcels with this designation would be expected to have only minimal changes to their
designated land uses based on construction and use modifications and would be expected
to be built within the next couple of years. This category includes properties for which a
final map has been submitted or is currently being drawn, as well as parcels where permitted
grading activities are currently underway.
Pending Development. This designation includes parcels with some form of
development submittal, but with no existing approvals or permits. This designation also
includes parcels with anticipated submittals, including specific plan proposals, or have been
the subject of discussions for development. This information is based on input from
planning personnel.
If permitted for development, parcels with this designation would be expected to be
developed by the year 2000. This category includes properties whose owners have submitted
a tentative map as well as those parcels whose owners have discussed development options
with the city and have indicated that site planning is in progress.
Planned for Development. This designation includes parcels that have the possibility
of being developed within the general plan timeframe. General plans and planning
personnel have designated these parcels as areas with potential for development, but that
currently remain undeveloped with no site planning in progress.
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Many of these parcels have been designated and/or zoned for future residential land
uses by the Cities of Fresno and Clovis. These areas may also be a part of special study
areas that have been identified by the jurisdiction as areas where development may occur
within identified constraints. This category includes parcels that have gone through or are
currently in the preapplication process.
Planned Open Space. This designation includes all parcels that have been identified
as areas that would remain in agricultural production or would remain as open space areas
for the timeframe of the general plan.
Parcels with this designation are those areas that have been designated as agriculture
or open space by the Cities of Fresno and Clovis. These are properties that most likely
would not be developed in the near future but would be preserved as agricultural land
because of their economic value as agricultural land in active production, or would remain
as open space in the forms of dedicated developed and undeveloped parklands for use by
the area residents.
Aerial Photography Interpretation
Aerial photographs obtained from the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District
were used to determine the extent of the existing developed portions of the study area. The
photographs were taken in March 1991 and contained sufficient detail to determine the
boundaries of existing development as of March 1991.
Classification
Through the use of aerial photographs, the developed areas of the study area were
defined as they existed in 1991. Meetings with planners from the City of Fresno, City of
Clovis, and Fresno County provided more detailed information, including updates of the
developed portions of the study area as of early 1994 (Brock, Waiczis, and Tweedie pers.
comms.). These meetings also provided information and locations of projects that had
approved permits, parcels with development potential, and future development study areas.
The Cities of Fresno and Clovis were also able to provide maps identifying future planned
land uses of many of the vacant and agricultural areas adjacent to the cities. All of the
information obtained was transferred to the USGS 7.5-minute quad sheets that were used
as the base for our mapping efforts.
The six development categories were defined with assistance from both the cities and
the county to encompass all possible development scenarios for undeveloped parcels in the
study area. Development was not classified by type of development, such as industrial,
commercial, or residential, but by whether the parcel would be disturbed by some form of
activity related to development of the parcel.
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Geographic Information System Data Entry
Based on geographic information system parcel map coverages obtained from Butte
and Fresno Counties, parcels were attributed to correspond to the development classification
system described above. Political, planning, and study area boundaries were added to the
database.
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Chapter 3. Results
WETLAND MAPPING
Results of the wetland and development mapping efforts are presented in tabular and
graphic form (Tables 3-1 to 3-11 and Exhibits 1-9). Estimates of the extent of wetlands
in the study area are presented in the tables as well as estimates of the extent of wetland
that could be affected by planned development. Exhibits 4, 8, and 9 depict the distribution
of wetlands and planned development for the Chico, Clovis, and Fresno study areas, respec-
tively.
Butte County
The Butte County wetland study area comprises 488,220 acres of the lowland areas
of the county. In the Butte County study area, wetland and riparian habitats were found to
occur in sites totaling 44,516 acres (Table 3-1).
Vernal Pools
Vernal pools are concentrated in Butte County along the eastern side of the
Sacramento Valley (Exhibit 1). Approximately 23,483 acres of vernal pool areas occur in
Butte County (Table 3-1). As described in Chapter 2, these areas support a mosaic of
vernal pool, swale, drainage, and grassland habitats.
Approximately 4,056 acres of vernal pool areas occur in the Chico General Plan area
(Table 3-1). These areas amount to 17% of the total vernal pool terrain in Butte County.
Nearly all the vernal pools on volcanic substrate are in the Chico General Plan area
(Tables 3-2 and 3-3, Exhibits 2 and 3). Nearly all nonvolcanic vernal pools in the Chico
area are hardpan vernal pools on Red Bluff Formation (Tables 3-2 and 3-3; Exhibits 2,
3, and 4). The remainder of the county supports a rather even mix of hardpan and claypan
vernal pools. In the southern part of the county, vernal pools occur on Turlock Lake,
Riverbank, and Laguna Formations (Exhibit 3).
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Table 3-1. Butte County Study Area Wetland Acreage
Additional	Remainder of
Butte County	County	Total Amount
Chico General Planning Study	Wetland	of Habitat in
Habitat Type Plan Area Area	Study Area	Study Area
Vernal pool areas3
4,055
7,675
11,753
23,483
Other seasonal wetlands
535
285
1,141
1,961
Perennial herbaceous wetlands
0
19
830
849
Riparian forest
908
45
2,273
3,226
Riparian scrub
30
109
4,161
4,300
Open water
0
345
4,834
5,179
Managed wetlands
0
0
10,697
10,697
Nonwetlands
93,367
54,582
290.576
438.525
Total wetland and riparian
habitatsb
5,528
8,133
30,855
44,516
Overall total
98,895
63,060
326,265
488,220
Vernal pool areas include vernal pool, swale, drainage, and grassland habitats.

' This acreage does not include open
water habitat.



3-2

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Table 3-2. Acreage of Vernal Pool Areas by Water-Restricting
Soil Layer in the Butte County Study Area
Water-Restricting
Soil Layer
Additional
Butte County
Chico General Planning Study Remainder of
Plan Area	Area	County
Total
Silica-cemented hardpan
Claypan
Mix of silica-cemented hardpan
and claypan
Volcanic bedrock
Total vernal pool areas
2,786
10
56
1.204
4,056
197
4,874
2,537
68
7,676
4,822
36
6,895
	0
11,753
7,805
4,920
9,488
1.272
23,485
Note: Vernal pool areas include vernal pool, swale, drainage, and grassland habitats.
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Table 3-3. Acreage of Vernal Pool Areas by Geologic Formation
in the Butte County Study Area
Geologic Formation
Chico General
Plan Area
Additional
Butte County
Planning Study
Area
Remainder of
County
Total
Red Bluff
2,842
7,255
8,547
18,644
Riverbank
0
0
705
705
Lagana
0
13
1,376
1,389
Turlock Lake
0
0
1,107
1,107
Tuscan
1,204
68
0
1,272
Floodplain, basin, and alluvial
fan
10
340
18
368
Total vernal pool areas
4,056
7,676
11,753
23,485
Note: Vernal pool areas include vernal pool, swale, drainage, and grassland habitats.

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Table 3-4. City of Chico General Plan Area
Development and Wetland Acreage
Habitat Type
Open	Projects	Projects in
Space/	Approved or	the
Agricultural	Existing Permitted for	Planning
Lands	Development Construction	Stages
Potential
Development Preservation
Areas	Areas
Parksa
Total
Vernal pool areas b
Other seasonal wetlands
Perennial herbaceous
wetlands
Riparian forest
Riparian scrub
Open water
Managed wetlands
Nonwetlands
Total wetland and
riparian habitatsd
Overall total
1,032
432
0
560
30
0
0
66.804
2,054
68,858
17T
0
0
75
0
0
0
13.428
252
13,680
64
0
0
0
0
0
0
720
64
784
1,726
15
0
0
0
0
0
5.196
1,741
6,937
" Includes major parks and portions of creekside greenways designated in the general plan.
b Vernal pool areas include vernal pool, swale, drainage, and grassland habitats.
c Mostly at Chico Airport.
d This acreage does not include open water habitat.
503
< 1
0
15
0
0
0
3.211
518
3,729
360
0
<	1
<	1
0
0
0
61
360
421
192
88
0
258
0
0
0
3.948
538
4,486
4,054
535
0
908
30
0
0
93.368
5,528
98,895

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Table 3-5. Fresno County Study Area Wetland Acreage
Habitat Type
Clovis General
Plan Area
Fresno Sphere
of Influence
Fresno Southeast
Study Area
Fresno
Northeast
Study Area
Remainder of
County Study
Area
Total Amount of
Habitat in Study
Area
Vernal pool areas'
Other seasonal wetlands
Perennial herbaceous wetlands
Riparian forest
Riparian scrub
Open water
Managed wetlands
Nonwetlands
Total wetland and
riparian habitats"
Overall total
3,951
271
67
0
0
66
0
42.483
4,289
46,938
0
0
19
20
7
0
0
88.808
46
88,854
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
13.292
0
13,292
2,609
56
36
231
5
0
0
13.173
2,937
16,110
3,929
335
971
1,643
442
545
3,039
642.850
10,359
653,754
10,489
662
1,093
1,894
454
611
3,039
800.706
17,631
818,948
" Vernal pool areas include vernal pool, swale, drainage, and grassland habitats.
b This acreage does not include open water habitat.

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Table 3-6. Acreage of Vernal Pool Areas by Water-Restricting Soil Layer
in the Fresno County Study Area
Water-Restricting
Soil Layer
Clovis General
Plan Area
Fresno Sphere
of Influence
Fresno Southeast
Study Area
Fresno	Remainder of Total Amount of
Northeast County Study Habitat in Study
Study Area	Area	Area
Lime-cemented hardpan or
sodic claypan
Silica-cemented hardpan
Claypan
Mix of silica-cemented hardpan
and claypan
Other
Total vernal pool areas
0
497
177
2,962
315
3,951
0
0
0
0
_0
0
0
0
0
0
J
0
0
939
257
1,316
	96
2,608
3,012
272
54
569
	22
3,929
3,012
1,708
488
4,847
433
10,488
Note: Vernal pool areas include vernal pool, swale, drainage, and grassland habitats.

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Table 3-7. Acreage of Vernal Pool Areas by Geologic Formation
in the Fresno County Study Area
Fresno	Remainder of Total Amount of
Clovis General Fresno Sphere Fresno Southeast Northeast County Study Habitat in Study
Geologic Formation	Plan	of Influence	Study Area	Study Area	Area	Area
Floodplain, basin, and alluvial fan
73
0
0
0
0
73
Basin rim
0
0
0
0
3,012
3,012
Riverbank
3,636
0
0
2,433
651
6,720
Turlock Lake
0
0
0
65
0
65
Laguna
0
0
0
14
244
258
Other bedrock
242
_0
_0
96
22
360
Total vernal pool areas
3,951
0
0
2,608
3,929
10,488
Note: Vernal pool areas include vernal pool, swale, drainage, and grassland habitats.

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Table 3-8. City of Clovis General Plan Area
Development and Wetland Acreage
Development Categories
Habitat Type Nondesignated
Existing
Approved/
Permitted
Pending
Planned
Open
Space
Total
Vernal pool areas8
33
0
0
0
1,339
2,579
3,951
Other seasonal wetlands
2
0
0
0
0
269
271
Perennial herbaceous wetlands
< 1
0
0
0
53
14
67
Riparian forest
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Riparian scrub
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Open water
0
0
0
0
51
15
66
Managed wetlands
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Nonwetlands
3,007
6,793
1,321
876
22,172
8,414
42,583
Total wetland and riparian







habitats b
35
0
0
0
1,392
2,862
4,289
Overall total
3,042
6,793
1,321
876
23,615
11,291
46,938
Vernal pool areas include vernal pool,
swale, drainage, and grassland habitats.




b This acreage does not include open water habitat.

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Table 3-9. City of Clovis Northeast Urban Center Specific Plan
Area Development and Wetland Acreage
Development Categories
Habitat Type
Nondesignated
Existing
Approved/
Permitted
Pending
Planned
Open
Space
Total
Vernal pool areas'
28
0
0
0
1,005
1,554
2,587
Other seasonal wetlands
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Perennial herbaceous wetlands
< 1
0
0
0
39
14
53
Riparian forest
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Riparian scrub
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Open water
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Managed wetlands
_0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Total wetland and riparian
habitats"
28
0
0
0
1,044
1,568
2,640
" Vernal pool areas include vernal pool, swale, drainage, and grassland habitats.
b This acreage does not include open water habitat.

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Table 3-10. City of Fresno Sphere of Influence Development and Wetland Acreage
Development Categories
Habitat Type Nondesignated
Existing
Approved/
Permitted
Pending
Planned
Open
Space
Total
Vernal pool areas"
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Other seasonal wetlands
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Perennial herbaceous wetlands
1
12
< 1
1
5
0
19
Riparian forest
12
4
0
0
< 1
4
20
Riparian scrub
1
6
0
0
0
0
7
Open water
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Managed wetlands
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Nonwetlands
9,496
54,855
1,580
1,596
14,245
7,036
88,808
Total wetland and







riparian habitats"
25
11
< 1
1
5
4
46
Overall total
9,510
54,877
1,580
1,597.
14,250
7,036
88,854
Vernal pool areas include vernal pool,
swale, drainage, and grassland habitats.




b This acreage does not include open water habitat.

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Table 3-11. City of Fresno General Plan Update Northeast
Study Area (Copper-Friant Triangle) Wetland Acreage
Area
Habitat Type	in Acres
Vernal pool areas *	2,609
Other seasonal wetlands	56
Perennial herbaceous wetlands	36
Riparian forest	231
Riparian scrub	5
Open water	0
Managed wetlands	0
Nonwetlands	13.173
Total wetland and riparian habitats b	2,937
Overall total	16,110
a Vernal pool areas include vernal pool, swale, drainage, and grassland habitats.
b This acreage does not include open water habitat.
3-12

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Other Wetland Habitats
The Butte County wetland study area supports approximately 2,810 acres of other
seasonal wetlands and perennial herbaceous wetlands (Table 3-1, Exhibit 1). Approximately
10,697 acres of managed wetlands are present at the Gray Lodge Waterfowl Management
Area (Table 3-1, Exhibit 1).
Riparian Habitats
Approximately 7,527 acres of riparian forest and scrub habitats occur in the study
area (Table 3-1). Riparian forest and scrub habitats occur mainly along the Sacramento
River and associated sloughs and at the Oroville Wildlife Area (Exhibit 1).
Fresno County
The Fresno County wetland study area comprises 818,948 acres, extending from
Fresno Slough to the Sierra Nevada foothills. In the Fresno County study area, wetland and
riparian habitats were found to occur in sites totaling 17,631 acres (Table 3-5).
Vernal Pools
Vernal pool areas are concentrated in the northeastern and northwestern portions
of the study area (Exhibit 5). The northwestern part of the study area supports saline-sodic
vernal pools with lime-cemented hardpans and sodic claypans on the basin rim geomorphic
surface (Exhibits 6 and 7). A large portion of these saline-sodic vernal pool areas are in the
Kerman Ecological Reserve. The eastern San Joaquin Valley in the northwestern part of
the study area supports freshwater vernal pools with a variety of water-restricting soil layers
on Riverbank, Laguna, and Turlock Lake Formations and other bedrock types (Exhibits 6
and 7). Vernal pool areas encompass 10,488 acres, with 3,012 acres of saline-sodic vernal
pool areas and 7,476 acres of freshwater vernal pools (Tables 3-6 and 3-7). As described
in Chapter 2, these areas support a mosaic of vernal pool, swale, drainage, and grassland
habitats.
The Clovis General Plan area supports 3,951 acres of vernal pool areas, mostly on
the Riverbank Formation (Table 3-5; Exhibits 5, 7, and 8). These vernal pool areas
constitute approximately 38% of the total area remaining in the county. In contrast, no
areas of undisturbed vernal pool concentrations remain within the Fresno Sphere of
Influence.
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Other Wetland Habitats
The study area supports approximately 1,755 acres of other seasonal wetlands and
perennial herbaceous wetlands (Table 3-5, Exhibit 5). Approximately 3,039 acres of
managed wetlands are present in the Mendota Wildlife Area (Table 3-5, Exhibit 5).
Riparian Habitats
Approximately 2,348 acres of riparian forest and scrub habitats occur in the Fresno
study area (Table 3-5). Riparian forest and scrub habitats occur mainly along the Kings
River, San Joaquin River, and Fresno Slough (Exhibit 5).
DEVELOPMENT MAPPING
Chico Study Area
A breakdown of development categories by acreage for the Chico General Plan area
is provided in Table 3-4. Of the 98,895-acre study area, 13,680 acres are existing
development, 784 acres are approved or permitted for construction, 6,937 acres are
in project planning stages, and 3,729 acres may potentially be developed (Table 3-4,
Exhibit 4).
Only one development site was identified in the additional study area in Butte
County: the Rancho Esquon project site (Exhibit 4). It totals approximately 5,713 acres and
was categorized as a potential development area.
Clovis Study Area
A breakdown of development categories by acreage for the Clovis General Plan area
is provided in Table 3-8. Of the 46,938-acre study area, 6,793 acres are existing
development, 1,321 acres are approved/permitted for development, 876 acres are pending
approval for development, and 23,615 acres are planned for development (Table 3-8,
Exhibit 10). Approximately 11,291 acres have been designated for open space.
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Fresno Study Area
A breakdown of development categories by acreage for the Fresno Sphere of
Influence is provided in Table 3-10. Of the 88,854-acre study area, 1,580 acres are
approved/permitted for development, 1,597 acres are pending approval for development,
and 14,250 acres are planned for development (Table 3-10, Exhibit 9). Approximately 7,036
acres have been designated for open space.
CONFLICTS BETWEEN WETLANDS AND
FUTURE DEVELOPMENT
Chico Study Area
Significant conflicts between future development and wetland resources, particularly
vernal pools, can be anticipated if the development were to proceed as envisioned in the
Chico General Plan of August 1994 (Table 3-4, Exhibit 4). Approximately 64 acres of
vernal pool areas occur in parcels with approved or permitted residential and commercial
development projects. Approximately 1,726 acres of vernal pool areas occur in parcels with
development projects in the planning stages. Approximately 503 acres of vernal pool areas
occur in parcels within Chico's urban limit boundary that could potentially be developed.
A total of 2,293 acres of vernal pool areas could be lost to development in the Chico
General Plan area. This amount constitutes 57% of the total amount of vernal pool areas
in the general plan area and 10% of vernal pool areas in Butte County.
Of 1,272 acres of vernal pool areas in the county occurring on volcanic substrate,
1,204 acres, or 95%, are in the Chico General Plan area and 344 acres are in areas expected
to be developed under the general plan (Tables 3-2 and 3-3; Exhibits 2, 3, and 4).
Approximately 29% of the volcanic substrate vernal pools in the general plan area (27%
of the county total) could be removed.
Of the 14,091 acres of hardpan or mixed hardpan and claypan vernal pool areas on
Red Bluff Formation in the county, 2,850 acres, or 20%, are in the Chico General Plan
area and 1,949 acres, or 14%, are in areas expected to be developed under the general
plan (Tables 3-2 and 3-3; Exhibits 2, 3, and 4). Approximately 68% of the hardpan vernal
pools within the general plan area could be removed, and 551 acres are at existing or
designated preserve or park sites.
The 5,713-acre Rancho Esquon potential project site, outside of the Chico General
Plan area, supports 140 acres of vernal pool areas and 28 acres of areas supporting other
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seasonal wetlands (Table 3-1, Exhibit 1). Claypan and hardpan vernal pools occur at this
site, which is on the Red Bluff Formation.
Clovis Study Area
Major conflicts between future development and wetland resources, particularly
vernal pools, can be anticipated if the development were to proceed as envisioned in the
Clovis General Plan (Table 3-8). Although no vernal pool areas occur in areas of
approved/permitted or pending developments, approximately 1,339 acres of vernal pool
areas are in parcels planned for development. Approximately 2,579 acres of vernal
pool areas are in parcels designated as open space. An open space designation, however,
does not ensure protection of vernal pool habitats because many forms of development in
open space areas (e.g., landscaped parks, golf courses, ball fields, and flood control basins)
can result in the loss of vernal pools.
The Clovis northwest and southeast urban center specific plan areas do not support
natural, undisturbed wetland resources. No significant conflicts with wetland resources are
expected if development proceeds in these areas.
The Clovis northeast urban center specific plan area supports a large amount of
wetlands, especially vernal pools (Table 3-9). Approximately 1,005 acres of vernal pool
areas occur in parcels planned for development. Approximately 1,554 acres of vernal
pool areas occur within parcels designated as open space. As discussed above, however, an
open space designation alone does not serve to protect wetland resources. Major conflicts
between development and wetland resources can be expected if development proceeds in
this area as indicated in the general plan.
Fresno Study Area
No strong conflicts exist in the Fresno Sphere of Influence between future
development and wetland resources because only a small amount of natural, undisturbed
wetland and riparian habitats remain in this area (Table 3-10, Exhibit 9). Approximately
46 acres of perennial herbaceous wetland and riparian habitats were found in this study area
(Table 3-10). No concentrations of undisturbed vernal pools remain in the Fresno sphere.
All the historical vernal pool terrains were removed for agricultural and urban development.
No remaining natural undisturbed wetlands were found in Fresno's southeast general
plan study area. Future development in this area would not result in conflicts with natural
wetland resources.
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Fresno's northeast general plan study area, also known as the Copper-Friant Triangle,
supports a large amount of wetlands, including 2,609 acres of vernal pool areas (Table 3-11).
Approximately 25% of the county's remaining vernal pool areas occur there. If future
development is directed into this region, significant conflicts with wetland resources, and
particularly vernal pools, can be expected.
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Chapter 4. Planning Recommendations
INTRODUCTION
This chapter discusses the variety of planning tools that can be used by local agencies
to conserve wetland resources and provides specific recommendations for the Chico and
Fresno-Clovis study areas.
The first section, "Wetlands Regulation", presents a brief overview of local, state, and
federal regulations that provide wetland protection. The "Planning Tools" section presents
a variety of tools available to local agencies that can be used to conserve wetlands and plan
for development that may encroach on sites supporting wetland resources. Following the
section on planning tools are two sections that describe specific recommendations for the
use of these planning tools in the Chico and Fresno-Clovis study areas. These planning
recommendations, along with Exhibits 1-9, are provided to assist the cities and counties in
avoiding conflicts between planned development and wetland resources. The "Closing
Remarks" section presents concluding statements concerning the results of this study.
WETLANDS REGULATION
Wetlands protection is provided at the local, state, and federal levels. This section
provides a brief overview of local, state, and federal environmental review processes and
regulations that are triggered when public or private actions could result in adverse effects
on wetland resources.
The primary wetlands protection regulation used at the local level is the California
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Every development project that is not exempt from
CEQA must be analyzed by the lead agency to determine the potential environmental
effects of the project. Ideally, the local development permit process is coordinated with the
CEQA environmental review process. The CEQA document, either a negative declaration
or an environmental impact report (EIR), should identify all the permits that will be
required for a project and should include the input of the permitting agencies, the public,
the applicant, and the land use decision agency in one document.
State agencies regulate the public and private use of state land and resources.
Wetland protection is typically provided by the DFG through the CEQA process and
through the issuance of lake and streambed alteration agreements under Sections 1600-07
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of the California Fish and Game Code. Any construction activity that would alter the
natural state of any river, stream, or lake in California is required to obtain a lake or
streambed alteration agreement from the DFG. When applying for the agreement,
developers are expected by DFG to provide evidence of compliance with CEQA.
The primary source of federal protection of wetlands is the permit process conducted
under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Section 404 specifically regulates the discharge
of dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States, a broad category of water
bodies including oceans, bays, lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands. Under Section 404, it
is illegal to discharge dredged or fill material into wetlands without first receiving a permit
from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The Section 404 permit program is
administered jointly by EPA and the Corps.
PLANNING TOOLS
This section describes a range of planning tools available to cities and counties for
addressing wetland conservation issues. Each of the planning tools is described in terms of
methods and techniques for wetland preservation and management. All the programs
described here were considered in preparing planning recommendations for the Fresno-
Clovis and Chico development areas. Several tools were not recommended because they
do not adequately address circumstances in the study area. However, discussions of these
tools have been retained in this section of the report because of their overall utility for
wetlands conservation and their potential use in the future.
The most effective method of resource planning in urbanizing areas is to identify
wetland resource issues early in the planning process. Considering wetland resources when
preparing long-range plans for urbanizing areas is often the first opportunity for local
agencies to adopt resource preservation and management policies. These policies lay the
groundwork for more specific management and preservation practices that can be
implemented through regional plans, city and county general plans, specific plans, zoning
regulations, and federal-local partnerships.
Regional Plans
Regional plans can be effective in promoting natural resource management programs
for multiple political jurisdictions. Examples of regional planning programs that have been
effective for managing natural resources include:
	habitat conservation/management planning programs,
	the Natural Community Conservation Planning Program,
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	watershed management plans, and
	open space programs.
Typically, these programs are the products of cities, counties, special districts, and
regional agencies working together for a common objective. Wetland resources often cross
political boundaries and can be more effectively managed when the affected agencies
coordinate their efforts. Joint agency agreements and special management entities can be
instrumental in implementing long-term resource management.
Habitat Conservation/Management Plans
The habitat conservation plan (HCP) and habitat management plan (HMP) processes
are planning tools developed to protect, within a defined area, individual species or multiple
species that are listed as threatened or endangered under the federal or California
Endangered Species Act. HCPs are defined under Section 10 of the federal Endangered
Species Act. "HMP" is the term used for conservation plans developed under Section 2081
of the California Endangered Species Act. HCPs and HMPs are typically prepared as
"reactive" planning documents where already proposed projects would affect state-listed or
federally listed species and are a requirement for private individuals and local agencies to
obtain "take" permits from USFWS and DFG, respectively.
HCPs and HMPs, however, can be developed as "proactive" planning documents that
identify the locations of threatened and endangered species and their habitat; designate
appropriate development in those areas; and obtain agreements from USFWS, DFG, local
agencies, and private landowners. "Prelisting" HCPs and HMPs can be developed for rare
wildlife and plant species that are not officially listed as threatened or endangered and can
reduce the likelihood that those species would become listed by stabilizing or enhancing
population size and habitat extent.
HCPs and HMPs can be used to protect wetlands if they are focused on species that
require wetland habitat for survival or reproduction. A multispecies HCP/HMP for
threatened and endangered plants and wildlife that occur in vernal pools could be an
effective tool for vernal pool conservation.
Natural Community Conservation Plans
A natural community conservation plan (NCCP) developed under the California
Natural Community Conservation Planning Act (California Fish and Game Code, Section
2800) is a type of conservation plan that focuses on a biological community rather than an
individual species. NCCPs provide for regional protection and perpetuation of natural
communities while allowing compatible and appropriate development and growth. The goal
of natural community conservation planning is to protect species of plants and animals and
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their habitats before they decline to the point where designation as threatened or
endangered under the California Endangered Species Act becomes necessary. NCCPs are
expected to:
	promote coordination and cooperation among public agencies, landowners, and
other private interests;
	provide a mechanism by which landowners and development proponents can
effectively participate in the resource planning process;
	provide a regional planning focus that can effectively address cumulative impact
concerns and minimize wildlife habitat fragmentation;
	promote multispecies management and conservation;
	provide an option for identifying and ensuring appropriate mitigation for impacts
on fish and wildlife; and
	promote the conservation of broad-based natural communities and species
diversity (California Fish and Game Code, Section 2800).
The first and only NCCP in California is being prepared for southern California
coastal sage scrub in San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles
Counties.
An NCCP for vernal pools could be developed for Butte County, Fresno County,
or for multicounty areas, such as the Sacramento Valley or the San Joaquin Valley. An
NCCP would be an effective tool for Butte or Fresno County to plan the pattern of future
development to avoid significant conflicts with vernal pool resources.
Watershed Management Plans
Watershed management plans provide wetland conservation policies and management
practices for drainage basins that often span jurisdictional boundaries. They can be effective
planning tools, with joint local and regional agency cooperation, for conserving wetland
areas, along with water quality, water supply, and other natural resources. Watershed plans
also provide a tool for differentiating the functions and values of wetlands in the watershed.
For example, although wetlands throughout a watershed provide a variety of functions and
values, in some cases preserving and managing wetlands in the upper reaches may primarily
benefit water quality and flood control, while preserving wetlands in lower reaches may
primarily benefit groundwater recharge and wildlife habitat.
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The Santa Clara River Watershed Management Plan, being prepared under the joint
authority of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties and local cities and water districts, and the
Santa Margarita River Watershed Management Plan, being prepared under the joint
authority of San Diego and Riverside Counties and local cities and water districts, are two
examples of watershed planning programs in California for which wetland and habitat
conservation and management are important objectives.
To be effective, watershed management plans should be prepared using an ecosystem
approach that identifies wetland functions and determines the relative values of sites in the
watershed for wetland preserves, mixed land use, and development.
Open Space Management Plans
Open space management plans establish policies and management practices for the
preservation of open space and the conservation of wetlands and other natural resources.
Open space and resource conservation areas are designated land use types on a land use
diagram prepared as part of a regional or local general, community, or specific plan.
Planned open space areas are described in terms of habitat, topography, hydrology, and
other physical characteristics. These characteristics, and the sensitive resources they support,
become the focus of management policies and practices. The following are examples of
open space and resource conservation types considered in management plans:
	conservation of sensitive environmental features, including wetlands;
	conservation and enhancement of wildlife habitat, including habitat for wetland
species;
	preservation of agricultural uses in areas of prime soils;
	conservation of water resources and control of water quality;
	flood control and stormwater detention; and
	establishment of community identity characteristics and provision of passive and
active recreation, including bicycle and pedestrian paths.
Open space plans can merge the conservation of wetlands with compatible uses on
the same site, such as flood control, utility corridors, livestock grazing, and recreation.
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City and County General Plans
Cities and counties in California are mandated to prepare long-range plans. The
California Legislature has declared the following:
Decisions involving the future growth of the state, most of which are made and will
continue to be made at the local level, should be guided by an effective planning
process, including the local general plan, and should proceed within the framework
of officially approved statewide goals and policies directed to land use, population
growth and distribution, development, open space, resource preservation and
utilization, air and water quality and other related physical, social and economic
development factors. (Government Code, Section 65030.1.)
The general plan conservation element, which typically emphasizes the use and the
preservation of natural resources, is usually the most appropriate location to address
natural resource issues. When provisions of the conservation element overlap with those
of the open space and land use elements, development and resource protection can be
considered simultaneously during preparation of the general plan (Office of Planning and
Research 1990).
General Plans
Wetlands conservation can be addressed in the general plan by mapping the resource;
describing its habitat value; and developing conservation goals, policies, and action or
implementation programs. Conservation of wetland resources can also be addressed in a
general plan programmatic EIR. Such an EIR assesses impacts on wetland resources and
includes mitigation measures and monitoring programs for losses of wetlands.
Mapping wetland resources is a key step that can be accomplished early in the
planning process and incorporated with other natural resource information, such as the
hydrological characteristics that support them. Designating wetland areas as open space in
the general plan land use element is the most effective means of conservation. This
designation must be supported by wetland conservation policies and implementation
programs to avoid conflicts with uses such as active recreation or agriculture, which could
potentially degrade the resource.
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Specific Plans
Specific plans are tools for systematic implementation of the general plan. Typically,
they are applied to portions of the general plan where more detailed planning is needed to
facilitate development. At a minimum, a specific plan must state its relationship to the
general plan and include the following:
	the distribution, location, and extent of uses of land, including open space, within
the area covered by the plan;
	the proposed distribution, location, extent, and intensity of major components of
public and private transportation, sewage, water, drainage, solid waste disposr1
energy, and other essential facilities proposed to be located within the an
covered by the plan and needed to support the land uses described in the pla
	standards and criteria by which development will proceed and standards for tl
conservation, development, and use natural resources, where applicable; and
	a program of implementation measures, including regulations, programs, publ
works projects, and financing measures necessary to carry out the provisions 
the preceding three items. (Government Code, Section 6545l[a].)
Specific plans are a mechanism for linking resource preservation and management
to development. Phasing programs, adopted as part of specific plans, can tie the dedication
of resource lands, establishment of buffers, initiation of management programs, and other
conservation concepts to development permit approvals.
Though smaller than the areas covered by general plans, land areas covered by a
specific plan are typically large enough to offer flexibility in the location and intensity of
land uses. Specific plans are also a means of establishing open space and conserving
wetlands while planning for development. Wetland resources within a specific plan area can
be designated as preserves with plan guidelines to maintain these resources in areas separate
from development. The ownership of these resource areas can be conveyed to the local
agency with jurisdiction, a private resource conservation organization, or a special district
with the funding necessary to carry out long-term conservation management.
Zoning Regulations
Zoning regulations for wetlands protection can take the form of written criteria
establishing buffers and other preservation features or mapped districts where wetlands are
a defined and protected use. Regulations may be adopted as separate ordinances designed
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solely to protect wetland values or as part of a more comprehensive program regulating
several activities and areas in addition to wetlands and adjacent buffer zones (Burke et al.
1988). Wetland protection through zoning districts can include:
	specific wetland protection districts,
	natural resource protection districts, and
	combined floodplain/wetland districts.
The use of zoning overlays can also be an effective means of wetland protection
where wetlands can coexist with other uses, such as agriculture, parks, and open space.
Zoning ordinances and mapped districts typically have the greatest enforcement of
the local planning programs referenced in this report. Model ordinance language has been
developed specifically for wetland protection. Some of the key sections of a wetland
preservation ordinance are:
	findings of fact and purpose, which help the public and courts understand the
rationale for protecting wetlands;
	descriptions of the lands to which this ordinance applies, which allow for the
incorporation of wetland maps into the zoning ordinance;
	discussion of permit requirements and enforcement, which specifies permit
requirements for activities conducted in a wetland area and within a specified
distance from a wetland;
	discussion of uses by right and special permit uses in a wetland, which
establishes permit requirements and identifies which uses are allowed outright;
and
	discussion of standards and procedures for special permit uses, which specifies
the information necessary for permit application and the agency's regulatory
review process.
Transfer of Development Rights
The transfer of development rights recognizes that parcels of land can be assigned
the right to develop. This right can be established by a local agency's general plan or zoning
ordinance. The transfer of development rights allows an agency to consider development
rights as a commodity that can be transferred from one location to another. A transfer of
development rights program would identify parcels transferring rights as "sending sites" and
parcels receiving the transferred development as "receiving sites". Preservation of natural
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resource areas, such as wetlands, is one of the benefits that can be realized by having a
transfer of development rights program in place.
Federal-Local Partnerships for Wetland Planning
EPA and the Corps have regulatory and nonregulatory programs to assist local, state,
and federal agencies in wetland conservation planning. Regulations and policies
promulgated under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act provide mechanisms for partnerships
between local agencies and EPA and the Corps, the federal agencies that regulate activities
in wetlands under Section 404. Advanced identification (ADID), general permits, and
special area management plans (SAMPs) are three tools that can be used to plan for
wetland conservation through federal-local partnerships in areas of rapid development.
ADIDs, general permits, and SAMPs are discussed below. However, it should be
noted that less formal means of federal-local wetland planning partnerships can be
conducted. EPA and the Corps can provide wetland conservation planning assistance
without using the formal ADID or SAMP processes. In many cases, it may be more
efficient and flexible to use an informal planning process that follows the concepts of ADIDs
and SAMPs without entering into the official processes.
Advanced Identifications
Advanced identification is a method, in accordance with EPA's Section 404(b)(1)
Guidelines, of identifying the suitability of wetland sites for the future disposal of dredged
or fill material. Two types of sites are identified under the ADID process:
	possible future disposal sites, including existing disposal sites and nonsensitive
areas, and
	areas generally unsuitable for disposal site specifications (e.g., sites unsuitable for
placement of dredged or fill material). (40 CFR 230.80.)
Classifying sites in either of these categories provides information that can be used
to facilitate the process for individual or general Section 404 permits. The identification of
areas as "possible future disposal sites" does not constitute a permit for the discharge of
dredged or fill material into wetlands but serves as an indicator to potential developers that
the issuance of a permit is likely. Conversely, the designation of a site as generally
unsuitable for disposal serves as a warning to developers that issuance of a permit is unlikely
or that extensive conditions will likely accompany a permit.
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Information provided in an ADID allows EPA and the Corps to focus their regulatory
efforts to reduce wetland losses where resource values and scarcity are greatest and come
into conflict with development pressures. The ADID:
	enables more effective advanced planning;
	increases public awareness of the importance and value of aquatic ecosystems;
and
	provides the regulated community with an indication of the likelihood of permit
issuance (Sullivan and Richardson 1993).
Local agencies may request that EPA initiate an ADID in their area after
consultation with the state.
EPA Region 9 has recently completed an ADID for the Verde River and its
tributaries located northeast of Phoenix, Arizona. A detailed assessment of the functions
and values of wetland resources of the Verde River was prepared (Sullivan and Richardson
1993). The Verde River was selected for an ADID based on three key factors:
	high wetland and riparian functions and values,
	a high probability of wetland loss or degradation without proper management
and planning, and
	the opportunity to participate and work cooperatively in other comprehensive
planning efforts (Sullivan and Richardson 1993).
These key factors identified for the Verde River area are present in the Chico and
Fresno-Clovis planning areas. ADIDs for these planning areas, developed as federal-local
(and possibly state) agency partnerships, would be appropriate tools for wetlands
conservation and streamlining of the development process.
An ADID can be made more effective as a wetland conservation and development
planning tool if it is followed by Corps issuance of a general permit that streamlines
regulatory requirements in nonsensitive sites. One disadvantage of an ADID is that it can
be labor intensive and time consuming to complete, requiring a substantial amount of
coordination among various agencies and interest groups.
General Permits
General permits are Section 404 permits issued by the Corps on a regional, statewide,
or nationwide basis designed to apply to categories of discharge activities that are similar
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in nature and will cause only minimal adverse environmental effects. General permits serve
to streamline the permitting process, avoiding the more complex and sometimes extended
process of issuing individual permits. Special and general conditions are part of the general
permit and must be met by the project proponent for the general permit to be applicable.
Local agencies and the Corps can work in partnership to develop appropriate regional
general permit conditions.
Regional general permits may be issued by the Corps where local ordinances, or a
combination of state and local agency ordinances and regulations, provide protections for
wetlands that achieve the objectives of the Section 404 permit program. The Corps must
still verify that proposed actions are authorized under the general permit, but the local
agency essentially can assume portions of the Corps' wetland regulatory responsibility for
their area. For example, General Permit no. 16 was issued, effective August 1,1994, by the
Corps' Sacramento District for construction, modification, and repair work in wetlands and
other waters in the Lake Tahoe region. The region covered by the general permit is the
same as the jurisdictional boundaries for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA).
Discharges into wetlands and other waters are authorized if the activities meet the
requirements of TRPA, state and local agencies, and the general permit.
General permits are reviewed by the Corps every 5 years and at that point may lapse
or be reauthorized with or without modification.
Special Area Management Plans
Special area management plans were authorized under amendments to the 1980
Coastal Zone Management Act. The process is defined as:
A comprehensive plan providing for natural resource protection and
reasonable coastal-dependent economic growth containing a detailed and
comprehensive statement of policies, standards, and criteria to guide public
and private uses of lands and waters; and mechanisms for timely
implementation in specific geographic areas within the coastal zone.
Although the SAMP process was originally intended to be applied to the coastal
zone, Corps guidance issued in 1986 (and extended in 1992) for the use of SAMPs stated
that the process of collaborative interagency planning within a geographic area of special
sensitivity is just as applicable in noncoastal areas (Corps Regulatory Guidance Letter
86-10).
A successfully developed SAMP can:
 reduce the problems associated with the traditional case-by-case review of
wetland impacts and mitigation and individual permit applications,
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	provide some predictability to the development process, and
	address individual and cumulative impacts on wetlands in the context of broad
ecosystem needs.
One disadvantage of a SAMP is that it can be labor intensive and time consuming
to develop, requiring a substantial amount of coordination among various agencies and
interest groups.
According to Corps guidance, the advantages of a SAMP may outweigh the
disadvantages if the following elements exist before a SAMP is proposed:
	the area is environmentally sensitive and under strong developmental pressure,
	a sponsoring local agency ensures that the plan fully reflects local needs and
interests,
	full public involvement is encouraged in the planning and development process,
and
	all parties express a willingness at the outset to conclude the SAMP process with
a definitive regulatory product. (Corps Regulatory Guidance Letter 86-10.)
According to Corps guidance, the ideal SAMP concludes with two products:
	appropriate local/state approvals and a Corps general permit or abbreviated
processing procedure for activities in specifically defined situations and
	a local/state restriction and/or an EPA Section 404(c) restriction (preferably
both) for undesirable activities. (Corps Regulatory Guidance Letter 86-10.)
Under Section 404(c), EPA may veto Corps issuance of a discharge permit. A
Section 404(c) restriction is an EPA action to prevent discharges before a permit application
is even submitted. Although the Corps may still be requested to issue individual permits
for activities that do not fall into either category above, individual permits should represent
a small number of the total permit actions within the area covered by the SAMP.
An example of a SAMP considered to be successful is the Anchorage, Alaska SAMP
enacted in 1982 (Salvesen 1990). Under this SAMP, wetlands were classified into four
categories:
1.	preservation: sites where no development is allowed except in special cases;
2.	conservation: sites where some development is allowed;
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3.	developable: sites where development is not hindered by wetlands present; and
4.	special study: sites with wetlands that require additional study before they can
be classified into categories 1, 2, or 3.
Under this SAMP, a general permit was issued by the Corps for sites designated as
developable, while sites designated as preservation or conservation are permitted by the
Corps on a project-by-project basis (Salvesen 1990). Since enactment of the Anchorage
SAMP, most development has occurred in sites designated as developable (Salvesen 1990).
In California, the Corps' Sacramento District is presently involved in the development
of one SAMP and regional general permit for a 6-square-mile area around the City of
Bridgeport in Mono County. The purpose of the Bridgeport SAMP is to:
	provide guidance to landowners, developers, and agencies;
	protect wetland resources; and
	allow for orderly community growth while preserving, protecting and, where
possible, enhancing wetland functions and values (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
public notice no. 1993000607, November 1, 1993).
The Bridgeport SAMP is being developed in accordance with Corps regulatory
guidance on SAMPs and the Mono County General Plan Update. A general wetlands map
of the SAMP area has been prepared and accepted by the Corps for the area. The SAMP
is expected to include three categories of wetlands:
1.	wetlands of high values that are generally considered unsuitable for disposal of
dredged or fill material;
2.	wetlands of low values with poor potential for enhancement (certain types of
fill may be allowed in these wetlands, provided impacts are minimized and full
mitigation conducted); and
3.	wetlands where additional evaluation is needed to determine whether to
include them in category 1 or 2.
The SAMP will require a minimum of 1:1 compensation of functions and values for
all wetlands lost in the area. The use of mitigation banks will be addressed in the SAMP.
Anticipated signatory agencies to the final SAMP are the Corps, USFWS, Mono County
Planning Department, and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. (Corps public
notice no. 199300607, November 1, 1993.)
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Comparison of ADIDs, General Permits, and SAMPs
Wetlands designated under ADIDs are nonregulatory. The approval process for
SAMPs, however, end with Corps and EPA regulatory decisions designating sites where the
streamlined general permit process applies and sites where discharges into wetlands are
restricted. ADIDs provide land developers and local agencies with valuable information for
land purchase and planning decisions. Although the practice is not encouraged, permit
applications can still be filed and permits approved for fill in wetland sites designated under
an ADID as "unsuitable" for placement of fill material. Conversely, fill permits may still be
denied for wetlands designated as "non-sensitive" under an ADID.
SAMPs provide much of the same wetland locational information as ADIDs, but with
regulatory restrictions attached. SAMPs may designate wetland sites legally restricted from
fill activities (Section 404[c] restrictions). In addition, the SAMP specifically designates
wetland sites where general permits developed under the SAMP are applicable.
General permits may be issued without undergoing an ADID or SAMP process.
However, completion of an ADID prior to the formulation of a general permit provides
valuable information for establishing the local agency responsibilities and the scope and
conditions of the general permit. By providing specific data on wetland extent, location, and
value within a region, an ADID also lends credibility to the local wetland regulations
established, activities approved under the general permit program, and the special and
general conditions of the general permit.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE
CHICO STUDY AREA
Background Information
Wetlands became an issue of concern in Chico after the 1976 general plan was
adopted. In the early 1970s the primary issue in Chico was the protection of prime
agricultural land. Population growth estimates prepared in 1974 for the general plan update
indicated that the population of the city and immediate surrounding urban area would
increase by 9,300-23,900 people from 1975 to 1995, suggesting a total population range from
56,500 to 71,100 by 1995. One of the principal problems identified in the general plan
update was where to allow and encourage the new development to locate without
encroaching into the prime agricultural soils located primarily west and south of the city.
In the general plan update, the city directed growth away from the prime agricultural soils
to the nonprime soils located primarily northeast and east of the city. These areas, referred
to as the Tuscan soils and Scab Lands areas, were determined suitable for development;
however, development had been limited because of the lack of subdrainage and the extreme
hardness of the soils.
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The general plan was adopted in 1976. Shortly after adoption, however, new
information about rare plants and wetlands located in the areas east of the city became
available. Biological surveys conducted for the initial Foothill Park project identified rare
plants within the project area. Butte County meadowfoam was discovered and linked to
vernal pool habitat. DFG and the Corps increased their involvement in the permitting of
projects. In particular, the Corps' involvement in wetlands permitting increased in Chico_
and in other areas of California. Community groups also became more interested and
involved in wetlands issues.
Most of the projects in Chico that included the filling of vernal pools and other
wetlands have proceeded under nationwide general permits with the city that require the
developers to obtain Corps approval as a condition of development. This project-by-project
approach has resulted in the loss and fragmentation of wetland resources.
Existing Wetland Conservation Tools Used
in the Chico Study Area
City of Chico Programs
The primary wetlands protection tools used by the City of Chico are specific plans,
Corps permits, and the CEQA process. The specific plan process has been used for Foothill
Park and Bidwell Ranch, two major developments in north Chico. Each of these project
sites has high-quality wetlands, and the specific plans have proposed large wetland preserve
areas. Through the specific plan process, the city has required developers to identify
wetland resources early in the project design with the goal of preserving as much of the
resource as possible. During the environmental review, the city then evaluates the adequacy
of the design and preserve in protecting wetlands and minimizing impacts.
The city also requires Corps permits as a condition of development. The city
coordinates site visits among the various agencies involved in wetland protection (i.e., city,
DFG, and the Corps) to obtain concurrence about the qualities of the resources and the
adequacy of proposed mitigation.
The last major wetland protection tool used by the city is environmental review under
the CEQA process. Other wetland protection tools include the general plan and zoning
designations.
These wetland protection tools have resulted in the following wetland preserve areas
that are permitted or in the planning stages in Chico:
	Doe Mill - 15-acre preserve owned by the City of Chico,
	North Enloe - 32-acre preserve proposed by the developer,
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	Foothill Park - 230-acre preserve permitted by the Corps, and
	Bidwell Ranch - 350-acre preserve proposed by the developer.
Butte County Wetland Mitigation Bank
The Butte County Fish and Game Commission is developing a wetlands mitigation
banking program intended to give project proponents the option of compensating for
wetland habitat loss through cash payments. The program is funded through lake and
streambed alteration agreements reached under Sections 1601 and 1603 of the California
Fish and Game Code between project proponents and DFG. The mitigation bank land will
provide restoration and management of wetlands with the money collected as mitigation for
wetlands and riparian habitat affected by projects that require the alteration of lakes or
streambeds.
The Butte County Fish and Game Commission is conducting the following tasks in
developing the wetland mitigation bank:
	identify and rank wetland habitats that will require banking systems;
	research land parcels for availability, price, and terms for potential mitigation
bank sites; and
	estimate the costs of acquisition, restoration, and long-term management of
mitigation bank sites.
DFG is actively collecting mitigation funds from Sections 1601 (public agency actions)
and 1603 (private actions) agreements for projects in Butte County. This money is being
held in a trust account for Butte County. These funds must be spent on acquiring mitigation
bank lands, restoring or creating wetlands, and conducting mitigation bank operations and
management directly related to the wetland impacts described and mitigation requirements
set forth in the 1601 and 1603 agreements.
The Butte County Fish and Game Commission expects to initiate in the near future
the following tasks:
	negotiate terms of agreements with landowners to develop wetland mitigation
banks,
	conduct restoration of wetland habitats at bank sites, and
	manage the operation of mitigation banks.
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Recommended Planning Programs for Chico
The objective of the study was to map the locations of areas of high-quality wetlands,
identify potential land use conflicts, and recommend conservation planning tools to protect
the high-quality wetlands. The current wetlands protection approach in Chico has resulted
in a net loss of wetlands because of the resource-by-resource and project-by-project
approach.
The wetland identification and mapping portion of this study identified high-quality
wetlands in and around Chico. Most of these sites are vernal pool areas supporting a
mosaic of vernal pool, swale, drainage, and grassland habitats. These resources are found
primarily east and southeast of the city. Additional high-quality wetlands, such as other
seasonal wetlands and riparian forest, are found in the general plan area; however, the
predominant resource is vernal pool areas.
Development areas were identified by the planning staff at the city and county. More
than 24 projects were identified in the Chico planning area (Table 4-1). Developments were
identified by the different stages in the development process. Projects range from approved
or permitted for construction to projects in the planning stages to areas identified for
potential development.
High-quality wetland resources have been mapped in the Chico General Plan area.
Some of these resources are in areas that are approved or permitted for development, some
resources are in areas that are proposed for development (projects in the planning stages),
and some are outside the urban development boundary. Recommended planning tools for
each phase of development planning are presented below.
Projects Approved or Permitted for Construction
Of the seven projects identified as either approved or permitted for construction, only
two projects, Carriage Park and a section of Hillview Terrace, have high-quality wetlands
as identified in this study. By definition, these projects are approved or permitted for
construction. Few, if any, planning programs can be used at this stage to protect wetlands.
If these projects do not proceed with development, it may be possible to reevaluate the
project design and protect more of the wetland resources.
Projects in the Planning Stages
Seventeen projects were identified as projects in the planning stages. High-quality
wetland resources were mapped on several of these project sites. The primary conflict areas
are projects, such as County Service Area (CSA) 87, Airport Environs Special Development
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Table 4-1. Development Information Provided by the City of Chico
for Projects in the Chico General Plan Area
Type of Development
Project Name and
Corresponding Map	Residential	Commercial, Business Park,
Number	Total Acres	(dwelling units)	or Industrial (acres)
Projects Approved or Permitted for Construction
1.
Canyon Oaks
750
350
0
2.
Carriage Park
40
550
2
3.
Doe Mill Highlands East
20
80
0
4.
Doe Mill Highlands West
20
80
0
5.
Hillview Terrace
35
100
0
6.
Humboldt Road School and
Park
60
0
60
7.
Sophia Estates
20
66
0
Projects in the Planning Stages



8.
Airport Environs SDA
1,800
1,800-2,500
300-400
9.
Bell Muir SDA
600
750
0
10.
Bidwell Ranch
750
1,500
10-20
11.
CSA 87
2,100
2,700
Uncertain
12.
Enloe Hospital
240
900
120
13.
Foothill Park
180
750
0
14.
Foothill Park East
172
560
0
15.
Gateway
350
640
151
16.
Humboldt Road SDA
400
1,500
40
17.
Schmidbauer West
200
1,000
15

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Table 4-1. Continued
Type of Development
Project Name and
Corresponding Map	Residential	Commercial, Business Park,
Number	Total Acres	(dwelling units)	or Industrial (acres)
18.
Schmidbauer East
120
500
0
19.
Stonegate
170
750
0
20.
Webb Homes
40
220
0
21.
Westside South SDA
120
0
120
22.
Yosemite Heights East
90
220
0
23.
Falcon Pointe
?
25
0
24.
Chico Canyon Estates
1
35
0
Preservation Areas



A.
Doe Mill - owned by Chico
15
NA
NA
B.
Foothill Park - approved by
the Corps
230
NA
NA
C.
Bidwell Ranch - proposed
by developer
350
NA
NA
D.
North Enloe - proposed by
developer
32
NA
NA
NA = not applicable.
Sources: Sanders and Sellers pers. comms.

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Area (SDA), Enloe Hospital, Bidwell Ranch, Foothill Park, and Gateway; however, some
smaller projects, such as Schmidbauer West and Stonegate, also have mapped resources.
These projects are proceeding on a project-by-project basis; however, the city is using
various planning programs to protect wetland resources. For example, Bidwell Ranch is
proceeding under a specific plan and includes a large wetland preserve area. The Airport
Environs SDA is also similar to a specific plan. Both of these major projects include a large
resource identification and protection element. Other smaller projects, such as Enloe
Hospital, also have included a wetland preservation area. For all practical purposes, the city
is informally implementing the resource management plan approach as recommended in the
general plan update.
Potential Development Areas
The last development planning category that has been identified is the potential
development areas. In Chico, these areas are located within the urban development
boundary and do not have specific development proposals. The primary conflict areas for
these development areas occur around the airport in the north section of the city and south
of the city just north of the Gateway project.
In thevgeneral plan update currently underway, the city has identified a conservation
strategy that focuses on habitat conservation as the most effective way to protect individual
special-status species; minimize impacts on sensitive biological resources, including wetlands;
and preserve plant and animal diversity. The proposed general plan identifies sensitive
habitats, including wetlands, as either Resource Conservation or Resource Management
Areas.
Resource Conservation Areas contain the most sensitive and valuable habitat that
requires protection and would be conserved in perpetuity. Sites identified as Resource
Conservation Areas in the proposed general plan are either under public ownership or will
be preserved by project proponents as a condition of development approval. These areas
may be used for limited passive recreation, educational purposes, scientific study, or offsite
mitigation banking when onsite habitat preservation for development projects proves
infeasible. It is expected that most Resource Conservation Areas will be dedicated as
environmental mitigation or exaction.
Resource Management Areas contain resources that merit long-term preservation,
but further study is necessary before a precise delineation of acreage to be preserved can
take place. Portions of some of the Resource Management Areas shown in the proposed
general plan include wetlands that may be appropriate for onsite preservation and
management or for incorporation into a Resource Conservation Area.
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The proposed general plan also includes the following policy, which relates directly
to wetlands:
OS-G-9 Provide for no net loss of overall wetland acreage; where such losses
may be unavoidable at the project level, require mitigation that meets
the no net loss goal.
Various other policies relate to the protection of wetland resources through the
preservation and protection of wildlife corridors; provision of open space corridors along
creeks; preservation of existing riparian vegetation; and protection of watersheds for
wetlands, creeks, and vernal pools. The proposed general plan also recommends amending
the Chico Zoning Ordinance to include a resource conservation zoning district and habitat
protection standards, particularly buffering, for sites abutting Resource Conservation Areas.
To conserve wetland resources in the Chico area, preparation of a comprehensive
habitat management plan is recommended. The process of developing this habitat
management plan would include the following steps:
	The wetlands mapping information developed as part of this project should be
combined with the habitat information and special-status species locations
developed as part of the general plan update process.
	The habitat conservation strategy identified by the city should be used to protect
wetlands in and just outside the city's planning area, particularly in the southeast
area of the city.
	The City of Chico and Butte County should work together on a regional approach
that would allow for long-term preservation of large areas of wetlands.
	The habitat management plan should include a wetland preserve and wetland
mitigation bank that preserve and enhance wetlands while allowing logical
community growth. The location, size, shape, and regional configuration of
habitat conservation areas should be determined early in the process to ensure
that wetland functions providing important ecological values are maintained.
	Careful attention should be paid to providing connections between wetland
preserves and mitigation sites. The Butte County wetlands mitigation bank
program should be incorporated into this process.
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Development of the regional habitat conservation and management plan should
include the following steps:
	compilation of the wetlands and special-status species information contained in
the master environmental assessment prepared for the general plan update and
the wetlands information prepared for this project;
	identification of data gaps for natural resources and acquisition of information to
fill these gaps;
	field verification, if necessary, of the resource areas to identify sites or areas that
should be preserved and areas that may be filled; and
	identification of the agencies that need to be involved in the process, including
the Corps, EPA, USFWS, and DFG;
	identification of a public involvement process that includes substantial
involvement by the environmental groups and development interests that need to
be represented to reach a consensus;
	identification of the definitive regulatory products that would be achieved at the
end of the process (e.g., issuance or streamlining of Corps permits, streambed
alteration agreements, and agreement on what constitutes adequate mitigation
under CEQA); and
	identification and agreement among the participants of the study of the standards
as to the amount to mitigate and measures of success.
Conclusions
A large amount of undeveloped land supporting high densities of vernal pools is
located east of the City of Chico in the path of future development. For projects in the
planning stages, the city is using several planning tools, including specific plans and the
general plan update process, to protect and preserve the known wetland resources. The
opportunity also exists to protect resources in potential development areas and areas that
have not been proposed for development. The general plan update also identifies a
conservation strategy that focuses on habitat conservation, including wetlands, as the most
effective way to protect sensitive species. Wetland resources information presented in this
study should be combined with habitat and sensitive species information gathered during the
general plan process to develop a regional habitat management plan for the protection of
multiple habitats and species. This comprehensive habitat management plan should include
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planning tools and programs that the city, Butte County, state and federal agencies, and the
public can support.
RECOMMENDATION FOR THE
FRESNO-CLOVIS STUDY AREA
Background Information
Fresno County has prepared several regional plans to address natural resources. The
San Joaquin River Parkway Plan includes goals, objectives, and policies for resource
conservation, use, and management along the river corridor. The county has also adopted
a regional plan for the Kings River corridor, which contains the largest concentration of
riparian forest mapped as part of this project. The county has not yet used the regional plan
process to address wetland areas.
The Cities of Fresno and Clovis have typically addressed wetland issues during the
general plan process. The City of Clovis General Plan, adopted in 1993, includes
conservation policies and action statements for wetland resources. The Clovis General Plan
Environmental Impact Report, certified in 1993, includes a map of potential vernal pool
areas and a habitat map.
The full range of wetland conservation planning tools described earlier in this report
were considered for their applicability to the developing areas of the Cities of Fresno and
Clovis and Fresno County. Selected combinations of tools are recommended for
consideration because of their ability to promote wetland conservation under specific
circumstances. The selected tools are considered to be the most applicable for the wetland
resources and for the stage of planning and development of the Fresno-Clovis study area.
Existing Wetland Conservation Tools Used in
Fresno-Clovis Study Area
Wetland resource protection in Fresno County is primarily in the form of regional
plans for the Kings and San Joaquin Rivers. Fresno County's regional plan for the San
Joaquin River is limited to the area from river centerline to the southerly bluffs. This
includes riparian vegetation along the river but does not include vernal pool areas south and
east of the bluffs. No wetland resource conservation plans are currently in place for Fresno
County or the Cities of Fresno and Clovis.
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Recommended Planning Programs for Fresno and Clovis
The objective of this study was to map the locations of high-quality wetlands, identify
potential land use conflicts, and recommend conservation planning tools to protect these
wetlands. The current protection approach in Fresno and Clovis has resulted in a net loss
of wetlands because of the project-by-project approach.
The wetland mapping portion of this study identified most of the high-quality
wetlands east and north of Clovis. Most of these sites are vernal pool areas supporting a
mosaic of vernal pool, swale, drainage, and grassland habitats. Additional high-quality
wetlands, such as other seasonal wetlands and riparian forest, also are located here.
The following four planning recommendations have been developed for the Cities of
Fresno and Clovis and Fresno County to address specific wetland preservation and
management issues, for their respective planning areas.
City of Clovis General Plan
The City of Clovis General Plan Open Space and Conservation Chapter addresses
the management and preservation of wetland resources. The following goal, policy and
actions are excerpted from that chapter:
Goal: Conserve natural resources through protection and enhancement of
permanently preserved open space.
Policy: Preserve vegetation and associated wildlife habitat in the Clovis project
area.
Action: The City shall cause to be undertaken a field based inventory of wetlands,
vernal pools and their associated sensitive species in the project area
during the appropriate season, where urban development is proposed in
sensitive areas as identified in the Habitat Map.
Action: Require innovative site design where feasible to avoid the impact to vernal
pools and wetlands of development.
The City of Clovis will be able to use information contained in this report to update
its habitat map. Implementation of the action plans listed above, especially for the
northeast portion of the general plan area, is recommended.
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City of Clovis Proposed Urban Center Specific Plan Areas
The Clovis General Plan identified three future urban centers that warranted a more
detailed level of planning. These sites were identified as proposed urban center specific
plan areas in the Clovis General Plan. Development of these sites will require imple-
mentation of a specific plan or joint authority agreements between the City of Clovis and
Fresno County to ensure future effective implementation of general plan policy (Clovis
General Plan, 1993). The Clovis General Plan envisioned that the specific plan process
would:
	facilitate high-quality development;
	allow for coordination of planning efforts among several property owners;
	allow for infrastructure cost-sharing arrangements; and
	provide developments that are sensitive to the environment and integrate open
space and recreation facility requirements.
Southeast and Northwest Urban Center Specific Plan Areas. The southeast (3,306
acres) and northwest (2,627 acres) specific plan areas do not contain wetland resources
mapped for this project. Both of these areas are adjacent to the City of Clovis Sphere of
Influence and represent appropriate locations for future urban growth.
Northwest Urban Center Specific Plan Area. This is the largest specific plan area
(6,977 acres) designated in the Clovis General Plan. Located furthest from existing urban
development, it will likely be the last of the three designated urban center specific plan
areas (UCSPAs) to be developed. Approximately 2,640 acres of mapped wetlands are in
the northwest UCSPA, with approximately 1,044 on lands planned for development and the
remainder on lands designated for open space or agricultural uses (Exhibit 5). Most of the
wetlands are located north of Tollhouse Road.
The Northwest UCSPA is located southeast of the proposed University of California,
San Joaquin Valley site at Academy. This campus site is one of three being considered by
the University of California in the San Joaquin Valley. The proposed Academy site is a
consideration because infrastructure linking the campus with the Fresno-Clovis area would
pass through the UCSPA.
Most of the UCSPA land north of Tollhouse Road is already designated as
agriculture and open space (City of Clovis General Plan). The Corps recently increased the
capacity of a Dry Creek flood control structure in the northwest portion of the UCSPA
(Waiczis pers. comm.). Flood inundation mapping shown in the Clovis General Plan
encroaches into planned residential areas shown on the general plan. These same areas
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contain concentrations of vernal pools. To conserve wetland resources within the UCSPA,
the following steps are recommended for consideration:
	An environmental database should be prepared for the site that includes the
wetland resources identified in this report.
	The wetland conservation concepts that are applicable in this setting should be
considered, including:
-	maximizing the size of the area designated for wetland conservation;
-	maintaining the wetland conservation area in a rural setting at the periphery
of high-density development; and
-	connecting the area to other wetland conservation areas, including the City of
Fresno's northeast study area to the north, with full consideration of buffering,
ecologically meaningful linkages, and future growth patterns.
	An open space district should be established to manage the flood control
facilities, wetland resources, and agricultural uses in the northerly portion of the
UCSPA.
If these recommendations are implemented, the residential and employment center
uses planned north of Tollhouse Road might be relocated to the south, where wetlands are
not present. They also could be cause for reconsideration of the proposed transit center site
and possible relocation to the Shepard Avenue/Tollhouse Road intersection.
Wetland resources, mostly vernal pools, are mapped in the southeasterly portion of
the UCSPA. The wetlands are located in an area designated for low-density residential
development by the Clovis General Plan. The wetland resources cover only a portion of the
low-density residential area. The following recommendations are made to integrate wetland
preservation with residential development:
	redesignate wetlands as open space and increase residential density in the
remaining residential area to mitigate the loss of units,
	design buffers to protect the wetland area from threats residential development
poses to wetland functions and values, and
	link vernal pool preserves in the UCSPA with vernal pool areas immediately to
the east to ensure that the watershed of the pools is maintained.
Recommendations for both the northerly and southeasterly portions of the UCSPA
could result in the redesignation or redistribution of areas planned for development in the
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Clovis General Plan. Implementing these recommendations with a transfer of development
rights program, for landowner compensation, would allow for a more equitable distribution
of development benefits within the UCSPA.
City of Fresno General Plan Update
As part of the general plan update process, the City of Fresno is considering two
areas outside its existing sphere of influence for future growth of the city: the southeast and
northwest study areas.
Southeast Study Area. This study area is approximately 13,292 acres in size, adjacent
to planned development areas within the city sphere and adjacent to growth areas within the
City of Clovis General Plan area. The study area contains no wetland areas mapped as part
of this report and appears to be an appropriate growth area for the City of Fresno. There
also appears to be the potential for joint planning of the City of Fresno's southeast study
area and the City of Clovis' southeast urban center specific plan area.
Northeast Study Area. This study area is approximately 16,110 acres in size and also
known as the Copper-Friant Triangle. The study area includes the San Joaquin River's
southerly bluffs and areas of riparian forest between the bluffs and the river (Exhibit 7).
Within the study area east of the bluffs, there are approximately 2,609 acres of vernal pool
areas. Fresno's general plan update process includes designating land uses for areas east
of the bluffs where vernal pools exist. The following recommendations could be considered
to integrate wetlands conservation with the general plan update process:
	The San Joaquin River Parkway Plan should be reviewed to determine whether
the plan boundaries should be extended to include vernal pool areas in the
Copper-Friant triangle. This would expand the diversity of habitats within the
regional plan.
	An environmental database or master environmental assessment should be
prepared that maps and describes wetland resource as part of the general plan
update process.
	A vernal pool preserve should be established within the study area, based on
habitat quality, watershed integrity, compatibility with adjacent uses, and presence
of special-status species.
	A mitigation bank should be established within the study area to mitigate the loss
of smaller and more isolated vernal pool areas.
Recommendations for the northeast study area could result in the redesignation or
redistribution of areas planned for development in the Fresno General Plan update process.
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Implementing these recommendations with a transfer of development rights program, for
landowner compensation, would allow for a more equitable distribution of development
benefits within the study area.
Rural Residential Land Division Review for Fresno County
Fresno County has designated unincorporated areas east of the city of Clovis and
west of the Friant Kern Canal as Rural Residential. The Rural Residential designation
allows a minimum 2-1/2-acre lot size. Land divisions in this area are often done in two-
to four-parcel maps.
Wetlands, primarily vernal pools, are present in this area. A review of the wetland
area maps accompanying this report is recommended to determine where Rural Residential
land divisions may affect wetland resources and to propose appropriate mitigation during
CEQA review.
Conclusions
A large amount of undeveloped land on the eastern edge of the San Joaquin Valley
supports high densities of vernal pools. Recommendations presented in this report for
wetlands conservation have been directed primarily at lands in these unincorporated areas
of Fresno County being considered for urban growth by the Cities of Fresno and Clovis.
Joint city-county planning for these areas would seem to have the greatest likelihood for
success. There is a precedent for this type of joint authority. A working relationship
between the City and County of Fresno and Madera County was established to oversee
preparation of the San Joaquin River Parkway Plan (San Joaquin Parkway Task Force 1992)
to address natural resources of mutual concern.
CLOSING REMARKS
Planning recommendations have been presented in this report based on a single
natural resource, wetlands. Obviously, good planning must be based on multiple variables,
including public demands, physical features, infrastructure, economics, safety, and natural
resources other than wetlands. However, serious potential conflicts between existing
wetland resources and future development as envisioned under the Chico and Clovis
General Plans have been identified in this report. Because of the declining status of
wetland habitats, especially vernal pools, in California's Central Valley as a result of the
same types of development planned in Chico and Clovis, local agencies in these areas should
consider implementing some of the recommended programs presented in this report.
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Implementing wetland conservation programs discussed in this report can avoid much
of the conflict that will result if each new project is required to deal with wetland issues
individually, without the guidance and regulatory streamlining that can be provided by local
or regional conservation programs. Project-by-project review may be time consuming and
expensive for both the project proponent and the regulating agencies.
Wetland distribution data, planned development patterns, and recommended wetland
conservation programs have been provided by EPA in this report to assist local agencies in
their planning efforts.
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Chapter 5. Citations
PRINTED REFERENCES
Burke, D. G., E. J. Meyers, R. W. Tiner Jr., and H. Groman. 1988. Protecting nontidal
wetlands. American Planning Association. Chicago, IL.
Carpenter, E. J. 1930. Soil survey of the Oroville area, California. U.S. Bureau of
Chemistry and Soils. Washington, DC.
Helley, E. J., and D. S. Harwood. 1985. Geologic map of the late Cenozoic deposits of the
Sacramento Valley and northern Sierra foothills, California. MF-1790. U.S. Geological
Survey. Denver, CO.
Huntington, G. L. 1971. Soil survey of the eastern Fresno area, California. U.S. Soil
Conservation Service. Washington, DC.
Office of Planning and Research. 1990. State of California general plan guidelines.
November. Sacramento, CA.
Salvesen, D. 1990. Wetlands: mitigating and regulating development impacts. The Urban
Land Institute. Washington, DC.
San Joaquin Parkway Task Force. 1992. San Joaquin parkway plan. Fresno, CA.
Sullivan, M. E., and M. E. Richardson. 1993. Functions and values of the Verde River
riparian ecosystem and an assessment of adverse impacts to resources: a supporting
document for the initiation of the Verde River advanced identification. U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service. Phoenix, AZ. Prepared for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
Region 9, San Francisco, CA.
Watson, E. B. 1929. Soil Survey of the Chico area, California. U.S. Bureau of Chemistry
and Soils. Washington, DC.
USEPA (Region 9)
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PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS
Brock, Sandra. Planner. City of Fresno Development Department. Fresno, CA. January
14 and April 4, 1994 - meetings at City of Fresno offices.
Farrel, William. Director of Development Services. Butte County Department of Develop-
ment Services. Oroville, CA. January 25, 1994 - letter to Kim Smith, Jones & Stokes
Associates.
Hogan, Barry. Planning Manager. Butte County Department of Development Services.
Oroville, CA. April 6, 1994 - meeting at Butte County offices.
Sanders, Craig. Associate planner. Butte County Department of Development Services.
Oroville, CA. September 27, 1994 - telephone conversation with Kim Smith of Jones &
Stokes Associates, Inc.
Sellers, Clif. Director of Planning Services. City of Chico Community Development
Department, Chico, CA. February 11, 1994 - letter to Jane Freeman, U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency; March 29,1994 - meeting at City of Chico offices and
various telephone conversations/map revisions; September 7, 1994 - meeting with Kim
Smith of Jones & Stokes Associates, Inc.
Tweedie, Jeff. Environmental Program Manager. Fresno County Planning Department.
Fresno, CA. January 14 and April 4, 1994 - meetings at County of Fresno offices.
Waiczis, Mike. Associate Planner. City of Clovis Planning Department. Clovis, CA.
January 14 and April 4, 1994 - meetings at City of Clovis offices.
USEPA (Region 9)
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Chapter 6. List of Preparers
Paul Cylinder
Kim Smith
George Williamson
Matt Gause
Christopher Cate
Chris DiDio
James Jokerst
Jane Palik
Jim Merk
Tony Rypich
Beverly Fish
JONES & STOKES ASSOCIATES, INC.
Technical Team
Project Manager
Coordinator, Chico Planning
Coordinator, Fresno-Clovis Planning
Wetlands Specialist
Land Use Planner
Geographic Information System Specialist
Wetlands Specialist
Production Team
Word Processing Operator
Editor
Graphics Delineator
Report Reproduction
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Appendix A. Habitat Conservation Concepts
INTRODUCTION
This appendix describes the concepts of habitat conservation that should be used to
direct various aspects of land use planning. These concepts are applicable to developing
goals and plans and serve as a basis for allocating land to various land use categories.
Background information is provided on the principles of preserve design and wetland
ecology, and concepts and planning considerations to use in the local and regional planning
processes are summarized.
WETLAND PRESERVE DESIGN PRINCIPLES
The most important step in wetland conservation planning is determining which
wetland values are the focus of the conservation strategy. Important considerations when
selecting sites for the conservation of wetland functions and values are the wetlands
landscape context, preserve size, preserve shape, and preserve connectivity.
Identification of Conservation Objectives
A critical step in habitat conservation planning is identifying ecological functions that
are to be preserved. These desirable functions provide the wetland values that are the focus
of the conservation planning. Each of the different functions provided by wetlands has
different conservation requirements that must be considered. The location, size, shape, and
regional configuration of habitat conservation areas should be determined to ensure that the
wetland functions that are the object of the conservation effort are maintained.
Wetlands Landscape Concept
Wetlands do not exist in isolation. Wetland functions depend on surrounding
landscapes. Wildlife that use wetlands often frequent or require nearby nonwetland
habitats. Many of the important ecological functions and societal values provided by
wetlands depend on a broader ecological context. For example, wetlands cannot provide
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flood control and aquifer recharge benefits without a watershed, and watersheds produce
and deliver the supply of water that sustains wetlands. In addition, many species that
depend on wetlands reside primarily in the nonwetland habitats surrounding the wetlands,
and the type and intensity of wildlife use of a wetland depends on the extent and human
uses of undeveloped habitat surrounding the wetland.
Preserve Size
The size of an ecological preserve often determines the richness of species and
habitat it contains and strongly influences a preserve's ability to maintain species populations
and ecological functions. Large land areas generally support more species than do smaller
areas of the same habitat type and generally support larger populations of the species
present than smaller areas. If biodiversity conservation is a primary goal, then large
preserves are preferable because they support a larger number of species and increase the
probability that each species will persist there in perpetuity.
Large populations of wildlife and plants are less susceptible to extirpation than small
populations. Small populations are more likely to be extirpated by random environmental
changes; demographic effects, such as uneven age distributions or sex ratios; and population
genetic effects, such as inbreeding depression and genetic drift. Large populations have a
higher probability of persisting over the long term than smaller populations because of the
ability to absorb a large loss of individuals without losing the entire population.
The vulnerability of populations of wildlife and plants in an isolated habitat fragment
(such as preserves surrounded by urban or rural lands) to extirpation is related to habitat
area. Preservation of large habitat areas increases the probability of population persistence
compared to smaller habitat areas because of the direct relationship between population size
and habitat area and because populations are more likely to escape short-term deleterious
effects in larger preserves. For example, in a large preserve, only a portion of a population
may be exposed to a negative effect, or individuals in a large preserve may temporarily
relocate to undisturbed habitat to escape such an impact.
Preserve size is also important because of the possible effects of adjacent land use.
Preserve edges are exposed to "edge effects", such as predation by domestic cats and dogs;
exposure to herbicides and pesticides; changes in temperature, water regime, and wind
patterns; and introduction of aggressive non-native plants and wildlife. Buffers, such as
intervening habitat, suitable land uses, deep water, or fences between the preserve and
developed lands, can be used to protect preserves from edge effects. With the exception of
narrow, linear preserves, the protection of preserve interiors from edge effects increases with
preserve size. The amount of land that can be protected against edge effects increases with
preserve size.
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Preserving populations of dependent species, including rare and endangered species,
is often a principal goal of habitat conservation planning. A general rule of thumb in
designing ecological preserves is that the desired species, and the desired functions and
values, have a higher probability of persisting in larger rather than smaller preserves. This
generalization is based, in part, on the following observations: the central portions of large
preserves are more easily protected from the effects of adjacent land use and development,
and large populations (i.e., the type associated with large land areas) are more easily
maintained over the long term than are small populations.
Under some circumstances, small preserves may be of great value or may even be
preferable to large preserves. For example, populations of some species can persist in
properly managed small preserves, and some small habitat "islands" can support rich biotas.
Where sensitive species are vulnerable to disease or predators, small, scattered preserves
may be of greater value than a single large preserve. Ultimately, the decision on preserve
size should be based on the amount of area required to sustain the targeted ecosystem
functions and values and specific desired species habitat requirements in the face of existing
and proposed future uses of the conservation area and adjacent lands.
One strategy to minimize the risk of losing populations of wildlife and plants is to
distribute the risk by establishing preserves at several sites. This approach minimizes the
potential for extirpation resulting from a single ecological catastrophe.
Preserve Shape
The shape of a preserve influences the effective size of the preserve. A higher
proportion of a long, narrow preserve is exposed to edge effects than an equal-sized
preserve with a lower edge-to-interior ratio. Edge effects increase susceptibility to disease,
predation, and competition from unwanted invaders. Human and other disturbances at
preserve edges decrease habitat values to certain species.
Preserve Connectivity
The susceptibility to extirpation of populations that occur in isolated habitat preserves'
can be reduced by maintaining connections between preserves. The exchange of individuals
among habitat patches lessens the effect of natural fluctuations on small populations.
Populations that have been reduced or eliminated by environmental catastrophes may be
recovered if sufficient connections are provided for recolonization. Corridors connecting
preserves can serve as both migration corridors and escape routes. Allowing for migration
also helps maintain genetic fitness and diversity by allowing the periodic influx of new
genotypes into established populations.
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Designing connection between preserves is not necessarily as simple as maintaining
an open space corridor. The connection must have the type of habitat that can be traversed
or used by the desired species. Poor-quality habitat corridors can be counterproductive if
they result in high dispersal mortality. A drawback of habitat connections is that they may
encourage the immigration of undesirable species that could diminish habitat quality for
desired species in the preserve. Connections among preserves have an intuitive ecological
appeal, but they should be evaluated carefully in view of the goals and objectives of the
preserve before time, effort, and money are invested in their design and establishment.
Vernal Pool Preserve Design Considerations
Vernal pools generally are found clustered in large numbers. These clusters are
referred to in this report as "vernal pool areas" but have also been referred to as vernal pool
"terrains", "landscapes", and "archipelagos". Some of the ecological functions provided by
vernal pools (e.g., habitat for amphibians and migratory waterfowl) and some adaptations
that ensure long-term persistence of species (e.g., recolonization by individuals of a plant
or wildlife species extirpated from one pool via dispersal from nearby pools) require the
close proximity of numerous pools with surface hydrologic connections.
One important ecological function of vernal pools is that they provide habitat for a
host of plant and wildlife species. Numerous plant and invertebrate species spend their
entire life in a single vernal pool. Some species, such as the conservancy fairy shrimp and
Greene's tuctoria (a grass species), are so specialized to vernal pool habitat that they have
never been observed in other types of wetlands. Amphibians such as the uncommon
spadefoot toad and the rare California tiger salamander breed in vernal pools but also use
other types of seasonal wetlands. These species also require nonwetlands to complete
portions of their life cycle. A variety of mammals and migratory waterfowl and songbirds
use vernal pools as foraging and resting habitat during their movements in the Central
Valley.
The ecological relationships of species inhabiting vernal pools are complex.
Developing strategies to conserve the range of species that depend on vernal pools requires
an understanding of their ecological needs. Most of the important values associated with
vernal pools require that the pools exist within open grasslands. Wide-ranging wildlife
species that use vernal pools require or are attracted to sites with concentrations of pools
in expansive grasslands. The presence of riparian habitat and oak woodlands interspersed
within vernal pool terrains further enriches the number of wildlife species that use vernal
pools. Grasslands are also required to sustain some species that live in vernal pools. Large
aggregations of vernal pools may be required to sustain viable, self-perpetuating populations
over the long term. Some bee species are so specialized that they require vernal pool plants
for nectar and pollen and adjacent grasslands for nest sites.
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Vernal pool preserves are susceptible to the same forces that threaten other preserve
types. Edge effects threaten species and ecological functions, and demographic and genetic
effects threaten species. Larger preserve sizes and larger wildlife and plant population sizes
both appear advantageous in vernal pool preserves. The size of populations is generally
related to the area and number of vernal pools. The number of pools in the preserve may
also influence genetic diversity. Preserve size, together with pool area and number, should
be considered when planning vernal pool preserves. Preserves should be of sufficient size
to contain adequate nonwetland grassland habitat necessary to maintain existing vernal pool
functions and values, buffer pools within the preserve interior from the adverse effects of
land uses on adjacent property, maintain intact vernal pool watersheds, and maximize the
number of species and the population sizes of those species. With these provisions, a vernal
pool preserve has a relatively high probability of sustaining the vernal pool biological
community, the species that depend on vernal pools, and the functions and values vernal
pools provide.
WETLAND CONSERVATION CONCEPTS
The concepts listed below should be considered when determining where and how
to apply planning tools that are designed to conserve wetland functions and values:
	Maximize the size of areas earmarked for the conservation of wetland functions
and values.
	Locate conservation areas in rural settings at the periphery of high-density
development.
	Avoid conserving areas as habitat islands in urbanized settings unless they
support important, irreplaceable, or unique functions and values.
	Focus wetland conservation in areas with minimally developed or disturbed
watersheds.
	Isolate preserve watersheds from adjacent developed areas unless if the preserve
is designed specifically to store and use urban runoff.
	Design buffer widths to protect preserves from the threats that adjacent land use
(existing and future proposed) pose to important wetland functions and values.
	Develop open space linkages between preserves that can function as wildlife
movement corridors.
USEPA (Region 9)
Appendix A. Habitat Conservation Concepts
A-5
Wetland Resource Planning Recommendations
September 30, 1994

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	Plan separate conservation strategies for each of the different types of wetlands
in a jurisdiction.
	Design preserves based on the full consideration of their management require-
ments and the threats that preserves may pose to adjacent land. For example,
fuels buildup from accumulated plant material in an unmanaged preserve may
expose an adjacent developed area to a fire risk, and flooding from a wetland
preserve may threaten adjacent developed areas.
	Maximize the diversity of habitats (wetland and upland) in the preserve to
maximize the richness of species captured in the area.
	Select preserve areas in the context of a regionwide preserve system, with full
consideration given to buffering, ecologically meaningful linkages, and future
growth patterns.
	Select wetland preserve areas based on habitat quality, watershed integrity,
defensibility against adjacent land uses, presence of special-status species, and
appropriateness of site size and shape.
	For vernal pools, attempt to encompass a large number of pools, and a large
total pool area, in each vernal pool preserve, and ensure that the watershed of
the pools is maintained in an undeveloped manner.
VSEPA (Region 9)
Appendix A. Habitat Conservation Concepts
A-6
Wetland Resource Planning Recommendations
September 30, J 994

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