SAFCA derives its environmental mandate from Section 130-52 of the Sacramento Flood Control Agency Act which states:
“to the maximum extent economically feasible and consistent with its flood protection and flood management requirements and with state and federal agreements, the Agency shall carry out its responsibilities in ways which provide for the optimum protection of the natural environment, especially riparian habitat and natural stream channels suitable for native plants and wildlife habitat and public recreation.”
SAFCA’s geographic boundaries include the City of Sacramento, the County of Sacramento except the incorporated cities of Folsom, Galt and Isleton; and portions of Sutter County south of the Natomas Cross Canal in the Natomas Basin. The Agency’s planning and project implementation activities are primarily concentrated in the flood water conveyance corridors along the American and Sacramento Rivers. Today these river corridors, bounded by earthen flood protection levees, support the remnants of a once extensive riparian forest and marsh ecosystem. Consistent with its flood protection imperative, SAFCA works to conserve and protect valuable habitats and crucial ecosystem functions that sustain our regional fish and wildlife resources, and provide other public trust benefits to water quality, nature recreation, and the visual and cultural resources of the Sacramento River and American River Parkway.
Regulatory Compliance, Habitat Compensation and Enhancement
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a foundational law that requires governmental actions that affect the environment to be adequately analyzed, so that such actions are designed to avoid or reduce damage to the environment. Where impacts cannot be avoided, governmental agencies like SAFCA are obliged to compensate for environmental impacts through reasonable and feasible mitigation measures.
Other environmental laws and regulations which often intersect with SAFCA’s flood management actions include the Federal and State Endangered Species Acts (ESA); Migratory Bird Treaty Act; provisions under the federal Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, the Federal Rivers and Harbors Act; Fish & Game Code Section1602 (Streambed Alteration Agreements) and applicable Federal and State Archaeological Resource Protection laws. As a local agency, SAFCA is also obliged to comply with various local resource ordinances such as heritage tree preservation codes and water codes.
Habitats and their species most often affected and mitigated by SAFCA’s actions are terrestrial and aquatic species associated with river ecosystems and protected by state or federal ESA status. These species have included: Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni), valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus), giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas), and ESA-listed anadromous fish species, including Chinook salmon (winter and spring run) (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and species associated with vernal pool wetlands.
Throughout its jurisdiction, SAFCA has planned, designed and implemented numerous habitat restoration projects including innovative stream bank protection designs that also benefit juvenile salmon and steelhead, perennial native grassland projects, fish passage improvements and invasive plant control programs. The Agency has also implemented successful habitat compensation and enhancement projects for burrowing owls and vernal pool species. Over the past decade, SAFCA in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, the US Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies have successfully completed a multitude of riparian and aquatic habitat projects along the Sacramento and American Rivers, and Steelhead and Dry Creeks, including planting thousands of native riparian trees and shrubs.
SAFCA is recognized as a statewide leader and innovator of natural resource planning and habitat restoration design integrated with levee protection and floodway management to protect public safety. In April of 2010 a special committee with the Sacramento Environmental Commission selected SAFCA to receive an "Environmental Recognition Award". § Link §
Links to various projects, species information and habitat descriptions can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate links on the right.
SAFCA is a sponsor and participant in several collaborative planning forums that promote coordination, cooperation and mutual assistance among local, state, and federal flood management and natural resource agencies, tribal representatives, neighborhood groups and business and environmental organizations with an interest in flood management and river and stream corridor issues. The Agency sponsors two active collaborative groups including the Lower American River Task Force (LAR Task Force) founded in 1994, and the North Area Round Table (Round Table). SAFCA staff members are or have recently been actively involved in supporting the California Levees Roundtable, American River Parkway Plan Update, Sacramento River Corridor Planning Forum, Natomas Joint Vision, and other interagency flood management and natural resource collaborative groups. Links to these and other collaborative initiatives can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate links on the right.
Additional links to various resource agencies and non-governmental organizations can be found by clicking on the appropriate link on the LEFT.