SAFCA's Environmental Mission

Mission Mandate

SAFCA derives its environmental and natural resources 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.”

Consistent with its public safety 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 within the Agency’s geographic boundaries.

Regulatory Compliance, Habitat Compensation and Enhancement

In addition to its environmental mandate, SAFCA is obliged to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This statewide statute requires proposed governmental actions that may affect the environment be adequately analyzed, so project actions are designed to avoid or minimize damage to the environment. Where impacts cannot be avoided, SAFCA is obliged to compensate for environmental impacts through reasonable and feasible mitigation measures.

Other environmental laws and regulations which often intersect with SAFCA’s flood system management actions include the Federal and California Endangered Species Acts (ESA and CESA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, provisions under the federal Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, the Federal Rivers and Harbors Act, Fish and Game Code (Section 1602), and applicable Federal and State Archaeological Resource Protection laws. Additionally, there are various local resource ordinances such as heritage tree preservation codes and water codes that are also considered.

Habitats and wildlife most often affected and mitigated by SAFCA’s actions are terrestrial and aquatic species associated with river ecosystems and protected by ESA and/or CESA statute. These have included Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni), valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus), giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas), winter and spring run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and species associated with vernal pool wetlands.

Throughout its jurisdiction, SAFCA has planned, designed and implemented numerous habitat restoration and compensatory mitigation 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. In the late 1990’s and over the last 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.

Links to various projects, species information, and habitat descriptions are located in the side menu.