Nevada County board considers Heritage 2020 plan
NEVADA CITY – On Tuesday, May 9, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors will be discussing a proposal for undertaking Natural Heritage 2020: A Vision for Nevada County, a comprehensive strategy to identify, manage and protect natural habitats, plant and animal species diversity, and open space resources in Nevada County.
“It should come as no surprise that, as population continues to grow in Nevada County, we risk losing the natural and scenic qualities that distinguish us from other, more urbanized regions of the state and country,” says Elizabeth Martin, 4th District Supervisor and member of the Ad Hoc committee charged with recommending a structure and approach for Natural Heritage 2020.
“Mitigation of growth impacts can help; but project-by-project mitigation is difficult, expensive and typically results in further fragmentation of habitat and open space,” Martin explains. “Many individuals and community-based organizations have pointed to the need for a more comprehensive plan with specific implementation measures – such as creation of an Open Space District or using transfer of development rights – to achieve the planning goals written in our county’s General Plan.
“That’s what Natural Heritage 2020 is all about. It’s a business-friendly approach to habitat conservation.”
If approved, Natural Heritage 2020 would solicit public input and scientific expertise to conduct a county-wide biotic inventory and develop a habitat and open space management plan with specific implementation measures, governance mechanisms and funding options.
Once completed, Natural Heritage 2020 would serve as the primary vehicle for implementing many of the County and perhaps the Cities’ open space and resource protection objectives.
To assist the County Planning Department with project design and implementation, Natural Heritage 2020 calls for establishing Community Advisory and Scientific Advisory Committees.
The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) would hold regular, open meetings to identify, seek input on and assess alternative approaches, structural frameworks and possible financing plans for protecting natural communities and open space in the County.
The committee would also seek public input to help identify conservation priorities and specific areas within the county that should be protected for other public benefits, such as agricultural production, recreation, public health and safety needs, etc.
The CAC would then present its recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for consideration and potential action.
The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) would provide scientific expertise to the County, reviewing proposed scopes of work, recommending research and helping guide the work of Natural Heritage 2020 consultants over the course of the project.
“The Community Advisory Committee is really the heart of this effort,” says Sam Dardick, 5th District Supervisor and member of the Ad Hoc committee.
“We would be looking to CAC members to be both investigators and ambassadors, as they seek information and ideas for how best to address working landscape, open space, public health and safety, species diversity and other natural resource issues facing our county.”
Individuals interested in serving on the volunteer Community Advisory Committee would be asked to submit an application, available from the County.
Under the Natural Heritage 2020 proposal, the 11-member CAC would be appointed by the Board of Supervisors in July 2000.
“If the Board of Supervisors approves Natural Heritage 2020, it will be an ambitious undertaking that will require a significant investment of human and financial resources and a wide range of skills,” says Planning Director Mark Tomich.
In recognition of this fact, the Ad Hoc committee is recommending that Nevada County partner with the Sierra Business Council (SBC), a local organization with demonstrated expertise in conservation planning, public participation strategy design, fundraising and other skills necessary to complete the proposed project.
For more information on the proposed Natural Heritage 2020 or the presentation to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 9, call Kateri Harrison at 265-7058.
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