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Placer County-Jessup partnership a win-win

Placer County Supervisor's column
By: Robert Weygandt
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At first glance, the open spaces that straddle old state Route 65 near Lincoln may not grab your attention like Yosemite would. But the now golden fields, pockets of oak trees and trickling streams are rich with ecosystems and abundant with more life than meets the eye.

I am excited to tell you that Placer County has entered into a research partnership agreement with William Jessup University that will help us conserve approximately 47,000 acres of these open spaces in western Placer County.

Under the agreement, Jessup students will gain practical field and research experience while helping the county collect and analyze data needed to assess and plan land and habitat conservation projects as part of the Placer County Conservation Program.

It’s a win-win. Under the agreement, students will get connected with the local environment, gain hands-on experience while working on obtaining their degree and the county will benefit from scientific research requirements necessary for moving Placer County Conservation Program forward.

The purpose of Placer County Conservation Program - which we hope to become a national model - is to conserve our uniquely-rich natural resources while facilitating continued smart development in western Placer County. The program will streamline federal, state and local permitting, while dramatically enhancing the 50 year build-out of the county’s open space policy.

Placer County will routinely monitor the health of protected species populations, map wetlands, conduct habitat surveys and sample soil, air and water. Guided by their faculty, students will work in partnership with the county and have opportunities to research each of these unique areas of study.

This agreement could also serve as a template for other similar agreements in the future. A draft of the Placer County Conservation Program and its environmental impact report are expected to be available for public review later this year. I hope you will take some time to look it over. The benefits for future generations will be discernable for years to come.

What’s even more exciting is that all the research conducted with Jessup will be available to the public for review, giving you a better understanding of our natural environment. The next time you drive by these open areas you just might be able to point out where a Tricolored Blackbird or Swainson’s Hawk lives.

 

Robert Weygandt is the Placer County supervisor for District 2, which covers Lincoln, Sheridan, and the western portions of Rocklin and Roseville. To contact Weygandt, call (530) 889-4010 or email bweygandt@placer.ca.gov.