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|Sacramento County, CA||November 2, 2004 Election|
By Carol Chase McElheneyCandidate for City; City of Elk Grove; Council District 5
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Oak trees, the Swainson's Hawk, and Vernal Pools are being destroyed by growth.As a Park Ranger, I have enjoyed a lifetime of working outdoors with plants and animals, as well as park visitors. We cannot lose our precious and rare flora and fauna.
Our current tree ordinance has no teeth in it. A developer can cut down any oak tree he wants, with the philosophy that "its easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission". With unlimited money, they just pay a small fine, if anything, after destroying a heritage oak. I plan to keep the "grove" in Elk Grove by having a tree coordinator working for the City who will keep track of our oak trees and call in arborists when a tree is "sick" and allegedly needs to be cut down. Trees that drip leaves and sap on vehicles, or block a business sign will not be considered "sick".
The Swainson's Hawk used to forage in our agricultural fields. This hawk needs row crops and agriculture, plus tall nesting sites in trees to survive, not dollars in the bank. Recently the City said they were going to require acre for acre mitigation for development, but exceptions are already being made. With land speculators driving the prices up, the money in the Swainson's Hawk fund will not be able to buy even a small condo for the birds. They need ag land.
We are lucky enough to still have some vernal pools in our city. These seasonal wetlands are home to many endangered plants and animals, and put on a beautiful show of wildflowers every spring. Vernal pools cannot be moved or created by man if they are inconveniently located. I plan to ask University student scientists to identify and catalog all vernal pools in the city to prevent them from being destroyed.
Wildlife corridors are important to any city. They give wildlife such as deer, coyote, and other species room to travel without interfering with human activity. A wildlife corridor does not have to be landscaped turf. Undeveloped areas should be maintained between developments to give wildlife a place to go, other than through our yards. These areas could also function as trails for horses and people.
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