Cordova Hills

ECORP Consulting, Inc. was retained by Conwy, LLC (Conwy) to provide services related to biological resources, cultural resources, and regulatory permitting for the proposed 2,668-acre Cordova Hills project (Project). Conwy proposes to construct a planned community in Sacramento County, south of the City of Folsom and east of the City of Rancho Cordova.

 

ECORP has conducted numerous biological resource surveys and assessments in support of the Project, including rare plant surveys within vernal pool and other wetlands. Sacramento Orcutt grass (Orcuttia viscida), an endangered species was known to occur on the site, and we re-located the population. The population will be preserved within the on-site preserve.

 

Significant time and effort was spent on designing an on-site preserve that would be sustainable in the future, while still allowing the project objectives to be met. ECORP conducted a vernal pool CRAM (California Rapid Assessment Method) Assessment on assessment areas across the site – some in the proposed preserve and some outside – to determine if the vernal pool preservation on the site was focused on the high-value areas. The on-site preserve design was further refined using detailed watershed information. LIDAR-derived topographic data was used to establish individual watershed boundaries for the vernal pools and seasonal wetlands spread across the project site. This information was used to determine where watershed breaks could also delineate the preserve boundary, thus preserving the watershed of the wetlands downslope. The analysis was also used to determine if hydrologic changes were likely to result from a reduction of watershed area where the entirety of individual watersheds could not be preserved. Where changes were projected, the development footprint was modified.

 

ECORP provided input on edge treatments for the landuse adjacent to the on-site preserve. The strategy was to minimize edge effects related to development. We developed lists of appropriate native plants to be installed in buffer/trail areas that allow for a natural transition between the preserve and the development area.

 

ECORP representatives served as liaisons to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the wetland delineation verification process. ECORP has prepared and submitted a Section 404 Individual Permit application and Biological Assessment for the Project in addition to presenting the Project at multi-agency meetings and participating in site visits. We also served in a technical capacity and as a liaison during negations with the County of Sacramento / South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan (SSHCP). SSHCP staff and ECORP worked together to design an on-site preserve system that would meet the needs of the SSHCP, as well as the project.

 

The Project will require significant habitat mitigation. ECORP biologists are assessing multiple restoration and preservation sites that could serve to mitigate the Project’s impacts to waters of the U.S. as well as special status species. We will assist in the preparation of a mitigation proposal and will collaborate with the USACE and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to secure the required approvals.

 

ECORP conducted cultural resources studies to comply with requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The Cultural Resources studies consisted of a pedestrian survey of the entire 2,668-acre property and archaeological testing and evaluation at three historic sites, one prehistoric site, and one multi-component site located within the property.