Some of the larger issues with the Biological Resources Policy Update:
- Oak retention requirements were eliminated in favor of “incentivizing” policy, meaning mature trees can be removed for a fee.
- Under the ORMP, a total of 145, 552 acres (nearly 60 percent) of the county’s 246,806 acres of oak woodlands could be lost.
- Of this countywide oak woodland acreage, 132, 281 acres (approximately 54 percent) could be lost without mitigation requirements because of the ORMP’s agricultural activities exemption.
- While the county’s blue oaks (Quercus douglasii) will bear the majority of the impacts, up to 65 percent of the county’s 3,970 acres of valley oaks (Quercus lobata) could be lost as well.
- The county anticipates permanently protecting only 5,945 acres (2.4 percent) of the county’s existing oak woodlands.
- The mitigation fee for oak removal includes only $4,400 per acre for land acquisition. A fee of such a low dollar amount allows only for the acquisition of conservation easements in remote areas of the county. It does little to provide for the establishment of wildlife corridors in areas where development is likely to occur and land values far exceed the land acquisition fee.