Regular Meeting Board of Directors
December 2, 2020

Time and Location

(Meeting to be held virtually. Select to attend the December 2, 2020 meeting via Zoom.)
4:00 p.m. – Executive Session (closed)
5:30 p.m. – Public Session (open)

Meeting facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities. If you require special assistance to participate in the meeting, notify the Conservancy’s office at (916) 649-3331 at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

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1. Executive Session

Executive Session is scheduled for real estate and litigation.

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2. Call to Order of the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors

The Board Chair will call the meeting to order if a quorum is present. Announcements by the Board Chair or Executive Director may be made at this time. Board members may make announcements at this time as well.

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3. Public comments

Opportunity for members of the public to address the Conservancy’s Board of Directors.

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4. Approval of the minutes

*All items listed under “Action by Consent,” including minutes, are considered and acted upon by one Motion. Any Board member may request an item be removed for separate consideration.*

The Board Chair will request approval of the minutes and consent items of the Board of Directors meeting of October 7, 2020.

Download the October 7, 2020 Minutes (PDF, 608 KB)

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5. Authorization for Farm Air to utilize landing strip on TNBC’s Bianchi West tract

The only remaining agricultural aircraft operator in the Natomas Basin is Farm Air Flying Service, Inc. TNBC and its tenants use Farm Air, and without the firm operating in the Basin, costs would likely rise, and delays in planting crops could also result. (Rice is frequently seeded by air.) Farm Air has requested permission to use TNBC’s portion of the Bianchi West tract landing strip for use in serving its customers, including TNBC and its tenants.

Before acquiring the Bianchi West tract, TNBC completed Phase One and Phase Two environmental testing on the airstrip. This was done in order to ascertain the level, if any, of toxicants in the soil at the landing strip site. (The studies revealed acceptable levels, so TNBC moved forward with its acquisition of the tract.) With this baseline data, TNBC can keep track of the status of soils on and around the runway.

Staff requests authorization to enter into an agreement with Farm Air Flying Service, Inc. to allow it to utilize TNBC’s portion of the Bianchi West landing strip. The authorization would include the following restrictions, among others:

  1. the authorization terminates December 31, 2021,
  2. only seed and fertilizer are permitted to be used on the landing strip,
  3. no pesticides may be used on the strip without the written authorization of TNBC’s Executive Director,
  4. only in-Basin sites may be served by Farm Air from the landing strip, and
  5. a properly executed agreement must be in TNBC’s office prior to Farm Air’s use of the landing strip, and that the agreement contain TNBC’s standard indemnification, hold harmless protections, and that TNBC be named as an additional insured on the relevant Farm Air insurance policy or policies.

The Executive Director expects no authorization request for pesticide use on the landing strip. However, there could be special occasions that might warrant such authorization, but only for the use by TNBC or its contractors and tenants.

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6. RD 1000 security contract with Brookman Protection Service, Inc.

Since 2006 Reclamation District 1000 has contracted with Brookman Protection Service, Inc. to provide Basin-wide security services. The Natomas Central Mutual Water Company and the Conservancy contribute to that effort. In the past the Conservancy has contributed up to $20,000 per year as its share of security costs, payable to RD 1000. Staff requests approval for 2021 service not to exceed $20,000. (This is included in the 2021 budget presented in this agenda.)

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7. Natomas Central Mutual Water Company Annual Meeting of shareholders

The annual election of Directors of the Natomas Central Mutual Water Company (NCMWC) takes place on February 09, 2021, at 9:00 am, location to be announced. The Conservancy holds 3,641 shares of stock in the Company (out of approximately 31,262). Conservancy staff recommends that votes be cast for candidates familiar with the NBHCP and sensitive to the Conservancy’s view of land holding and water rights in perpetuity. This action authorizes the Conservancy’s Executive Director to vote the Conservancy’s shares in the Conservancy’s interest.

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8. Board action clarification regarding the land maintenance contract recently awarded

At its October 7, 2020 meeting, the Board approved selection of two new contractors for habitat land maintenance work. This item is intended to clarify that the Board’s action included a 10% contingency provision, which is customary with this type of contract due to uncertainties. Uncertainties can include weather-related expenses, excess or inadequate water, government-ordered action (e.g., Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District), non-native vegetation outbreak, water quality matters and others. This item requests Board confirm its approval of a 10% contingency to these two new land maintenance contracts. (The 10% contingency is included in the 2021 budget presented in this agenda.)

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9. Internal Financial Controls Policy update

The Conservancy’s Internal Financial Controls Policy was last updated on August 7, 2019. This item proposes two changes to the policy:

  1. The Conservancy needs to increase one staff member’s credit card limit from $5,000 to $10,000, largely because of COVID-19 and work-from-home requirements. (This does not pertain to the Executive Director or the Chief Financial Officer.)
  2. The Board’s Internal Financial Control policy requires Board approval to open or close financial accounts on behalf of the Conservancy. As the Conservancy is transitioning SAFCA contracts back to SAFCA, along with those contracts will be funds held by the Conservancy on behalf of those SAFCA contracts. Once all bills have been paid and cleared through the accounts, the accounts will need to be closed. One is a checking account and one is an investment account.

The Internal Financial Controls Policy is presented for Board review and approval with two changes, 1.) approval to increase to one staff member’s credit card limit to $10,000, and 2.) approval to close financial accounts the Conservancy holds for SAFCA implementation agreements at such time as all outstanding items have cleared. Staff recommends approval of these changes.

Download the Conservancy’s Internal Financial Controls Policy (PDF, 114 KB)

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10. 2021 NBHCP Finance Model and 2021 budget

The proposed 2021 Conservancy budget is presented to the Board for adoption. A draft of the 2021 Conservancy budget was shared with the Board at the October 2020 Board of Directors meetings for review and discussion.

The Conservancy’s proposed 2021 budget is integrated with the NBHCP Finance Model, so that the document submitted for action is one document. The consolidation of the two documents was introduced in 2007 with the intention of reducing the chance of differing budget numbers and because of the consistency it afforded.

The matter of reserves for property taxes has been a substantial issue for the NBHCP Finance Model calculation over the last several years. This year, the Conservancy made no change in the following assumptions with respect to the Williamson Act’s impact on Conservancy-held property:

  1. The State of California’s Williamson Act subventions to counties remains unfunded or largely unfunded in this and future State budgets.
  2. Counties with which the Conservancy has Williamson Act contracts (Sacramento and Sutter) make no additional change to existing contracts.
  3. Counties permit no newly-acquired properties to be enrolled in Williamson Act contracts and to enjoy the property tax benefits such participation affords.
  4. All new properties acquired by the Conservancy for HCP mitigation purposes enjoy no Williamson Act property tax protection and are assessed at their full value at the time of acquisition.
  5. Sutter County’s Williamson Act contracts are reduced by 10 percent.

The fee is substantially influenced by land prices. The recommended fee, as proposed by Conservancy staff, is supported by work done by Stephen Harrington, MAI, updated for 2021. Harrington estimates the range for mitigation land acquisition in 2021 is $30,000 to $33,000 per acre. The NBHCP Finance Model presented assumes mitigation land acquisition at $30,000.00.

The price estimate for future-acquired mitigation land is based on an assumption contained in the NBHCP Finance Model. The NBHCP requires that the Conservancy purchase mitigation land within 12 months of demand. There are no exceptions or extensions provided for. So, the Conservancy’s estimate for mitigation land acquisition costs are based on a “looking forward” methodology, while appraisal valuations are typically based on recent historical valuations.

The 2021 Conservancy Budget and NBHCP Finance Model are now submitted for Board acceptance, as is a request to the City of Sacramento to adopt the Finance Model’s indicated fee as follows:

  • The NBHCP mitigation fee for 2021 is recommended to remain the same as in 2020 at $40,032 per developed acre.
  • The NBHCP mitigation fee with land dedication for 2021 is recommended to remain unchanged at $25,032 per developed acre.

The Board is asked to:

  1. approve the proposed 2021 Conservancy Budget;
  2. accept the 2021 NBHCP Finance Model recalculation; and
  3. adoption of a resolution to be submitted to the City of Sacramento requesting no change in the NBHCP fee (see attached resolution).

This item anticipates that should Sutter County express an interest in initiating its use of the NBHCP’s Incidental Take Permit acres, an identical resolution is approved for it as well, changing out only the City of Sacramento references to County of Sutter references.

The 2021 NBHCP Finance Model is available upon request.
Please email your inquiry to: Email [email protected]

Download the NBHCP mitigation fee recommendation resolution (PDF, 42 KB)

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11. City of Sacramento report

Report from the City of Sacramento regarding HCP-related activity and other topics.

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12. Financial statement review

Financial statements will be provided for the period ended October 31, 2020 (unaudited). Additional financial information will be provided.

Download the unaudited October 31, 2020 financial statements (PDF, 2 MB)

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13. SB-1094 Compliance, mitigation lands: nonprofit organizations

Conservancy staff will brief the Board about the continued efforts to secure authority to hold mitigation lands under the SB-1094 legislation that addresses mitigation lands held by nonprofit organizations. The Conservancy’s initial authorization letter was good through June 4, 2020. The renewal application was submitted at the beginning of 2020 and the Conservancy received its authorization letter on October 8, 2020, good through October 8, 2025.

Download the SB-1094 Approval Letter (PDF, 351 KB)

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14. Giant garter snake translocation project update

Translocation of Giant garter snakes (GGS) to the Conservancy’s Fisherman’s Lake Reserve Area has been under discussion for many years. Populations of GGS are very low in the Reserve Area, despite the Conservancy’s creation and management of managed marsh complexes there. Scientists believe that populations are so extremely low that extirpation is a real possibility in that portion of the Natomas Basin. In August 2018, the Board approved a GGS translocation project conducted by Allie Essert at U.C. Davis in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey in Dixon, CA. The program is for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Essert will present her 2020 findings to the Board.

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15. Impacts of American bullfrog on Giant garter snake

Richard Kim is a U.C. Davis graduate student studying the ecological impacts of the invasive American bullfrog on GGS at the Conservancy’s BKS tract. Kim will present his 2020 findings to the Board.

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16. Executive Director’s Report

Various matters for Board members’ general information will be presented by the Conservancy’s Executive Director.

Download the Executive Director’s Report (PDF, 3 MB)

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17. Adjournment

Official adjournment of the meeting.

Upcoming Regular Meetings

  • February 3, 2021
  • April 7, 2021
  • June 2, 2021