2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 7 Nov 2003 15:38:58 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Habitat part of project debate
Habitat part of project debate
Vernal pools vie with water-treatment plant on Mather property.
By Mary Lynne Vellinga
Published 2:15 a.m. PST Friday, November 7, 2003

Sacramento County planners working on a proposal to preserve habitat in
the south county say they envision the many vernal pools dotting the
former Mather Air Force Base as the core of a future preserve.

One day, they hope to connect the pools at Mather with those to the
south that have been protected from development by the Sacramento Valley
Conservancy, allowing animals, plants and water to migrate back and
forth throughout the valley as they once did.

But other branches of the county, which oversees Mather, have repeatedly
floated projects -- including a large sewer pipe and a gravel mine --
that critics say threaten the vision for a preserve.

The latest idea: a water treatment plant to serve the new
Sunrise-Douglas development under construction nearby on Sunrise
Boulevard. The $15 million facility, to be paid for by development fees,
would treat well water piped in for Sunrise-Douglas.

But by locating it at Mather, water officials are hoping to use the
plant to treat a backup supply of water for Mather in case Aerojet
contamination turns up in more wells. Numerous wells have been closed
because of contamination from the former rocket facility.

If a site at Mather can't be found, the $15 million plant will go
somewhere else, perhaps on the Sunrise-Douglas property itself, said
John Coppola, principal civil engineer for the county Department of
Water Resources. Such a move would eliminate the opportunity for the
county to obtain a quick backup supply.

But those working on the county's habitat conservation plan say there
are better places on Mather for the treatment plant. As it is, they say,
the facility would sit in the middle of a corridor envisioned to connect
Mather with preserves to the south.

"When the county picks the most pristine site at Mather for a treatment
plant, you have to scratch your heads and wonder if we're all working
toward the same goals," said Eva Butler, who has spent seven years as
chair of the California Native Plant Society's Mather Field Vernal Pool
Preservation Campaign.

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