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Oak Woodland Mitigation Ordinance



Board of Supervisors November 6, 2018 (Board of Supervisors November 6, 2018)

On September, 27, 2018, the Planning Commission held its workshop on the Draft Ordinance and made a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors with changes to the Technical Manual.  Staff made the changes to the Technical Manual per direction of the Planning Commission.  The Final Draft Ordinance is posted below. This contains a few minor revisions and reformatting.  Note that the Final Draft Ordinance is proposed as a new Chapter 53, Development Mitigation, Article I - Oak Woodland Mitigation Ordinance.  Staff added section 53-13 Calculation of Oak Canopy Mitigation to help explain the connection between the area removed and the replacement ratios.  Below are links to the updated version of the Ordinance and Manual.


Planning Commission Workshop #2 September 27, 2018

The Planning Commission will conduct its second workshop on the Draft Ordinance on Thursday, September 27, 2018 (the first workshop was held on December 14, 2017).  Here are the September 2018 draft materials.  Additional materials including the staff report can be accessed at the link above.

August 29, 2018 Users' Group Meeting

There are a number of changes between the July 2018 version and the August 22, 2018 version (see links below).  The current version adds a definition of Qualified Wildlife Biologist to the Qualified Professional definition; adds a specific cross reference to the Grading Ordinance (Chapter 13-14(c) as an exception to the Ag exemption; added language to section XX-11 Oak Canopy Impacts to address subsequent projects; added language to section XX-12(E) to clarify replanting within a conservation easement, mitigation bank, or land trust that can qualify for 100% of the mitigation; increased the Oak Canopy Replacement Ratios in XX-13; and, set the replacement planting standards in XX-14 as a minimum.  Staff will take additional comment on the draft ordinance in preparing for a presentation to the Planning Commission on September 27, 2018.

August 10, 2018 Stakeholder Meeting

July 27, 2018 Stakeholder Meeting

December 14, 2017 Planning Commission Workshop

December 6, 2017 Butte County Users’ Group Meeting - Agenda

Additional Information

The Draft Oak Woodland Mitigation Ordinance has been prepared to address impacts from proposed development (referred to as discretionary projects in the draft Ordinance).  The draft ordinance focuses on the oak woodland as a habitat type.  The Ordinance proposes that more than 10% removal of oak woodland canopy area is considered a significant impact subject to replacement.  If you have any questions, please contact Pete Calarco, Assistant Director via email or by phone at 530.552.3641.

Currently, the impacts of discretionary projects on oak woodlands are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  Adoption of an oak woodlands ordinance would assist in defining impact thresholds under CEQA, standardizing practices so applicants know what to expect from the project review process, provide guidance how to avoid or minimize impacts to oak woodlands and allow staff to process applications more efficiently.  There are a number of Goals, Policies and Action items from General Plan 2030 that support an oak woodland ordinance.  Staff has also found that one option for mitigation of impacts to oak woodlands, payment to the Oak Woodlands Conservation Fund cannot currently be fulfilled by an applicant.  The State will not accept payment unless the local jurisdiction has adopted a fee.  The Ordinance as drafted is applicable only to discretionary projects – those that can be approved or denied and impact oak woodlands.  Development Services has prepared this draft based on a consultant prepared version. 

The Ordinance is drafted to be applicable to discretionary projects.  Examples of discretionary projects include Subdivision Maps, Parcel Maps, Use Permits, and Minor Use Permits.  These are applications that are subject to a public hearing and may be approved, denied or modified.  Because they are discretionary, such applications are commonly subject to review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  

Revised DRAFT - July 2018

Below are links to the July 2018 draft Ordinance and the Manual.  There are a number of changes between the July 2018 draft and November 2017 draft.  Three of the main changes are as follows: 

  1. The new DRAFT includes a change in the definition of Oak Woodland.This changes the applicability of the Ordinance.  The definition no longer requires oaks to be 10% of the tree canopy in order for the project to be subject to the Ordinance.  This simplifies this portion of the draft ordinance and expands the applicability of the ordinance.  This is a significant change from the previous draft.
  2. The new DRAFT sets a cap for the removal of oak woodlands by requiring that 30% remain (no more than 70% removal).  This is borrowed from the Butte County Oak Woodland Management Plan.  While the context of that plan is voluntary and is a recommendation regarding firewood removal, we are proposing this same percentage as a cap for discretionary projects.  (see note below regarding Alternate Design)
  3. The new DRAFT adds the Alternate Project Design and Review section.  This section is to address projects that are not consistent with the ordinance.  The ordinance is intended to serve as the steps for environmental review and mitigation.Projects that are consistent with the ordinance need not have additional CEQA review as it pertains to oak woodlands.  This Alternate section recognizes that there may be projects that cannot comply with the ordinance standards.  This section provides an answer for this situation – it requires that any project that is not consistent with the ordinance have its own project-specific analysis for oak woodlands.

Previous Draft (November 2017)

Comment on the Draft Ordinance

For those that would prefer to write their comments and submit by email or mail to Pete Calarco, Assistant Director, Butte County Department of Development Services, 7 County Center Drive, Oroville, CA 95965.
If you would like to add your name to a stakeholder’s contact list for review and comment, please email Pete Calarco, Assistant Director

 or click the Join Email List link below. 

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You can click on the Join Email List to receive email messages about the Oak Woodland Mitigation Ordinance.

Additional Resources

General Plan 2030 Oak Woodland Applicable Goals, Policies & Action Items

Butte County Oak Woodland Management Plan Resolution 07-084

Oak Woodland Impact Decision Matrix 2008

California Wildlife Conservation Board – Oak Woodlands Conservation Program

UC Oak Woodland Management

Description of County Oak Conservation Policies

Proceedings of the Seventh California Oak Symposium: Managing Oak Woodlands
in a Dynamic World (2014)
 (PDF 10MB)

Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) CEQA Threshold of Significance



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