Stronger Together.

Call to Action

Comments needed to avert mass grading in Placer Ranch project area

November 24, 2020

Dear Friends,

Action needed by November 27th,

Help us persuade the the State’s Water Board to deny an excavation permit (Placer Ranch Comment Project Application 5A31CR00548) that will destroy 3,0000 acres of carbon sequestering grassland, vernal pools and wetland in our beautiful Placer County. A quick telephone call to Greg Hendricks 916.464.4709 or sending an email to is all you need to do!  (content is below).

In your letter or telephone call to Greg, urge the Central Valley Water Board to deny the 401 permit until 1) the challenge to the adequacy of the EIR is determined and 2) outstanding environmental impacts are addressed 3) a Project designed to work with natural systems, that prioritizes preservation of agricultural resources, supports listed-species and resident and migratory raptor species and protects downstream water resources, is put forth. 

Urge the Greg to recommend that the Water Board consider the natural features of the PR/SA and the ecosystem services provided there. Ask the Water Board to fulfill their duty to enhance and protect these resources based on scientific review and conform their decision with State policy for agland conservation, Statewide CO2 reduction goals  and groundwater protection. 

Explain that we understand that growth into natural systems may be inevitable but we can grow smarter – deriving many benefits, leading by example and  bring to the table, a constructive conversation about what should be and that we need diversity of thought to face new challenges to our common survival.

Thank Greg and the Board for denying the 401 permit and enacting policy that we need to save the world. 


Until November 27th, the Central Valley Water Control Board will accept comments on “Project Application 5A31CR00548, Placer Ranch Project”.  The Project consists of mass grading activities on 3,000 acres of west Placer grassland that is home to some of the County’s last vernal pools, 14 listed endangered species, and a healthy Pleasant Grove Creek riparian corridor.  All this will be lost to prepare for construction of low-density high-cost single-family sprawl housing and mixed-retail/commercial uses in this unincorporated area of Placer County.

The County of Placer/Developer is seeking a 401 permit to bulldoze the land from the State Water Board. Now is our opportunity to inform the Water Board about the consequences of this environmental destruction. Please provide comments to Greg Hendricks at the Water Board, Phone: 916.464.4709 and

You’ll remember that citizens organized to analyze the proposed Placer Ranch development site from a wholistic, interconnected, and science-supported perspective; because we felt that Placer County has yet to explore the full range of possibilities for the Sunset Industrial Area. 

The Alliance for Environmental Leadership produced the Citizen-Initiated Smart Growth Plan (CISGP) which enabled environmentally sensitive solutions for the  County’s desired regional job center in west Placer and, in addition, provided homes for new workers in a walkable community that protected essential environmental resources.

The County denied citizens our civil right to meaningful discourse about the future of this land.  They dismissed the CISGP and approved the EIR for the developer’s Sunset Area and Placer Ranch Plan despite its 55 significant and adverse environmental impacts.  Subsequently the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) sued the County;  challenging their authority to harm people’s health and welfare and harm the environment. This pending lawsuit does not prohibit the developer from setting bulldozers to work.

Despite the pending lawsuit, the County acting as the developer and Placer Ranch Ltd. (property owner) have applied for a 401 Permit from Central Valley Water Resources Board to proceed with massive grading.

WHAT TO SAY to GREG at the Water Board:

Please tell Greg Hendricks that this activity will destroy carbon sequestering grassland and agricultural resources in conflict with State policy and the County’s own General Plan.

The will  irrevocably alter habitat and water resources that are critical to the survival of 14 listed endangered species and will destroy critical wildlife corridors. 

The land proposed to be graded and covered with impervious surface, is a natural sponge that absorbs runoff from the Sierra and slowly releases it into the downstream watershed. As our precipitation is increasingly rain, rather than snow, it is imperative that we recognize this vital ecosystems service and preserve it for water storage and flood control. 

The EIR failed to address Project’s impacts to resident and migratory raptor populations which are found in the highest density in the USA on this site. 

Listed Western Pond Turtles and several salamander species are proposed to be relocated as a project mitigation.  The relocation plan of these species fails to address the fact that these species forever travel to return to their native nesting sites and therefore cannot be successfully relocated.  

The EIR failed to satisfactorily address impacts to Burrowing Owls and Spadefoot toad populations and what monitoring measures are proposed are unfunded, unscientific and will not result in population protections.

Stormwater runoff is proposed to be contained in the Pleasant Grove Water Retention Facility in Roseville – which is not constructed and for which no funding plan nor environmental analysis has been prepared.

The EIR failed to analyze downstream impacts of paving over more than 400 million square feet of natural catchment area in the Placer Ranch development site.

The EIR failed to analyze the impacts to seasonal changes of the natural systems to downstream flooding, and how sediment, water temperature, phosphorous and other pollutants flooding the American River and Sacramento River and Delta and their tributaries, will affect fisheries and public safety.

We ask that the Central Valley Water Board consider whether this applications is in conformance with Statewide policy for agricultural lands conservation, the State’s CO2 reduction goals, open space conservation and groundwater monitoring and preservation.  If it fails to conform to any of these State policies, on what grounds can a 401 permit be issued?

The EIR failed to address groundwater recharge and the impact of deep-well pumping on existing agricultural operations and regional ground-water users.

The EIR inadequately addresses impacts of CO2 generation from the project site.  The EIR describes CO2 emissions as globally significant. The mitigation which is proposed for the anticipated 1.25 billion pounds of annual  CO2 emission is in offsite locations, in violation of State statute.

Together we’re a stronger voice.

Thank you for your dedication to preservation of our community and our planet.



Leslie Warren, Chair

Alliance for Environmental Leadership


Leslie Warren Chairs the Alliance for Environmental Leadership. She is an environmental professional, a 35-year Placer County resident, founding director of Placer Land Trust and Placer Nature Center, a former Placer County Planning Commissioner and conservationist.

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