One of the last wildlife sanctuaries along the Lower American River is in danger of disappearing forever.
The Kassis property in Rancho Cordova is one of the last sizable areas of open space along the American River Parkway. The City is poised to let Trumark, an out-of-town developer, wipe out a critical refuge for wildlife to build 24 million dollar homes with river views.
The upper 21 acres of the Kassis property adjacent to Folsom Boulevard is suitable for development, but the lower 20 acres of wildlife habitat along the Lower American River is in the floodway and must be preserved.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Help us stop Trumark from paving over 20 acres of an historic walnut orchard critical to the Parkway's wildlife.
- Insist that the City of Rancho Cordova require Trumark to preserve the 20 acre floodway portion of the property overlooking William B. Pond and River Bend Parks, and save for generations this irreplaceable land's recreational, educational and natural values for the citizens of Rancho Cordova and all of the Parkway's thousands of annual visitors.
- Urge the Rancho Cordova City Council to reject the Trumark plan as proposed. The Kassis site is a unique site that deserves a unique plan. It sits at the western gateway to the City. Any development on the upper 21 acres deserves a lot of care and imagination. Trumark's plan seeks to maximize development in a very conventional manner, and does not reflect the current needs of the residents, respect for Rancho Cordova's colorful history and a vision for the future.
2) Make a donation.
- You can help fund our efforts by donating to the Kassis Property Preservation fund.
WHY IS DEVELOPING THIS LAND A BAD IDEA?
- The developer proposes to collapse the upper alluvial terrace to fill in 20 acres of American River floodplain ten feet high, modifying the course of the river.
- The upper alluvial terrace has been identified as the route of the Pony Express and Immigrant Trail, a National Historic Trail.
- Due to filling-in the floodplain the river channel will be narrowed in high water conditions, potentially causing floodwaters to move faster.
- The proposed 244 housing units will not only cause visual intrusion into the American River Parkway but will also cause a tremendous increase in foot traffic into the narrow strip of Parkway adjacent to the proposed Kassis Property development causing increased erosion into the river.
- Displacing 20 acres of American River water flow increases potential flooding of adjacent and downstream properties.
- Collapsing the alluvial terrace will destroy identified cultural resource sites of indigenous people (one on the upper alluvial plateau and a second in the lower basin in the floodplain).
- The property is adjacent to a narrow strip of American River Parkway, only yards from the river.
- The American River is habitat for Steelhead Trout (threatened) and protected Salmon species.
- Just upstream of the proposed project the American River Salmonid Spawning and Rearing Habitat Restoration project was recently completed.
- The American River Parkway is a regional asset viewed by many as the natural crown jewel of our entire region.
- Paving over the last piece of open space along the American River in Rancho Cordova is a mistake. The land should be preserved for the entire Sacramento region and American River Parkway environment and our region’s citizens who use it.
- There are regional organizations willing to purchase the land to preserve it.
- While the developer has only proposed an undersized city park for the densely packed proposed development, the surrounding community already has no public park.
- The actual public access and usage will be diminished from what is currently available. There already exists a 54-foot and 30-foot riding and hiking easements which the developer is planning to abandon and replace with an approximately 15-foot walkway over private property sandwiched between the loose sandy steep river bank and a retaining wall 4 feet to 6 feet high.
- Millions of public dollars are being spent to preserve and restore the Lower American River, however, the Kassis Property, requires virtually no immediate restoration.
- The project proposes the destruction of 350 established trees, most of them black walnuts several of the heritage trees. This old walnut orchard provides food and habitat to river animals and their prey. The developer has met with City Staff to waive the $600,000 in tree mitigation fees.
- Bald Eagles, osprey, various hawks, owls, and even a Swanson hawk have been reported near the Kassis Property.
A WILDLIFE REFUGE
This land is home to the river's bald eagles, deer, bobcats, foxes, hawks, owls, and many more of the Parkway's wild residents. Endangered Swainson's Hawks have been spotted in the vicinity. Fisherman routinely find their way to the base of this property to stand quietly in the pursuit of steelhead.
Here is where the wildlife escapes to when the river floods their homes on the American River Parkway. The property has approximately 335 trees, the majority consisting of walnut and pecan trees that are part of an historic orchard critical to the Parkway's wildlife. The proposed project would remove ALL the trees (except a few directly on the river bank) of which 150 are protected trees subject to tree mitigation fees.
SUPPORTING ARTICLES AND DOCUMENTATION
Celebrating the American River - Grapevine Independent, October 29. 2021
"Nature walks showcased public easements that traverse the adjacent Kassis property."
Cooley Focuses on Rancho Cordova - The Independent, June 25, 2021
"I think that is just an absolutely unique piece of ground that is a part of our community,” Cooley said. “It’s something that the City Council will need to struggle with, what is the right way to balance development with access for something that serves the interests of the entire community. That, of course, is the true mark of serving in public life, this balancing act, of reconciling public values with private values.”
E-mail from ECOS, Sierra Club Sacramento Group, and SARA to Central Valley Flood Protection Board: Request to schedule a future public workshop to discuss the need for either regulation changes or new policies relating to the appropriateness of development within the floodway of rivers, August 13, 2021
As vote looms over Rancho Cordova’s last open space, city’s mayor and vice mayor took money from the developer aiming to build over it - Sacramento News & Review article, March 24, 2021
Rancho Cordova residents rally to save one of the city’s last pieces of open space - Sacramento News & Review article, January 27, 2021
Letter from Rosemont Community Association to City of Rancho Cordova - January 1, 2021
Planning Underway for Housing on 42 Acres of Open Space East of BRECA Area - By Jim Morgan, December 2020