By Patrick Huber | Letter to the Editor | Davis Enterprise
Some people and organizations have opposed the Davis Innovation and Sustainability Campus on environmental grounds. I believe their arguments fail to appreciate the benefits this project will bring and overstate their case on several counts.
Sprawl: The DISC site is probably the least likely site on the city’s edge that would lead to further growth because all the adjacent farmland is already protected in perpetuity through conservation easements. These easements provide a hard edge to further growth either north or east of the DISC site. DISC is certainly peripheral development, but it is not sprawl.
Plantings on site. Native plant species, such as valley oak, are critical for supporting native birds and insects and other animals that support the full food chain. The landscaping plan for the non-open space portions of DISC will include many valley oaks and native pollinator plants. This will provide a substantial biodiversity benefit over the current farm field.
Off-site features. While there will be inevitable loss of agricultural land and raptor foraging habitat through the construction of DISC, there are measures in place to help offset these losses. The current mitigation plan calls for a 1:1 ratio of foraging habitat and roughly 2:1 ratio of agricultural land to be protected in the Davis area. These will not create new land, but they will serve to protect over five hundred acres of nearby land in perpetuity.
Public access. When the Davis open space program went through the public process of developing a strategic plan several years ago, one of the major goals expressed by many Davis residents was expansion of public access to open space. DISC will provide public trails through the entire agricultural buffer as well as through the riparian area that will be developed along the drainage ditch.
As someone who cares deeply about issues around open space and habitat, I support the DISC and urge Davis voters to vote yes on Measure B because the DISC will be a net benefit to open space and habitat in the Davis area.
Patrick Huber Davis
Originally Published on the Davis Enterprise:
Published September 25, 2020 | Last Modified on September 30, 2020 at 1:15 pm