City of Davis Open Space Howat Prescribed Burn


SCH Number
Public Agency
Yolo County Resource Conservation District
Document Title
City of Davis Open Space Howat Prescribed Burn
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The City of Davis owns Howat Ranch, a 760-acre property maintained by the City of Davis Open Space. The project proposes to apply low-intensity, broadcast agricultural burn within two adjacent plots that border actively productive agricultural fields. The two burn plots are 1.35 acres and 1.7 acres. The goal of the low-intensity agricultural burn is to reduce invasive weed populations and clear dead plant material. The property is part of a large regional planning effort for habitat restoration and carbon sequestration, and is located between the City of Davis and the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. Control lines will be existing farm roads and gravel patches bordering the train tracks that run parallel to Road 32A. Additional handline construction may be necessary in places but is expected to be minimal. All burning will be performed in accordance with the terms and conditions of a burn permit issued by the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District. Low to moderate intensity fi re results in levels of disturbance that are beneficial to California native ecosystems and the species that comprise them. Any trees within the project boundary are not expected to be impacted by low-intensity broadcast burning.

Contact Information

Heather Nichols
Agency Name
Yolo County Resource Conservation District
Job Title
Executive Director
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency / Project Applicant


Cross Streets
Northest corner of County Road 105 and 32A
Total Acres

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Class 4; California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 15304,
Reasons for Exemption
The broadcast burn will occur in two plots of unused farm edges that consist of broadleaf invasive weeds and dead plant materials. Future work may be completed to further enhance unused farm edges to create wildlife habitat. Special status species that have been documented to be on or within close proximity to the property include Swainson's hawk (Buteo swainsoni) and burrowing owl (Athenecunicularia). Currently, the unused farm edges are dominated by non-native noxious weeds and are not prime habitat for native wildlife. Work is expected to occur outside of the nesting season for both species which occurs February l51 to September 15th. However, burrowing owls in California remain throughout the winter, sometimes staying in their breeding burrows or wandering to other burrows within the region. In grassland ecosystems, burrowing owls prefer habitat characterized by short grasses and forbs and have adapted to live in urban and agricultural areas. The agricultural burn site contains dense, tall non-native vegetation that is not preferable for burrowing owl habitat. Burrowing owls are diurnal and regularly occupy the same burrows year after year. Burrowing owls have not been observed within the project site and are not likely to occur due to the site's dense and tall vegetation that is not suitable habitat for burrowing owls. After consulting with the City of Davis, their Wildlife Biologist confirmed that there are no population currently present at the site and the project activities are expected to have no negative impacts to wildlife. A Smoke Management Plan will be developed for this project to minimize impacts to communities and air quality. The project meets the requirements of Class 4 Categorical Exemption (minor alterations to land) Section 15304. Project implementation will result in alterations to the land that are best described as minor in scope, that will not significantly impact the aesthetic of the property, or biological and/or cultural resources, and that do not involve the removal of mature, scenic trees for any purpose. No exceptions apply which would preclude the use of a "Notice of Exemption" for this project. It has been concluded that no significant adverse environmental impacts would occur to aesthetics, agriculture and forest resources, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, energy, geology and soils, greenhouse gas emissions, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, land use and planning, mineral resources, noise, populations and housing, public services, recreation, transportation and traffic, utilities and service systems, or wildfire.
County Clerk


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