Ecological Preserve Fee Update and EIR

The County is updating its Ecological Preserve Fee Program and preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to be in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).


The County uses the Ecological Preserve Fee Program to protect gabbro soils rare plants and their habitats. Many of the gabbro soils rare plants are protected under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The eight (8) rare plants include Pine Hill ceanothus, Stebbins' morning glory, Layne's butterweed, Pine Hill flannelbush, El Dorado bedstraw, El Dorado mule ears, Red Hills soaproot, and Bisbee Peak rush-rose.



In 1998, the County established the Ecological Fee Program, through Ordinance 4500 and Resolution 205-98, to protect eight special-status gabbro soils plant species (i.e., El Dorado bedstraw, Layne's butterweed, Pine Hill ceanothus, Pine Hill flannel bush, Stebbins' morning glory, Bisbee Peak rush rose, El Dorado mule ears, Red Hills soaproot). Many of these plants are state and / or federally listed or listed in the California Native Plant Society rare plant inventory.

The County partners with other agencies, including U.S. Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, El Dorado Irrigation District, El Dorado Water Agency, California Native Plant Society, American River Conservancy, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, to establish and manage the five-unit Pine Hill Preserve (i.e., Salmon Falls, Martel Creek, Pine Hill, Cameron Park, Penny Lane).

The County uses the ecological preserve fees paid by development applicants to acquire and enroll land in the five-unit Pine Hill Preserve and to contribute towards its management costs. The Ecological Preserve Fee is determined by calculating the County's local share of acquisition and management costs for the Pine Hill Preserve. 

The County has established three Mitigation Areas to protect gabbro soils rare plants through on-site and off-site mitigation requirements and options. The fee program is applicable to Mitigation Areas 1 and 2. The Mitigation Areas are described as follows and are shown in the EDC Rare Plant Mitigation Area Map(PDF, 3MB).

  • Mitigation Area 0 – Lands within one of the five ecological preserves that comprise Pine Hill Preserve (i.e., Salmon Falls, Martel Creek, Pine Hill, Penny Lane Ridge, Cameron Park). The Mitigation Area 0 boundaries are the same as the General Plan Ecological Preserve overlay (approximately 3,450 acres).
  • Mitigation Area 1 – Lands outside of Mitigation Area 0 that contain gabbro soils rare plant habitat (approximately 36,000 acres).
  • Mitigation Area 2 – Lands outside of Mitigation Areas 0 and 1, but within the service area of the El Dorado Irrigation District, excluding parcels served by wells.

Development within Mitigation Area 0 is subject to the mitigation requirements described in Section 130.71.050 of the County's Zoning Ordinance. 

Development within Mitigation Area 1 would be required to pay the Ecological Preserve Fee for Mitigation Area 1. The fee is not considered mitigation for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). 

Development within Mitigation Area 2 would be required to pay the Ecological Preserve Fee for Mitigation Area 2 in order to mitigate the potential direct and indirect impacts of new development that require public water through El Dorado Irrigation District (EID).

Project Timeline

Coming Soon

Environmental Impact Report

Information and materials will be posted for the different phases of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

Public Hearing Agenda Items

Information and materials will be posted when the fee update and EIR approach public hearing.