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Surplus Lands Assessment

Governing Board policy 610-4 directs staff to assess its land holdings every two years for potential surplus options.

The objective of the biennial assessment is to identify and sell lands that may no longer meet the original acquisition purposes, including substantive water resource benefits, such as flood control, recharge, water storage, water management, conservation and protection of water resources, water resource and water supply development, or preservation of springs, wetlands, streams and lakes. Lands not providing a significant benefit to these areas can be sold, placed back on the tax role, and the proceeds of the sale used to purchase lands that provide a substantial environmental lift in regard to the areas listed above.

Why Does the District Surplus Land?

  • Land may have been acquired for a specific project that is no longer being pursued, or the project is completed and the land is no longer needed.
  • Land may have been acquired as part of a much larger acquisition project and does not contribute to the conservation objectives of the acquisition.
  • Land may provide environmental benefit but would be better suited for maintenance by others due to size or location. The conservation objectives of the acquisition will be protected by the District retaining a conservation easement (or similar instrument) over the land. A conservation easement is a legal document used to restrict the types of activities that can occur on a property. This option retains environmental protection but returns land to private ownership.

Benefits of Surplus Lands Process

  • Protects lands with water resource benefits
  • Generates revenue to buy lands with higher water resource value
  • Reduces land management costs
  • Puts surplus lands back on the tax roll

The Assessment Process

District scientists or subject matter experts (SMEs) developed a tool to determine the environmental sensitivity of District lands regarding the District’s four areas of responsibility (AORs): water supply, water quality, flood protection and natural systems They used the latest scientific and geospatial data developed by federal and state agencies to make recommendations. This tool was used as a coarse review to identify portions of District lands that do not provide significant benefit to the District AORs.

The SMEs then performed a detailed evaluation of the identified portions of District lands to better determine if they did not provide substantial water resource benefits, were not considered a cultural resource, were not a conservation corridor and would not affect recreational opportunities.

Portions of land that were identified for potential surplus were further reviewed to determine if they could be surplused as is, or surplused with a conservation easement or restrictive deed.

All proceeds received from surplus effort will be used to purchase lands or interests in land with significant contributions to flood protection, water supply, water quality and natural systems.

Potential Surplus Lands

The District owns approximately 343,400 acres of land. The assessment involves the review of lands that are solely owned by the District, which total approximately 301,000 acres.

Following review of public comments, District staff will finalize its Surplus Lands proposal and present it to the Governing Board at its May 19, 2015 meeting.

Submit Comments

The District would like your opinion about the assessment process. Please submit your comments by clicking on the link below.