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 SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The California State Attorney General's Office announced today it filed suit today against the City of Redding on behalf of the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to protect migrating runs of endangered Sacramento River salmon and a stand of rare valley oak trees from a proposed 264-acre housing subdivision.
 The DFG is continuing negotiations with the city and developer over the issue, but filing the lawsuit was necessary to meet the statute of limitations.
 "We don't expect today's action to lead to any lengthy or costly litigation," said Rich Elliot, Fish and Game regional manager in Redding. "We're confident our negotiations will lead to a settlement acceptable to all sides."
 The filing culminated a long round of negotiations between city and state officials over plans to build Rancho Buenaventura Subdivision homes next to the Sacramento River. State Officials said reaching a compromise plan with the city and developer would allow the subdivision to continue and protect wildlife in the area at the same time.
 The suit charges city officials violated California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) provisions in approving the development, which state officials say poses significant adverse consequences to the area in terms of wildlife habitat loss and potential sedimentation and pollution of the river.
 The legal action highlights differences government officials have over the proposed subdivision's affect on the area and how best to mitigate those affects.
 At stake, say Fish and Game officials, is a stand of unique valley oak riparian forest along the Sacramento River within the subdivision and endangered winter-run chinook salmon spawning grounds.
 State wildlife officials have proposed a buffer zone to provide an apron of protection along the development's 1,000-foot long Sacramento River frontage. The 150-foot wide buffer would protect the Sacramento River ecosystem, including the riparian vegetation.
 "The state proposal would reserve this valuable resource for the benefit of city, county and state. The proposal will guarantee long- term protection of the river for recreational uses such as boating, fishing and bird-watching by maintaining viable corridors for wildlife threatened with habitat loss," commented Elliott.
 As approved by the City of Redding, the 30-acre riverside portion of the subdivision would allow habitat destruction as close as 25 feet to the Sacramento River. The Department recommended a 150-foot buffer along the river and preservation of eight and one-half acres of riparian habitat which would limit construction on approximately three percent of the property.
 No assurances of long-term protection of the affected valley oak riparian habitat area were provided by the city under the approved plan, according to the Department.
 -0- 8/25/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Capps or Lanny Clavecilla, both of Conservation Education, California Department of Fish and Game, 916-653-6420/

CO: California Department of Fish and Game ST: California IN: SU:

CO-JH -- SE010 -- 5944 08/25/93 20:50 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 25, 1993

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