SACRAMENTO -- The
pace of urbanization slowed in Solano
County, with 679 acres of land converted
to urban uses between 1998-2000,
according to maps released today by the
California Department of Conservation.
The maps are designed to help local
governments evaluate land-use planning
The Farmland Mapping
and Monitoring Program (FMMP), part of
DOC's Division of Land Resource
Protection, maps 44.1 million acres of
California's public and private land to
produce a major study every two years.
In Solano County, 604
acres of agricultural land -- including
131 acres of prime farmland -- were
reclassified as urban land by the FMMP.
An additional 75 acres of land
classified as "other" -- a category that
includes wetlands, low-density "ranchettes"
and brush or timberlands unsuitable for
grazing -- was reclassified to urban.
Since the FMMP began
in 1984, 13,656 acres have been
urbanized in Solano County. During the
1996-98 mapping cycle, the total was
Due to the
designation of natural reserves,
wetlands and recreational land in the
delta, 1,801 acres of prime farmland
were reclassified as "other" land. More
land-use changes of this type are
expected in the future. Also looking
ahead, 5,874 acres -- the bulk of it
grazing land -- are committed to
non-agricultural use. Often, this is
land earmarked for development. In some
cases infrastructure development, such
as sanitary sewer installation, may be
Solano County is
among the first to be mapped in the
1998-2000 cycle. Of the 582,370 total
acres in the county, 371,402 (64
percent) were in agricultural use,
104,977 acres (18 percent) were "other"
and 53,809 (9 percent) were urbanized.
The remainder is in water areas.
The map has been sent
to Solano County planning officials, and
interested organizations such as the
county Farm Bureau, Local Agency
Formation Commission, planning
consultants and area resource
conservation districts have received
"We do this mapping
to help counties plan and prepare for
their expected growth in the coming
years," explained Department of
Conservation Director Darryl Young.
"This information is a tool that can
help Solano County and other local
governments balance the needs of a
growing population with those of the
agricultural land will continue to face
development pressure in the foreseeable
future. The California Department of
Finance projects that the county's
population will grow from its current
399,000 to 564,900 by 2020.
According to the
California Department of Food and
Agriculture, Solano ranks No. 31 among
58 among California counties in gross
value of agricultural production (more
than $185 million in 2000). Primary
crops and products include tomatoes,
nursery stock, hay and wine grapes.
The FMMP found the
following examples of agricultural land
being urbanized in Solano County:
processing, warehouses and
manufacturing in Dixon.
acres of grazing land turned into
housing, much of it in the
A 50-acre addition
to the B&J Sanitary Landfill north of
the Montezuma Hills.
The latest statewide
study by the FMMP, Farmland Conversion
Report 1996-98, was released last fall.
About 70,000 acres were urbanized
throughout the state; more than 43,000
acres of the new urban land, an area
about the size of the city of Modesto,
were developed on agricultural land.
Department of Conservation, the state
offers several programs that provide
financial incentives to keep land in