NR 2002-04
January 31, 2002

Contact: Carol Dahmen
Mark Oldfield
Don Drysdale
Ed Wilson
(916) 323-1886


SACRAMENTO -- While a relatively small amount of acreage was involved, the pace of urbanization from 1998-2000 more than tripled in Siskiyou County compared to 1996-1998, according to a map released today by the California Department of Conservation. The map is designed to help local governments evaluate land-use planning decisions.

The Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program (FMMP), part of DOC's Division of Land Resource Protection, maps 44.5 million acres of California's public and private land to produce a major study every two years.

In Siskiyou County, 277 acres -- virtually all of it farmland -- were urbanized during the latest mapping cycle compared to only 78 acres during the 1996-98 cycle.

Since the 1990 FMMP survey, 1,491 acres from all sources have been urbanized in Siskiyou County.

Of the 1,281,292 acres mapped in Siskiyou County, 63 percent were farmland, 29 percent were grazing land, 1 percent was urban and 5 percent were "other" land. The remainder is water.

Looking ahead, the county reports that 27 acres of farmland and 36 acres of grazing land are committed to non-agricultural use. Often, this is land earmarked for development. In some cases infrastructure development, such as sewer installation, may be underway.

The map has been sent to Siskiyou County planning officials, and interested parties such as the county Farm Bureau, Local Agency Formation Commission, planning consultants and area resource conservation districts have received copies.

"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 Siskiyou County and other local governments balance the needs of a growing population with those of the agricultural economy."

Siskiyou County's 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 46,100 to 58,200 by 2020.

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the gross value of Siskiyou County's agricultural production was about $119 million in 2000, ranking it 34th among the state's 58 counties.

Following are examples of agricultural land being urbanized in Siskiyou County:

  • A new runway at the county airport.

  • The Karuk Tribe Housing Authority in Yreka.

  • New or previously unclassified homes totaling 175 acres in the City of Mount Shasta.

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.