NR 2002-05
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 increased nearly five-fold in Yuba County compared to 1996-98, 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 Yuba County, 362 acres of land were urbanized during the current mapping cycle compared to only 69 total acres during the 1996-98 cycle.

Between 1998-2000, net totals of 81 acres of farmland, 209 acres of grazing land and 72 acres of land classified as "other" -- a category that includes wetlands, low-density "ranchettes" and brush or timberlands unsuitable for grazing -- were reclassified as urban land in Yuba County.

In addition, 3,488 acres of farmland were reclassified as being either grazing land or "other" land, meaning they are no longer in cultivation.

Since the 1990 FMMP survey, 16,239 acres of farmland have been reclassified to other uses and 821 acres have been urbanized in Yuba County.

Of the 411,817 acres mapped in Yuba County, 22 percent were farmland, 35 percent were grazing land, 3 percent were urban and 39 percent were "other" land. The remainder is water.

The map has been sent to Yuba 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 Yuba County and other local governments balance the needs of a growing population with those of the agricultural economy."

Yuba 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 66,000 to 109,000 by 2020.

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the gross value of Yuba County's agricultural production was more than $148 million in 2000, ranking it 32nd among the state's 58 counties.

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

  • Three industrial facilities of about 15 acres each north of Marysville.

  • The Pacific Millwork processing plant, about 10 acres in size, near Olivehurst.

  • The new Sacramento Valley Amphitheater, which covers about 25 acres.

  • The Gold Village housing community, about 30 acres, near Smartville.

  • The East Linda Gardens Apartments in Linda, about 10 acres.

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.