SACRAMENTO -- The pace of urbanization
in Yolo County from 1998-2000 was about
a third of what it was in 1996-98, but a
significant amount of farmland was
reclassified as being non-cultivated in
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 Yolo County, 353
net acres of land were urbanized during
the current mapping cycle compared to
1,114 acres during the 1996-98 period.
Between 1998 and 2000, development was
fairly evenly distributed between Davis,
Woodland and West Sacramento, while in
1996-98 the largest segment of
development occurred in the Wildhorse
and Mace Ranch subdivisions in Davis.
acres were reclassified from farmland to
the non-cultivated categories of grazing
or "other" land a category that
includes wetlands, low-density "ranchettes"
and brush or timberlands unsuitable for
grazing. Low-density development and
idling of farmland occurred in many
locations throughout the county. Also,
large areas near the Sacramento Deep
Water Ship Channel and Davis were
converted to wetlands or other
Since 1990, 22,253
acres of farmland have gone out of
production in Yolo County and 3,513
acres of new urban land have been
Looking ahead, the
county reports that 2,529 acres mostly
farmland -- are committed to future
non-agricultural use. Often, this is
land earmarked for development. In some
cases infrastructure development, such
as sewer installation, may be underway.
Of the 653,451 acres
in Yolo County, more than 63 percent
were farmland, 22 percent were grazing
land, 10 percent were other land and 4
percent were urbanized. The remainder is
The map has been sent
to Yolo County planning officials.
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 Yolo 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 the county's population
will grow from its current 172,500 to
262,400 by 2020.
According to the
California Department of Food and
Agriculture, the gross value of Yolo
County's agricultural production was
nearly $303 million in 2000, ranking it
23rd among the state's 58 counties.
examples of agricultural land being
urbanized in Yolo County:
Apartments and other new homes in the
Wildhorse Community in Davis (100
Collection at El Macero, about 50
acres of new homes.
Gateway development (40 acres) and the
Newport Estates subdivision (30 acres)
in West Sacramento.
The Tide Court
Industrial Park in Woodland (37
A new church along
with new homes in the Silver Ridge
tract (12 acres) in Winters.
The 5th Street
Commerce Plaza, Davis Sports Center
and other new commercial buildings in
east Davis (40 acres).
The latest statewide
study by the FMMP, Farmland Conversion
Report 1996-98, was released in the fall
of 2000. 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
Through the Department of Conservation,
the state offers programs that provide
financial incentives to keep land in
agricultural use. The California
Farmland Conservancy Program makes
grants available to local governments,
land trusts or resource conservation
districts to purchase permanent
agricultural conservation easements from
willing landowners. These easements
prohibit future development. Farmland
Security Zone and Williamson Act
contracts provide potential tax benefits
to landowners who commit to keeping
their land in agricultural use for
periods of 20 or 10 years, respectively.
In addition to
administering agricultural and
open-space land conservation programs,
the Department of Conservation ensures
the reclamation of land used for mining;
promotes beverage container recycling;
regulates oil, gas and geothermal wells;
and studies and maps earthquakes and
other geologic phenomena.