US Army Corps of Engineers
San Francisco District

Policies on the Santa Rosa Plain


During the past 40 years, the Santa Rosa Plain has been transformed from an area which was a rural residential, agricultural area with large expanses of open space to a more urbanized and intensely agricultural area with less open space.  This change in land use has resulted in a substantial loss of seasonal wetland habitat, especially vernal pools. This loss of seasonal wetlands has become so severe that several plant species which are adapted to live in vernal pools in the Santa Rosa Plain have been listed as federally protected endangered species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  These endangered plant species are: Sonoma sunshine (Blennosperma bakeri), Burke's goldfields (Lasthenia burkei), Sebastopol meadowfoam (Limnanthes vinculans), and Many-flowered navarretia (Navarretia leucociphala spp. plieantha). Also, the Sonoma County population segment of the California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense) is listed as federally endangered.

In 1991, it was recognized a plan was needed to balance land use changes in the Plain, and protect and restore natural habitat values for future generations. A congressionally appointed Vernal Pool Task Force was formed to bring together federal, state and local agencies, as well as landowners and local interest groups. A goal of the Task Force was to develop a Plan containing policies and guidance for future land use and vernal pool ecosystem protection in the Santa Rosa Plain. The Plan was completed on June 30, 1995, and is called: Phase 1 Final Report, Santa Rosa Plain Vernal Pool Ecosystem Preservation Plan.

The historic loss of seasonal wetlands on the Santa Rosa Plain, prompted the Corps of Engineers to limit the use of nationwide permits on the Santa Rosa Plain to increase the protection of these valuable natural resources. We have created several links to the documents explaining these limitations to help the public understand them.  If you have questions regarding Corps of Engineers' policy on the Santa Rosa Plain, please contact a staff person in the North Section of the Regulatory Branch.

Links to Santa Rosa Plain Policy Documents: