Council adopts climate action plan, approves two new commissions

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The Winters Climate Action Plan Development Board presented their Climate Action Plan (CAP) to the Winters City Council at the July 20 meeting.

Jennifer Urquhart, Climate Action Plan Development Board chair, presented the CAP to the council in a PowerPoint presentation.

Urquhart said the Winters Climate Action Plan Development Board was established in 2020 and held their first meeting on March 17, 2020. They continued meetings through Feb. 25 via Zoom during the pandemic. The Board created a 50-page plan covering six detail-focused areas of application strategies: adaptation and resilience, water and waste, urban forest and open space, infrastructure and building, mobility, and municipal operations while focusing on strategies to become a greener city and reduce greenhouse gases.

The CAP’s most important takeaway, Urquhart said, is supporting Yolo County’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by the year 2030 in an ever-evolving landscape. She said the multiple strategies will make Winters a better place to live and reduce risk to individuals and businesses.

After Urquhart’s presentation, the council voted unanimously to approve Resolution 2021-44 accepting the CAP. A copy of the CAP is available on the City’s website.

Next on the council’s agenda was a discussion item on the proposal to create two new commissions transitioning from the Winters Climate Action Plan Development Board and the Winters Putah Creek Committee, whose stated goals had been accomplished.

Urquhart presented the council with a proposal for creation of the Climate Action Committee and detailed its structure and role. The Climate Action Committee, she proposed, would consist of a five-member board acting as advisory to the council. They would identify opportunities for funding to bring climate friendly projects and businesses to Winters, advise on upgrading of existing infrastructure and act as a resource to advise on making projects climate friendly.

The second proposed commission, the Natural Resources Commission, would be a successor commission to the Winters Putah Creek Committee. The Putah Creek Committee was formed in 2006 to focus on Putah Creek restoration. As the mission of the Putah Creek Committee was accomplished the committee discussed transitioning into the Natural Resources Commission and an ad hoc committee was formed to prepare a proposal.

Winters Putah Creek Committee members Kate Laddish and Eric Larson presented the Natural Resources Commission proposal and provided an overview of how the commission would serve the city as a source of scientific expertise. The proposal was for a seven-member board whose interests and backgrounds are in natural resources and who would be available to advise the city and staff.

The Natural Resources Commission’s mission statement, as written: “Consider and promote the preservation, conservation, and enhancement of geologic, hydrologic, ecologic, biologic, atmospheric and other natural resources that are important to the City of Winters and provides expertise to the City Council, other advisory commissions, and staff.”

City Manager, Kathleen Salguero Trepa, said she approached the two proposed committees and inquired if their subject matter would make it possible to create one body, however, both proposed committees felt there should be two.

After some discussion, the council agreed on creating the two commissions. Trepa said staff had enough direction from the council to begin clarifying details between the two commissions, determining their scope and responsibilities, and to review their mission statements before bringing it back to the council as a resolution.

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