Agreement Protects Wildlife, Climate, Placer County Communities

A legal agreement secured by the Center with a Placer County development has won key measures to cut greenhouse gases, along with funding for electric vehicles, habitat acquisition and conservation efforts in the county and beyond.

This landmark agreement, approved in April 2021, sends a strong signal that developers and California decisionmakers must do much more to address the climate pollution and wildlife harms caused by development.


Known as Placer Ranch, the mixed-use development in western Placer County in Northern California stretches across 2,213 acres and includes about 5,600 new homes and 5.4 million square feet of employment and commercial space. It’s also the potential site of a new university campus.

The Center filed a lawsuit in 2020 challenging Placer County’s approval of the Sunset Area Plan, including the smaller Placer Ranch Specific Plan, partly because of its effects on sensitive vernal pool habitats as well as its significant greenhouse gas emissions.

Long-Term Benefits for Wildlife, Wild Places, Placer County Residents

In 2021 the Center and Placer Ranch, Inc. signed a legal agreement requiring a host of changes to the project to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and wildlife impacts. These include:

  • Electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations installed in all single-family residential homes;
  • EV charging stations installed for at least 15% of parking spots at nonresidential spaces;
  • A requirement for all transit vehicles to be zero-emission vehicles and to give free transit passes to each resident and employee within Placer Ranch for up to three years;
  • A reduction of heat islands and a requirement to provide shade throughout the development through tree planting and permanent shade structures with renewable energy generation systems or high solar reflective value on parking lots, sidewalks and roadways;
  • A portion of future property sales within Placer Ranch to fund on-site renewable energy generation, zero-emission transportation and other conservation initiatives benefitting future residents of Placer Ranch.

The agreement also includes a $3 million donation to the Rose Foundation to administer and manage the following initiatives:

  • $500,000 for subsidies for Placer County residents to buy or lease battery-powered electric vehicles and install rooftop solar panels; 
  • $500,000 for grants for environmental and conservation projects within Placer County or for the benefit of the county’s residents; 
  • $1 million for grants to nonprofit groups working to protect, advocate for and research rare wildlife, biologically important habitats and conservation;  
  • $1 million toward the purchase, for conservation, of biologically important property in Northern California.

Finally the Center will use a $3 million donation from Placer Ranch to buy and permanently conserve land for wildlife and rare plants. Land to be permanently protected includes Lone Pine Ranch, a historic Northern California property that will preserve pristine habitat while providing public access to some of the most scenic stretches of the Eel River.

While the agreement brings an end to the Center’s current litigation against Placer Ranch, we’ll continue to push back against land-use approvals by Placer County that threaten wildlife and local communities.  

We remain committed to protecting Placer County’s most vulnerable species and natural landscapes, as well as supporting efforts within the community to protect the county’s natural landscapes.

Rooftop solar photo by Open Grid Scheduler/Flickr