Campaign to Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative

On Thursday, February 8, 2018 the “Antioch Community to Save Sand Creek,” a coalition of Antioch residents and community groups, submitted the text of the “Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative” to the City of Antioch. The initiative is in response to threats of thousands of houses in the Sand Creek area at Antioch’s southern border, the undeveloped area stretching from Deer Valley Road west to Black Diamond Mines Regional Park. The initiative would give Antioch voters the right to vote on Sand Creek Area projects or changes to Antioch’s Urban Limit Line.“Conservation of the Sand Creek Area has long been one of our goals. It contains several rare and unusual plants with the potential for more. It is also an important transitional zone between three major ecoregions. Preservation of this area will allow all species to adapt to changing conditions,” said Lesley Hunt, Outreach Chair, California Native Plant Society, East Bay Chapter.The “Let Antioch Voters Decide: The Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative” would:

  • Require a vote to allow any major development in the initiative area
  • Limit the extent and amount of development in a 3 square mile (1800-acre) area between Deer Valley Road and Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve
  • Protect the existing Urban Limit Line;preserve nature, open spaces, and historic qualities
  • Maintain agriculture; Protect the Sand Creek stream corridor Limit traffic in Antioch;Decrease impacts on schools, water, police, fire, and other services
  • Help focus city investments, revitalization and economic development on existing neighborhoods, downtown and along the waterfront. It would do so by designating the roughly 1800-acre area between Kaiser Hospital and Black Diamond Mines for rural residential, agricultural and open space uses
  • The Initiative Area is contained within our chapter’s Four Valleys Botanical Priority Protection Area (BPPA). It encompasses swaths of Lone Tree Valley and Horse Valley. Currently, the majority of the area remains as undeveloped grasslands on private property historically used for ranching.
  • Check out my previous reports from the Bay Leaf in April 2017 and December 2016

In addition to resources previously reported, a quick search of the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) does reveal rare plant records in the Initiative Area for showy golden madia (Madia radiata, 1B.1) and Brewer’s western flax (Hesperolinon breweri, 1B.2). Some rare plant records are notable for a close proximity to the Initiative Area: large-flowered fiddleneck (Amsinckia grandiflora, 1B.1), Mt. Diablo buckwheat (Eriogonum truncatum), 1.B1) brittlescale (Atriplex depressa, 1B.2), big tarplant (Blepharizonia plumosa, 1B.1), and San Joaquins spearscale (Atriplex joaquinana, 1B.2). Rare wildlife species with records in the Initiative Area include California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense), Vernal Pool Fairy Shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi), and Vernal Pool Tadpole Shrimp (Lepidurus packardi), Alameda Whipsnake (Masticophis lateralis euryxanthus), California Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii), northern California Legless Lizard (Anniella pulchra) and burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia). Clearly, this Initiative Area in southern Antioch is richly biodiverse and worth preserving from development.

This Initiative contains many direct and indirect benefits for native plant preservation, such as

  • Sand Creek buffer 200 feet of centerline preserved,
  • development on wetlands not allowed,
  • continuous grassland corridor preserved,
  • more restrictive hillside ordinance enacted,
  • special status species protected where found.

You can get involved to help support this initiative! Please volunteer to collect signatures for the petition that will place the initiative on the ballot for November 2018. We need 7600 Antioch voter signatures! Join and share our coalition’s Facebook group for additional announcements, such as hikes:

Contact us for more information on how to get involved: Outreach Chair Lesley Hunt, at ; Conservation Analyst Karen Whitestone, at

Figure 1. How this area is currently zoned in the City of Antioch General Plan 2003

Figure 2  Four Valleys Botanical Priority Protection Area

Figure 3  Sand Creek Area Protection Initiative

Karen Whitestone
East Bay Chapter Conservation Analyst