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Fall 2003 Endangered Habitats League Newsletter


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Fall 2003 Endangered Habitats League Newsletter

  1. 1. ENDANGERED We publish this newsletter four times a year to inform our generous supporters — and the many other friends of the Endangered Habitats League — about our plans, H A B I TAT S activties and successes throughout the ecoregion. LEAGUE If you are not yet a member of the Endangered Habitats League, please join us in the ongoing effort to preserve and protect the Southern California ecoregion’s irreplacable NEWSLETTER plants, animals and places. Form is on page 3. Dedicated to Ecosystem Protection and Sustainable Land Use +++ Vol. 13 No. 4 +++ Fall 2003A Special Report WE NEED YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS!The Riverside County To conserve natural resources, time, and money, subsequent issues of the EHL Newsletter will beIntegrated Project distributed electronically. If you don’t have an e-mail address, let us know, and we will make special arrangements for you. In 1998, the County of Riverside launched an ambitious ifnot unprecedented planning effort—the Integrated Project. Please send your e-mail address to: The Integrated Project sought to coordinate habitat, land use, Jess Morton <>and transportation planning within the fastest growing county If you are not on e-mail, please call Jess Mortonin the state. at 310-832-5601 to make special arrangements. The driving force behind the Integrated Project We pledge to never share your e-mail address,was then-Supervisor Tom Mullen, who took the outside of EHL.position that unless infrastructure—includingopen space—was in place, growth should notoccur. Another factor was direction provided by Plan improved by extensive EHL commentsthe “Museum Group”— a group of stakeholders In order to improve the draft plan, EHL submitted extensiveincluding EHL, the Sierra Club, and the Building Former RC comments. During the closing moments, we were able to negoti-Industry Association, that met at the Riverside Supervisor ate protections for very specialized species called “narrowArt Museum. Our shared principles acknowl- Tom Mullen endemics.”edged accommodation of growth, but stated that it should occur Most of the MSHCP will be assembled over time, using narra-efficiently, with reduced land consumption per capita, and with tive criteria established for “cells” of 160 acres each. Landownersufficient certainty over time as to where development would incentives, crafted by EHL and others, are in place. Our biggestand would not occur. Making an enormous commitment of time concern is that implementation will be improper, with excessiveand energy, EHL served on all three Integrated Project Advisory fragmentation. EHL is thus committed to monitoring and guid-Committees: General Plan Update, Community and Environ- ing the assembly process.mental Transportation Acceptability Process (CETAP), and While we would prefer an even larger plan, and can point toMultiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP). numerous deficiencies, our judgement is that the MSHCP isFive years later, what happened? fundamentally sound. The inherent tradeoffs—the facilitation of MSHCP is a “win” for conservation planned housing development and highways—are balanced by In the wake of a divisive single species an ambitious conservation plan whose enactment in the political plan for the Stephens’ kangaroo rat, stake- climate of the Inland Empire is little short of miraculous. County holders negotiated a “Planning Agreement” staff deserves much credit, as does a strongly supportive Board for the MSHCP. The agreement called for of Supervisors. species recovery, landowner incentives, and a New General Plan fails to realize Scientific Review Panel from UC Riverside. full “smart growth” potential As ultimately adopted, the MSHCP calls According to a recent study, Riverside County has the worst for 153,000 acres of new private lands to be sprawl in the nation. It is the nation’s most pedestrian unfriendly Stephens’ kangaroo rat added to existing public lands, for a total of and automobile dependent location, and its wanton consumption 500,000 acres. Several new “core reserves” of habitat and open space is notorious. A reversal of this trendwill be created, including the long-fought for conservation prior- would set a major precedent, and EHL put great effort intoity of Potrero Valley near Beaumont. Many smaller jewels, such placing “smartas the scenic Lakeview Mountains and historic San Timoteo growth” concepts in toCanyon, would receive protection. Most impressively, a 50,000- © ARIZONA DAILY STAR/JIM DAVISacre mega-reserve would be established in the foothills east of this General PlanTemecula, with Wilson Creek the backbone of a broad landscape Update. Important linkage between the San progress was made, what’s inside? Bernardino and Cleveland but it is also disap- National Forests. Up to pointing that the full 146 species will be deemed potential for change San Diego County “conserved.” was not realized. General Plan veers At the start of the Over the years, EHL into uncertainty 2 process, the General successfully fended off Riders wait for the bus at a transit oasis in Oro Plan Advisory Com- A solution for Dana proposals to reduce the size Valley, Arizona. Point Headlands? 2 and scope of the reserve. A mittee helped create a Jane Goodall at OC countywide developer miti- vision of open space and unique communities. Along with the conservation event 2 gation fee—about $1600 per Building Industry Association, we then crafted Community average housing unit—will be Development Principles that called for higher densities, mixed EHL in the News 2 assessed whenever a building uses, a wide range of housing products. The centerpiece was EHL receives major permit is issued. EHL helped “Community Centers” with built-in “Transit Oases” for high Orca Fund grant 2 craft a successful ballot mea- amenity transit services. Membership Signup 3 sure—a sales tax to be used Compact urban form Partners for Smart for transportation—that not only links participation in the A compact urban form was not achieved. Approval of hous- Growth Conference ing tracts continued unabated during the planning process, and set for January ‘04 4 MSHCP by the region’s cities to receipt of transportation maps were revised by individual supervisors so that a huge “Loon Songs” [a poem] 4 funds, but also guarantees excess of development land—close to a 50-year supply—was mitigation monies for habitat. This story continues on page 3
  2. 2. San Diego County allowed unless complicated “balancing” provisions are utilized. The Commission delayed a vote until January. In the mean-Promising San Diego County General time, we hope that a resolution acceptable to all parties can bePlan Update Veers into Uncertainty reached, now that the habitat benefits that we have sought for so many years are finally within reach. To be successful, the “2020” General Plan Update must stopthe calamitous rural residential sprawl that has consumed vast Renowned conservationist Jane Goodallareas of San Diego’s countryside. One, two, and four-acre at Orange County eventcookie-cutter lots have destroyed wildlife habitat and clogged Endangered Habitats League and The Heart and Soul Coali-the roads, while providing no affordable housing. In response, tion hosted “An Evening with Jane Goodall” on Sept. 13, 2003 inthe “Interest Group” of stakeholders, in which EHL plays a Laguna Beach. Benefiting the Goodallleading role, crafted principles to focus growth into towns, and Institute and The Cougar Fund, thecreate rural greenbelts. A draft lands use map, called the event linked our efforts to save the © GOODALL INSTITUTEDecember 2002 Working Copy, embodied these principles yet Rancho Mission Viejo—a biodiversityalso reflected community concerns. In addition, an “equity “hotspot” in southern Orange County—mechanism” was brought into the mix at the request of the Farm to conservation efforts worldwide.Bureau, to provide financial support to landowners whose According to Goodall, “People want adevelopment potential was reduced. reason for hope and to know what they At public hearings from June through October, however, can do to help preserve these last re- Dr. Jane Goodall maining special lands.” In an inspiringthis visionary plan started to unravel. At the request of land-owners seeking financial gain, well over a hundred piecemeal talk before hundreds of attendees, Dr. Goodall recounted herexemptions from good planning were placed on a second map, path to study chimpanzees in Africa and her current involvementaffecting in excess of 15,000 acres of rural land. On a third with youth groups. It was amply demonstrated why she hadmap, the lowest densities—one unit per 80 and 160 acres— been named a United Nations Messenger of Peace.would be eliminated completely. The next steps are crucial:All these maps will undergo analysis for traffic impacts.After that, alternatives will be chosen for the environmentalimpact report. EHL in the News To lose the promise of the 2020 Update would be tragic for Executive Director Dan Silver was quoted in the Los AngelesSan Diego, its farmers and ranchers, and its wildlife. Technically Times and Riverside Press Enterprise regarding the accomplish-speaking, all options are still open, but a negative trend away ments and shortcomings of the new Riverside County Generalfrom planning that protects the countryside was evident at the Plan. While noting the innovations, Silver held the CountyBoard level. This uncertainty will inevitably push voters toward Supervisors accountable for “not getting further down the path”a ballot measure that has qualified for the March ballot. of the initial vision of “town centers surrounded by green belts.” Investing in the Future: San Diego’s Quality of Life Coalition The San Diego region, like the rest of Southern California, is EHL receives major grantin an infrastructure deficit, affecting open space, water quality,housing, urban amenities, and transit, as well as traditional EHL has been awarded a $25,000 grant from thehighway improvements. For this reason, a broad coalition of San Diego Foundation’s Orca Fund, at the rec-community members—housing, environmental, business, ommendation of Paul Eichen and Susan Flieder.taxpayers, real estate, and others—has come together to find The grant will be used to help fund our manyfunding sources. projects in San Diego County and will augment support previously granted from the Orca Fund.Orange County A Solution for Dana Point Headlands? “Smart growth” is in Schwarzenegger’s vocabulary Ten years ago, due to political pressure, the Orange CountyCentral/Coastal NCCP effectively wrote off the critically endan- Some analysts say new state administration couldgered Pacific pocket mouse and other natural resources on the historic Dana Point Headlands. In become a turning point in growth management the aftermath of a referendum According to the Associated Press (AP), Governor Arnold overturning the then-proposed Schwarzenegger could join the ranks of Republican governors development, EHL worked with the who are trying to curb suburban sprawl by rebuilding existing City of Dana Point and community cities. Schwarzenegger’s website indicates he is an advocate of members on an alternative plan. “smart growth”—he pledges support for transit, and renovation After this plan was opposed by the of rundown urban neighborhoods and business districts. The developer and thrown out in court, Governor also has vowed to restrain development on vacant farmland, and has attacked “fiscally unsustainable sprawl.” © CLIFF WASSEMAN/AKU-AKU.COMfurther negotiations en- Environment Now (EN), a Los Angeles-based advocacysued, in which EHL had group, pulled together much of the growth-related material oninput. A revised project Schwarzenegger’s website. According to EN, the Governor alsowent before the California plans to clean up contaminated city properties throughout theCoastal Commission in state, and make older neighborhoods more livable—putting inOctober. new parks to be paid for with state bonds. From a purely habitat Several key players on the Governor’s transition team haveperspective, the revised strong urban redevelopment credentials. Major suburban subdi-plan is excellent. An exem- vision developers—many of whom helped fill Schwarzenegger’splary “Conservation Park” The Bluff Trail, Dana Point Headlands war chest with $21,200 campaign donations—are not represented.would be created, in which These builders, and other real estate interests who contributedthe pocket mouse would be well protected and could expand its $2.5 million to the Governor’s campaign, have plans this year torange. State of the art management would be provided, and rare build 187,000 new homes. A majority of these are single-familyplants avoided. While some coastal sage scrub and gnatcatcher dwellings—134,000 are planned for vacant land in new suburbanhabitat would lost, on site restoration of disturbed areas, includ- battlegrounds around the removal of an existing road, would result in no net loss of In spite of the real estate lobby’s largesse, the AP story con-this habitat. cludes that, “Though no one knows for certain how the… gover- However, other parts of the project that affect beach resources nor will manage growth… analysts believe the… new adminis-are problematic. While these issues are outside of EHL’s exper- tration could become a turning point in a state widely knowntise—and upon which we take no position—they have caused nationally as a laggard in growth management.”concerted opposition from the Surfrider Foundation and SierraClub. Also, under the Coastal Act, no loss of sensitive habitat is Adapted from a story that ran 11-10-03, in The Desert Sun, Palm Springs CA
  3. 3. ✄Riverside County Integrated Project(continued from page 1)created. However, a “Certainty System” developed and champi- Membership Signuponed by EHL will lock in rural designations for the next fiveyears and produce more orderly planning in the future. If you are not yet a member of the Endangered Efficient use of land Habitats League, please join us in the ongoing effort to preserve and protect the Southern Improvement in this regard is the strongest achievement of California ecoregion’s irreplacable plants,the update. A 25% density bonus will be available in exchange animals and places.for high quality community design and for paying an additionalopen space fee—additive to the multiple species fee. Over time, Fill out the form below and mail it withthis will reduce the amount of land consumed. your donation. Please print. Livable Communities I/we are enclosing a donation in the amount of “Community Centers” were the centerpiece of innovativethinking in the Update. While small in total area, their mixed $______________________________uses, walkability, and affordable housing embodied the stake-holders’ vision for a more sustainable path. Despite a successful Your Name (s)outreach effort to the local business community led by EHL,resulting in endorsement by the Greater Riverside and HispanicChambers of Commerce, the outcome was disappointing. At the end of the day, only a quarter of the original centers Address 1remained mandatory, subject to coherent master plans. The rest, Address 2including the largest, were eliminated or changed to options, inwhich property owners could place sprawl where the civic center City/State/Zipor transit stop should have been. Home phone Fax The failure to fully realize the potential of the CommunityCenters reflects differing visions of desirable communities and Office phone Fax discomfort with E-mail change. While the door is tech- nically open to Gift Membership smarter growth, I/we would like to give an EHL membership in the will Riverside County step amount of $______________________________ through it? If Community To: Name (s) Centers are to be built, it will take a concerted effort by progressive Address 1 developers. Address 2 Rural lands City/State/Zip There are mixed results in Home phone Fax this area. Stake- Office phone Fax holders had envisioned “com- E-mail munity separa- tors” between Please mail this form with your donation(s) to: CETAP east-west transportation corridor that would growth areas, but traverse one end of the Lake Mathews reserve is these fell prey to Endangered Habitats League controversial. Plans to extend this corridor into the lack of disci- 8424-A Santa Monica Blvd., #592 Orange County may involve a tunnel; this could be made environmentally acceptable. pline of the Los Angeles, CA 90069-4267 Board of Super-visors. However, more remote rural lands will benefit from a ✄Rural Incentives program that EHL initiated. While not final-ized, it is anticipated that transfer of density to developmentareas as well as on-site clustering will be facilitated. is at one end of the reserve, mitigation may be possible—but only New transportation corridors chosen with significant expansion elsewhere. Plans to extend this corri- dor into Orange County are currently centering on a tunnel. Two new multimodal corridors—both automotive and tran- While expensive, this could probably be made environmentallysit—were envisioned by CETAP, one running east-west, the other acceptable.north-south. The corridors faced an ironic situation: The Countyof Riverside had scattered so much development through the Conclusioncountryside—even subdivisions approved while the Integrated The General Plan (and to some extent CETAP) representProject itself was underway—that siting new highways became incremental progress. However, within a highly fragmentednearly impossible. Thus, although not for environmental reasons, landscape and pro-development political climate, the MSHCPa highly growth-inducing north-south route east of Temecula, must be recognized as a savior to Riverside County and as anwas rejected, ultimately in favor of the least environmentally unprecedented conservation success. On all fronts, continueddamaging alternative—widening the existing freeways. engagement by EHL will be essential. In the case of the east-west corridor, a controversial route thattraverses the Lake Mathews reserve is favored. Because the route View complete report on at The Endangered Habitats Dan Silver ........ Board Member & Executive Director Pete DeSimone .... Board Member League is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Jack Bath ........... Board Member & Secretary Karen Messer ....... Board Member organization. All contributions Michael Beck ... Board Member & San Diego Director Jess Morton .......... Board Member & Treasurer are tax-deductible to the full Jane Block ......... Board Member Lynne Baker ......... San Diego Project Manager extent allowed by law. NicaKatherine Knite ......... Communications and Development Director
  4. 4. Upcoming Conference 3rd Annual New Partners for Smart Growth: Building Safe, Healthy and Livable Communities January 22-24, 2004 Hilton Portland & Executive Tower HotelPresented by the Local Government Commission and Penn State University.The program will feature cutting-edge smart growth issues, thelatest research, implementation tools and strategies, successful casestudies, new partners, new projects and new policies. The confer-ence will draw a national audience committed to building safer,healthier and more livable communities everywhere. Program Format√ The main conferenceprogram will begin on the Loon Songsevening of Thursday, Janu-ary 22, and will continue Below the loose cliffs, where the wet fist knocks,through the afternoon of lacy seas surge over the raised knees of cleft rocksSaturday, January 24. and the chasing shadows as the loons dive and climb,√ Several optional pre-conference sessions will be dark forms easing seaward in the slow thighs of time.offered in the morning andafternoon of January 22. Rounding the point, the loons line low over gray waves,√ Several optional tours urgent black notes undulating across sea-staves,of local model projects willbe offered on both Thurs- an unvoiced evocation of their lake-sung ululant, January 22, and Sun- Loons lining north under the vast, soft rhythms of, January 25.√ The program will in-clude a dynamic mix of key- The boneless mists lapse onto the lake, diverge, retirenote addresses, implementa- into silhouette cedars. Foretold in the eyes’ dark fire,tion workshops, and the loons, slow forms, low, drift away, with fog coalesce.breakout sessions, as well as At the shore, tense needles of spruce, on end, motionless.opportunities for participants Hilton Portland &to network. Executive Tower Hotel Ice forms and the thick heads lift. South the quick bore Visit through chill wind. One unknowable pulse pulls at the core for updated conference and registration information. of the purposed loons. This dark blood of earth, that sings Credits: Stephens’ kangaroo rat on page 1 © B. “Moose” Peterson/ along unseen veins of necessity on hot heartbeat of wings. WRP, courtesy of the CA Environmental Protection Agency • Pacific pocket mouse on page 2 courtesy of the Jess Morton Endangered Habitats League This newsletter is printed on recycled stock 8424–A Santa Monica Boulevard, #592 with a high level of post-consumer content. Los Angeles, California 90069-4267 Editorial and design services: Gary Kemper, ABC