Winter 2003 Endangered Habitats League Newsletter


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Winter 2003 Endangered Habitats League Newsletter

  1. 1. Dedicated to Ecosystem Protection and Sustainable Land Use Planning +++ Vol. 13 No. 1 +++ Winter 2003We publish this newsletter four If you are not yet a member of thetimes a year to inform the gener- Endangered Habitats League,ous supporters and other friends please join us in the ongoingof the Endangered Habitats effort to preserve and protectLeague about our activties ENDANGERED the Southern California eco-in the ecoregion. region’s irreplacable plants, HABITATS LEAGUE animals and places. NEWSLETTERConservation successes across the Ecoregion— However, the developer had not reckoned with Barham Ranch stalwarts from the local community. First, Save BarhamSan Diego, Orange & San Bernardino Counties Ranch filed suit to block the land transaction, due to circumven- tion of the California Environmental Policy Act. Proctor Valley parcels They then undertook a campaign to convince the to be purchased— owners to sell this property at fair market value to a conservation the County of Orange, which had offered to buy it. “dream come true” Confronted with a school district board biased in In the early 1990’s, the favor of the developer, Save Barham Ranch didmassive Otay Ranch devel- what so few environmental groups ever try, letopment plan in southern alone succeed in: They persuaded voters to electSan Diego County missed better officials. Even after this incredible grassrootscrucial opportunities to effort, Save Barham Ranch had to fend off lastprotect unique habitat minute threats to the sale.lands. Proctor Valley was EHL was pleased to assist and support the Barhamamong the lands approved Ranch effort at various points along the way. We allfor development — its need to take some pages out of their playbook!gentle terrain made this Legal settlement will lead to protectionquintessential Southern of rare San Bernardino alluvial fanCalifornia landscape sus- Proctor Valley is home to a population of the endanger- Lytle Creek in San Bernardino County is one ofceptible to development. ed quino checkerspot. Photo courtesy AEI-CASC Cos. the few remaining, functional “alluvial fans” inVernal pools, coastal sage scrub, perennial grasslands, and oak Southern California. Here, adjacent to the I-15 freeway at thewoodlands—and endangered species such the California gnat- base of the San Bernardino National Forest, are scenic washescatcher, quino checkerspot butterfly, and San Diego fairy shrimp and floodplains that support the endangered San Bernardino—all contribute to its biological richness. Proctor Valley, totaling kangaroo rat and specialized alluvial fan sage scrub. Given thatover 3,000 acres, is adjacent the County of San Bernardino has not had the political leader-or nearby to San Diego’s ship to implement a multiple species plan, and has tradition-major conservation build- ally approved development in alluvial fan habitat, conserva-ing blocks — the Multiple tion of these areas has been very problematic. © FINCH CREEK GAZETTESpecies Conservation When the County approved the Lytle Creek-North devel-Program (MSCP), the opment in the fan last year, EHL and other groups—Center forRancho Jamul Ecological Biological Diversity, San Bernardino Valley Audubon Soci-Reserve, and the San Diego ety, and Spirit of the Sage Council (the latter of which settledNational Wildlife Refuge. separately)—quickly filed suit under CEQA.Proctor Valley is essential tocomplete the picture. After years of quiet It takes 30-50 years to go from an acorn to a mature, magnificent woodland oak.advocacy, EHL was pleasedto support the Wildlife Conservation Board’s acquisition ofstrategic parcels totaling 1,446 acres. Late last year, state andfederal funds were used to buy the land from cooperative willingsellers. Other parcels should now follow. Long years of commit- © WILDFLOWER PRODUCTIONSment from state and federal wildlife agency personnel led to thissuccess. We particularly commend the leadership of Diane Jacob,District Supervisor. The Conservation Land Group ably facili-tated the transaction. Barham Ranch Saved what’s inside? Due to years of intensive, creative, and plain determined EHL in the News 2 effort, Save Barham Ranch has Lytle Creek in San Bernardino County—one of the few functional “alluvial succeeded in its goal of pro- fans” in Southern California—supports at least two endandered species. Two Orange County tecting these Orange County canyons under assault 2 Prior to our court date, a concerted effort was made to settle wildlands. Barham Ranch is the dispute, not only for the Lytle Creek-North parcel, but Strong joint effort 508 acres of coastal sage scrub, stops tollroad rider 2 comprehensively for the landowner’s other holdings in the chaparral and oak woodland vicinity. The settlement provides for over 1,200 acres of perma- Riverside Integrated in central Orange County nent habitat conservation, thus protecting much of the highest Project advances 2 adjacent to Santiago Oaks quality habitat from any development. In addition, the agree- San Diego govern- Regional Park and the Nature ment includes options to purchase nearly the entire holdings— ments start to make Reserve of Orange County. In totaling over 2,500 acres—for conservation. It is expected that a regional plan 2 fact, Barham Ranch was identi- all future litigation will be eliminated, providing certainty to PV Conservation fied as a top priority acquisi- all parties. Plan languishes 3 tion to enhance the Central- We commend the excellent collaboration from the land- Coastal Natural Community owner, Lytle Development Co., and their commitment to a Cougar killed in Conservation Plan (NCCP). comprehensive solution. While it will be a challenge to raise the Silverado Canyon 4 Unfortunately, the owners of necessary funds, these are high priority lands for the state and “White Point” the land, including the Orange federal wildlife agencies. We look forward to making conserva- (a poem) 4 Unified School District, made tion a reality. plans to sell it to a developer. The law firm of Johnson and Sedlack represented EHL.
  2. 2. EHL in the News Tollroad rider stopped, at least for now On December 2, 2002, in an article titled, “Dissent Growing Over the Rancho Mission Viejo,” the Los Angeles Times reported on the development proposed in this Orange County biodivers- ity hotspot. The strong public support for preservation was described and the assessment of EHL’s Dan Silver was quoted. Remaining optimistic, he said, “I believe there’s a win-win [solution] out there for everyone.” On the same subject, a letter-to-the-editor from Dan was published by the Times on December 8, 2002. It stated, in part, “We have a unique opportunity with Rancho Mission Viejo’s remaining 23,000 acres to protect south Orange County’s history, Sen. Barbara Boxer Sen. Dianne Feinstein Rep. Loretta Sanchez scenic landscapes and natural treasures, and clean air and clean water. We can preserve these last remaining special lands— Due to a con- home to many rare plants and animals, and water sources.” certed effort by Silver was also on live Endangered Habi- national television (Fox tats League, Sierra Cable News) on Decem- Club, Friends of ber 2, 2002, defending the the Hills, and endangered Delhi Sands others, a sordid flower-loving fly. In re- rider attached to sponse to hostile ques-© GILBERT GOODLET federal legislation tioning, he explained by the Transporta- Rep. Susan Davis Bill Lockyer, Atty. Gen. how the fly represented a larger ecosystem whose tion Corridor preservation would con- Agency (TCA) to push through the Foothill tollroad’s southern tribute to the long-term extension was blocked by Senators Boxer and Feinstein, quality of life in western Congressmembers Loretta Sanchez and Susan Davis, and Attor- Delhi Sands flower-loving fly ney General Bill Lockyer. The Foothill tollroad would bisect the San Bernardino County, where remaining open space is vanishing rapidly. Unfortunately, finest remaining natural lands in Orange County and destroy the program’s format offered little opportunity for a meaningful most of San Onofre Beach State Park. The rider would have discussion of these complex issues. exempted the tollroad from California laws. Back in Orange County, Silver was quoted at length in a piece We urge the TCA—which is made up of local elected offi- by Dana Parsons on January 3, 2003. Parsons compared the cials—to operate in an open way and to respect state laws, rather potential loss of 500 oak trees in the Saddle Crest and Saddle than utilize riders attached to unrelated legislation. We also hope Creek developments to the “tree-sitter” occupying a single that Congressman Ken Calvert will reconsider his support for magnificent oak tree slated for removal in Los Angeles County. this approach. Silver noted that, compared to Los Angeles, “[Orange County] still has a chance to do things much better.” Riverside County Riverside Integrated Project advances N ews from Around Our Southern California Ecoregion Riverside’s momentous, $35 million Integrated Project, with land use, transportation, and habitat components, begins hear- ings before the Board of Supervisors in March. EHL has several goals. First, we seek improvements in the Multiple Species Conservation Plan to better protect several species and close Orange County canyons under assault loopholes. Second, only acceptable and least environmentally damaging transportation routes should be selected. Finally, the Residents of new General Plan must achieve several key objectives in order rural Silverado not to repeat business-as-usual sprawl. It should retain the and Trabuco progressive features supported by stakeholders—the higher Canyons, at the density and livable “community centers” and the innovative base of the Santa “Transit Oasis” framework for non-automotive mobility. It Ana Mountains, should also preserve rural areas from inappropriate residential worked long and development, and should safeguard against future, piecemeal hard to put a good amendments. community plan To these ends, EHL and its consultants have submitted exten- in place. Unfortu- sive comments and will participate in the hearing nately, County process. We will also continue to fund an outreach government has specialist to educate the public and local businesses supported devel- of the value of the community centers. However, opers in gutting the project’s leader, Supervisor Tom Mullen, retired the plan through from office at the end of last year. Unless other major, piecemeal, Board Members pick up his vision and commitment, Tom Mullen this vital effort could falter. land use amend- ments. San Diego County © J. WILLIAMS EHL has once again been forced Regional Comprehensive Plan at SANDAG to litigate the ill- Over the next year, the San Diego Association of Govern- conceived Saddle- ments (SANDAG) is undertaking to create a Regional Compre- back Meadows Trabuco Canyon is still largely rural and unspoiled. hensive Plan. The plan ultimately may provide an umbrella for Residents are fighting hard to keep it that way. project—a previ- regional transportation objectives and priorities and work to ous approval for this development was thrown out by the courts. integrate land use and transportation planning. Of greatest concern to us is the obstruction of a critical wildlife One concept is to take the power of the purse—SANDAG corridor between central and southern Orange County. We are allocates and prioritizes transportation dollars throughout the co-plaintiffs with the Vedanta Society of Southern California, region. Currently SANDAG uses only its “bully pulpit;” they whose tranquil monastery would be severely impacted by the could create economic incentives for the Smart Growth objectives project, and with Sea and Sage Audubon Society. Conner, Blake they have championed. Looking ahead and listening to the and Griffin are representing us. We will also oppose the nearby people who experience the current quality of life everyday is Saddle Crest and Saddle Creek projects which, through major key to responding to public priorities and making this “the grading, would take out hundreds of oak trees. These luxury people’s plan.” First up on the schedule are regional roundtables housing projects are strongly and actively opposed by the for local officials and the public. These meetings will help both local community. groups to become informed and weigh in on this plan.
  3. 3. ✄ SANDAG invites all San Diego County residents to lay thefoundation for the region’s future by providing input on the Gifts That Honor or ThankRegional Comprehensive Plan at one of six upcoming publicworkshops planned for January, February and March. Attendees a Friend or Loved Onecan participate in problem solving exercises involving issuespertinent to the San Diego region: the housing crisis, planning Endangered Habitats Leagueand land use, the environment, transportation issues, and the is pleased to receive gifts that:regional vision. ✔ Honor someone on a special occasion such The creative outcomes of these public meetings will be used as a birthday, anniversary or graduationto formulate the Regional Comprehensive Plan. By participating ✔ Memorialize someone who diedin the process, residents can expect a Regional Comprehensive ✔ Just say “Thank you!” to a friend or loved one.Plan that will strengthen the integration of local and regionalplans for land use, transportation systems, and infrastructure Following your instructions, EHL will send aneeds and foster coordination of our plans with Southern beautiful acknowledgement card to the personCalifornia and the Northern Baja California region. honored or to the family of the deceased. Please fill out the form below and Regional Comprehensive Plan mail it with your donation. Please print. Roundtable Schedule I/we are enclosing a special gift in the amount of 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted below $______________________________ El Cajon Community and Senior Center In Honor of Wednesday, February 19 __________________________________________________________ Encinitas Community Center In Memory of Thursday, February 20 ____________________________________________________________ Southwestern Community College To celebrate her/his/their Student Union East Wednesday, February 26 _________________________________________________ To Thank City of San Diego City Hall Council Chambers _________________________________________________ Wednesday, February 26 Send the acknowledgement card to 2 to 3:30 p.m. _________________________________________________ San Marcos Community Center Monday, March 10 Address 1 Address 2 RSVPs are requested. To RSVP, or for more information,please call (619) 595-5316, visit, or e-mail City/State/ Conservation-minded people need to attend and so that theircall for more open space and parks, more transit and less subur- Indicate on the acknowledgementban sprawl into our rural agriculture lands are heard as people card that this gift is being made by:discuss what they want for San Diego in the next century. EHL’s Your Name (s)Lynne Baker was named to the Stakeholders Working Group andwill be working with other stakeholders to focus on a few keyquality-of-life objectives that can be accomplished within the Address 1ambitious agenda and short time frame. Email her at to weigh in, ask questions, Address 2and learn how you can participate further to help make this aplan full of what we value. City/State/Zip SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS PLEASE ATTEND! Home phone FaxLos Angeles County Office phone Fax E-mail The Palos Verdes Natural Community Conservation Plan, orNCCP, continues to languish. Although there has been basic Endangered Habitats Leagueagreement as to the configuration of the eventual habitat reserve 8424-A Santa Monica Blvd., #592for some time, issues relating to a critical habitat corridor and Los Angeles, CA 90069-4267funding remain to be resolved. On the positive side, the NCCPpreserve will preserve most of the remaining open space in the ✄canyons and on the peninsula’s hillsides. However, the cost ofland is very high, as is to be expected in an affluent suburbancommunity—especially for property with choice views, however“unbuildable” it may be. Substantial local funding appears EHL seeks a Project Manager for theavailable, but whether the balance can be found remains Inland Empire. Please let us know ofunknown. candidates with skills in habitat planning, One of the most heartening land use planning developmentsin recent years is the adoption by the Los Angeles County land use, and transportation (send infor-Department of Public Works of a policy to deal with water mation to: from a watershed-wide perspective. No longer is This story continues on page 4 The Endangered Habitats Dan Silver ........ Board Member & Executive Director Pete DeSimone .... Board Member League is a non-profit organi- Jack Bath ........... Board Member & Secretary Karen Messer ....... Board Member zation. All contributions are Michael Beck ... Board Member & San Diego Director Jess Morton .......... Board Member & Treasurer tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Jane Block ......... Board Member Lynne Baker ......... San Diego Project Manager
  4. 4. News of the Southern California Ecoregion White PointPalos Verdes plan (continued from page 3) We drove whereflood control a process of moving rainwater and effluent from the the spa had been,mountains and urban landscape to the sea as rapidly as possible. leaving the locked carInstead, the County—as are other southern California jurisdictions— on the new black topis working to integrate elements of water quality, conservation and of the parking lotreuse, habitat enhancement, public education and community needs beside the sleepy sea.into programs that improve all beneficial uses of water across entirewatersheds. Before the war, she said, This change is promoting the growth of collaborative efforts that we ran under these bluffsbring together environmental, industrial, governmental and regula- playing children’s games;tory groups to solve problems. There are already some impressive splashed water at one anotherresults from these efforts, including substantial progress toward the in the sweet, soft lapdevelopment of open space/park chains along the Los Angeles and of the cleansing sea.San Gabriel Rivers. In the South Bay, EHL is involved in an effort to solve especially Our parents watched usthorny issues in the most heavily urban-industrial watershed in from the shaded verandasouthern California. Despite the unpromising nature of the existing of the Japanese hotel.landscape, the potential benefits appear very great, and the result Don’t you recallshould be a model for other urban watersheds to draw upon. how the mineral baths were— before the earthquake? Cougar killed in Silverado Canyon Perhaps the sun remembers them. From a story by Janet Wilson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer And how the sea, A mountain lion (cougar) its wind-thrown waves thundering,was shot recently in Silverado came into the cliffsCanyon, a steep and narrow, like the sound of heartbreakhistoric mining community thudding at our the Santa Ana Mountains.The cougar was a young, But look. Children still play here,healthy female weighing 102 running over the stones,pounds, said Lt. Angel Raton, splashing and joyous in the salt pools a Fish and Game officer who of the hotel’s shelled footingsparticipated in a necropsy of where sea anemone and limpets © ELIZABETH ROBINSONthe animal. cling to dead men’s dreams. “She was quite fat for hersize,” he said. “That’s prime Untroubled, these bright childrenmountain lion habitat there, who view only this face of the sea;because of the slope, and the their present earth not boundfact that there’s deer and rab- by the concrete’s transience © NEW DEAL NETWORKbits everywhere.” Raton said lapped by afternoon sunshinethere was a good chance that a yearlong drought … had driven on the locked soul of our world.smaller prey down to settled areas. For a decade the California Department of Fish and Game has Jess Mortonoverseen a state program … to protect mountain lions, includingthe fast-dwindling cougar population in Southern California. Endangered Habitats League 8424-A Santa Monica Blvd., #592 Los Angeles, CA 90069-4267