Colton habitat plan to protect Delhi Sands endangered species
Long used by Endangered Species Act opponents in their quest to dismantle the Act, the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly is now poised to become a community asset.
The rare flower-loving fly is a key species of an almost vanished inland sand dune ecosystem in western San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Spending much of its life cycle underground, above ground it behaves like a bee as it feeds upon nectar. It has been repeatedly used as fodder––especially by Members of Congress––to attack the Endangered Species Act because of its “fly” moniker. The fact that the animal lives in the zone the City of Colton has targeted for development and economic revitalization has not helped.
Yet a constructive approach has prevailed as the City, as part of its Colton Hub City Center development plan, intends to set aside 50 acres of high quality dunes through a Habitat Conservation Plan, or HCP, negotiated with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Impact fees from lesser quality habitat will largely finance the preservation. The resulting open space, to be managed by the Riverside Land Conservancy, will become a tranquil and educational amenity for the City and its citizens. Nearby are other Delhi Sands preserve areas and the HCP has provisions for connectivity among them.
We congratulate the City on the years of hard work that went into the City Hub plan and the HCP and look forward to approval and implementation.