Here are some of our current activities in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, San Diego, and Los Angeles Counties.
EHL is serving on the San Jacinto River Advisory Committee, convened by the County Flood Control District. The committee will evaluate options for protecting infrastructure in the context of the biotic values of the floodplain. We have also been asked by the County to serve on a General Plan Advisory Committee to evaluate proposed amendments to the General Plan. In Temecula, EHL is reviewing the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Altair project, which threatens wildlife movement.
San Bernardino County
EHL looks forward to co-chairing the second phase of the Environment Element stakeholder advisory committee, which will oversee a “gap analysis” of what biological resources remain unprotected and what steps might be taken to conserve them in the context of ongoing economic development. We are also conducting expert biological and hydrological reviews of studies submitted by the CEMEX mining company to rebuild a levee on Lytle Creek, which is critical habitat for the endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat. As part of our longstanding project to protect this fragile ecosystem, we will make our findings available to state and federal regulatory agencies.
EHL continues to serve on the Environmental Oversight Committee for the Orange County Transportation Authority’s Measure M2 transportation mitigation program. Limited acquisitions are still being contemplated though the great majority of funds are directed to building a management endowment. In Newport Beach, we are part of the opposition to the Banning Ranch project and urge greater protection of rare coastal resources. We also continue to seek long term solutions for the currently stalled Foothill tollroad extension, which threatens park lands.
San Diego County
EHL is monitoring the progress of the planned North County Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) and an amendment to the existing South County MSCP for the quino checkerspot butterfly. To otherwise protect the MSCP, we have submitted a biological analysis to the wildlife agencies on a highly controversial land exchange proposed on Otay Ranch, a vital part of the preserve system. We will also participate in the County’s Climate Action Plan – now being revised under court order – which could become a vehicle for growth management. To protect the integrity of such County planning, EHL will review preliminary analyses for a misguided County-initiated General Plan Amendment called Property Specific Requests. Finally, we are engaged in the San Diego Association of Government’s proposed Quality of Life ballot measure, which would provide transportation – particularly transit – funding and habitat acquisition funds.
Los Angeles County
EHL is a member of the EnviroMetro Coalition which seeks a transit-focused transportation sales tax measure. We are advocating for a Regional Advanced Mitigation Program for its highway projects, which can provide ecologically meaningful mitigation. We are also monitoring a Renewable Energy Ordinance and will comment on a County plan to allow new development on the basis of hauling in water by truck. No, the latter is not a joke! A long term project is identifying acquisition funds for County Significant Ecological Areas.