EHL was quoted on a major land acquisition and on a legal victory.
The San Diego Union Tribune covered the achievement of a long-standing conservation dream in San Diego, preservation of Star Ranch (“San Diego County to buy Star Ranch in Campo for conservation plan,” March 21, 2021).
Located in the iconic backcountry of small towns and open spaces, the 2,151-acre Star Ranch has long been under threat of development. The County Dept. of Parks and Recreation never gave up, though, and enlisted the US Navy as a financial partner, so it could buffer a military training base. EHL was quoted in the story.
“The park is extremely important biologically not only for its onsite resources, which include over 100 acres of wetlands, which is really quite amazing, but also in terms of regional connectivity,” said Dan Silver, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Endangered Habitats League. “It’s part of what is called the Las Californias linkage between the U.S. and Mexico. So it is, you might say, an internationally important property from that perspective.”
The ranch also spans multiple eras of California’s history, from local indigenous people, to the Spanish and Mexican era and the Old West, he added, suggesting that the county should consider building a visitor’s center to highlight that heritage.
Currently a working cattle ranch, the property shelters numerous rare species and has great potential for visitors. The property will be a cornerstone of a future East County habitat plan.
World Animal News
covered a court victory (“Breaking! WAN Talks With Endangered Habitats League After Judge Blocks L.A. Development That Would Have Threatened Imperiled Mountain Lions,” Jan. 14, 2021).
The Center for Biological Diversity, also representing EHL, filed a lawsuit under CEQA against a sprawl development project in northern Los Angeles County called NorthLake. The project not only obstructs mountain lion movement and covers over a creek supporting western spadefoot toads, it is in a fire zone and has high greenhouse gas emissions due to its remote location. A judge found serious problems with the EIR, including lack of less damaging alternatives.
“When a water system is removed, it pulls the plug on the whole ecosystem,” Dan Silver, Executive Director of the Endangered Habitats League told WAN, while providing a bit of background on the project he calls archaic. According to Silver, the project was probably bad planning in 1992 when it was first created and introduced. Now, however, it is completely unacceptable.
“The project is outdated in terms of current issues and conditions that were much different in 1992, such as: climate change, gas emissions, fire threats, vulnerable habitats, and the need for affordable housing, among others,” said Silver.