On August 31, 2004, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes finalized its portion of a Natural Community Conservation Plan for the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  Targeting the most important habitat lands on the peninsula for preservation, this was a giant step.

The plan is for a habitat preserve that contains almost all of the remaining open space in the city, which is, in turn, a substantial part of what’s left on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  Among the species protected are the California gnatcatcher, cactus wren, two endangered butterflies, and a handful of locally rare plants.  It is hoped that additional lands placed in the preserve, especially by the city of Palos Verdes Estates, will enhance these protections.  Although today this seems an unlikely event, the future success of the NCCP, combined with continuing work by conservation groups, may eventually prevail.

There is still much work to be done before the NCCP preserve becomes a reality.  Details about how a local land conservancy will manage the preserve are still to come.  Also to come is a public use plan, which must ensure visitors do not degrade the habitat.  Even more critical, though, is the funding to make all this possible.  While much has been raised locally, the bulk of funding will come from state and federal sources, none of which has so far been locked in place.

EHL’s Jess Morton has worked for nearly 10 years to achieve this excellent outcome.