CONGRATULATIONS TO THE BOLSA CHICA LAND TRUST!
1. At its October hearing, the California Coastal Commission denied the Coastal Development Permit (CDP) that would have allowed Shea Homes to put 111 houses on the Upper Bolsa Chica Wetlands. In denying the CDP, commissioners mentioned that the mesa is part of a larger ecosystem, and that there has been lack of enforcement regarding unpermitted fill on the property. The Land Trust has consistently advocated on both these issues for a decade and more.
2. The Land Trust has received a $100,000 program grant from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation/Walmart Acres for America. The funds will be used to help reduce invasive non-native grasses, increase southern tarplant and native coastal grass populations, and fund long term monitoring of the 118-acre Bolsa Chica mesa.
See more on both these great successes at bolsachicalandtrust.org/.
FUTURE OF FEDERAL LANDHOLDINGS IN BALANCE. The South Coast Region of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administers 300,000-plus acres, largely in western Riverside and western San Diego Counties (none in OC). These lands include large, intact blocks of chaparral, grassland, CSS and riparian habitat and are cornerstone species-conservation elements in Riverside and San Diego Counties’ multiple-species plans (similar to OC’s NCCP). The lands are also are under constant pressure for OHV use, renewable energy development, resource extraction, etc. The long-awaited revision of BLM’s South Coast Resource Management Plan has recently been released. Of the Plan’s four Alternatives, the Conservation Alternative designates the greatest amount of land as highly protected “Area of Critical Environmental Concern” and stresses low-impact recreation and habitat and species conservation. But even this Alternative has significant shortcomings, such as in the vital subject of fire management. See the Plan at blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/palmsprings/Draft_Resource_Management_Plan_and_EIS.html. ACTION NOW: contact for more background and a sample letter. Comment deadline is Dec. 23.
COYOTE HILLS REFERENDUM SET. The City Council of Fullerton has scheduled an election for November 2012 to ask voters whether they support the Council’s approval of a development plan to put 760 houses on the West Coyote Hills, the last large undeveloped, mostly-natural, open space in northern OC. The Council’s action was in response to petitions, gathered by Friends of the Coyote Hills, that had hundreds more signatures than was needed for validation. ACTION NOW: See the Friends website, www.coyotehills.org/, for details on this issue and how you can help pass the referendum and keep the Coyote Hills as natural open space.
OCCNPS SIGNS ON TO GREEN VISION LETTER. The Green Vision Project has proposed that the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) adopt a policy to acquire and protect open-space natural lands as part of the new regional Sustainable Community Strategy for its six-county area. The acquisition and protection form a mechanism by which carbon can be sequestered and greenhouse gas emissions avoided, thus help to meet the mandates of AB 32 and SB 375, as well as to secure the general benefits of natural open space. OCCNPS was among the first environmental organizations to sign on.
—Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair