BANNING RANCH 1:  The proposed Banning Ranch development is expected to have its final hearing at this September’s Coastal Commission meeting, date TBA. The hearing will be a culmination of the Banning Ranch Conservancy’s (BRC) 17 years’ work to preserve Banning Ranch. BRC must raise $5,000 by the end of July in order to meet the upcoming challenge.

ACTION NOW: Help support BRC’s final(?) campaign:  banningranchconservancy.org/make-a-donation.html

BANNING RANCH 2:  CNPS is now officially an Amici in the Amicus Brief in support of BRC’s appeal to the State Supreme Court. The other Amici are the Center for Biological Diversity and the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation. The appeal asks that the OC Appeals Court’s reversal of the OC Superior Court’s finding, that the proposed Banning Ranch development violates CEQA among other issues, be itself reversed. 

CHINO/PUENTE HILLS:  There is now an unprecedented opportunity to purchase one or all of the private properties that encompass the eastern ridge lines above Chino Hills State Park.

ACTION NOW:  Contact Hills for Everyone, HillsForEveryone.org, to support their work to garner the needed political, agency, and media muscle to acquire these properties.

TALBERT REGIONAL PARK is a long narrow strip of remnant flood plain, along the east side of the Santa Ana River from Fairview Park to Banning Ranch. The  Final Habitat Restoration Plan has recently been released: ocparks.com/civicax/inc/blobfetch.aspx?BlobID=54858. The Plan is the result of a scoping process, begun in 2014, that analyzed existing conditions and sought public and other stakeholder input.

The Plan identifies three alternatives for restoring native habitat and improving public access. The alternatives cover a range of improvements from simple to complex; the estimated costs for each also cover a range. 

Once an alternative is selected, there are many more steps of environmental review and permit application before construction can begin. 

ACTION NOW Especially if you live in Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, or environs, contact and/or ocparks.com to find out how to help the best alternative be chosen.

SAFE TRAILS:  The Orange County Parks Commission has created a new OC Parks Trails Sub-Committee, to be an advisory body to the Commission, addressing matters regarding County trails and bikeways and providing a public forum for trails issues. Ron Vanderhoff, OCCNPS Board Member and Field Trip Chair, has offered to represent us on the Subcommittee. This is a great opportunity to bring a native plant perspective into OC trail issues—thank you Ron!

“ORANGE IS THE NEW GREEN”: OC’s zoning code is being updated, with the goal to increase sustainability in OC’s unincorporated areas. This includes: ”1.4. Provide a plant palette of County approved planting materials. A consolidated drought tolerant plant palette should be created… .”

This is a great opportunity for OCCNPS to advance the cause of native landscaping! However, the update process involves much more than providing a natives palette, see:  ocplanning.net/planning/projects/orange_is_the_new_green. Brad Jenkins, OCCNPS Board member and Treasurer, has offered to represent us in the update process—thank you Brad!

                                                                                                                                                —Celia Kutcher. Conservation Chair

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