Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on preserving and connecting California's Parks & Wildlife Corridors


Thursday, May 28, 2009

EIR for Tejon Ranch/Castac Lake Condor-Killing Project is Out...

Condors and Wildlife Corridor be Damned--Here's the Tejon Lake EIR!

Here's the developer's press release:
(We're still looking for the EIR on the county's website),839765.shtml

5/27/2009--LEBEC, Calif. - (Business Wire) The proposed Tejon Mountain Village (TMV) resort community reached an important milestone Wednesday with Kern County's release of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). The DEIR was prepared by the County to study the environmental impacts of the proposed TMV community in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. TMV is located 40 miles south of Bakersfield, east of the I-5 and the community of Lebec.

The proposed plan would preserve 80% of TMV's 26,417 acres – a total of 21,335 acres of permanently protected open space – while creating a sensitively planned mountain resort community on the remaining 20%. The proposal, first introduced to the community four years ago after years of initial planning, is part of the Tejon Ranch Company's long-term vision of conservation, continued ranching and farming, and limited development.

"Today marks a significant milestone. We've studied these lands thoroughly for nearly a decade and have worked closely with the County, stakeholders and our neighbors to refine and improve the plan," said Roberta Marshall, vice president and general manager of TMV. "Now the public has an opportunity to review our plan and the County's environmental report and see for themselves the great level of care that has been taken to ensure that TMV is sensitively planned to be a good neighbor within the Mountain Communities and make a positive contribution to Kern County's economy."

Community Vision

TMV will provide a unique experience set within Tejon Ranch, one of California's historic ranchos. A collection of 3,450 homes, ranging from clustered resort residential homes to large, low density home sites, will offer future residents an exceptional mountain ranch lifestyle. Resorts as well as community amenities, including two golf courses, and approximately 75 miles of trails and equestrian facilities, will make TMV a remarkable place to live and visit. A commercial center in the community's Village Mixed Use area along Interstate 5 will also provide new shopping, dining and business opportunities for local residents.

Economic & Civic Benefits

It's expected that the community will create approximately 1,500 permanent jobs, 1,600 construction jobs and contribute millions of dollars in annual tax revenue to Kern County. Additionally, TMV will expand and enhance local public services, including:

* New and expanded Fire Department facilities and equipment including three station sites;
* Funding for the expansion or construction of new Sheriff station facilities in the Mountain Communities;
* Funding for a new Deputy Sheriff for the Lebec area and onsite office space at the onset of construction;
* Funding for library books and materials; and
* Funding for school classrooms and renovations.

TMV's planned world-class resort, golf courses and other recreational opportunities will also offer other benefits to the local economy and to Kern County. "We believe that TMV will be a catalyst that will bring more tourism and commerce to the Mountain Communities," said Marshall. "And, TMV will create a gateway to Kern County, helping to further establish Kern County as an exciting place to visit with an extraordinary quality of life."

Environmentally & Ecologically Sound

The TMV plan was designed to avoid and protect important natural resources as its primary means of achieving its conservation goals. As such, the plan preserves 80%, or 21,335 acres, as permanently protected open space. The TMV plan also relies on a series of science-based conservation and sustainability strategies to ensure the community is designed in the most environmentally responsible manner possible.

* Resource Management Plan – Ensures that biological, hydrological, cultural and other resources are managed in the most environmentally sensitive manner possible; provides residents and guests educational opportunities that encourage the ongoing stewardship of the land;
* Sustainability Plan – Sets a maximum water use limit on homes and businesses; defines an energy-efficient building program requiring TMV's homes and businesses to exceed current Title 24 (2005) standards by at least 25%; and calls for the establishment of a community fund to benefit local non-profits and charities;
* Fire Protection Plan – Requires fire sprinklers in all structures; prescribes customized fuel modification zones for each area of the community along with measures to ensure compliance; and prohibits the use of highly flammable plants;
* Design Guidelines – Includes measures to enhance the aesthetics of the community, minimize grading, and limit outdoor lighting to protect dark skies.

In addition, TMV already entered into and has begun implementing a Voluntary Emissions Reduction Agreement (VERA) with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. This voluntary agreement requires that TMV become emissions-neutral by fully offsetting criteria pollutants identified by the air district (NOX, ROG and PM10).

TMV also protects local groundwater sources by introducing three new sources of water to serve the community. Drinking water supplies will be provided by the California Aqueduct (State Water Project) and water banks in Kern County. When available, recycled water from a proposed on-site treatment facility will be used to irrigate TMV's golf courses. Local groundwater is not proposed as a source for TMV.

Large-scale Conservation

TMV's 21,335 acres of open space are included in an agreement between Tejon Ranch Company and the nation's leading environmental organizations to preserve up to 240,000 acres of Tejon Ranch. TMV residents will provide funding to the Tejon Ranch Conservancy from the sale of each home that will be used to further conservation efforts and provide controlled public access to this vast open space. TMV is also part of and is consistent with Tejon Ranch Company's proposed 142,000 acre Tehachapi Uplands Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan which, upon approval, would provide protections for 27 species, including the California condor.

Public Review Process

The County's DEIR studies a comprehensive list of environmental issues. The documents are available for a public comment period and can be reviewed at the County's website at:

It is expected that TMV will be considered by the Kern County Planning Commission for recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for a final decision later this year.

About Tejon Mountain Village

As a part of the Tejon Ranch Vision of conservation, continued ranching, and limited development, Tejon Ranch and DMB Associates are carefully planning the development of Tejon Mountain Village. With approximately 80 percent of its land preserved as natural open space, Tejon Mountain Village will be a remarkable, environmentally sensitive mountain resort community.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Placer County park gift comes with controversial string attached...

28 acre Placer park gift comes with troubling catch: The name of Shockley

May 18, 2009

AUBURN-- A rare gift of 28 acres of wild forest just north of the city limits has sparked charges of racism and has pitted environmentalists against social activists. The land known as Shockley Woods was bequeathed to the Auburn Recreation District with $50,000 for upkeep and one condition: It must be named for a man who believed African Americans are inferior and should be paid not to reproduce…

Latest on Tejon Ranch...

Los Angeles Mag in June 2009 issue covers Tejon Ranch development controversy

the story is not posted on their website, yet...but the CBD has it...

"The Epic battle over L.A.'s last frontier"


Another Big Enviro Group Slams Tejon Deal...

Tejon Ranch Settlement: The Opposite of Smart Growth

In May 2008, Tejon Ranch Company and five highly respected environmental organizations announced California’s largest-ever land conservation deal: up to 240,000 acres could be protected. In exchange, the groups dropped their opposition to the largest development project ever proposed in the state. The new residential city would be far from jobs, creating a commuter’s nightmare. A second development for luxury homes is sited in federally designated critical habitat for the California condor. Although there are parts of the settlement to be applauded, including the potential acquisition of 49,000 acres for a state park, the deal falsely gives the impression that developing Tejon Ranch is smart growth.


report on Tejon HCP flaws

Tri-County Watchdogs

Tejon ranch stock is around $19


tejon ranch water supply 5/8/2009--
Therefore, although only 2,000 of Tejon-Castac's 5,278 acre feet of entitlement are labeled for municipal use, there is no practical restriction on Tejon-Castac's ability to deliver the remaining water to residential or commercial/industrial developments. In the near term, for political and regulatory reasons, it is unlikely that we would be able to direct any of our Wheeler Ridge agricultural entitlement to municipal or industrial uses.


–their blog
On a field trip to Tejon Ranch’s newly-designated conservation lands, Audubon California Executive Director Graham Chisholm snapped this picture showing a tree full of condors. The final count was 11 condors in one tree and another 5 roosting nearby. Sixteen condors represents 5 percent of the total captive and free-flying population, 9 percent of the wild California Condors, and 20 percent of the condors flying free over California. The Tejon Ranch has long been an important feeding and roosting site for the California Condor, and under the terms of the Tejon Ranch Conservation Agreement (June 2008), 90 percent of the ranch is being set aside for permanent conservation. A larger version of the photo is below the fold. ----------------------------

tejon ranch propaganda site


Help Our Ca. Condor Keep its Habitat ----------------
pro-tejon ranch developer, pissed at CBD and Dr. Shawn Smallwood...not certain why...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

a true coastal wilderness in north Mendocino County...

A Look at the Roadless north coast of Mendocino County

(On this map, the large purple shaded area east of Sinkyone shown as owned by Hawthorn Timber was sold to the Redwood Forests Foundation in 2007 to be preserved as a "working" sustainably managed forest. CLICK ON MAP TO ENLARGE!)

InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council

The Council established the 3,845-acre InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness

The Council is comprised of 10 federally recognized Northern California tribes with direct ties to the Sinkyone region, which is located 200 miles north of San Francisco. Each of the Council's member tribes appoints by tribal resolution a delegate to serve on the Council's board of directors. Board members are all volunteers. Starting in 1987, the Council and its allies waged a ten-year fight to protect Sinkyone land from further clearcut logging. The Council raised $1.4 million and convinced the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, the State of California (Coastal Conservancy), and Trust for Public Land to approve a sale to the Council of the Sinkyone land, which was completed in late 1997. The InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness is located adjacent to and east of the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. Local tribes, numerous individuals, environmental organizations and foundations, Bay Area Friends of Sinkyone, the indigenous Ainu people of Japan, and a major grant from Lannan Foundation provided support for the acquisition. The Council developed conservation easements to protect in perpetuity the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness' cultural-natural resources.


The federal government first recognized the area's remarkable scenic and biological values in 1929 when it withdrew public domain lands here from sale. Congress created the King Range Conservation Area in 1970. When I first visited the Lost Coast in the 1970s, plans were already afoot to protect much of the King Range as designated wilderness. Unfortunately, the King Range remains unprotected more than twenty years later.

Meanwhile during the 1970s, California State Parks began protecting the southern Lost Coast. In what was then called the Bear Harbor Project, the state acquired the remote Stewart Ranch in Mendocino County's northwesternmost corner. They changed the name to Sinkyone Wilderness State Park when the park was officially established in 1977, recognizing and striving to protect its essential wilderness values.

The park's southern neighbor, Georgia-Pacific Corporation, saw the Lost Coast in a different light. Several thousand acres of the company's coastal lands still held virgin forests of massive redwoods, firs and spruces in 1979. These forests had survived because they were remote, even though sawmills had operated within 5 miles of them, at Usal around 1900 and Wheeler in the 1950s. Georgia Pacific quietly began cutting these giants in 1980.

Not until autumn 1983 did word spread around the north coast of the last immense virgin trees around Usal falling to the chainsaws Then about 200 action-oriented environmentalists moved to stop the cutting along Wheeler Road. They came to the Lost Coast under cover of darkness. When the loggers came to work at dawn, they found people blocking their way to the standing giants. After many showdowns and the death of many more giants, a court injunction halted logging. The last groves, most notably the Sally Bell Grove, were finally saved when the Trust for Public Land purchased the surrounding lands. Of the 7100 acres bought by TPL, Sinkyone State Park gained 3000, extending it south to Usal. In 1996 the other 4000 acres became Sinkyone Intertribal Park where, in the nation's first intertribal park, major plant and watershed restoration are occurring.


Later, conservationists clashed with logging interests in a fight to preserve the park. Timber companies clearcut choice old-growth forests nearby. By the mid-1980s, Georgia-Pacific Corporation was on the verge of liquidating the last ancient redwoods in the area. While some activists filed suit, others chained themselves to trees in an old-growth forest they dubbed the "Sally Bell Grove." In 1986, after receiving a favorable court ruling and financial help from the Save the Redwoods League, the Trust for Public Land, the California Coastal Commission and other interests, the park was expanded to its current size and special places like the Sally Bell Grove were finally spared. North Coast activist Darryl Cherney commemorated this struggle with his catchy folk song, "Give 'Em Hell, Sally Bell."

The activists who helped defend Sinkyone in the 1980s continued to pressure the California Department of Parks and Recreation to officially protect the park as wilderness. At last, these efforts paid off this past November. President Bush created the first ever Lost Coast wilderness when he signed into law the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, which included 42,000 acres of wilderness in the King Range National Conservation Area, adjacent to Sinkyone. The two areas of public land border each other and share the 50+ mile Lost Coast Trail. Both the governments of the State of California and the United States have finally given the historic and beautiful Lost Coast the permanent protection it deserves.

Logging operations continued until well into the 20th century and wood products of various kinds were shipped to market from Usal, Needle Rock, Anderson's Landing, Northport and Bear Harbor/Morgan's Rock. Northport was not much of a port, but lumber schooners were able to take on their cargoes by means of a "wire chute," - a cable and block system that could run wood from the bluff to waiting schooners. Built in 1875, the Northport "chute" was one of the first of its kind on the coast.

Sinkyone Wilderness State Park was created in 1975 when the first 3,430 acres were acquired at Needle Rock. The park expanded in 1986 and now totals 7,367 acres.


intertribal sinkyone park


2 old radicals hiking in the Sinkyone

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Public Trail opened covering the length of Catalina Island...

Catalina Island Conservancy opens 37 mile Trans-Catalina trail to the public

Hikers are now able to travel virtually the entire length of the Island on a dedicated walking path - the 37.2-mile-long "Trans-Catalina Trail." Cyclists will also be able to enjoy nearly the entire lengths of the Island, using multi-use portions of the Trail and alternate routes.

Native Americans, explorers, and trappers have all blazed trails on Catalina. A network of horse trails from the time of cattle and sheep ranching on the Island exist as well. Many of these "original" trails were undoubtedly converted to the Island's modern road and trail system...

campsites, etc are available across the island...

Photo's of the trail, etc:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's Been 40 Years since the Eel River was saved...

Looking Back at the Dam that could have Dried up the Eel River

(the road to Round Valley in North Mendocino County, from HWY 101)

(map is from the book "The New Book of California Tomorrow")

round valley dam

book mentions round valley dam{8A09EE4B-28DC-40D8-90C7-EF919D686CBA}&DE={910A185B-2D25-4A41-B686-16BC2E4BE80D}

wild and scenic status for north coast rivers, and Eel river, Round Valley dam killed

more on calif wild and scenic rivers

book on round valley dam

Saving Land in the South SF Bay...

A Map of the Currently Saved Lands in Santa Clara County

Lands shaded orange/brown and black are preserved lands.
Lands shaded yellow are urban sprawl.

Santa Clara County Open Space Authority

Silicon Valley Land Conservancy—formerly LT for Santa Clara Co.—holds ag easements in Gilroy

map of holdings

Another threat to SW side of SF Bay wetlands...

As Expected, 12,000 Homes proposed on Cargill's Salt Ponds on Southwest Side of SF Bay

Lands were not part of $100 million state purchase 5 years ago
--Project backer drops another Huge project farther south in San Benito County

Developers propose up to 12,000 homes along bayfront at Redwood City

5/13/2009— The project, which DMB will submit to the city next Tuesday, includes a mixture of condominiums, apartments and attached housing on half the 1,433-acre site. There also would be 1 million square feet of office space, retail shops, a fire station, and a trolley system that would connect residents with downtown Redwood City and its Caltrain station, slightly less than a mile away across Highway 101.

The other half of the site would remain undeveloped. Roughly 440 acres would be converted back to tidal wetlands, and another 250 would become parks, baseball fields and soccer fields…. Ironically, although DMB rolled out details of the Redwood City plan Tuesday, only last week the same company announced it was withdrawing another huge housing project on the Santa Clara-San Benito County line, citing the poor economy.

That project, El Rancho San Benito, was to have been a new city with 6,800 homes. But DMB said the job prospects and growth patterns are not the same on the Peninsula. "Each project we do is unique and has different attributes. Decisions about Rancho San Benito are completely independent from Redwood City," said Bruno.

More on Wetlands in San Mateo County:

story on restoration of 1400 acre Bair Island in San Francisco Bay, includes adding 2 feet of dredged bay mud to make it possible for shallow water plants to grow...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Exxon-Mobil and Shell Oil Have Condos planned for OC Coast...

Competing Visions for Orange County's Largest Unprotected Coastal Wetland

The Newport Banning Ranch Project (Project) proposes the development of up to
1,375 residential dwelling units, 75,000 square feet of commercial uses, and 75 overnight resort
accommodations on a Project site of approximately 401 acres.

The Notice of Preparation (NOP) for a large development at Banning Ranch in Newport Beach was released March 16, 2009.

Banning Ranch is the last large privately owned parcel of coastal open space remaining in Orange County.

It is USFWS-declared critical habitat for the California gnatcatcher and San Diego Fairy Shrimp, as well as habitat for the largest remaining population of Cactus Wrens in coastal Orange County.

The release of the NOP is a road we have not crossed before in our ten year effort to preserve the entire Banning Ranch as open space.

While we have some "open space veterans" in our effort, many of us are new to NOPs. We have 30 days to submit comments

Please give us some general guidelines in navigating this critical step. Tactics and strategies would be greatly appreciated.

If you would also, please review the entire development application with all its appendices and studies and give us specific advice on what to submit (or submit your own comments). This can be viewed by going to the Newport Beach website:

Ventura Coast Wetlands--send letters now!

Public Support for Ventura County's Ormond Beach Wetlands Needed Now

5/18/2009--The Ormond Beach wetlands are located in the City of Oxnard, between Port Hueneme and the Point Mugu Naval Base. Like many of our dwindling Southern California wetlands, they have been severely degraded and fragmented by human development. Much of the historical acreage has been filled in to create agricultural fields, ocean front residences, and to support industry, including the Halaco facility, which is now a Superfund site. In spite of all this, the Ormond Beach wetlands are a renowned ecological treasure among scientists and nature lovers. The Ormond Beach wetland area supports over 200 species of migratory birds, including the endangered California least tern and western snowy plover. Major efforts are underway to permanently protect habitat and restore and expand the wetlands. If successful, this could be one of the largest wetland areas in Southern California.

ormond beach LK

Unfortunately, there are some major land use decisions currently pending in the City of Oxnard that threaten to undermine these considerable protection and restoration efforts. Immediately on the horizon is the City of Oxnard's public hearing and review of the environmental impacts of its draft 2030 General Plan. The City's draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) considers the potential environmental impacts associated with the City's maps, goals, policies and implementation programs through the year 2030. [NOTE: the City will also hold hearings about the content of the draft 2030 General Plan, and EDC will send additional Messenger items to alert you about these important events.]

EDC represents the Los Padres Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Environmental Coalition of Ventura County on this critical coastal issue. Please add your voice to this effort by writing to the City of Oxnard to state your support for the expansion and restoration of the Ormond Beach wetland area, urge the City to prioritize the restoration of Ormond Beach wetlands in its 2030 General Plan, and request that the City re-circulate its draft EIR because of the following problems in the document:
  • The 2030 General Plan would continue to allow a substantial amount of industrial land use in the Ormond Beach area, and the draft EIR does not adequately consider the impacts of allowing such uses near the wetlands.
  • The draft EIR does not consider the effects of sea level rise in the Ormond Beach area. If sea level rise is not accounted for, proposed development in the Ormond Beach area could limit the ability of the wetlands to migrate inland as sea level rises, resulting in the loss of wetlands and habitat for threatened and endangered species.
  • The draft EIR does not consider alternatives that focus on coastal protection. The EIR should include an alternative that would designate all land use in the vicinity of Ormond Beach consistent with the protection, expansion and restoration of the wetlands. There should be no industrial land use south of Hueneme Road. This alternative would be the environmentally superior alternative.

SEND YOUR COMMENTS by 5 p.m. Friday May 22 to:
MAIL: Christopher Williamson, SENIOR PLANNER
OXNARD, CA 93030
FAX: 805-385-7417

Comments can also be presented during a public hearing before the Planning Commission on Thursday, May 21.

For more information about the Oxnard 2030 General Plan, see the City of Oxnard's website

Stay tuned for more opportunities to take action to support the Ormond Beach wetlands!

Monday, May 18, 2009

2 Land trusts save Bear River parcels in N. Sierras...

Another 1500 Acres along the Bear River north Of Sacramento are Saved

from the California Oak Report,, April 2009 issue:

The Nevada County Land Trust has announced that over 650 acres of rolling oak woodlands fronting the Bear River is in escrow for a sale at $3.1 million. If all pieces fall into place, the acquisition of the southern Nevada County property called Garden Bar Preserve will become a first-of-its kind purchase for the NCLT, more accustomed to dealing with land easements. The trust has 20 parcels in conservation easements, 90 percent of which were donated. “It’s a real change in strategy for the land trust,” said Executive Director Marty Coleman-Hunt.

It means there will be a permanently protected connected landscape of more than 3,000 acres. The goal is to improve wildlife corridors thereby enhancing migration and circulation between the Bear River and Spenceville. This region is under intensive development pressure.

This acquisition compliments 912 acres of land secured just across the river by the Placer County Land Trust and another 1,555 acres of agricultural easements held in the Bear River watershed. NCLT officials are banking on financial support coming largely from the state-run Wildlife Conservation Board, despite the uncertainty of the state’s budget and a hold on Proposition 84 contracts. “It’s something they’ve identified that they want to fund,” said NCLT president Joe Byrne. The Sierra Nevada Conservancy and State Resources Agency have also shown interest in the project. The land trust has set a goal of raising $300,000 from private donations.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

An Island in the Mojave National Preserve...

Spotlight on the Castle Mountains Proposed Mojave National Preserve Addition

from's Voices For the Desert news

5/2009--The Castle Mountains lie along the California-Nevada border and are surrounded on three sides by the Mojave National Preserve. These mountains, including Hart Peak at 5,543 ft., represent a critical linkage between the Paiute Mountains and the New York Mountains for plant-life, wildlife, scenic viewshed and watershed. The Castle Mountains are currently the only remaining portion of the 340-mile Lanfair Valley watershed that is not part of the Preserve. The vegetation consists of Joshua tree woodland, with higher elevations leading to Blackbrush scrub and Pinyon-Juniper forest at the highest altitudes. The area of Desert Grasslands below the Viceroy Mine was recognized as a “unique plant assemblage” in 1980 by the BLM in their California Desert Conservation Area plan. The scenic view from Hart Mountain looks out over adjacent and contiguous wilderness, including views of many of the highest peaks in the Mojave Desert. The remote nature of this site protects the ability to enjoy increasingly rare natural quiet. The Castle Mountains are critical habitat for Mojave Desert wildlife like the Desert Bighorn, Mule Deer, Bobcat, Mountain Lion, Golden Eagle, Swainson’s Hawk, Desert Tortoise, Gila Monster, Prairie Falcon, Bendire’s Thrasher, Grey Vireo, Townsend’s big-eared bat, and California leaf-nosed bat. This area is especially critical to the Desert Bighorn who utilize the area both as habitat and as a wildlife corridor between the water-poor Paiute Mountains and the wetter New York Mountains. This area is also a “living laboratory” showcasing the progression of human history in the Eastern Mojave Desert. There are significant elements of Native American, Western-American and Mining History, including an obsidian source that provided material found throughout the Mojave, the historic town of Hart, and both the Hart and Viceroy mines. The opportunity for historic preservation and interpretation are tremendous.

San Diego River Park expands...

17 acre River Eduction Site is Donated to San Diego River Foundation

5/17/2009--Join the San Diego River Park Foundation for a very special celebration that has been 3 years in the making - the donation agreement with the Grant Family for the future site of the river education center and community park along the River in Mission Valley. 17 acres in the heart of Mission Valley!

Fundraiser for the Tahoe Rim Trail Assoc...

Ever Dream Of Doing The Entire Tahoe Rim Trail?

2009 could be the year you do it! All 165 miles! The Tahoe Rim Trail Association is now accepting applications for the 2009 Annual Thru Hike. The 15 day trip will begin on July 25/26, 2009 and end on August 8/9, 2009. Cost is $1750, which goes to support the Rim Trail Association's work.

For full story:

Friday, May 15, 2009

the Mulholland core trail--what happened to it?

What Happened to Los Angeles' 22-Mile Hiking Trail?

excerpted from:

It was back in 1992 when the Mulholland Scenic Parkway Specific Plan went into effect, setting course for the city of Los Angeles to preserve the historic 1924 drive through a set of land use regulations and improvements. Among those was the Core Trail, some 22 miles in length, roughly from near the Hollywood Bowl to Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Approaching 20 years since it became law, some are wondering why nothing has been done....


Thursday, May 14, 2009

More ranchland saved north of Mono Lake...

Centennial Ranch Easement Addition funded by State

5/13/2009--We are thrilled to announce that we just received a grant from the California Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program! This grant program awarded $522,000 toward our efforts to purchase a conservation easement permanently preserving 720 acres of beautiful grazing lands and wetlands adjacent to Scenic Highway 395. Stay tuned to hear more about this exciting project!

Over 1200 Acres Saved in North Sierra Nevadas

Environment groups donate more scenic river property

5/10/2009--Two environmental protection groups have donated more scenic river properties to the Tahoe National Forest.

Along with a 637-acre donation last fall, the latest parcels – all purchased from timber companies – add more than 1,200 acres to the forest."With so much private land within the boundary of the forest, these acquisitions are important to maintaining the health of the watershed and wildlife habitat," Forest Supervisor Tom Quinn said in a news release. The recent donations include a 548-acre parcel, known as "the Macklin property," along the Middle Yuba River about three miles south of Sierra City, and 94 acres on the north fork of the American River, near Green Valley and the forest's western boundary.

The Macklin parcel is in the same vicinity as 637 acres donated last fall along Milton Creek north of Jackson Meadow.

Both of the larger parcels, valued at more than $1 million and $825,000 respectively, were purchased from Sierra Pacific Industries with assistance from the Trust for Public Land.

The 94 acres, valued at $100,000, were purchased from Siller Brothers by the American River Conservancy and donated to the forest as part of a program to acquire private land within the wild-river corridor.РBarbara Bart̩ Osborn

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Solar in the City or the Desert?

Consensus elusive on proposed desert solar projects

5/12/2009--Dozens of companies have submitted applications to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for solar projects on nearly 600,000 acres in the California desert. Some environmental groups worry that the developments will harm endangered wildlife and disrupt desert vistas.

... Not too fast, countered Bill Corcoran, a Los Angeles-based representative of the Sierra Club. Much of the public land under consideration for large solar plants is pristine and should be preserved for future generations, he said.

That terrain includes former railroad property in the Mojave Desert that conservationists acquired about a decade ago and donated to the federal government.

"It is important the public lands that were bought for conservation should be given that conservation protection," Corcoran said.

He added that the Sierra Club favors solar energy development to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

Corcoran proposed that the federal government establish a system of tax and regulatory incentives to push much of the solar development onto abandoned farms and other disturbed acreage -- much of it near towns and cities -- that has little habitat or conservation value.

A statement from the feds:

Friday, May 8, 2009

WCB 5/2009: Wildlife Board has slim purchase agenda for May 28th meeting

Wildlife Conservation Board to finally Meet Save 164 Acres in Lake and Merced Counties

Postponed due to the State's budget crisis, the Department of Fish and Game is once again buying land.


May 28, 2009
10:00 A.M.
1/ State Capitol, Room 112
Sacramento, California 95814

Clear Lake Conservation Area, Lake County
To consider the acceptance of a donation from Lake County Watershed Protection District of a Conservation Easement over six real properties totaling 31+ acres to protect a historic wetland habitat, located approximately two and one-half miles northwest of the community of Nice, in Lake County.

North Grasslands Wildlife Area, Gadwall Unit, $560,000.00 Merced County
To consider the acquisition of 133± acres to protect historic wetlands and improve distribution of waterfowl within the Grassland area by the addition of wetland habitat located near the City of Los Banos, in Merced County. The proposed funding source allows for the protection of inland wetlands to benefit waterfowl. [Habitat Conservation Fund, (Proposition 117), Section 2786 (d)(Inland Wetland Conservation Program)]

SMMC-MRCA 3/16/2009 to 5/6/2009

Latest Land Purchases and Development Projects in the Santa Monica Mountains and Rim of the Valley Trail Corridor, and Urban L.A.
--March through May 2009


Tujunga Wash
Compton Creek
Topanga Canyon
Cold Creek
Beverly Glen/Benedict Canyons
Sage Ranch-Simi Hills
Ramirez Canyon
Pacific Palisades
Laurel Canyon
Topanga Ridge
Calabasas Highlands
Vista Canyon/Santa Clarita
Ladyface Mountain--Agoura Hills

3/16, 4/1 and 5/6/2009-MRCA agenda--Consideration of resolution authorizing all actions necessary to accept approximately 260-acre Big Tujunga Wash open space dedication, including, but not limited to, the formation of a Community Facilities District or Landscape Maintenance District to fund maintenance and required environmental mitigation measures, entering into agreements with the Angeles National Golf Course and/or the City of Los Angeles, and acceptance of funding for all said purposes. [Map] [Attachment] [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map 2] [Map 3] [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment ] [Attachment 2] [Staff Report] [Map] [Resolution]

4/1/2009 MRCA--Consideration of resolution authorizing entering into a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperative Agreement with the City of Compton for the purposes of accepting funding for the acquisition of certain properties (APNs 7318-003-026, 032, 034, 958, 959, and 960) adjacent to Compton Creek, City of Compton. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment]

5/6/2009 MRCA--Consideration of resolution authorizing acceptance of the donation of an approximately 0.03-acre parcel (APN 4442-029-013), unincorporated Topanga Canyon. [Map] [Staff Report] [Resolution]

5/6/2009 MRCA--Consideration of resolution authorizing acceptance of the donation of an approximately 0.09-acre parcel (APN 4434-034-001), unincorporated Topanga Canyon. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map 1] [Map 2]

5/6/2009 MRCA--Consideration of resolution authorizing acceptance of the following offers to dedicate trail easements: Cold Creek Associates (Johnson)/P-81-7701 and Las Virgenes Municipal Water District/5-87-986A, unincorporated Los Angeles County, Malibu adjacent. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map 1] [Map 2]
5/6/2009 MRCA--Consideration of resolution amending Resolution No. 09-25 to include APN 4380-034-004 and amending Resolution No. 09-07 to allow consideration for APN 4380-034-004 and all APNs in Resolution No. 09-25 to be up to fair market value, Beverly Glen and Benedict Canyons, Los Angeles. [Attachment 2] [Map] [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1]5/6/2009 MRCA--Consideration of resolution authorizing Boeing to perform additional target range clean up activities at Sage Ranch Park. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment]

5/6/2009 MRCA--Consideration of resolution conditionally authorizing the acquisition of a conservation/trail easement on APN 4467-003-021 in Ramirez Canyon, Malibu. Negotiators: Joseph T. Edmiston and Dr. Bradley Gardner. Under consideration: terms. (This item may be heard in closed session pursuant to § 54956.8 of the Government Code. [Map] [Resolution] [Staff Report]

5/6/2009-MRCA--Consideration of resolution amending Resolution No. 09-24 to authorize either partial acquisition of APN 4416-002-014 or for the seller to retain a yard easement not to exceed 1600 square feet to benefit APN 4416-002-013, Pacific Palisades. [Staff Report] [Map] [Resolution]5/6/2009 MRCA--Consideration of resolution authorizing entering into a sole source agreement, at no cost to the public, with George Wallach to solicit private funding to complete the acquisition of six lots under an option agreement at the southwest corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Mulholland Drive, Hollywood. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Staff Report] [Map] [Resolution]5/6/2009 MRCA--Consideration of resolution authorizing the granting of an access easement to the National Park Service along the Topanga Ridge Motorway portion of APN 4453-024-902, Cold Creek watershed, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map]

3/23/2009 SMMC --Consideration of resolution authorizing a comment letter to the City of Calabasas on Notice of Preparation for Calabasas Highland Estates project located at the southeast corner of Mulholland Highway and Dry Canyon Cold Creek Road. [Comment Letter] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map]
3/23/2009 SMMC--Consideration of resolution authorizing a grant of deposited mitigation funds (Alamos Canyon ilf-Corps No. 200400766-mdc) from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Fund to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority for implementation of the Gopher Canyon riparian habitat restoration and creation project in the Brown's Canyon watershed, unincorporated Los Angeles County, Chatsworth area. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment ] [Map] [Attachment 2]

4/27/2009-SMMC--Consideration of resolution authorizing a comment letter to the City of Santa Clarita on the Vista Canyon Ranch project (Master Case 07-127), Santa Clara River, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Attachment] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Resolution] [Map 1] [Map 2] [Comment Letter]

4/27/2009 SMMC--Consideration of resolution authorizing a comment letter to the City of Agoura Hills on proposed Conrad Hilton Foundation office building project, 30440 and 30500 Agoura Road (Ladyface Mountain Specific Plan). [Map] [Resolution] [Comment Letter]


More on Forests to Grapevines...

May 25th is the Deadline to Comment on Scope of Preservation Ranch--the North Sonoma County project proposing Conversion of Redwood Forests to Vineyards on a Massive Scale

excerpted from:

Sonoma County is initiating the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process for the "Preservation" Ranch proposal, the largest forest-to-vineyard conversion project acre ever proposed in California coastal forestlands.

Over 1,600 acres of forest will be converted in a project totaling 19,000 acres in size. The core components of the proposal for County action are permanent rezoning from timber production to rural residential development, granting use permits for 17 ridgetop vineyard blocks, and "consideration" of other project activities. Forest conversion to vineyards is prohibited under current zoning.

The Initial Study ( describes a project that includes a 3 to 5 year construction period for ridgetop vineyards, reservoirs, gravel quarries, internal road expansion and upgrades, drainage and water delivery systems, worker housing and renewed timber operations. Unlike past versions of the project, this one does not include over one hundred vineyard estate luxury homes (nor does it prohibit their subsequent proposal after permits are issued)....

NO ALTERNATIVES IDENTIFIED (Initial Study p. 1-7). The initial study is deferring all discussion of alternatives that may lessen environmental impact, and focuses exclusively on the proposed project and mitigation.

PROJECT MODIFIED AFTER SUBMITTAL (Initial Study p. 2-1). The unstable project description has been modified even after the applicant submitted the application. The Initial Study supersedes the April 2008 project description...

OVER 10 MILES OF SEASONAL CREEKS FILLED (Initial Study p. 2-24). Approximately 363 Class III stream segments (total length 10.53 miles) would be filled and graded in proposed conversion sites.

OVER 85 MILES OF 8 FOOT HIGH WILDLIFE FENCING would be installed to encircle the propsed vineyards.

40 NEW RESERVOIRS CONSTRUCTED, EACH 10 TO 40 ACRE-FEET CAPACITY (Initial Study p. 2-24). Project would build approximately 40 new 10- to 49-acre-foot reservoirs within or adjacent to the proposed vineyards. All dams will be sized to be under limit that would trigger more vigorous inspection by California Department of Water Resources, Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD) requirements...

PIECEMEALING RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT: The current version of the project has dropped from the proposal (and environmental review of impacts) the construction of 116 luxury vineyard estate homes, but rezones the area to accommodate their subsequent proposal and authorization when economic conditions are favorable. How will agricultural conversion and infrastructure with rezoning of presently protected forestland influence development pressure?

Deadline for public comments on scoping:

Monday, May 25, 2009 at 5:00 p.m.

Written comments on the scope of the
Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
should be sent to:

David Schiltgen (or Steve Dee) - File No. PLP06-0107
Permit and Resource Management Department
2550 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403-2829

more on this issue:

Southern Sierrra Nevada Preserves in the works...

Land Deals Around the Kern River and Lake Isabella by the State and Audubon Society

Map above shows the Parker Ranch conservation easement funded by the State Wildlife Conservation Board, and other large land holdings in this stretch between Tejon Ranch and the Sierra Nevada national forests.

Map above shows a 196 acre May 2008 purchase by the Wildlife Conservation Board.

the Audubon Society has also purchased lands in the area:

Kelso Creek land protected (from their website 5/8/2009)

While we haven't closed on all of the land in escrow, we are close to finalizing permanent protection of 601-acres adjacent to Sequoia National Forest and the BLM Bright Star Wilderness. As soon as title is transferred Audubon will transfer the land to the Bureau of Land Management to be included in the Bright Star Wilderness. We do this to protect the land in perpetuity while eliminating the administrative costs that for lack of a permanent endowment, Audubon cannot afford.

More info here:
most recent newsletter

And another 2894 acres preserve owned by Audubon:

New Park Has 360 Degree View of L.A.

The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook has opened to the public!

Finally opening up the western half of the Baldwin Hills park project which sits on lands entirely surrounded by the concrete of Los Angeles, the State Parks department has completed a hilltop visitor's center which is open to the public (as long as there are funds to staff it!). The park is a work in progress, and so far, about 1/3rd of the land of the total planned area of the park has been acquired by the government from the oil companies which have operated there for many years.

The grand opening was April 18th, 2009--Here are photos, maps, planting lists and more...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

5000 Acres Saved in Shasta County

Lassen Foothills -- Conservation Easement purchased on 5000 Acres
By Ben Miles , executive director of the Shasta Land Trust of Shasta County.

4/13/2009-Shasta Land Trust has completed a conservation easement on the 5,000-acre Cow Creek Ranch in Shasta County.

The completed easement represents the conclusion of over two years of coordinated efforts by the owners of Cow Creek Ranch, Shasta Land Trust, and their partner organization, the Trust for Public Land.

This conservation easement will prevent further development on the ranch, protecting the many natural resources on the property and ensuring that it remains open space available for ranching purposes.

Located along Whitmore Road, the ranch is owned by the Cow Creek Ranch Limited Partnership. The 4,915-acre cattle ranch will remain in private ownership and may continue to be used for productive ranching uses under the terms of the conservation easement.

The vast acreage of Cow Creek Ranch features an impressive array of habitat types that support many species of wildlife. Blue oak and black oak woodlands, riparian corridors along several creeks, ponderosa pine stands, springs, and ponds all can be found on the property, along with vast expanses of upland dryland grazing areas.

The Cow Creek Ranch will not be open to the public as a result of the conservation easement, but some limited visitation may be conducted by Shasta Land Trust on an annual basis in the future.

Shasta Land Trust is a local non-profit conservation organization, formed in Redding in 1998. Working only with willing landowners who are motivated to conserve their property, Shasta Land Trust has helped conserve over 16,000 acres of land in this region.

The conservation easement on Cow Creek Ranch joins similar Shasta Land Trust easements for over 8,000 acres of ranches in the Cow Creek watershed, helping support the local ranching economy and ensuring the diverse natural resources of the region continue to thrive for generations to come.

The conservation easement was purchased from the Cow Creek Limited Partnership with funds provided by the Wildlife Conservation Board of California, as well as the Preserving Wild California program of the Resources Legacy Fund. Support for Shasta Land Trust is derived from its many supporters and members.

The conservation easement for Cow Creek Ranch permits a handful of residences on the nearly 5,000 acres, but prohibits any additional residential development on the property. Continued grazing is permitted, as is the ability to maintain the necessary ranching and agricultural infrastructure. The property will remain in private ownership and may be sold or passed down to heirs, but will remain under the restrictions of the conservation easement in perpetuity. The ranch will continue to support the local ranching economy, provide important wildlife habitat, provide clean water from its springs and streams, and offer scenic views of its natural expanses for many generations to come.


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rexfrankel at

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