Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

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


Friday, May 28, 2010

Huge Ranch in South Monterey County is saved

CA Rangeland Trust Receives Gft of 12,500 acre Deer Valley Ranch

excerpted from

San Miguel, CA: A 12,500-acre ranch in southern Monterey County amassed by California inventor Stanton (Stan) Avery has been donated to the California Rangeland Trust, a non-profit, rancher-governed group dedicated to protecting California’s open spaces and ranching heritage.

Deer Valley Ranch is a critical part of a wildlife corridor that connects conservation lands from the Salinas Valley to the San Joaquin. For the past century, it has been a cattle ranching operation, most recently a cow-calf and stocker ranch, with some barley farming in the interior valleys. As a well-managed ranch in the heart of Monterey’s oak savannah landscape, it supports habitat for wildlife such as Tule elk, blacktail deer, bobcat, mountain lion, San Joaquin kit fox, migratory songbirds, California quail, a wide variety of hawks and golden eagles.

“We are enormously grateful for the generosity and foresight that allows us to protect this extraordinary California landscape,” said Nita Vail, Chief Executive Officer. “Our intention is to use this tremendous gift as a springboard to leverage additional funding and protect many, many more ranches throughout California.” The ranch is the largest gift received by the Trust in the organization’s 12-year history....


The Trust intends to sell the ranch to a conservation-minded buyer, and will place a conservation easement on the ranch. They have put the ranch on the market for nearly $10 million.

1275 Acres of Development rights deleted in Napa

Room to Roam - Partnership Permanently Protects Historic Blue Ridge-Berryessa Ranch

NAPA, Calif., May 28, 2010- The California Rangeland Trust is pleased to announce the permanent conservation of the 1,275-acre Running Deer Ranch, owned by John and Judy Ahmann in Napa County. The Rangeland Trust worked with the California Department of Conservation, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), and the Napa Land Trust to place an agricultural conservation easement on the property, ensuring that it will remain a natural, working landscape in perpetuity.

Running Deer Ranch is one of the oldest continuously operating cattle ranches in the state, and was a part of the Las Putas Rancho that the Berryessa Brothers acquired in 1843.

"The conservation of the Running Deer Ranch is a success for the Ahmann family, our partners and for open space protection in the Bay Area," said Nita Vail, California Rangeland Trust Chief Executive Officer.

"Our mission is to protect rangelands and ranching culture," said Vail, "but intact ranchlands contribute so much to the Bay Area economy and quality of life." According to the Bay Area Open Space Council, there are 1.3 million acres of private ranchlands still remaining in the Bay Area that play a critical role in supporting local food production, tourist-enticing vistas, and "ecological services" like migration corridors and wildlife habitat.

"As we watched development edge closer to the ranch, we knew we had to do something to protect the natural resources and history of this land," said Judy Ahmann. "From the Native Americans to the vast land grants to the American pioneers – they all had a place here. We feel we have done the best we can to maintain the part of the Blue Ridge-Berryessa area under our care."

Running Deer Ranch is located about 22 miles north of the city of Napa, and extends from the gentle gradient of the Berryessa Valley to the steep slopes of Blue Ridge. It is a critical "connector" property, one that helps keep the wilderness values of the region whole and unfragmented. The ranch showcases many of the areas' distinctive ecosystems – grassland, oak savannah, hardwood forest and chamise chaparral. For over 150 years the ranch's cattle operation has shared habitat with bald eagle, foothill yellow-legged frog, golden eagle, blue oak and interior live oak.

The Ahmann family has owned the property since 1986, and managed it for both high quality cattle and to improve the ecological processes of the landscape by promoting grassland and forest health. They generously provided a half mile of their private land to help connect a 100 mile hiking trail that runs through the Blue Ridge-Berryessa Natural Area.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

SMMC-MRCA 5/24/2010

Some more mountains conservancy business....

May 24, 2010 - SMMC

Consideration of resolution authorizing a grant of deposited mitigation funds from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Fund to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, and authorizing an advance of said funds, for implementation of the Lopez Canyon riparian habitat restoration and creation project in the Lopez Canyon watershed, adjacent to the Los Angeles National Forest, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Map]  

STUDIO CITY--L.A. RIVER: Consideration of resolution augmenting grant NP-0790. [Map 1] [Map 2] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Staff Report]  

Consideration of resolution authorizing a comment letter to the City of Simi Valley on Condition Use Permit Application No. CUP-S-686 for a contractor storage yard along Alamos Creek, 744 West Los Angeles Avenue, Simi Valley. [Resolution] [Map] [Attachment] [Comment Letter


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Strip mine expansion in L.A.'s San Gabriel Mtns is rejected

Azusa City Council rejects plan to let company shift mining to area that borders Duarte


Opponents say the rock quarry would scar a mountainside, affect air quality and cut off access to a popular trailhead to the Fish Canyon waterfall.

excerpted from,0,221946.story

After a six-hour meeting that ended Tuesday morning, the Azusa City Council voted 3 to 2 against the mining proposal.

Vulcan Materials submitted a request last year to shift its operations from Fish Canyon to an area that borders Duarte. Vulcan had originally planned to mine an eastern section of its 270 acres, but said the land near Duarte is less visible, which is in keeping with Azusa's general plan.

...Azusa Mayor Joe Rocha said the presence of Duarte residents did not influence his decision to vote against the proposal.
"I questioned from the beginning the success of the revegetation plan," Rocha said, referring to Vulcan's promise of concurrent reclamation of the hillsides.
The company planned to use a technique called micro-benching, leaving pyramid steps about 1 to 2 feet high and 1 to 2 feet deep. Rocha said he was wary of a revegetation plan that offered a 40% success rate.
Vulcan spokesman Todd Priest said Azusa failed to understand that although the vertical surface wouldn't see new growth, "90% of the benchtops would be revegetated and virtually eliminate the appearance of a previously mined area."... Citizens against the Vulcan Mine

photo of trail that would be wrecked:

Fish Canyon –waterfalls-near mouth of Azusa Canyon - a set on Flickr

Only in L.A.....street medians are "parks"

L.A. River-adjacent developer wants to develop condos on a promised trail corridor, but will landscape the street median

Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy opposes L.A. Councilman's plan for 120 condos with no wildlife corridor and trail

excerpted from,0,4427501.story

In Silver Lake, a feud over an open-space corridor
All agree the trail is needed; the question is where. A conservation group wants it to stretch alongside a proposed condo development on Riverside Drive; a councilman wants it along the L.A. River...

The Silver Lake-Echo Park-Elysian Valley Community Plan, approved by the city of Los Angeles in the early 1980s, set aside that parcel as part of an envisioned 5-mile trail between Elysian Park and Griffith Park for hiking and horseback riding...

...Land-use consultant Jim Ries says that the developers will install a 900-foot landscaped median on Riverside Drive — as requested by LaBonge's office and as a goodwill gesture to the neighborhood.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Two Unusual proposals in parks-poor L.A.

Concreted-Over L.A.: park planners want to use freeway and flood basin for new parks
--is this a good idea?

5/13/2010--The freeway is jammed, traffic is crawling and motorists are steamed. On top of all that, they want a 100-acre park.That describes the plan to roof-over a half-mile stretch of the Hollywood Freeway in downtown Los Angeles and turn it into a gentle greenbelt.

The idea of a $700-million "cap" covering the freeway between Hope and Alameda streets in the Civic Center area is the latest in a series of proposals to convert airspace above local freeways into public parkland. Civic leaders in Hollywood and Santa Monica have initiated similar freeway-cover campaigns for sections of highway there. A covering for the 101 Freeway in Ventura has also been discussed....


Long Beach flood basin conversion to Salvation Army park cancelled due to risks,0,2480900.story

5/13/2010--last week, Salvation Army leaders announced that the project — which was to be funded largely by $76 million from the estate of Joan Kroc, the widow of McDonald's entrepreneur Ray Kroc — was not financially viable. They cited insufficient local fundraising, escalating costs and liability concerns.

The Hamilton Bowl Detention Basin can be reconfigured and regarded to create approximately five (5) acres for development of the Kroc Center.  This reconfiguration would be accomplished by increasing the depth of the remaining detention basin area by approximately 3 feet.  At this stage of the evaluation, operations of the existing Hamilton Bowl Pump Station will not be affected by the reconfiguration and deepening of the Detention Basin.

With the engineering approach as described, the 19-acre site will be completely utilized.  A 5-acre section will be configured along Walnut Avenue.  The portion of the site will be the location of the three primary buildings:  a Chapel, Education Building, and the Gymnasium and Sports Complex.  The remaining 14 acres will be used for parking, sports playing fields, the Aquatics complex, play yards, walking trails, and the other park landscaping and gardens.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

SMMC-MRCA 4/26/2010 to 5/12/2010

State to buy key 197 acre link in Malibu Creek to Simi Hills Wildlife Corridor

MRCA 5/12/2010--Consideration of resolution authorizing acceptance of acquisition funds from the County of Los Angeles and authorizing the acquisition of approximately 197 acres, APNs 2052-011-034, 2052-011-039, 2052-011-041, 2052-012-015 and 2052-012-016, unincorporated Los Angeles County. Negotiators: Joseph T. Edmiston and George Mihlsten. Under consideration: price and terms. (This matter may be heard in closed session pursuant to Government Code Section 54856.8.) [Map] [Staff Report] [Resolution]  




MRCA 5/12/2010--Consideration of resolution authorizing acceptance of a conservation easement, not to exceed 11 acres, on APN 099-0-080-035, along the Santa Clara River, and acceptance of processing fee from applicant, Santa Paula, Ventura County. [Map] [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment

MRCA 5/12/2010--Consideration of resolution authorizing the use of Santa Monica Mountains Open Space Preservation Assessment District No. 2 (Area F) funds to acquire APNs 2076-004-026, 033, and 034 comprised of approximately 1.5 acres in Woodland Hills, City of Los Angeles. [Map] [Map 2] [Staff Report] [Resolution]  

SMMC 4/26/2010--Consideration of resolution authorizing exercise of first right of refusal on a property interest to be vacated by the City of Los Angeles at the southwest corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Willow Glen. [Staff Report

SMMC 4/26/2010--Consideration of resolution authorizing a grant of Proposition 84 funds to the City of Los Angeles for acquisition of the 138-acre Cahuenga Peak property located adjacent to Griffith Park. [Map] [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2


SMMC 4/26/2010--Consideration of resolution confirming a comment letter on Draft Environmental Impact Report for proposed Andora Avenue ttm Project (Tentative Tract Map No. 53426), Chatsworth. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map

 SMMC 4/26/2010--Consideration of resolution confirming a comment letter to the City of Los Angeles endorsing the proposed Baseline Hillside Ordinance. [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Staff Report]  

SMMC 4/26/2010--Consideration of resolution authorizing a comment letter to the City of Camarillo on the Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Conejo Creek Properties Specific Plan, Ventura County. [Staff Report] [Comment Letter] [Resolution] [Map 1] [Map 2

SMMC 4/26/2010--Consideration of resolution authorizing (a) two Transfers of Jurisdiction (toj) from Sepulveda Pass Bel Air Crest open space dedication parcels (APNs 4377-001-901 and 4377-001-903) to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) not to exceed 1.0 and 0.2 acres, respectively; (b) two temporary construction easements and one permanent drainage easement on said parcels to Caltrans, and (c) acceptance of funds for said toj s and easements and required compensation and grant source reimbursement for the loss of the park facilities at Gettyview Trailhead and Skirball Center Drive, City of Los Angeles. [Attachment] [Map] [Staff Report] [Resolution



Monday, May 10, 2010

Parks service tears down party house in SM Mtns Wildlfie Corridor

End of an era for the Varney homestead in Lobo Canyon
South of Westlake Village

excerpted from,0,7211110.story

A cabin in the Santa Monica Mountains, home to several generations of beekeepers for nearly a century, is dismantled and its plot taken over by the state to provide an uninterrupted wildlife corridor....
The wood-frame 1890s house hidden on 154 acres at the western end of Agoura's Lobo Canyon had once been their home. The place had been in the hands of the Varney family for 97 years.
But now it was being carefully dismantled, one board at a time, by workers for the National Park Service.
Parks officials purchased the property 27 years ago for $495,850 as part of an ambitious effort to connect a swath of publicly owned land across the Santa Monica Mountains. As part of the deal, the park service agreed to lease the home back to the family for 25 years.
For the last two years, the old cabin had been boarded up and entry to the acreage prohibited. Parks officials deemed the structure unfit for use but remodeled too often to be called "historic."
Trespassers discovered it and turned it into a party house. When one young woman reportedly suffered a fatal overdose there, parks officials decided to tear it down....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

WCB 5/2010: State finds cash to buy more land and development rights

Almost 20,000 acres to be preserved by State this month

May 27, 2010--10:00 AM--State Capitol, Room 112--Sacramento, California 95814



SISKIYOU COUNTY—10,500 acres
MADERA COUNTY—2990 acres
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY—2355 acres--Avila Beach
LOS ANGELES COUNTY—139 acres—Cahuenga Peak
ORANGE COUNTY—100 acres—Los Cerritos wetlands


Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve, $220,000.00 Expansion 18 Monterey County
To consider the acquisition of 1± acre of land to protect critical tidal wetlands and grasslands as an expansion of the Department of Fish and Game's Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve located within the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, near the town of Moss Landing, in Monterey County.

Whitewater Floodplain Conservation Area $5,000.00 Riverside County
To consider the acceptance of two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grants and the approval to subgrant the federal funds to the Coachella Valley Conservation Commission to acquire six properties, totaling 404± acres, to protect and enhance existing regional wildlife linkages and aeolian and fluvial sand transport areas within one of four priority areas of the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Preserve located west of the City of Palm Springs, in Riverside County.

Shasta Big Springs Ranch $10,330,000.00 Siskiyou County
To consider a cooperative project with The Nature Conservancy and the Department of Fish and Game wherein the State proposes to acquire a conservation easement over 5,834± acres of land to protect critical wildlife and fish habitat located near the community of Big Springs, in Siskiyou County.

Scott Valley $3,237,700.00 Siskiyou County
To consider the allocation for a grant to the Siskiyou Land Trust for a cooperative project with the Department of Conservation to acquire Conservation Easements over five ownerships totaling 4,735± acres to protect rangeland, grazing land and grassland in Scott Valley, near the City of Etna, in Siskiyou County.

Lemon Canyon Ranch $1,057,000.00 Sierra County
To consider the allocation for a grant to the Pacific Forest Trust for a cooperative project with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to acquire a conservation easement over 1,455± acres to protect rangeland, grazing land and grassland located east of Sierraville, in Sierra County.

Canada de los Osos Ecological Reserve, $1,908,200.00 Expansion 1 Santa Clara County
To consider the acquisition of two contiguous parcels of land totaling 1,557± acres to protect valuable grassland, oak woodland and riparian habitat and to expand connectivity to other public lands located east of the City of Gilroy, in Santa Clara County.

Millar Ranch Oak Woodlands $1,860,000.00 Madera County
To consider the allocation for a grant to the Sierra Foothill Conservancy to acquire a conservation easement over 2,990± acres to protect and preserve oak woodland habitat located south of the community of Oakhurst, in Madera County.

Wild Cherry Canyon $6,735,000.00 San Luis Obispo County
To consider the allocation for a grant and acceptance of a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant from the National Park Service as a reimbursement for a cooperative project with the American Land Conservancy, CA State Parks, State Coastal Conservancy, the Board and others to acquire a leasehold interest in 2,355± acres near the community of Avila Beach, in San Luis Obispo County.

Cahuenga Peak $705,000.00 Los Angeles County
To consider the allocation for a grant for a cooperative project with the Trust for Public Land, Department of Fish and Game, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the City of Los Angeles and private donors to acquire 138± acres to protect plant, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities located adjacent to Griffith Park in the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County.

Los Cerritos Wetlands $6,180,000.00 Orange County
To consider the allocation for a grant to the Los Cerritos Wetland Authority for a cooperative project with the State Coastal Conservancy and the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, to acquire 100± acres of land to protect critical coastal wetland habitat, scenic features and vanishing remnants of California's wetland landscape located in the City of Seal Beach, in Orange County.


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