Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

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


Thursday, September 23, 2010

$6 Million saves 842 acre L.A. Eco-Gem...

Key Link in Circle of Parks around L.A. will be saved in October--for $6 million

Dear readers:

One of my favorite unknown hiking spots in L.A. is called Elsmere Canyon. This beautiful canyon has caves, a waterfall, cool rock formations and a stunning view of L.A. and Santa Clarita and almost no one knows about it.

However, this wildlife and trails connector leading from the Angeles Forest to Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains is about to become public property.

The two canyons that make up this purchase, Elsmere and Grapevine, were formerly owned by the landfill operator BFI, and in the early 1990's Elsemere was proposed as the site of a mega-trash dump. At that time, three canyons along this wildlife corridor pinch-point (Sunshine, Towsley and Elsmere) were threatened with becoming L.A.'s newest landfills. With the purchase of Elmere by the City of Santa Clarita, two of those three canyons will be saved. The other canyon, Towsley, was saved in the mid-1990's and is now known as Ed Davis park. (Sunshine canyon got picked as the sacrificial lamb.)

For details of the land sale:

Consideration of resolution authorizing a Proposition 84 matching grant to the City of Santa Clarita to purchase approximately 842 acres, Elsmere and Grapevine Canyons, unincorporated County of Los Angeles. [Attachment] [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map



To see photo tours of the new Elsmere Canyon Park, go here:

For photos of the connection between Elsmere Canyon and Towsley Canyon:


For photos of Towsley Canyon Park:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

SCC 8/2010: 78 acres is saved in heart of SM Mountains park...

State to fund purchase of key parcels for East Malibu Canyon--Cold Creek High Trail

Consideration and possible Conservancy authorization to disburse up to $573,000 to the Mountains Restoration Trust to acquire undeveloped property in the Cold Creek watershed of the Santa Monica Mountains for habitat and open space preservation and compatible public access as a component of Cold Creek Preserve, Los Angeles County.

Total cost for the 78 acres is $2.5 million; the owner is the well-known speculator Tyron Sisson, who has sold other properties to the park services over the years in the Santa Monica Mountains.
The task for raising the purchase price and managing the land was handled by the Mountains Restoration Trust,

To see a photo tour of this addition to the park system:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

463 Acres are saved on on Santa Barbara Coast and inland...

Santa Barbara County Land Trust--
Land Action Lowdown
September 2010

The Hibbits family will protect the scenic and agricultural value of their land through a voluntary conservation agreement with the Land Trust.--395 acre conservation easement

The Hibbits Ranch is the largest single land holding within a block of scenic and highly productive farmland framed by the City of Lompoc, the Santa Ynez River and Santa Rosa Hills, and La Purisima Mission State Park.
The Land Trust was recently granted funds for a conservation easement on the Hibbits Ranch by the USDA Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program. A matching grant is pending from the California Farmland Conservancy Program and the Land Trust will need to raise an additional $150,000 in local funds to complete the transaction. More Hibbits Ranch information is located on our website:


UC Santa Barbara and the Land Trust recently announced that a 68-acre tract of coastal university property known as the South Parcel has been permanently set aside as open space under a conservation easement agreement 

Plans for the South Parcel open space include restoration of native wetland and riparian grassland, coastal scrub habitat, and improved public trails.
"What was a dream of protecting and restoring the Ellwood-Devereux Coast is now becoming a reality," said Michael Feeney in a press statement. "Many people worked hard for many years –– our community should be proud and thankful." Visit our website for details about the project:

In 2007, the California Coastal Commission directed UCSB to permanently restrict development on the South Parcel if it planned to build more faculty housing nearby. As a result, the Land Trust and the university negotiated a conservation easement allowing only developments with public benefit, improved walking trails, interpretative signage, and an amphitheatre for outdoor education, as well as ecological improvements. This conservation agreement was permanently put into place in the spring of 2010. 

Because the South Parcel property is a portion of land bordered by the Ocean Meadows Golf Course, Coal Oil Point Reserve, Devereux Slough, and Ellwood Mesa, it serves as a local conservation keystone, connecting various open space areas under different ownership and jurisdictions. By linking all of these properties, protection of the South Parcel will create a continuous open space totaling over 650 acres.

Water for nature, farms or developers?--legal fight in SJ Valley

More Lawsuits threaten Tejon Ranch sprawl's water supply

excerpted from:

9/5/2010--A story worthy of Hollywood will soon unfold in California courtrooms -- allegations of government corruption and corporate greed to rival the infamous Los Angeles water grab that inspired the film "Chinatown."

Call it "Chinatown II," a tale beginning 15 years ago -- when, according to lawsuits filed in the last three months, the state illegally turned over the publicly owned Kern Water Bank to an agency controlled by giant corporations in a backroom deal.

Filed by the Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity, Northern California water districts and a fishing group, two lawsuits seek a court order putting the bank back in state hands. They allege the water bank is controlled by two corporations -- Roll International, owned by billionaire Beverly Hills businessman Stewart Resnick, and Tejon Ranch Co., one of the largest private landowners in California.

A third lawsuit, which includes the Kern water districts, asks the court to stop pumping from the water bank and require further analysis to determine how much water can be pumped without drying up neighboring wells...

...Gaylord Beeson won't forget the Kern Water Bank or July 29, the day his productive water well went dry. Nor will the 32 northwest Bakersfield customers in his small water association.

He blames heavy pumping by his neighbor, the water bank. The water table has dropped 115 feet in the last three years -- something that in the past would have taken two decades....

...Water levels in Rosedale are the lowest since the district was formed in 1959...

...Resnick's Paramount Farms controls 58% of the water bank through property ownership in Westside Mutual Water Co. and Dudley Ridge Water District, the lawsuits say.

Through continuing farmland purchases, Paramount owns 120,000 acres, company officials say, making Resnick one of the biggest farmers in the state.

Tejon Ranch controls another 26% in the same way, the lawsuits say. The company plans the state's largest development -- Tejon Mountain Village, nearly 3,500 homes, dining, shopping and other amenities in the Tehachapi Mountains of southern Kern County.

Barry Zoeller of Tejon Ranch Co. disputes the lawsuits, saying his firm is a minor player with only 2% control of the water bank. The company controls only the Tejon-Castac Water District, he said.

But the legal action says Tejon Ranch also is the majority landowner in the Wheeler Ridge-Maricopa Water District, which controls 24% of the water bank....


Meanwhile, Landowners fight over San Joaquin River Restoration's Impacts on their Water Rights

excerpted from:

8/28/2010--The first lawsuit in the San Joaquin River restoration has been filed by a west-side Valley farming family, claiming the replenished flows are damaging 13,000 prime acres, buildings and crops.

The Wolfsen family -- which includes the Skinner and Mueller families -- says the river has flooded, eroded and seeped into fields east of Los Banos.

A dollar amount for damages is not included in the case, which was filed Thursday in the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington D.C. An amount would be determined as the case proceeds.

A Wolfsen spokesman said the family is not trying to stop the long-awaited restoration, which began in October, more than 20 years after environmentalists sued to return water and salmon to the dried San Joaquin.

"This is a very narrowly focused lawsuit," Wolfsen spokesman Larry Harris said. "We want to preserve property and water rights."...


Will the Governor's New Reservoir plan evaporate more water than would be saved?

9/4/2010--As one veteran observer commented, “It’s never too early to form a JPA for an evaporation pond.” Meaning this may not be a wise place to store water.
The proposed Sites Reservoir is about 10 miles west of Maxwell in Northern California, on the east side of the Sacramento Valley. The Northern California Water Association (NCWA) says that Sites would be filled primarily by pumped diversions from the Sacramento River during peak flows in winter....

A reservoir at Sites was considered, and shelved, in 1970. DWR had looked at projected evaporation on another reservoir in the same location (Paskenta-Newville Reservoir) and reported that given the air temperature and winds off the backside of the coastal hills, Sites Reservoir would lose more in evaporation than it would make available for use elsewhere.

According to DWR Bulletin No. 73-1, evaporation at this location in the decade from 1960-1970 ranged from 73 to 96 inches a year. That’s 6-8 feet of water that would never make it to a crop (or a tap).

And that’s at last century’s temperatures, not the higher temperatures projected for this century.

Some knowledgeable people think this is actually a way to get water from the Eel River (despite Wild and Scenic Rivers Act protections) and make it available for the Central Valley and Westlands Water District.

Coincidentally, Thad Bettner, general manager of GCID (backers of the Sites reservoir), used to be the resource manager for Westlands Water District.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

SMMC-MRCA 8/23/2010 to 9/1/2010

Santa Monica Mountains Land Saved--for August 2010, plus some in the San Gabriel's


150 acres on west side of Pepperdine University in Malibu
Trancas Lagoon trail purchased--west Malibu
1.2 acres near Lake Hollywood
27 acres east side of Encino Reservoir
2.8 acres--Rubio Canyon in Altadena
13.5 acres in Thousand Oaks

June 2010

SM Bay Restoration Commission Approves Funding for the Acquisition and Restoration of Property at Trancas Creek and Lagoon in Malibu

A portion of Trancas Creek and Lagoon will be restored and provide a connection to other upland open space and beach areas thanks to a grant approved by the Bay Restoration Commission's Governing Board in June. Up to $1 million was awarded to the National Park Service and local restoration partners to purchase a seven-acre parcel just upstream of Pacific Coast Highway that contains portions of Trancas Creek and Lagoon. The grant will also support the initial phase of native plant restoration....
The project site is familiar to those who travel Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu , as it is adjacent to Howe's Trancas Market on the eastern side of the road. Governing Board member John Sibert, who is a Malibu City Council member, noted that the private seller has been cooperative with and helpful to the city and the project proponents.


MRCA 8/23/2010--Consideration of resolution authorizing entering into an option agreement to acquire APNs 5576-009-055, 056, 057, 058, 059, 060, 061, 062, 063, and 064, comprising 1.21 acres, acceptance of private funds, acceptance of private funds for a fuel modification fund, and acquisition of said parcels in Hollywood Knolls, south of Lake Hollywood. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment] [Map] [Map 2] [Map 3

MRCA 8/23/2010--Consideration of resolution certifying Final Environmental Impact Report, adopting findings and mitigation monitoring and reporting program pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, Malibu Parks Public Access Enhancement Plan—Public Works Plan, SCH#2009091018, City of Malibu and surrounding unincorporated area. [Staff Report] [Exhibit A] [Exhibit B] [Exhibit C] [Exhibit D] [Exhibit E] [Exhibit F] [MMRP_Exhibit_B] [Resolution and Findings]  

SMMC 8-23-2010--Consideration of resolution certifying Final Environmental Impact Report, adopting findings and mitigation monitoring and reporting program pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, Malibu Parks Public Access Enhancement Plan—Public Works Plan, sch No. 2009091018, City of Malibu and surrounding unincorporated area. [Staff Report] [Exhibit A] [Exhibit B] [Exhibit C] [Exhibit D] [Exhibit E] [Exhibit F] [Resolution and Findings] [MMRP_Exhibit_B
MRCA 9/1/2010--Consideration of resolution authorizing acceptance of the offers to dedicate scenic easements and/or open space easements associated with Coastal Development Permit Nos. 5-89-925 (Roberts), 5-90-446 (Harges), 5-89-1062 (Cirlin), 5-84-810-A2 (Steinberg)--3.6 acre open space easement, 5-88-659 (Pepperdine University)--150 acre open space easement on west side of campus, 5-89-1022 (Williams), 5-90-158 (Abrishami), incorporated and unincorporated Malibu. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Attachment

MRCA 9/1/2010--Consideration of resolution authorizing acceptance of seven conservation easements, approximating 13.5 acres, on portions of APNs 236-0-070-095, 236-0-090-025, 236-0-090-055, Lots 9 and 12 in Tract No. 4559-1, and Parcel A in Tract No. 4493-4, in the Calleguas Creek watershed, and acceptance of processing fees from applicant, Newbury Park, Ventura County. [Map 1] [Map 2] [Staff Report] [Resolution]  

MRCA 9/1/2010--Consideration of resolution authorizing the use of Santa Monica Mountains Open Space Preservation Assessment District No. 2 (Area G) funds to acquire APN 2292-010-032, comprised of 27.05 acres in Encino, City of Los Angeles. Negotiators: Mitch Feinstein and Joseph T. Edmiston. Under consideration: price and terms. (This item may be heard in closed session pursuant to the Government Code § 54956.8). [Map] [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map 2

MRCA 9/1/2010--Consideration of resolution authorizing a loan to the Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy for the acquisition of approximately 2.8 acres, Rubio Canyon, Altadena. Consideration of resolution requesting a Proposition 84 grant from the Santa Mountains Conservancy for the acquisition of approximately 2.8 acres, Rubio Canyon, Altadena.




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