Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

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


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Solar is winning out over new fossil fuel development in California, but

The Big Battle for solar power now is between using wild land in the desert, and polluted or poor quality farmland, (and we don't hear much about using big rooftops in the city)

Fresno County gets a record number of solar proposals for tainted farmland near 5 freeway

11/13/2011--says the California Farm Bureau attorney. "I should know what a crop is, and it doesn't fit my definition of a crop."

...In Fresno County alone, where the $5.8 billion in annual agriculture production is often the highest of any U.S. county, the stakes are high. At least 32 applications for utility-scale solar projects are on file since the first one was approved in July, and four more are planned here by Pacific Gas & Electric, which gets its approval from the state. The result would be a patchwork of solar collectors scattershot across prime farmland.

Planners say they can't recall ever having so many permit applications pending for one type of development, even in the heydays of the home building boom.

"This is unique, and it's pretty new," said Will Kettler, Fresno County's principal planner.

A bill signed in October by Gov. Jerry Brown could make marginal land far more attractive for development. The law will expedite the process by which poor soil can be developed with solar by allowing owners to more easily end their Williamson Act contracts, which grant lower tax rates in exchange for keeping the land in agriculture for 10 years.

The law should expedite development of the 30,000-acre Westlands Solar Park 60 miles southwest of Fresno, one project that has the support of the major environmental groups. All of the land is either of marginal quality or without a reliable water source, but is covered by hundreds of contracts that would have had to be undone individually...


Sierra Club's longtime chief departs over rift over solar farms in the desert and other compromises; he supported them, members oppose them,0,3734323.story

11/19/2011--...The group's support for utility-scale solar development, which threatens such species as the desert tortoise, captures the philosophical shift that occurred under Pope.

"If we don't save the planet, there won't be any tortoises left to save," Pope said...

Monday, November 7, 2011

SF Bay Ridgetrail grows...

10/21/11 audio

Another 1000 acre farms is saved in Marin

MALT Preserves 1013 acre Thornton Ranch After Nine-Year Effort 


a Sixth-generation ranch becomes part of an 8,000-acre farmland greenbelt surrounding Tomales, thanks to the Marin Agricultural Land trust

North San Diego habitat is saved...

Feds and the Conservation Fund partner on 400 acre deal

8/2/11 and 9/26/11
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced the completion of a 400-acre land acquisition about 50 miles northeast of San Diego in northern San Diego County. BLM purchased the $1.2 million Adams/Sky Oaks property just before the FLTFA expired.  The property is adjacent to the Johnson Canyon Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).

In partnership with The Conservation Fund, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has recently enhanced protection of this area’s wild beauty with the acquisition of a 400-acre property in northeastern San Diego County. Located adjacent to the Cleveland National Forest, Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and Anza Borrego Desert State Wilderness, the protected tract will permanently secure a portion of the San Luis Rey River’s upper watershed, safeguarding water quality and connecting vulnerable wildlife habitat….Over the past six years, The Conservation Fund has partnered with the BLM and California’s Resource Legacy Foundation Fund to protect 13 tracts totaling more than 4,600 acres in the Beauty Mountain Management Area.


Hikers and K-Rats score more parkland in Riverside

Lawsuit settlement adds 42 acres to Sycamore canyon park in Riverside


An environmental group that sued Riverside over a city-approved warehouse project on Alessandro Boulevard announced a settlement Tuesday that requires environmentally friendly buildings and protection of animal habitat.
The project, a business park on an 80-acre site on the north side of Alessandro, can now go forward. Plans for a similar industrial development on the south side of Alessandro, just outside city limits, are still in litigation.
Both suits were part of several environmentalist groups' efforts to firm up the protection of habitat for the endangered Stephens' kangaroo rat. The groups have said the northern parcel already was protected by a 1996 conservation plan, but local officials responded that a "mapping error" included the business park property in the plan.
The settlement -- between the Center for Biological Diversity , the Friends of Riverside's Hills, the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society, the San Gorgonio chapter of the Sierra Club , and developer WR Holdings -- requires that about 42 acres be donated to the city of Riverside to become part of the adjacent Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park...

Rejected by the courts, now...

Desert Dump next to National Park is in a Financial Hole

11/2/2011--The developer of a contentious, 4,654-acre Eagle Mountain landfill project proposed for an area just east of the Coachella Valley and south of Joshua Tree National Park has filed for bankruptcy.
Mine Reclamation LLC officials said Monday that the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal bankruptcy court in Riverside County.
Richard Stoddard, Mine Reclamation's president, said the bankruptcy filing is necessary to “protect the company,” which has invested nearly $85 million in permitting and legal fees, but has been unsuccessful in opening the landfill.
…Had the landfill project been successful, it would have benefited retired Kaiser steel workers. They had hoped the landfill project would provide a source of funding for the full restoration of their benefits that they lost when Kaiser Steel Company closed.
Ron Bitonti, chairman of the Kaiser Voluntary Employee Benefit Association, said when the project was first introduced, his group had more than 8,000 members, and many have died.
“Now, due to the delays caused by the litigation initiated by a few environmental extremists and the delays caused by the courts, we are down to approximately 3,500 members,” Bitonti said.


Kaiser Ventures, which owns 83 percent of the struggling Mine Reclamation LLC, rejected a push by Eagle Mountain landfill foes to turn the land over to the public.

…There may be more litigation to come, he said. The Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, which agreed to pay $41 million for the landfill, have threatened to sue Mine Reclamation to force it to overcome all the obstacles and continue permitting the landfill at the company’s expense, Cook said. Mine Reclamation has given the county a choice of proceeding with the purchase or terminating the sale.

just a little more! won't hurt...

South Orange County Toll road backers try the incremental approach

--the last 16 mile plan cutting through a state park was rejected by CA and Bush administrations
--Now, road pavers seek to extend the tollroad-freeway 5 miles to the Ortega Highway, 11 miles shy of the original planned connection to the 5 freeway.

Full 11/7/2011 story is at:,0,7662009.story

"Many residents who live where the 241 now ends say they support extending the tollway to San Onofre, but with that old plan shelved, the toll road agency is looking at a shorter extension..."


Proponent of Rejected Desert Water-sucking project has a new plan

full story is at:

11/7/2011--By tapping into an aquifer the size of Rhode Island under the 35,000-acre Cadiz ranch, proponents say they can supply 400,000 people with drinking water in only a few years.
If the plan sounds familiar, it is. A decade ago, Los Angeles’ Metropolitan Water District narrowly rejected it when it faced widespread environmental opposition. A scaled back version has resurfaced with a greener pitch, momentum from five water agencies and what the company claims is better science to win over skeptics.
"Do we need additional water supplies? Yes. Do we need groundwater storage? Yes," said Winston Hickox, a Cadiz Inc. board member who headed the California Environmental Protection Agency. "The question is ’OK, environmental community, what are your remaining concerns?’ I don’t know."...

SMMC-MRCA 10/5/2011 to 11/9/2011

State may add 40 acres to Topanga State Park

Big Wind Energy Plans up near California Poppy Preserve

Baldwin Hills connector trail plans revealed

And more, From the recent agendas of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority:


acceptance of conservation easements over portions of 1400 Linda Flora Drive (APNs 4377-002-036 and 037), Bel Air, City of Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Map 1] [Map 2] [Attachment] MRCA 10/5/2011

Bundy Canyon--grant of mitigation funds (I-405 Sepulveda Pass Widening Project, Corps No. SPL-2008-464-PHT) from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for a riparian habitat restoration and creation project in the Bundy Canyon or Ballona Creek watershed. [Staff Report] [Attachment] MRCA 11/9/2011



acquisition of 42.83 acres in the Topanga Canyon watershed. [Staff Report] [Map] MRCA 11/9/2011

(above: Eagle Rock in Topanga State Park)

scenic easements and/or open space easements associated with Coastal Development Permit Nos.
5-89-025 (Andrews), Cold canyon
5-90-199 (Morgan Trust), Latigo canyon
5-90-514 (Petrusis), Latigo canyon
5-90-680 (Ross), Latigo canyon
5-88-639 (Cappello), Cold canyon
5-90-1000 (Pankow), Old Topanga canyon, Cold Canyon
5-90-1130 (Shamonki), Topanga canyon
5-90-991 (Revere), Old Topanga canyon
5-90-690 (Miel), Latigo canyon
5-88-501 (Bay), Topanga canyon
5-90-327 (Javid Development), Corral canyon, Topanga lookout
5-89-993 (Azar), Latigo canyon
5-90-566 (Berger), Old Topanga canyon
4-92-189 (Dore) and
5-91-588 (Wallis), Old Topanga canyon, Topanga canyon
incorporated and unincorporated Malibu. [Staff Report] [Map 1] [Map 2] MRCA 10/5/2011

Lechuza Beach Public Access Improvements Project, City of Malibu. [Staff Report] [Attachment ] [Map] MRCA 10/5/2011
[Staff Report] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Map] SMMC 10/24/2011 (MEETING CANCELLED)

trail easements associated with Coastal Development Permit Nos.
5-90-1094 (Amezquita--Trancas canyon) and
5-91-829 (Johnson--Topanga canyon),
incorporated and unincorporated Malibu. [Staff Report] [Attachment] [Map] MRCA 11/9/2011

comment letter to City of Malibu on Trancas Highlands Water System and Utility Improvements, and Two New Single Family Residences on Anacapa View Drive, Initial Study No. 07-005, Mitigated Negative Declaration No. 07-005, and Coastal Development Permit Nos. 06-051 and 07-121, Trancas Canyon and Steep Hill Canyon watersheds, City of Malibu. [Comment Letter] [Resolution] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Attachment 3] [Map] SMMC 10/24/2011 (MEETING CANCELLED)



CEQA phase of the Park to Playa project.Ballona Wetlands to Baldwin Hills [Staff Report] [Map]MRCA 11/9/2011



sale of cellular tower and communication easements at Ritter Ranch, Palmdale. (This item may be heard in closed session pursuant to Government Code Section 54957.1(a). Negotiators: Joseph T. Edmiston and American Tower Corporation. Under Negotiation: price and terms.) [Staff Report] MRCA 11/9/2011

comment letter to Los Angeles County on the Notice of Preparation for the proposed Blue Sky Wind Energy Project in the Sierra Pelona Mountains, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Attachment] [Map 1] [Map 2] [Map 3] [Map 4] [Map 5] [Resolution] [Map 6] [Comment Letter] SMMC 10/24/2011 (MEETING CANCELLED)



sale of cellular tower and communication easements at Sage Ranch, Simi Valley. (This item may be heard in closed session pursuant to Government Code Section 54957.1(a). Negotiators: Joseph T. Edmiston and American Tower Corporation. Under Negotiation: price and terms.) [Staff Report] MRCA 11/9/2011



comment letter to City of Los Angeles on Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report (sch No. 2009031002). [Resolution] [Map 1] [Map 2] [Comment Letter] SMMC 10/24/2011 (MEETING CANCELLED)



comment letter to the California Public Utilities Commission on the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Presidential Substation Project in the Tierra Rejada Valley, sch 2009021059. [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Resolution] [Attachment 3] [Comment Letter] SMMC 10/24/2011 (MEETING CANCELLED)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

SCC 11/2011: State is funding purchase of 1186 acres on our coast this month...

Some More Coastal Parks:

Purchases taken from agenda of the Coastal Conservancy Public Meeting – November 10, 2011
10:00 am, LOCATION: The County Administration Center, Room 358, 1600 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA

Laguna Beach--acquisition of the 2-acre McGraw Property

San Mateo County--acquire the six-acre Tronoff parcel at the Pedro Point Headlands just south of Pacifica in San Mateo County, for the California Coastal Trail.

Contra Costa county--acquisition of a 560-acre portion of the 1,080-acre Bertagnolli Ranch adjacent to Mount Diablo State Park in unincorporated Contra Costa County

Mendocino County--acquire 123 acres of the Point Arena Ranch in the City of Point Arena, Mendocino County

Sonoma County--acquire conservation and public access easements over the 495-acre Bordessa Ranch Property on the Estero Americano in western Sonoma County


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