Posted by: Sandy Steinman | April 9, 2019

Ventura County Adopts Protections for Wildlife Corridors

Ventura, Calif. — In a historic 3-2 vote yesterday, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors passed a comprehensive suite of protections for wildlife corridors connecting the Los Padres National Forest, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and other are

After an eight-hour hearing and well over 100 public speakers, Supervisors Linda Parks, Steve Bennett, and John Zaragoza voted in favor of the proposal while Supervisors Kelly Long and Bob Huber voted against it. Damaging changes to the proposal made by the Planning Commission earlier this year were ultimately removed from the final ordinance.

Key Provisions Strengthened

Importantly, the Board voted to restore the ordinance’s original 200-foot stream setback. The Planning Commission recommended to reduce this setback to a mere 100 feet. Several scientists, the 41 conservation organizations that signed our letter to the Board of Supervisors, and most of the public comments submitted by more than 750 individuals requested that the 200-foot setback be restored due to the vast body of research demonstrating the importance of wider stream buffers.

The Board also voted to restore additional protections for the Tierra Rejada Valley—a critical chokepoint for wildlife traveling between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Los Padres National Forest. These protections were dropped by the Planning Commission in January. Thanks to testimony from scientists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other organizations as well as the hundreds of individual letters requesting these additional protections aimed at encouraging clustered development in this part of the corridor, the Board recognized the importance of the area for wildlife movement in their vote.

State’s First Wildlife Corridor County Ordinance

We applaud the Ventura County Planning Division for spending countless hours over the last two years developing this ordinance and the Board of Supervisors for recognizing the importance of the proposal to the long-term viability of wildlife in our region. This innovative county ordinance is the first of its kind in the state of California. It will likely serve as a model for other counties looking to protect their own wildlife corridors.

Vital Role of Public Support

The ordinance simply would not have passed without the incredible support from the community. Supervisor Zaragoza referenced the hundreds of emails expressing support for the ordinance that his office received over the last week as one of the major reasons he voted for the ordinance.

This process has once again highlighted the crucial role the public plays in environmental protection efforts at every level of government. Thanks to these efforts, the outlook for the long-term survival of mountain lions, bears, bobcats, foxes, badgers, and other wildlife in the region has been significantly improved.

 


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