Published : Thursday, April 2, 2015 | 3:07 PM
Monday night, local open space advocates garnered help in their efforts to preserve more land as the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy approved a grant request by Pasadena-based Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy to conduct an important regional open space study.
The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy granted $16,667 to Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy to prepare a Conceptual Area Protection Plan covering a portion of the Rim of the Valley Corridor from Big Tujunga Wash through the Verdugo Mountains and the San Rafael Hills to the upper Arroyo Seco.
This Conceptual Area Protection Plan, referred to as a CAPP, is a planning document that must be prepared and approved by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to make land acquisitions eligible to be funded by the California Wildlife Conservation Board. A CAPP addresses ecological resources and threats and prioritizes land acquisitions.
The two conservancy groups have worked together before to preserve Rubio and Millard Canyons in Altadena.
Anthony Portantino and Tim Wendler, who both sit on the governing boards of both conservancies, negotiated the matching grant with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to help position AFC and other conservation organizations to apply for state funding for critical habitat protection within the study areas of the CAPP.
“SMMC came through again for the eastern communities in its jurisdiction, and AFC will be working hard to put these grant dollars to productive use. The boundaries of the CAPP were arrived at under the guidance of AFC’s Executive Director John Howell, and Tim and I were delighted to help secure funding. This CAPP should open doors to more resources to preserve open space in our region,” said former Assembly Member Portantino.
According the SMMC staff report, “The Verdugo Mountains and San Rafael Hills are near islands of habitat offset between the eastern end of the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains. To maintain medium and large-sized mammal presence in these two near-island mountain systems, additional land acquisition must occur both in the cores of the two habitat blocks and within the habitat linkages that connect them to the San Gabriel Mountains via the Big Tujunga Wash and Arroyo Seco. Because they extend far into the developed upper Los Angeles River watershed area, both the Verdugo Mountains and the San Rafael Hills provide readily accessible natural land and wildlife to many people. The connectivity between all of the above mountain systems is fragile, imperfect, and threatened. Near term, concentrated planning effort is vital to ensure that the habitat linkages are fully mapped, not degraded, and eventually permanently protected.”
The Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy is contributing $8,333 toward completion of the CAPP, which is being prepared by South Coast Wildlands (Science & Collaboration for Connected Wildlands), a proven CAPP preparer.
“It is our hope that this CAPP is the key that will open the door to significant resources to preserve forever our open spaces for wildlife and recreation,” concluded Matt DeVoll, Board Chair of the Arroyos & Foothill Conservancy.
For more information about the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy: www.arroyosfoothills.org