Conservation

CONGRATULATIONS ON A CONSERVATION VICTORY!  

Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks recently celebrated the finalization of the Orange County Transportation Authority’s Natural Communities Conservation Plan and Habitat Conservation Plan. A lot of time, energy and commitment by many individuals, elected officials, organizations (including OCCNPS), and agencies made this program so successful. Congratulations to everyone involved! Details of the Plans and how they came to be: 

CNPS POLICY ON HERBICIDE USE  

CNPS has two policies that cover herbicide use as a tool for controlling the spread of non-native plants into and within native wildlands. (CNPS, 2008. Herbicide Policy, Integrated Weed Management Policy, cnps.org) The main concern of both policies is that the control work be done in a manner that avoids injury to any native vegetation, hence to the biodiversity of our native ecosystems. Neither policy addresses the use of herbicides in non-wildlands, i.e. home or public landscaping or agricultural lands.

The policies call for the use of Integrated Weed Management (IWM), which requires:

CONSERVATION

SANTA ANA MTS: The Trabuco District, Cleveland National Forest, (which encompasses our backyard Santa Ana Mts.) has issued a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed South Main Divide and Greater El Cariso Fuels Management Project. The project calls for doing brush clearing (aka “fuel management”) on a total of 855 acres, in several sites along South and North Main Divide Rds. and Long Canyon Rd., extending from the intersection of Long Canyon and North Main Divide Rds. in the north to the La Cresta community in the south. The EA is at pains to point out that the entire fuel management area is about 0.06% of the total District acreage. Maps and details: www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=23080 and click on TRD_SMDGEC_FuelsManagement_DraftEA_03232017.

The project:

  • Is a continuation of 3 decades of fuel management projects in the area. The District is obliged to act to protect the communities and infrastructure in the area. There is a long discussion of the fire effects and fire behavior that would be expected in the project area.
  • Promises to be extra careful around the rare plants around Elsinore Peak. There is a long discussion of most of these rare species.
  • Will use a suite of techniques to remove the “excess/unwanted vegetation” [sic]: cutting, crushing, mastication, herbicide. The resulting trimmings will mostly be stacked for eventual burning.
  • Contains a long discussion of use of herbicide and the precautions, and Best Management Practices that will be used with it.
  • Also includes long discussion of invasive non--‐natives in the project area and how their removal will be part of the project, and Best Management Practices to keep them from spreading.

CONSERVATION

CNPS & CLIMATE CHANGE: Debate on why and how CNPS should work on climate change issues has been flowing for many weeks among the CNPS Conservation Committee members. The debate intensified when we became faced with the incoming anti-enviro federal government.

It may seem a no--‐brainer: CNPS works to protect and enhance native plants and the habitats they form, and those plants and habitats are and will be affected by ongoing climate change, so of course CNPS works on climate change issues. But the particulars of climate change’s effects on native plants in relation to CNPS’ existing policies and practices has led to profound discussion of those policies and practices and the philosophy behind them.

CONSERVATION

OCCNPS has commented on some recent Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) and similar documents.

West Alton Parcel Development Plan draft EIR: OCCNPS is one of several signatories to Laguna Greenbelt’s letter extensively detailing this Plan’s numerous flaws. Laguna Greenbelt spearheads a coalition of nine enviro groups (including OCCNPS) with the goal to establish the Coast to Cleveland Wildlife Corridor that will link the 22,000‐acre Coastal and the 150,000‐acre‐plus Central portions of the Natural Communities Conservation Program (NCCP) of OC. The long‐planned six‐mile‐long corridor is badly needed to allow safe passage of wildlife between the two areas. Such passage is essential to maintain healthy biodiversity, especially in the Coastal portion.

ACTION NOW: Laguna Greenbelt needs volunteers to help analyze images taken by cameras along the Corridor route. Training will be provided. To help, contact wildlifecorridor.org or .

Final Restoration Plan for Tree Trimming/Removal Activities in Aliso Creek, The Ranch at Laguna Beach, in Resolution to Coastal Commission Violation No. V‐5‐15‐0125 [Revised January 23, 2017]: Action on this Coastal Act violation was brought by the Sierra Club Hobo‐Aliso Task Force, joined by Sea and Sage Audubon. OCCNPS concurs that there is an important principle here: landowners/managers in the Coastal Zone must abide by the Coastal Act.

CONSERVATION

ON NATIONAL MONUMENT PROPOSALS FOR THE SANTA ANA MTS AND OC

The two different, but overlapping, proposals are still in play to designate part or all of the Santa Ana Mountains as a national monument.

1. The Santa Ana Mountains to Sea National Monument is proposed by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton); it is expected that he will soon introduce a bill proposing this monument to Congress. This version of the monument would encompass about 101,500 acres of OC, principally:

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

Crystal Cove State Park

Upper Newport Bay Nature Reserve

Bommer Canyon Open Space Preserve

Limestone/Whiting/Black Star Wilderness Parks and adjacent units of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks

O’Neill Wilderness Park

Caspers Wilderness Park

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