Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors



WE POST NEWS THREE WAYS:
1. long detailed stories on blogspot (here!)
2. short messages on Twitter
3. automated news feeds from CA enviro websites in the right-hand column which change frequently and are not archived by our website (that's why we now have a twitter account to permanently capture the memorable feeds)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space agency (SF Bay) adds to parks

Another 3100 Acres saved on SF Peninsula over last 2 Years


Land Added to the Preserves from 7/2008 to 6/2009:

http://openspace.org/news/downloads/09_fall_newsletter.pdf

The District added 1,449 acres of new open space land, valued at $27.8 million, in fiscal year 2008-2009. The additions were funded from the following sources:

Open Space Land Added by Purchase or Management Agreement:

• Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve: The 1,047-acre Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) Mindego Ranch property was purchased for $22.5 million.

• Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve: Five properties were added to this Preserve for a total purchase cost
of $5.3 million. These include the following:

--1) 56.9-acre Beatty Trust property (now provides potential
staging and regional trail connections) (1/2 purchase
price paid for by $950,000 purchase grant from Santa
Clara County Parks)
--2) 90.3-acre Hicks Creek Ranch property
--3) 80.0-acre Merrill Trust property
--4) 81.5-acre former Moore property (license and
management agreement with POST)
--5) 93.7-acre Stanton property (an undivided 1/2 interest)

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Open Space Land Added From Gifts:

Gifts of 9.3 acres of new open space land, valued at $116,000, were received. The gifts included additions to the following preserves:
• Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve: Gifts of the 8.8-acre Marks property and 0.2-acre Delacorte “Hacienda Park” parcel were added to the Preserve.
• Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve: A gift of the 0.2-acre Sampson property was added to the Preserve.
• Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve: A gift of the 0.1-acre Carlson “Redwood Park” parcel was added to the Preserve.

------------------------
Purchases from 7/2009 to 6/2010:

http://openspace.org/news/downloads/10_fall_newsletter.pdf

the greenbelt we purchase and manage on your behalf grew by nearly 1,700 acres last year.

Land Added to the Preserves in 2009-2010 (A trail easement and several small gift parcels total approximately three acres.)

The District added 1,689 acres of new open space land, valued at $16.6 million in fiscal year 2009-2010. The additions were funded from the following sources:

Open Space Land Added by Purchase or Management Agreement:

• Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve:
The District purchased three properties totaling 1,050 acres UC Elkus Uplands, Peninsula Open Space Trust (Lobitos Ridge), and Peninsula Open Space Trust (Bluebrush Canyon)] as part of the Purisima-to-the-Sea project for a combined purchase price of $10,800,000. As part of this project, the District received a $500,000 grant from the state Habitat Conservation Fund.

• Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve: Five properties were added to this Preserve, totaling approximately 335 acres at a total purchase price of $1,364,050. These purchases include the following:
--1) 81.5-acre Peninsula Open Space Trust (Moore), 42.53-acre Maas, and 41.7-acre Laine properties as additions to the Cathedral Oaks area of  the Preserve;
--2) 158.51-acre Horstmeyer property (license and management agreement with Peninsula Open Space Trust) and 10-acre Mendez property as additions to the Mt. Umunhum area of the Preserve.

• Miramontes Ridge Open Space Preserve (formerly Mills Creek Open Space Preserve):
Two properties adding 192 acres to this Preserve include:
--1) 160-acre Sare property for $1,420,000;

--2) 32-acre Roberts property connecting the Preserve to Burleigh Murray State Park was purchased at a bargain sale purchase price of $400,000 from Peninsula Open Space Trust with a gift component of $250,000. Peninsula Open Space Trust paid $650,000 for the property.

• Land Exchange at Rancho San Antonio and Monte Bello Open Space Preserves: Resolved a historic encroachment with Hanson Permanente Cement adding 61 acres to Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve and 48 acres to Monte Bello Open Space Preserve with an estimated value of $2,000,000.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Help complete the circle of parks surrounding Los Angeles...

Do you want the federal government to spend money to buy the missing links and complete the circle of parks surrounding Los Angeles?


If so, come to a meeting in September and October to speak out!
http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley/index.htm


for a newsletter and map of the Rim of the Valley trail system:
http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley/newsletters.htm


http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley/studyarea.htm


“The study will explore many issues including: protection of wildlife habitat and linkages between open space areas; completion of the Rim of the Valley Trail system; preserving recreational opportunities and facilitating access to recreation for a variety of users; protection of rare, threatened or endangered species and rare or unusual plant communities and habitats; and the needs of communities within and around the study area.”

TO GET ON THEIR EMAIL NOTIFICATION LIST: http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley/getinvolved.htm


MEETING SCHEDULE:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 7-9 p.m.
Mason Recreation Center
10500 Mason Ave.
Chatsworth, CA 91311

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
2-4 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles River Center and Gardens
570 W. Avenue 26
Los Angeles, CA 90065

Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 7-9 p.m.
George A. Caravalho Santa Clarita Sports
Complex-Activities Center Building
20880 Centre Pointe Parkway
Santa Clarita, CA 91350

Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 7-9 p.m.
Conejo Recreation and Parks District
Community Room
403 W. Hillcrest Dr.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Monday, October 4, 2010, 7-9 p.m.
King Gillette Ranch
26800 West Mulholland Highway
Calabasas, CA 91302

Tuesday, October 5, 2010, 7-9 p.m.
Northeast Valley City Hall
7747 Foothill Blvd.
Tujunga, CA 91042

Wednesday, October 6, 2010, 7-9 p.m.
Charles S. Farnsworth Park
Davies Building
568 East Mount Curve Ave.
Altadena, CA 91001

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Everyone's suing Tejon Ranch, it seems....

Tejon's Wildlife Corridor Cutting Project faces massive legal maze

---straight from their own stock disclosure filings:

--also, Tejon's financial partners in 20,000 home "Centennial" project in L.A. County have pulled their cash out

excerpted from
http://www.faqs.org/sec-filings/100806/TEJON-RANCH-CO_10-Q/
TEJON RANCH CO - FORM 10-Q - August 6, 2010

On October 5, 2009, the Kern County Board of Supervisors granted entitlement approval for Tejon Mountain Village, or TMV. On November 10, 2009, a group consisting of the Center for Biological Diversity, or CBD, Wishtoyo Foundation, Tri-County Watchdogs and the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment filed an action in Kern Superior Court under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, against Kern County and the Kern County Board of Supervisors, or collectively, the County, concerning the County’s granting of approval for TMV, including the certification of the Environmental Impact Report, or EIR, approval of associated General Plan amendments, adoption of associated Zoning Maps, adoption of Special Plan No. 1, Map 256, exclusion from Agricultural Preserves Nos. 4 and 19, and approval of Vesting Tentative Tract Maps 6720 and 6717, among other associated approvals. TMV is named as the Real Party in Interest in the action.

The action alleges that the County failed to properly follow the procedures and requirements of CEQA including failure to identify, analyze and mitigate impacts to air quality, biological resources, hydrology and water quality, traffic, cultural resources, hazards, and failure to adequately describe the project and the environmental setting. The action also alleges that the County violated the Planning and Zoning Law and the Kern County General Plan.

The Company believes the EIR sufficiently addresses all environmental impacts of the project. As the developer and beneficiary of the County EIR approval, the Company is actively involved in supporting the County as it defends the approval of the project. The case is expected to be heard by the Kern Superior Court in 2010. If the plaintiffs do not prevail in their initial action, it is expected they would appeal the decision. The Company intends to provide financial support to the County in defense of their decision.

-------------------------------

On November 10, 2009, an additional suit was filed in Federal Court by an alleged representative of the Kawaiisu Tribe alleging that the Company does not hold legal title to the land within the TMV development that it seeks to develop. The grounds for the federal lawsuit were the subject of a United States Supreme Court decision in 1924 where the United States Supreme Court found in favor of the Company.

-------------------------------

On February 10, 2010, an individual and a related limited liability company, (collectively “Burrows”), filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County regarding the allocation of certain water, land and entitlement processing rights as between Burrows, Tejon and Tejon’s partners for the Centennial project in Los Angeles County. The lawsuit arises from and relates to a 2006 settlement agreement between Burrows and the Company involving a land swap, water rights and entitlement processing requirements relating to Centennial and certain properties owned by Burrows in the immediate vicinity of the Centennial site.

A previously issued temporary restraining order was dissolved by the judge assigned to the Burrows lawsuit. The case is still in the preliminary pleading stage. The Company and Centennial Founders LLC are aggressively defending this lawsuit. The Company has secured the services of an outside law firm to litigate this claim. Given the preliminary nature of this lawsuit, the Company has an insufficient basis to address the merits or potential outcomes of the Burrows lawsuit. The monetary value of a potential adverse outcome on the claim likewise cannot be estimated at this time.

-------------------------------------

The Company leases land to National Cement Company of California Inc., or National, for the purpose of manufacturing Portland cement from limestone deposits on the leased acreage. The California Regional Water Quality Control Board, or RWQCB, for the Lahontan Region has issued several orders with respect to environmental conditions on the property currently leased to National:

(1) Groundwater plume of chlorinated hydrocarbon compounds. This order directs the Company’s former tenant Lafarge Corporation, or Lafarge, the current tenant National, and the Company to, among other things, clean up groundwater contamination on the leased property. In 2003, Lafarge and National installed a groundwater pump-and-treat system to clean up the groundwater. The Company is advised that Lafarge and National continue to operate the cleanup system and will continue to do so over the near-term.

(2) Cement kiln dust. National and Lafarge have consolidated, closed and capped cement kiln dust piles located on land leased from the Company. An order of the RWQCB directs National, Lafarge and the Company to maintain and monitor the effectiveness of the cap. Maintenance of the cap and groundwater monitoring remain as on-going activities.

(3) Former industrial waste landfills. This order requires Lafarge, National and the Company to complete the cleanup of groundwater associated with the former industrial waste landfills. The Company is advised that the cleanup is complete. Lafarge continues to monitor the groundwater.

(4) Diesel fuel. An order of the RWQCB directs Lafarge, National and the Company to clean up contamination from a diesel fuel tank and pipeline. The Company is advised that Lafarge and National have substantially completed the groundwater cleanup and that groundwater monitoring remains an on-going activity.

To date, the Company is not aware of any failure by Lafarge or National to comply with the orders or informal requests of the RWQCB. Under current and prior leases, National and Lafarge are obligated to indemnify the Company for costs and liabilities arising directly or indirectly out of their use of the leased premises. The Company believes that all of the matters described above are included within the scope of the National or Lafarge indemnity obligations and that Lafarge and National have sufficient resources to perform any reasonably likely obligations relating to these matters. If they do not and the Company is required to perform the work at its own cost, it is unlikely that the amount of any such expenditure by the Company would be material.

-------------------------------

On November 29, 2004, a complaint was filed by the County of Los Angeles asking for the Antelope Valley ground water basin to be adjudicated. This means that the rights of all parties overlying the basin, including the Company’s land, should be fixed based on various principles of water law and on negotiations among the principal parties or groups of water users. Because the case is still in the early stages and not at issue, it is too early to ascertain what effect, if any, this case may have on the Centennial project or the Company’s remaining lands in the Antelope Valley. Because the water supply plan for the Centennial project includes several sources of water in addition to ground water underlying the Company’s lands, and because the creation of an efficient market for local water rights is frequently an outcome of adjudication proceedings, we anticipate that sufficient water to supply the Centennial project’s needs will continue to be available for its use.

-----------------------------------
On May 12, 2010, the Attorney General, on behalf of the State Water Resources Control Board, filed a complaint in the Alameda County Superior Court for civil penalties and a permanent injunction against TravelCenters of America LLC, or TA, facilities in the Central Valley of California. The travel centers in the Petro Travel Plaza Holdings LLC, or TA/Petro, were also included in the complaint. The lawsuit claims violations of various paper reporting, operating and UST monitoring prevention laws. In addition to the TA/Petro entity and its respective member entities, the lawsuit also names the Company and Tejon Industrial Corporation. The Company has tendered defense of the lawsuit to TA, under the “defend and indemnify” clause in the LLC’s operating agreement, and has also secured the services of an outside law firm to work with TA’s outside counsel under a joint defense agreement. Counsel for TA and the Company are working together to attempt to change the venue of the lawsuit to Kern, or another Central Valley, County, and to dismiss the Company and TIC, as well as other TA entities, from the lawsuit. Given the preliminary nature of this lawsuit, the Company has an insufficient basis to address the merits or potential outcomes of the lawsuit. The monetary value of a potential adverse outcome on the claim likewise cannot be estimated at this time.

-------------------------------
On June 3, 2010, Central Delta and South Delta Water Agencies and several environmental groups, including CBD, filed a complaint in the Sacramento County Superior Court against the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), Kern County Water Agency and a number of “real parties in interest,” including the Company and Tejon Castac Water District, or TCWD. The lawsuit challenges certain amendments to the State Water Project contracts that were originally approved in 1995, known as the “Monterey Amendments.” The original EIR for the Monterey Amendments was determined to be insufficient in a lawsuit, and the current lawsuit challenges the remedial EIR that DWR prepared as a result of the original lawsuit. Among other legal allegations, the current lawsuit challenges the transfer of the Kern Water Bank, or KWB, from DWR to Kern County Water Agency and in turn to various Kern County interests, including TCWD which has a 2% interest in the KWB. A parallel lawsuit was also filed against Kern County Water Agency, also naming the Company and TCWD as real parties in interest. The Company is named on the ground that it “controls” TCWD. TCWD has a contract right for water stored in the KWB and rights to recharge and withdraw water. Counsel for the Company is considering a dismissal of the Company from these lawsuits. Given the preliminary nature of these lawsuits, the Company has an insufficient basis to address the merits or potential outcomes of the lawsuit. The monetary value of a potential adverse outcome on the claim likewise cannot be estimated at this time.

NOTE E – INVESTMENT IN UNCONSOLIDATED JOINT VENTURES

The Company maintains investments in joint ventures. The Company accounts for its investments in unconsolidated joint ventures using the equity method of accounting unless the venture is a variable interest entity, or VIE, and meets the requirements for consolidation. The Company’s investment in its unconsolidated joint ventures at June 30, 2010 was $47,020,000. The equity in the earnings of the unconsolidated joint ventures was $13,000 for the six months ended June 30, 2010. These joint ventures have not been consolidated as of June 30, 2010, because they are not VIEs and the Company does not control the investments. The Company’s current joint ventures are as follows:

•Petro Travel Plaza Holdings LLC – TA/Petro is an unconsolidated joint venture with Travel Centers of America, LLC for the development and management of travel plazas and convenience stores. This is a 60%-owned joint venture which owns and operates travel plazas/commercial highway operations in TIC. It houses multiple commercial eating establishments as well as diesel and gasoline operations. The Company does not control the investment due to its having only 50% voting rights, and because our partner in the joint venture performs the day-to-day operations at the facility. At June 30, 2010, the Company had an equity investment balance of $9,014,000 in this joint venture.

•Tejon Mountain Village LLC – Tejon Mountain Village LLC is an unconsolidated joint venture between the Company and DMB TMV LLC (a wholly owned subsidiary of DMB Associates, Inc.) formed to obtain all necessary government entitlement approvals and to develop the Tejon Mountain Village project. The Company owns a 50% interest in this venture. At June 30, 2010, the Company’s equity investment balance in this joint venture was $28,114,000.

•Rockefeller Joint Ventures – The Company has two joint ventures with Rockefeller Group Development Corporation for the development of buildings on approximately 91 acres. These joint ventures are part of an agreement for the development of up to 500 acres of land in TIC including pursuing Foreign Trade Zone, or FTZ, designation and development of the property within the FTZ for warehouse distribution and light manufacturing. The Company owns a 50% interest in each of the joint ventures. Currently the Five West Parcel LLC joint venture owns and leases a 606,000 square foot building. The second of these joint ventures, 18-19 West LLC, was formed in August 2009 through the contribution of 61.5 acres of land by the Company, which is being held for future development. As of June 30, 2010, the Company’s combined equity investment balance in these two joint ventures is $9,892,000.

• Centennial Founders LLC – Centennial Founders LLC is a joint venture with Pardee Homes, Lewis Investment Company, and Standard Pacific Corp. that was organized to pursue the entitlement and development of land that the Company owns in Los Angeles County. The Company had a 50% ownership interest in this joint venture until July 1, 2009 when a change in the joint venture operating agreement resulted in the Company becoming the sole funding partner and satisfying the requirements for controlling the joint venture.

Consequently, the operating results of Centennial Founders LLC were consolidated effective July 1, 2009. Despite this change our partners continue to be involved in an advisory capacity and may re-elect contributing status at a later time by contributing their pro rata share of capital in future capital calls. At June 30, 2010 the Company had a 60.94% ownership position in Centennial Founders LLC. Our partners retained a non-controlling interest in the joint venture.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

hmmmm....

House passes nearly $4 million for SM Mountains park expansion...

2011 US Budget will save around 286 acres in key L.A. Mountains park

Sherman Announces Approval of Additional Funds for Santa Monica Mountains

7/23/2010--WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Brad Sherman announced that $3,750,000 in federal appropriations funding to acquire land for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was approved by a key House Appropriations subcommittee. The funding will help the National Park Service acquire approximately 286 acres to protect core habitat in Zuma and Trancas Canyons – one of the highest priority land acquisitions for the National Park Service.

The funding was included in the Fiscal Year 2011 Interior and Environment appropriations bill, which was recently agreed upon by the House Committee on Appropriation’s Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee. Sherman testified in front of the subcommittee in support of this funding. The legislation must be approved by the House Committee on Appropriations, the House of Representatives and the United States Senate before it can be signed into law by President Obama.

Congressman Sherman has been dedicated to expanding the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area since he was elected to Congress in 1997. He has won over $20 million for projects to preserve and expand the park. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the nation’s largest urban national park, and it is estimated that the park receives over 33 million visits each year.

“The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area would be a great park anywhere in the country. But, considering it's on the fringe of a metropolis with five million people, it is even more of a treasure,” said Congressman Sherman, during a recent visit to the park. “Acquiring additional lands in Zuma and Trancas Canyons will help us to protect critical open space for habitat protection, scenic views, and recreational trail connections for the public.”

Congressman Howard Berman also requested the funding.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Santa Cruz marsh property is saved...

45 Acres Added to Santa Cruz County protected marshlands


http://www.landtrustsantacruz.org/press/100804_protecting-slough-land.htm

aerial photo: http://www.landtrustsantacruz.org/press/100804_Bryant-map.pdf

8/4/2010--The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County has purchased a key property that drains the Watsonville Slough system. The Land Trust plans to restore wetlands and lease farmland on the 45 acre property. The property is located west of Highway 1 and adjoins 440 acres of slough land the Land Trust acquired at the end of 2009.

Much of the property floods and 18 acres is already in the process of returning to wetlands, according to the Land Trust. The Land Trust plans to restore these wetlands and lease a third of the land as farmland. Land Trust Executive Director Terry Corwin said the wetland restoration will benefit wildlife, water quality, and help reduce upstream flooding. The property drains four of the five tributaries of the slough system, which flows into the Pajaro River and Monterey Bay.

Funding for the acquisition came from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant secured by and awarded through the California Coastal Conservancy. The $860,000 grant will cover the purchase of the 45 acres, which cost $546,000, with the remaining funds to be spent on future slough acquisitions and restoration projects. The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Board were also key partners in supporting other acquisitions in the sloughs.

The Watsonville Slough system is the only large freshwater coastal wetland in Santa Cruz County. The sloughs are important habitat for migrating birds and for at least 12 species of birds considered of “special concern” to the state, including the California brown pelican.

...Corwin points out that the latest acquisition follows years of actions by others that have protected over a thousand acres in and around the Watsonville Slough. The California Department of Fish and Game protects 350 acres and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protects 109 acres.
Corwin said the Land Trust will host a dedication of their Watsonville Slough Farms on September 19th.

Summer wildflowers in bloom in the Sierras....

Summer highlights from the Central Sierra Nevada mountains

for lots more photos from the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center:


http://cserc.org/blog/2010/07/29/summer-highlights-from-the-mountains/


This summer CSERC staff is especially busy with field work and much of their work time is spent in the beautiful surrounding mountains, as they conduct research and monitor resources.

Below is a gallery of photos taken by staff members this year as they work and play in this amazing region – we hope you enjoy them and are inspired to get out there on your own!


Finally, the state's water experts say what politicians fear to say...

Now we know how much water needs to flow

7/23/2010--This week, the California Water Resources Control Board released a draft report identifying increased water flows needed to protect fisheries and water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary.

According to Mike Taugher of the Bay Area News Group, "The key finding is that of all the snowmelt and rain that falls into the Delta's watershed, which covers 40 percent of California, about 75 percent of it should be allowed to flow through the Delta into San Francisco Bay."

"Today, only about 50 percent of the flow passes through the Delta on average as nearly all of California taps into its rivers and the Delta itself."

http://restorethedelta.org/?p=395

East SF Bay Gem is finally saved...

"When Franklin Canyon was saved, it made me want to cry...."

excerpted from: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/28/BA601EED31.DTL


7/28/2010...the 20-year emotional rollercoaster is finally over. The 483-acre property near Hercules, together with its sister parcel, 702-acre Fernandez Ranch, are forever saved from development thanks to a last-minute gift from the city of Hercules.

..."To say it was hair-raising does not understate the equation," said the trust's director, Linus Eukel. "When it finally came together, we were swinging from the chandeliers."

After trust officials signed a contract for the land in August 2009, staff went on a fundraising tear, collecting grants and donations from individuals, public agencies and private foundations. The East Bay Regional Park District gave more than $1 million. Caltrans kicked in $600,000.
Short of funds

But as the June 25 deadline approached, the trust was still shy of the $2.6 million needed to purchase the property and the $700,000 needed to maintain it in perpetuity.

The deal was about to collapse when the city of Hercules stepped in, offering $200,000 from its Measure WW parks fund, nearly a fifth of the fund's value.

Hercules is usually known more for its friendly hand to developers, not land trusts. But in recent years, the quiet, 25,000-resident community on San Pablo Bay has slowly shifted toward greener priorities. In 2004 voters passed Measure M, which rezoned the Franklin Canyon area to 40-acre minimum parcels. The city is also preserving the 12-acre Chelsea Wetlands area, working on Bay Trail and Ridge Trail connections and opting for more high-density, infill development...