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)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Wanna sign your environment away?

Tired of clean air, open space protection, and access to the beach? Sign this petition to let the "free" market rule!

This guy from the coast-side of the San Francisco bay, Oscar Braun, has been on an all-out war against the state's Coastal Commission for quite a while now. His newest effort is to outlaw all of the state's environmental protection laws at once.
Braun has been furious at the state and the County of San Mateo for thwarting his development plans on a 70 acre ranch which he bought in 1988 for $300,000 and later sought, unsuccessfully, to sell for $25 million.



http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2138541/posts


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Here's the press release from the state's Secretary of State's office, which regulates voter-initiated law petition drives.

http://www.sos.ca.gov/admin/press-releases/2011/db11-054.pdf

"11/22/2011--ELIMINATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION LAWS AND AGENCIES. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE. Repeals the California Environmental Quality Act, California Coastal Act, California Endangered Species Act, California Global Warming Solutions Act, and California Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act. Abolishes the California Environmental Protection Agency and Air Resources Board. Establishes new inalienable rights to produce, distribute, use, and consume air, carbon dioxide, water, food, habitat for humanity, universal heal thyself care, and energy generating natural resources. Grants Californians the individual right to nullify all federal powers not specifically delegated to the United States by the federal constitution.

The Secretary of State's tracking number for this measure is 1521 and the Attorney General's tracking number is 11-0043.

The proponent for this measure, Oscar Alejandro Braun, must collect signatures of 807,615 registered voters - the number equal to eight percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 gubernatorial election - in order to qualify it for the ballot. The proponent has 150 days to circulate petitions for this measure, meaning the signatures must be collected by April 19, 2012.

No public contact information was provided by the proponent.

To sign up for regular ballot measure updates via email, RSS feed, or Twitter, go to www.sos.ca.gov/multimedia."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gulp...another plan to suck the desert dry

So-Cal Sprawlers seek water from valley near the Amboy Craters in the Mojave Desert

the Cadiz water project is back!

Rejected in 2002 by the big water agency in So-Cal, the Metropolitan Water District, several smaller urban water sellers are now backing the project to "mine" water from a remote desert valley to provide water for 400,000 more people in the L.A.-Orange county areas.



http://www.pe.com/local-news/san-bernardino-county/san-bernardino-county-headlines-index/20111206-desert-environmental-review-on-water-storage-plan-released.ece
"An environmental report has been released for a controversial plan to pump water from ancient underground basins in the eastern Mojave Desert and store Colorado River supplies there for delivery to Riverside County and elsewhere in Southern California.
The $225 million Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project would involve building 44 miles of pipeline to carry water in surplus years from the Colorado River Aqueduct to the company’s property, which lies between the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park.
In dry years, water would be pumped from the aquifer underneath the 35,000 acres owned by Cadiz Inc..."
More on local hearings in January and February of 2012 are in the above article.

(click on maps to enlarge)


TO READ THE EIR:
http://www.smwd.com/operations/cadiz-project-draft-eir.html

Saturday, December 17, 2011

8532 acres of Santa Cruz Mountains are saved!

Huge property in Santa Cruz Mountains to be preserved


http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_19492730

By Paul Rogers
progers@mercurynews.com
Posted: 12/08/2011 12:00:00 AM PST

For 105 years, the towering Davenport cement plant on Santa Cruz County's rural north coast produced the cement that built Northern California, including such varied and prodigious projects as the Golden Gate Bridge, BART, Oakland City Hall, Folsom Dam, Candlestick Park and the Stanford University Medical Center.But now the plant, shuttered last year, is leaving a different kind of landmark. In one of the largest land preservation deals in the Bay Area in a generation, five conservation groups have signed an agreement to buy 8,532 acres around the plant for $30 million.
The property, which is 8 miles long and the largest piece of privately owned land in Santa Cruz County, stretches from the remote ridges of Bonny Doon almost to the Pacific Ocean. The broad expanse of redwood and oak forests is home to mountain lions, peregrine falcons and endangered coho salmon.
When the deal, funded with donations from Silicon Valley foundations and nonprofits, closes Dec. 16, it will help link 26,000 acres of protected open space from Big Basin Redwoods State Park to Wilder Ranch State Park -- an area about the size of San Francisco.


"This is a huge opportunity," said Walter Moore, president of the Peninsula Open Space Trust in Palo Alto, one of the buyers. "The inspiring, magical thing is that we've come together with a common vision to do something bigger and grander than we could have otherwise."
While the deal will eventually open the scenic land to hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, one provision will allow timber companies to continue to do some logging on the property -- which some of Santa Cruz County's most ardent environmentalists could oppose. But if the property had been sold to developers, its zoning and land use rules would have allowed up to 69 luxury homes. Although the property has been logged fairly regularly over the past 50 years, it does not contain a single house.
"It's really close to the 7.5 million people who live in the Bay Area," said Ruskin Hartley, executive director of Save the Redwoods League in San Francisco. "But it feels wild and remote."

A who's who

Under the purchase, the environmental groups will pay Cemex, a Mexican building materials company that owns the land, for nearly all of its property, including a large dormant quarry. However, Cemex's hulking cement plant, visible for miles along Highway 1, is not included in the deal. Closed in January 2010 amid a lack of demand for construction materials, the plant remains for sale, along with a few hundred other acres and a second quarry.

Bankrolling the deal is a "who's who" of Bay Area land preservation groups. The Peninsula Open Space Trust will contribute $16 million. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in Palo Alto, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in Los Altos will give a combined $8 million. The Sempervirens Fund, in Los Altos, will contribute $5 million and the Nature Conservancy in San Francisco, an additional $500,000.
Unlike previous open space deals in the Bay Area, the environmental groups do not plan to sell or donate the property to the California state parks department. Because of state budget cuts, Gov. Jerry Brown plans to close about one-quarter of California's 279 state parks by July and the state parks department is refusing nearly all new lands, even when they are donated.

Instead, the groups plan to spend the next two years conducting detailed biological surveys of the forests, streams and wildlife on the property. Then, they'll place a conservation easement over it, which will limit development, logging and other uses. That easement will be held by the Save the Redwoods League and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County.Finally, the groups plan to sell the lands to a new owner, probably a timber company, and allow limited logging. The sale will not only help reimburse their purchase costs, they say, but it also will provide jobs and tax revenue to the county from the property, which is so big that it makes up 12 percent of all the land in Santa Cruz County zoned for timber harvesting.

A new model

Cemex and the previous owner, RMC Lonestar, logged nearly all of the land on a rotation of every 14 years, removing about 35 percent of the redwood and Douglas fir each time. Hartley said the environmental groups will put the several hundred old-growth trees off-limits, along with areas near streams where coho salmon and steelhead trout live."Our assumption is that when the dust settles, the protections in place will be stricter than those in the rest of Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties," he said.
Plans also include public access. There are about 70 miles of unpaved roads on the property, and the environmental groups hope to use the land to link Big Basin Redwoods with other parks and open space preserves stretching down the coast.
"I'd like to hope it would be in two or three years, but we have to do the management plan first," said Terry Corwin, executive director of the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County.
Politically, the wider plan will probably attract controversy in Santa Cruz County, known for its tenacious environmental activism. In 1998, working with money from the Packard Foundation, the Trust for Public Land in San Francisco bought the other huge property near the cement plant, the 7,000-acre Coast Dairies and Land Ranch, for about $40 million from several Swiss families whose descendants had purchased it a century before.
Although the land trust transferred six major beaches on the ranch to state park ownership in 2006, it has been thwarted from giving the bulk of the land to the federal Bureau of Land Management. Several local environmental groups, concerned about BLM ownership, sued to block the transfer, asserting that permission was needed from the California Coastal Commission to divide the parcels. The groups lost last year, but they have appealed the case.
Corwin said that in an era when state parks are not accepting new property, the Cemex redwoods deal offers a new model.
"We believe this is a newer and smarter way to do conservation," she said, "and in the end won't cost as much."

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

12/8/2011--The Santa Cruz County Land Trust and its partners have protected the 8,500 acres of redwood forest above Davenport formerly owned by CEMEX. Read the story in today's Sentinel.
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/nationalbreaking/ci_19492730

See photos, a video, and learn more about the biggest conservation deal in county history on our website: http://LandTrustSantaCruz.org.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC6wzx7-9L0

11/16/2011--The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County has launched a campaign to protect 10,000 acres in the next two years. The first major project, the protection of the 1,200 acre Star Creek Ranch, will begin the protection of the Pajaro Hills. The Pajaro Hills are a 24,000 acre slice of old California that can become a future greenbelt between Santa Cruz County and the Highway 101 growth corridor.

The Land Trust has raised $11 million locally as part of this campaign – and needs just $2.5 million more to protect 10,000 acres.

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

http://www.capitalpress.com/content/AP-CA-Solar-farming-110711

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

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-sierra-club-20111119,0,3734323.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 

8/17/11

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.

MORE INFO:
http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/ca/pdf/pa/lands.Par.98782.File.dat/Project%20Summary%20Johnson%20Cyn%20ACEC.pdf

www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/ca/pdf/.../www.ca.blm.gov

Hikers and K-Rats score more parkland in Riverside

Lawsuit settlement adds 42 acres to Sycamore canyon park in Riverside

9/20/11

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/center/articles/2011/press-enterprise-09-20-2011.html

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!....it 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:
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-toll-expansion-20111107,0,7662009.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..."

slurp!!!!!

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

full story is at:
http://www.bostonherald.com/news/national/west/view/20111107oasis_or_mirage_company_wants_to_tap_mojave_water

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."...

L.A. and Ventura parks news....

State may add 40 acres to Topanga State Park

plus
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:

L.A. CITY PORTION OF SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS:

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

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MALIBU:

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)

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BALLONA WETLANDS--BALDWIN HILLS:

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

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PALMDALE--SANTA CLARITA VALLEY:

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)

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

SIMI HILLS:

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

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

EAST L.A. HILLS:

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)

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

VENTURA COUNTY:

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

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

http://scc.ca.gov/2011/10/28/coastal-conservancy-public-meeting-november-10-2011/#more-1050


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

Monday, October 24, 2011

more CA land saved...

State $$ to Save over 20,000 acres in December

from the agenda of the 12/8/2011 meeting of the California Wildlife Conservation Board

The WCB is buying conservation easements on 16,033 acres and full ownership of 4218 acres of California wildlife habitat.

SUMMARY:
LASSEN COUNTY: 535 ACRES
TEHAMA COUNTY: 2910 ACRES
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY: 436 ACRES
RIVERSIDE COUNTY: 188 ACRES
SISKIYOU AND SHASTA COUNTIES: 8230 ACRES
PLUMAS COUNTY: 2946 ACRES
SIERRA AND NEVADA COUNTIES: 2995 ACRES
FRESNO COUNTY: 2011 ACRES

FOR THE MEETING AGENDA:

FOR MAPS OF ALL PURCHASES: https://goo.gl/photos/RGnQsDRs7hNFGa5i9


SPECIFICS:

Bass Hill/Lassen Creek Conservation Easement (Hulsman) in Lassen County
acquire a conservation easement over 535± acres located adjacent to the Department of Fish and Game’s Bass Hill Wildlife Area


grant to The Nature Conservancy for a conservation easement over 2,311± acres, Lassen Foothills expansion 7, (Kerstiens Ranch) in Tehama county


Lassen Foothills, Expansion 8 (Lower Deer Creek Falls, Tehama County
a grant to the Northern California Regional Land Trust for a cooperative project with Western Rivers Conservancy and the Department of Fish and Game to acquire fee title to 599± acres of land for the expansion of the Lassen Foothills Conservation Area, located northeast of Chico along a State Highway 32 in Tehama County. The project will protect approximately 1.4 miles of riparian corridor along Deer Creek


San Joaquin Multi-Species Conservation Plan 2008 Vaquero Farm Central  in Contra Costa County, acquire 320± acres


San Joaquin Multi-Species Conservation Plan 2008 (Affinito) in Contra Costa County
acquire 116± acres  in the City of Pittsburg.


Santa Rosa Mountains, Expansions 11—13 in Riverside County
acquisition in fee of 50± acres of land


Western Riverside County MSHCP, Expansion 6 
Grant to the Jurupa Area Recreation and Park District, for a cooperative project with the Redevelopment Agency of the County of Riverside and the Riverside Land Conservancy, to acquire in fee 138± acres

Bear Creek Working Forest in Siskiyou and Shasta Counties
a grant to the Pacific Forest Trust to acquire a conservation easement over 8,230± acres of working forest lands allowing for continued forest management, passive public use and enhancing the protection of forest, meadow, riparian, fisheries and water resources. The property is located north and south of Highway 89 in a rural area of the southern Cascade Mountain Range in Shasta and Siskiyou Counties near the communities of McCloud, Pondosa and Bartle.

Goodwin Sierra Valley Ranch Conservation Easement in Plumas County
a grant to the California Rangeland Trust to acquire a conservation easement over 2,946± acres of working ranch land allowing for continued livestock grazing and other permitted agricultural uses while enhancing the protection of meadow, watershed, riparian, fisheries and wetland resources. The property is located north and south of Highway 70, just east of the town of Beckworth in Sierra Valley.


Webber Lake/Lacey Meadows in Sierra and Nevada Counties
a grant to the Truckee Donner Land Trust to acquire 2,995± acres of land for the protection of significant alpine and wet-meadow habitat, north of the town of Truckee.

Black Mountain Preserve, Expansion 4 (Kimbler) in Fresno County
a grant to the Sierra Foothill Conservancy to acquire conservation easements over 2,011± acres of land for the protection of grazing lands, grasslands, and blue oak woodlands located between Prather and Tollhouse in Fresno County.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

September's list of new places to explore...

NEW PARKS IN CALIFORNIA, FOR SEPTEMBER 2011

A quick list of new parks stories posted on this website in 9/2011
(NOTE--lists of new parks in California for years 2000 to 2011 are posted here: http://connectingcalifornia.org)

NORTH COAST:

114 acres--Arcata Community Forest Expansion $1,956,000 (Morris) Humboldt County
acquire in fee a total of 114± acres. 9/13/11 WCB

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

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA:

20 acres--disburse up to $450,000 to the County of Marin for acquisition of an approximately 20-acre open space property on San Geronimo Ridge near the town of Forest Knolls, Marin County. 9/22/11 Coastal Conservancy

50 acres--disburse up to $2,650,000 to the Coastside Land Trust to acquire the 50-acre coastal parcel of the Wavecrest property in Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County, to design and plan the California Coastal Trail through the property, and to produce a conceptual design for extending the Coastal Trail south to Redondo Beach. 9/22/11 Coastal Conservancy

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

CENTRAL VALLEY AND SIERRA NEVADAS:

14,945 acres in Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, $5,010,000 to buy Rudnick Ranch, Kern County;
grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with the Department of Fish and Game, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Caltrans and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to acquire fee interest in 14,945± acres. 9/13/11 WCB

0.5 acres--Allensworth Ecological Reserve, Expansion 26, $2,900 Tulare County
To consider the fee acquisition of 0.5± acres of land for expansion of the Department of Fish and Game's Allensworth Ecological Reserve, to increase protection of grassland areas that benefit special status species, including the San Joaquin kit fox, located approximately 30 miles south of Visalia in southern Tulare County. 9/13/11 WCB

1781 acres Leavitt Lake Conservation Easement $1,705,000 Lassen County
acquire a conservation easement over 1,781 ± acres on the north shore of Leavitt Lake, 5 miles southeast of the City of Susanville. 9/13/11 WCB

1603 acre Dos Rios Ranch $5,410,000 Stanislaus County –WITHDRAWN FROM AGENDA
acquire in fee 1,603± acres of valley floodplain and riverine habitat. 9/13/11 WCB
--------------------------------

LOS ANGELES COUNTY:

disburse up to $225,000 to the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority for preparation of a conceptual restoration plan for the Los Cerritos wetlands complex in the cities of Long Beach, Los Angeles County, and Seal Beach, Orange County.


L.A. CITY PORTION OF SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS:

acquisition of La Rocha properties, Hollywood Dell, Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Map 1] [Map 2] 8/3/11 MRCA

8.87 acres--acceptance of donation totaling 8.87 acres in Beverly Glen and Benedict Canyons, City of Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Map 1] 8/3/11 MRCA

Briar Knoll drive--acceptance of a conservation easement in the upper Laurel Canyon watershed, City of Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Map] 9/12/11 MRCA

Laurel Canyon and Mulholland Acquisition Project, City of Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Map 1] [Map 2] 8/29/11 SMMC

comment letter to the City of Los Angeles on 2144 Nichols Canyon Road and potential impacts on the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority’s planned Castair Drive to Wattles Drive Trail, City of Los Angeles. [Comment Letter and Attachments] [Map] 8/29/11 SMMC

Pacific Palisades trail easement (Miller [Map 4]), [Map 1] 9/12/11 MRCA


MALIBU:

Trancas canyon trail easement (Kivman), [Map 1] 9/12/11 MRCA
Monte Nido trail easement (James), [Map 1] 9/12/11 MRCA
Zuma canyon trail easement (Gittelson—5655 Busch Drive [Map 3]), [Map 1] 9/12/11 MRCA
Encinal Canyon trail easement (Quiros), [Map 1] 9/12/11 MRCA
Decker Canyon trail easement (Geren & Soroudi), [Map 1] 9/12/11 MRCA
Topanga trail easement (Johnson & Yahraus), [Map 1] 9/12/11 MRCA
Topanga trail easement (Carlson), [Map 1] 9/12/11 MRCA
Cold Creek trail easement (Fong), [Map 1] 9/12/11 MRCA
Las Flores canyon trail easement (Raj), [Map 1] 9/12/11 MRCA
Corral Canyon trail easement (Bolton [Map 2]), [Map 1] 9/12/11 MRCA
Las Flores canyon trail easement (Sack), [Staff Report] [Map 1] 9/12/11 MRCA

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

EAST L.A. HILLS:

acquisition of Elephant Hill Open Space, El Sereno, City of Los Angeles.
[Staff Report] [Map] 8/3/11 MRCA
[Staff Report] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Map 1] [Map 2] 7/25/11 SMMC
[Staff Report] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2 _ Map] [Attachment 3 _ Map 2] [Attachment 4] [Attachment 5] 8/29/11 SMMC

acquire Burnell Avenue properties abutting Elyria Canyon Park, Mount Washington, City of Los Angeles. [Map] [Staff Report] 9/12/11 MRCA,
[Staff Report] [Map] SMMC 9/26/11

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

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA:

56 acres-Wheeler Ridge, Expansion 4, $730,000 Mono County
a grant to the Eastern Sierra Land Trust for a cooperative project to acquire fee title in 56± acres of land. 9/13/11 WCB

169 acres--Western Riverside County MSHCP, $1,042,500 Expansions 10 and 11
acquire in fee two separate properties totaling 169± acres. 9/13/11 WCB

156 acres--Carlsbad/Northwest San Diego County MHCP $1,256,250 HCPLA/NCCP 2010 (Perkins)
acquire in fee 156± acres at the northern terminus of Lone Jack Road and west of Rancho Summit Road. 9/13/11 WCB

97 acres--City of Carlsbad $3,214,000 Habitat Management Plan/NW HCPLA 2009 (Bridges)
San Diego County
acquire in fee 97± acres. 9/13/11 WCB

563 acres--Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area, $708,000 Expansion 4, San Diego County
acquisition in fee of 563± acres. 9/13/11 WCB

468 acres--Long Potrero East $1,498,000 San Diego County
grant to the Back Country Land Trust to acquire in fee 468± acres. 9/13/11 WCB

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Another speculator looking for a spanking...

Developer Seeks to Mansion-ize the Calabasas Peak Trail in L.A.


--and another wants to wreck the Santa Susana Mts north of there

and other items from the Santa Monica Mts Conservancy agenda for 9/26/2011

CALABASAS PEAK--comment letter to Los Angeles County on the Notice of Preparation for the Calabasas Peak Motorway Residential Development Project, Calabasas Highlands, unincorporated Los Angeles County. [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2] [Map] [Comment Letter] [Resolution]

 (Rocks on Calabasas Peak--click on photo to enlarge)

MAP OF THE TRAIL WHICH WOULD AFFECTED:
http://photos2.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/7/4/b/9/highres_42089881.jpeg

(THE 4 PROPOSED MANSION PARCELS ARE IN RED OUTLINE)

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


SANTA SUSANA MTS--comment letter to the City of Los Angeles on the Final Environmental Impact Report for the Hidden Creeks Estates project in Browns Canyon, unincorporated County of Los Angeles. [Resolution] [Map 1] [Map 2] [Comment Letter] [Attachment 1] [Attachment 2]


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

SIMI VALLEY--Consideration of resolution authorizing a comment letter to City of Simi Valley on Simi Valley General Plan Environmental Impact Report, sch# 2009121004. [Comment Letter] [Attachment] [Map 1] [Map 2] [Map 3] [Map 4] [Resolution]

MALIBU--Consideration of resolution authorizing a 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 3]

EAST L.A. HILLS--Consideration of resolution authorizing the addition of the Elyira Canyon Park Expansion project to the Conservancy’s Acquisition Workprogram, Mount Washington, City of Los Angeles. [Staff Report] [Resolution] [Map]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Less Sprawl, more trails...

State’s Wildlife Board saved 19,952 acres in September 2011 meeting

HIGHLIGHTS:

Mono County: 56 acres
Riverside County: 169 acres
San Diego County: 1284 acres
Tulare County: 0.5 acre
Humboldt County: 114 acres
Stanislaus County: 1603 acres
Kern County: 14,945 acres
Lassen County: 1781 acres

FOR PHOTOS AND MORE INFO:


FOR MAPS OF ALL PURCHASES: https://goo.gl/photos/iv9662XCWzazDkgc6


MORE DETAILS:

Wheeler Ridge, Expansion 4, $730,000 Mono County
a grant to the Eastern Sierra Land Trust for a cooperative project to acquire fee title in 56± acres of land. 9/13/11 WCB

Allensworth Ecological Reserve, Expansion 26, $2,900 Tulare County
To consider the fee acquisition of 0.5± acres of land for expansion of the Department of Fish and Game's Allensworth Ecological Reserve, to increase protection of grassland areas that benefit special status species, including the San Joaquin kit fox, located approximately 30 miles south of Visalia in southern Tulare County. 9/13/11 WCB

Western Riverside County MSHCP, $1,042,500 Expansions 10 and 11
acquire in fee two separate properties totaling 169± acres. 9/13/11 WCB

Carlsbad/Northwest San Diego County MHCP $1,256,250 HCPLA/NCCP 2010 (Perkins)
acquire in fee 156± acres at the northern terminus of Lone Jack Road and west of Rancho Summit Road. 9/13/11 WCB

City of Carlsbad $3,214,000 Habitat Management Plan/NW HCPLA 2009 (Bridges)
San Diego County
acquire in fee 97± acres. 9/13/11 WCB

Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area, $708,000 Expansion 4, San Diego County
acquisition in fee of 563± acres. 9/13/11 WCB

Long Potrero East $1,498,000 San Diego County
grant to the Back Country Land Trust to acquire in fee 468± acres. 9/13/11 WCB

Arcata Community Forest Expansion $1,956,000 (Morris) Humboldt County
acquire in fee a total of 114± acres. 9/13/11 WCB

Conifer trees top a green and golden hillside
(Arcata Community Forest expansion)

Leavitt Lake Conservation Easement $1,705,000 Lassen County
acquire a conservation easement over 1,781 ± acres on the north shore of Leavitt Lake, 5 miles southeast of the City of Susanville. 9/13/11 WCB

Grasslands and hills under partly cloudy sky
(Bass Hill Wildlife Area north of Susanville, in Lassen County. John Ranlett/Ducks Unlimited photo.)

Gualala River Forest Conservation Easement $19,030,000 Mendocino County (reconsideration—same as on 6/2/11 agenda))
grant to The Conservation Fund to acquire a conservation easement over 13,913± acres. 9/13/11 WCB

View of lush conifer and pine forest, mountains in background, blue sky
Gualala River Forest, west of Cloverdale in Mendocino County.

Dos Rios Ranch $5,410,000 Stanislaus County
acquire in fee 1,603± acres of valley floodplain and riverine habitat. 9/13/11 WCB (WITHDRAWN FROM AGENDA)

Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, $5,010,000 Rudnik Ranch, Kern County
grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with the Department of Fish and Game, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Caltrans and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to acquire fee interest in 14,945± acres. 9/13/11 WCB

A ranch and trees in dry hills
Rudnick Ranch

State saving 70 acres in Marin and San Mateo Counties...

Two Purchases by the State on the Coast

From the 7/21 and 9/22/2011 agenda of the State's Coastal Conservancy
http://scc.ca.gov/webmaster/ftp/pdf/sccbb/2011/1107/index.html
http://scc.ca.gov/2011/09/09/coastal-conservancy-public-meeting-september-22-2011/

SAN GERONIMO RIDGE

disburse up to $450,000 to the County of Marin for acquisition of an approximately 20-acre open space property on San Geronimo Ridge near the town of Forest Knolls, Marin County. 9/22/11 Coastal Conservancy

WAVECREST

disburse up to $2,650,000 to the Coastside Land Trust to acquire the 50-acre coastal parcel of the Wavecrest property in Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County, to design and plan the California Coastal Trail through the property, and to produce a conceptual design for extending the Coastal Trail south to Redondo Beach. 9/22/11 Coastal Conservancy

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

AND RESTORATION OF SOUTH L.A. COUNTY'S LAST LARGE WETLAND:

disburse up to $225,000 to the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority for preparation of a conceptual restoration plan for the Los Cerritos wetlands complex in the cities of Long Beach, Los Angeles County, and Seal Beach, Orange County.
(Recent purchases of the Los Cerritos wetlands parcels are labeled "LCWA" and "City of Long Beach")

More info on recent purchases is here: http://www.lbreport.com/news/may11/wetdel1.htm
and http://lcwetlands.org/board/2011_08_10/Board_Report_August_2011.pdf
------------------------------------


PLUS A BATTLE OVER L.A. BEACH ACCESSWAYS:

disburse up to $20,000 to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to manage public beach accessways in Malibu.

Public hearing, consideration, and Conservancy determination as to whether Access for All (AFA) has failed in its obligation to properly manage the Ackerberg Easement located at 22486 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California for public access to the shoreline; and, if so, possible authorization for the Conservancy to accept the Ackerberg Easement or designate another entity to accept the Ackerberg Easement. 9/22/11 Coastal Conservancy

http://scc.ca.gov/webmaster/ftp/pdf/sccbb/2011/1107/20110721Board11_Ackerberg_Public_Access_Easement.pdf
7/21/2011 Coastal Conservancy

MORE ON THE L.A BEACH ACCESSWAY ISSUE:

http://rare-earth-news.blogspot.com/2011/09/news-about-la-trails-and-mountain-parks.html

"Their distant relatives are doing OK in Mexico, so why not kill them here?"...


Right Wing Group sues so it can kill the songbird that has saved thousands of acres of land from Ventura to San Deigo County

Developer Group's Lawsuit calls for removal of federal protection of gnatcatcher habitat

By Melissa Pamer Staff WriterPosted: 09/20/2011
http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_18931507

A small songbird that makes its home in sage scrub habitat on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and elsewhere on the Southern California coast should no longer be protected by federal law, a new lawsuit argues.
The California gnatcatcher, which was named a threatened subspecies by the federal government in 1993, is the subject of litigation from the Pacific Legal Foundation, a Sacramento law group that successfully sued several years ago to remove Endangered Species Act protections for the bald eagle.
In a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in San Diego, the group seeks to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to the law firm's 2010 request to "delist" the gnatcatcher. The 4-inch bird lives only in coastal sage scrub, a type of California plant community that has been reduced by up to 90 percent by development, according to some estimates.
Pacific Legal Foundation - which files litigation in pursuit of "limited government, property rights, free enterprise, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations," according to its website - argues that the California gnatcatcher is not a separate subspecies in need of protection, and that a healthy population of its genetic relatives in Mexico ensure the bird's survival.
"If you look at the entire gnatcatcher population across the border, it's clear the population is doing fine and the entire species is not threatened with extinction," said Damien Schiff, the lead attorney on the case.
Protections for the bird - and for about 197,000 acres of its federally designated critical habitat across six Southern California counties - are an example of "unjustified, job-killing regulations," the foundation said in a news release.
The bird's listing causes environmental mitigation and permitting costs for developers and homeowners, along with limitations to building on desirable land, Schiff said.
He pointed to a 2007 federal analysis predicting the bird's status will cause an economic impact of $915 million through 2025.
On the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the gnatcatcher's federally protected status has had a wide impact, forcing developments - including the predecessor of Trump National Golf Club and the luxury homes of Oceanfront Estates - to set aside habitat and change plans to accommodate the bird, said the city's community development director, Joel Rojas.
Homeowners working in their own backyards have been affected too, he said.
"It's not uncommon for people to go out and start removing what they think is vegetation and they find out it's federally protected habitat," Rojas said.
Even the city's own public works projects have been impacted by habitat protections, Rojas said. Those concerns in part prompted Rancho Palos Verdes to create its celebrated 1,400-acre Palos Verdes Nature Preserve under a state program - Natural Community Conservation Planning, or NCCP - designed to encourage jurisdictions to create large-scale conservation plans to coordinate development and habitat protection.
The most recent gnatcatcher survey, done in 2009 before a fire burned coastal sage scrub habitat, showed about 40 "territories" for mating pairs within the city's preserve, according to Danielle LeFer, conservation director for the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, which manages the acreage. With offspring, that could mean there are about 100 California gnatcatchers in the preserve.
Increasing the bird's numbers is one of the main goals of the conservancy's ongoing habitat restoration projects.
The local gnatcatcher population appears to be relatively stable, LeFer said. The black and blue-gray songbird, which calls with a sound like a kitten's mew, is popular with bird-watchers.
"People love to see it because it's so rare still. They're secretive. They're not that easy to see and they're a little bit hard to recognize so people love it when they have a chance to see it or hear it," LeFer said.
he Pacific Legal Foundation argues that new science shows that the coastal California gnatcatcher should be considered part of one species that ranges from Ventura County into Baja California, where the bird is more widespread.
A 2000 scientific paper that looked at the gnatcatcher's genetic makeup found no basis for labeling the northernmost population a subspecies, in contrast to previous studies. The service's scientists said that study was not sufficient reason to disregard the classification, according to a review of the bird's status issued last year.
"It's clear the service has a different understanding of the science than we do," Schiff said.
Schiff and his foundation are representing a San Diego County homeowner who could not subdivide her land because of gnatcatcher protections, a group of landowners in Riverside County, and a Santa Barbara County coalition of business, agriculture and labor interests.
The scientific substance of that disagreement would be at issue in a future lawsuit if the gnatcatcher is not delisted, Schiff said; the current lawsuit seeks simply to get the Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to the foundation's request for delisting.
Jane Hendron, a spokeswoman for the service's office in Carlsbad, said her agency could not comment on specifics of the lawsuit.
She said the service has been crafting a response to the foundation's April 2010 request to have the gnatcatcher delisted but was overwhelmed with other lawsuits.
"We are working on responding to that petition, but what we're up against is that we still have to address high-priority court-ordered items," Hendron said. "Our ability to set our own priorities has largely been taken over by litigation-driven actions."
The agency's overdue response to the legal group's petition - required within 90 days - is what prompted the new lawsuit.
Hendron could not give a date when the response would be issued.

Their water is 230 miles away...

12,000 Homes Planned for Bay have no Water, actually



MORE ON THIS STORY:

Water agency leaders oppose deal for proposed Cargill Redwood City development

8/24/2011

An Arizona company's plan to build the largest housing development on the shores of San Francisco Bay since the birth of Foster City more than 50 years ago is hitting a potentially significant new hurdle: lack of water.
DMB Associates of Scottsdale, Ariz., has proposed to build 12,000 homes in Redwood City east of Highway 101 on vacant lands once used by Cargill Salt.
On Tuesday, however, leaders at two prominent Silicon Valley water districts said they are opposed to helping the project acquire water through a complex transfer involving farming interests near Bakersfield.
"I'm not going to support something like that," said Don Gage, chairman of the Santa Clara Valley Water District's board. "It entangles you in a situation where you don't want to be. It doesn't do any good for the water district to be put in that position."
Similarly, Walt Wadlow, general manager of the Alameda County Water District, said his agency isn't interested in partnering with DMB to shift the Bakersfield water through its system to Redwood City.
"Alameda County Water District is not participating and has no intention of participating in providing a water supply for the DMB-Cargill Project," Wadlow said. "Numerous environmental issues have been raised with regard to this project and we have no interest in contributing to the ongoing controversy."
Environmentalists called the news a major setback. They have raised concerns about traffic, sea level
rise, and other issues, and say they want the whole property converted back to wetlands for fish and wildlife.
"This is very significant," said David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay. "I don't know which of the problems will be a fatal hit, but the project should have been dead on arrival when it was first proposed. This is just one of the reasons."
On Tuesday, David Smith, a vice president of DMB, said the news that leaders of the two agencies were rejecting the plan doesn't mean the transfer is dead or the project is in jeopardy because DMB has not made a formal proposal to either one yet.
"No request has been made," he said. "We would hope that when a request is made to any agency or any individual who has a say in it that they would receive the totality of the proposal and consider it on its merits."
Smith said DMB is studying desalination, use of recycled water and tapping groundwater around Redwood City, along with the transfer idea. The project's exact water plan won't come out until next year, he said, when the environmental impact report is under way.
The water dilemma is simple.
The Redwood City site is roughly 1,400 acres of mostly salt-encrusted lands that Cargill used for decades as crystallizer beds for making salt for roads, food and medicine. Sitting adjacent to the bay, the property does not have sufficient water for a new community of 25,000 people, and state law requires developers of more than 500 housing units to identify a water source before starting construction.
When it first proposed the project, DMB said it would try to use groundwater from the site. But in 2009, the company purchased 8,400 acre feet of water a year from Nickel Family LLC, a Bakersfield farming operation. DMB bought the rights to that water -- 2.7 billion gallons a year -- for 70 years.
The trouble is, there's no way to move the water 230 miles north from Bakersfield to Redwood City.
To do that would involve a complex transfer that in all probability only two water agencies in the Bay Area could broker: the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Alameda County Water District.
Under the most likely scenario, DMB would pay one of the districts. That district would then take water from the delta that would have otherwise gone to the Bakersfield farming family, moving it through the State Water Project and Bay Area pipelines and aqueducts to Silicon Valley.
To finally get the water to Redwood City would involve another deal using the Hetch Hetchy water system, which serves Redwood City, San Francisco, the Peninsula and parts of the East Bay. In short, the Alameda County Water District would keep the delta water and allow some of its water from the Hetch Hetchy system to go to Redwood City. The Santa Clara Valley Water District also could have one of its customers, like the cities of Palo Alto, Sunnyvale or Mountain View, that receives Hetch Hetchy water give up some of that water to Redwood City, on the condition it would be replenished by the Santa Clara Valley Water District.
But if the Santa Clara Valley Water District and Alameda County Water District don't participate, that sharply limits, if not kills, the transfer plan. That's because both control vast networks of pipes needed to move water around the South Bay and both are contractors of the State Water Project, which allows them to buy water from the delta.
"We're looking at every possibility out there," Smith said. "We are turning over every stone and exploring every avenue."

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

Saturday, Aug 27 2011 11:01 PM

OUR VIEW: Irony abounds in sale of Kern water

Local water wheelers may not have a problem selling off billions of gallons of Kern County water to accommodate thousands of new homes near San Francisco, but thankfully their counterparts up north do.
This week, leaders of the Santa Clara Valley and Alameda County water districts said they had no interest in helping the developer of a huge, controversial Redwood City project, DMBAssociates of Arizona, acquire water for 12,000 new homes from Bakersfield-based Nickel Family LLC. The water districts' opposition casts fresh doubt on the viability of the project and the prospect of the water transfer, since their cooperation is integral to the deal.
California law requires developments with more than 500 homes to secure water supplies before proceeding with construction. The Nickel Family has agreed to sell the needed water to DMB, but the arrangement would involve a complicated system of water transfers that would likely require either the Alameda or Santa Clara water district to act as a middle&discHyphen;man in the deal.
By urbanizing an area that is probably best suited to wetlands, the project would create new congestion issues for the 11th-largest metropolitan area in the nation. Potential sea-level rise is another concern, given the low elevation of the proposed mega-development.
The arrangement raises a different set of concerns on this end: Namely, the implications of transferring water that has traditionally been the lifeblood of Central Valley farms -- and Central Valley economics -- to new, distant homes, especially on the heels of a drought that brought the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to its knees.
The irony of transferring 2.7 billion gallons of Kern County water per year for 70 years to Northern California, even as the state wrestles with the funding and logistics of a water conveyance system to benefit the parched south, is hard to miss.
The sale is perfectly legal, based on our arcane system of water rights. Its logic, from a broader perspective, is another matter entirely.