Why the Bolsa Chica Land Trust cares about Saving Banning Ranch

Photo: Jane Lazarz
Photo: Jane Lazarz Burrowing Owls need Banning Ranch to stay Open Space

Under announcements on our homepage is a CALL TO ACTION to attend the Coastal Commission Hearing on Wed. Sept. 7th (1 week away) to SAVE Banning Ranch from development.

But a lot of people ask WHY should people who care about Bolsa Chica care about Banning Ranch?  Why should we crowd the Newport Beach City Council Chambers on Wed. Sept. 7th?  The reason why we should care is because many of the reasons to save Banning Ranch are the same reasons we save and love Bolsa Chica.

From page 33 in the most recent Coastal Commission Staff Report [emphasize in bold added by us]:

The habitat characteristics as described in the EIR are summarized here: The site contains 45 vegetation types, including 20 types of coastal sage scrub; 9 types of pools, marshes and mudflats; 8 riparian types; and 8 grassland areas. In general, coastal sage scrub is located along the eastern and southern portions of the project site on the Mesa. The marshes and mudflats occur within the Lowland and are subject to tidal influence. Seasonal features and vernal pools are located in the Upland adjacent to grasslands. Riparian resources are found in portions of the Lowland and Upland. Grassland and disturbed vegetation are found throughout the project site. The project site also supports several special status plants and wildlife species. The federally listed threatened coastal California gnatcatcher and the coastal cactus wren and the San Diego fairy shrimp are present on the project site.

The Lowland (Wetlands) supports wetland habitats, including areas of salt marsh that support the State-listed Endangered Belding’s savannah sparrow; they also support willow scrub and willow riparian forest that support the State and federally listed Endangered least Bell’s vireo and a variety of special status nesting raptors including the white-tailed kite. Additionally, the Lowland supports special status plants, including substantial populations of southern tarplant. Riparian and wetland habitat on the site includes willow riparian forest, willow scrub, alkali meadow, mudflats, freshwater marsh, and salt marsh.

The Mesa of Newport Banning Ranch, therefore must also be viewed in the larger context of its role in the integrated upland and wetland ecosystem. Similar to the Bolsa Chica wetlands and mesa near Huntington Beach, the Mesas and the lowland wetlands are biologically interdependent according to both the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Together, the wetlands in the lowlands and the mesa with the riparian arroyos and vernal pool complexes, combine to make this area an important upland-wetland ecosystem. These biological interdependencies are vital to maintaining biological productivity and diversity. Both the 9/2015 memorandum by Dr. Engel and the 8/2016 Memo. by Drs. Dixon and Engel describe in detail the different habitats present on the site…

Full Report HERE

So please, take action TODAY.

Please email the Coastal Commission today to deny ALL development and uphold the Coastal Act
Email BanningRanchComments@coastal.ca.gov and include ‘Agenda Item 5-15-2097’ in your subject line.  Click here for a sample letter.

In addition, please attend the hearing Wed. Sept. 7th, if you can.
Location: Newport Beach City Council Chambers, 100 Civic Center Drive, Newport Beach, 92660
When: The hearing starts at 9am

More information can be found at www.banningranchconservancy.org


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