This week, The Indy and Stu News Laguna included news about the corridor in their community news sections. Local publications like this are vital to the success of the important work that gets done around town. We are thankful for all the local support from our community publications and other partners in the area.
Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., is partnering with UC Irvine and students from the UCLA Environmental Science Practicum program to advance the completion and effectiveness of the Coast to Cleveland Wildlife Corridor. When completed, the 6-mile corridor, an ongoing project located in the city of Irvine, will connect 22,000 acres of wild lands in parks along the Laguna Coast to more than 150,000 acres of similar habitats in the foothills and Santa Ana mountains. This is a vital linkage needed for the health of wildlife in the region, which rely on movement between ecosystems to find resources and genetically distinct mates.
On January 15, 2016, Laguna Greenbelt will host a workshop for a graduate student from UCI and a team of six undergraduate students from The UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Sarah Geldmacher, a student in the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program at UCI, will study the project and make recommendations for the best long-term management strategies for the corridor. Along with Ms. Geldmacher, the six UCLA environmental science students will join the workshop to jumpstart their undergraduate client project. They will potentially examine any barriers to animals moving around the area coastward of the I-5 and will research how the existing corridor segment can be altered to maximize movement of animals away from urban areas and into the coastal and mountain wild lands.
UC Irvine and UCLA have long partnered with local businesses and nonprofit organizations in a variety of fields, from scientific field studies and technology to social work, urban planning, and medicine. Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., is hopeful that collaboration with local students and academic professionals will be a win-win for the participants and the community in Orange County.
The Coast to Cleveland Wildlife Corridor, located in Irvine, California, is a work in progress
envisioned by Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., and supported by a coalition of partners. When completed, it will be unique among corridors in the United States. It will cross lands owned and managed by different entities, and will connect wildlife habitats along the coast to similar habitats in the mountains. Animals use corridors to move between ecosystems in search of resources, places to raise their young, genetically distinct mates, and to escape natural disasters.
Wildlife like native bobcats and cactus wrens will pass through a variety of landscapes as they wind their way over six miles of a huge shopping center, under major freeways, and over green spaces in the foothills approaching the Santa Ana Mountains.
In November, the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot published our commentary on the Coast to Cleveland Wildlife Corridor. This corridor, like all wildlife corridors, will be used by plants and animals to move between two larger habitats. Our bobcats, rabbits, cactus wrens, and even plants depend on the ability to move from place to place safely.
Part of the Laguna Greenbelt mission is educating the public about the open space and why the health of our parks and open spaces is at risk.
The following appeared in Stu News Laguna on March 21, 2014, under a different title:
Progress for the Coast to Cleveland Wildlife Corridor
The effort to complete a regional wildlife corridor reconnecting the Laguna Greenbelt to the Santa Ana Mountains took a big step forward in November. That’s when the Irvine City Council adopted a ‘Consensus Plan’ for the Great Park segments of the corridor. The plan was the result of a year of negotiations between an environmental coalition led by Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., and Five Point Communities; with input from a panel of wildlife movement experts. The consensus plan was also endorsed by both Federal and State wildlife agencies.
The critical wildlife corridor will reconnect the isolated local coastal wildlands with the much larger habitat areas in the Cleveland National Forest. For the first time, the wildlife corridor has an adopted plan, a funding source and a schedule for completion of the three central, most difficult, and most expensive segments. Unlike other segments, the Great Park segments have to be constructed from other land uses on the closed El Toro MCAS base.
Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., is pleased with the outcome of the negotiations, and will continue working with FivePoint Communities and the City of Irvine on a number of important associated issues before actual construction begins in a few years.