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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Conservancy Supports Wildlife Xing over 101 FWY
Last night in the Agoura High School Auditorium, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy board of directors met to approve their support of a wildlife corridor over and under the 101 Freeway at Liberty Canyon. 

The SMMC board listened to a presentation by State Senator Fran Pavley. Pleas for the salvation of mountain lions and other wildlife, including several speeches from local grade school children, helped convince the board that they should pass a resolution authorizing a grant to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority for project planning and design related to the development of a Caltrans Project Study Report and subsequent environmental review for wildlife crossing structures at the 101 freeway at Liberty Canyon, incorporated and unincorporated Agoura Hills area.

Unless people in cars slow down and share the road, this bridge, and/or tunnel cannot be constructed soon enough.
From the Mountain Lion Foundation website:

The Liberty Canyon Corridor: Just a Start

After crossing the 101 Freeway, animals from the Santa Monica Mountains must still traverse a second freeway, State Highway 118, as well as a broad major roadway, State Highway 126, if they are to complete the 26-30 mile trip to Los Padres National Forest.

The National Park Service biologists, following radio-collared mountain lions, have expanded their wildlife connectivity studies and efforts northward to include those roadways, and routes through the Simi Hills and the Santa Susana Mountains. The scientists are assisted by university students, volunteers of all ages and the biologists at Caltrans.

If the story of this one park, this one linkage, sounds difficult and expensive, it's true. Re-connecting the wild is an enormous job. But there is growing agreement in scientific and conservation communities that wildlife corridors are our best hope for saving mountain lions and maintaining the ecological balance in our wild lands.

With a functioning linkage north out of the Santa Monica Mountains, perhaps the next young male mountain lion, instead of blundering into Santa Monica to his death, might safely find his way north to a new wild home.


At last nights meeting, many residents of Agoura Hills asked the SMMC board to consider that the Chesebro Meadow adjacent to the Liberty Canyon corridor site, is an important link to the wildlife corridor.  The fact that the  Agoura Hills City Council is selling the Chesebro Meadow to a housing developer was a shock to many locals who have fought to keep this land as open space. commends the Conservancy for their acknowledgement that the wildlife crossing is critically needed.  Real estate developers have eyed the open space north and south of the 101 FWY at Liberty Canyon.  The irony is that the abundance of open space and the presence of nature which make the area desireable, will be decimated by the trend towards continued development.

Posted at 3:10:38 AM
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