The State Budget includes funding for two important projects in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The California legislature has approved a $7 million allocation for the wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon, and $8 for the acquisition of Triangle Ranch, key habitat and open space located not far from the proposed wildlife overpass.
“This is monumental,” writes National Wildlife Federation Director Beth Pratt, one of the driving forces behind the #SaveLACougars campaign. “Our thanks to Governor Gavin Newsom, Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Assemblymember Richard Bloom, and Senator Henry Stern for recognizing the importance of this critical wildlife crossing that will help save mountain lions and preserve biodiversity in the Santa Monica Mountains. Please send them your gratitude.”
Pratt said the infusion of $7 million leaves helps the overpass project take a major step forward, but she estimates that there is still $27-$34 million left to raise for construction costs on the project that is scheduled to break ground this fall.
Triangle Ranch in Agoura Hills, which has been at the top of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy’s highest acquisition priority list for a long time, is also one step closer to becoming public parkland. The 320-acre property spreads in a triangular shape down the slope of Ladyface Mountain to Triunfo Creek. The entire property is listed as a Significant Ecological Area, or SEA. It includes rare plant habitat on the slope of the long-extinct Ladyface volcano and equally rare creek habitat on the other side of Kanan Dume Road. According to state records, Triangle Ranch is home to one of the most genetically diverse populations of the federally protected Pentachaeta lyonii, a tiny yellow flower that is increasingly rare.
The property also provides essential habitat connection between the Liberty Canyon wildlife corridor and the Ladyface Mountain core habitat areas. Senator Henry Stern and Assemblymember Richard Bloom championed the appropriation.