|San Bernadino kangaroo rat|
The situation is relatively better in Riverside County, where a comprehensive “multiple species” plan was adopted in 2003 that sets conservation goals for the species and provides a framework for management actions. This plan is a “Habitat Conservation Plan” under the federal Endangered Species Act and a “Natural Community Conservation Plan” under State law. While some limited, additional “take” of SBKR is anticipated, there is nevertheless a positive framework to work within. For example, when a water district that was not a participant in the plan proposed significant take of SBKR along the San Jacinto River to facilitate groundwater recharge, integration of conservation actions into the larger framework provided a basis for problem solving. Extensive land protection plus an innovative translocation program into suitable but unoccupied habitat will both be implemented.
But in neighboring San Bernardino County, which has no comprehensive habitat plan, Endangered Habitats League and other groups have been forced to litigate on a project-by-project basis. We are now fighting a disastrous housing development––sited in a floodplain––that could lead to the loss of one of the three remaining populations, that of Lytle and Cajon Creeks. In the case of this project, we believe that a substantial redesign of the project that protects the SBKR is feasible, but the responsible federal and state agencies will need to take an analysis of alternatives very seriously. Encouraging though, is that a new visioning process undertaken by the County of San Bernardino identified a multiple species plan as a goal. This would help the SBKR and the many other endangered species in the region. If you would like to support Endangered Habitats League’s efforts, please go to