Conservation Update, 2011 Jul | M2 Land Acquisitions, FHBP Resource Directory

Measure M2 Land Acquisitions To Date:  
The first four properties have been acquired, from willing sellers, by the Orange County Transportation Authority with funds from Measure M2, which was approved by the voters in 2006. These properties all have outstanding natural values and will be preserved in perpetuity as open space. The properties are:
• Ferber Ranch, 399 acres, next to Hickey Canyon, off of Trabuco Canyon Rd.
• Hayashi property, 296 acres, off Carbon Canyon Rd, on northern border of Chino Hills State Park.
• O’Neill Oaks property, 119 acres, across Live Oak Canyon Rd. from O’Neil Regional Park.
• Saddle Creek South property, 84 acres, on the south side of Live Oak Canyon Rd.

Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, heading a coalition of OC enviro groups (including OCCNPS), negotiated language into Measure M2 to include funding to mitigate habitat impacts from freeway expansion projects. The mitigation money is to be used on a comprehensive basis, rather than piecemeal and project-by-project, to do landscape-level acquisitions and restoration of important natural lands.

In addition to the above acquisitions, restoration projects for five parcels of already-preserved lands are now moving ahead; the work will begin when seasonally appropriate. The parcels were listed in our March-April Newsletter.

See for details on the Measure M2 mitigation program, on the properties that have been acquired and are being restored, and what is yet to come.

It’s great that the promise of Measure M2 is being fulfilled! The wildlife corridors and habitats being preserved in perpetuity and the restoration of habitats are all vital to the health of OC’s natural heritage. But even more important, this unprecedented partnership of enviro groups and the transportation agencies demonstrates how to do pro-active cooperation in mutually beneficial ways toward perhaps-disparate goals. It sets an example for enviro groups and agencies everywhere.

The General Plan Resource Directory: Creating Sustainable Communities in Orange County has recently been published by FHBP. A copy can soon be ordered from It is the result of an FHBP/OC Green Vision project to review the General Plans (GPs) of the County of Orange and a OC cities, to discover which have innovative policies for GP elements. The volume includes a CD of strong, innovative GPs from cities and counties elsewhere in California.

Among the required GP elements, the Land Use and Open Space Policies have a direct bearing on how much, or if, natural open space/vegetation/habitat can be preserved. But successfully applying those two policies depends on the Community Design, Jobs and Housing, Sustainability, Transportation and Water Quality Policies, at least. Thus it is important that OCCNPS members look into our communities’ and OC’s GPs. ACTION  NOW:  Get a copy of The General Plan Resource Directory. Compare with your community’s GP. Does the GP have strong policies that promote land uses that preserve natural open space?

– Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair

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