Conservation Update, 2011 Mar | Weed Management Areas, Walker Ridge, Measure M Projects

There will be deep budgetary cuts in many programs in Sacramento this year. It’s important to let decision-makers know that it’s a good investment to maintain strategic invasive plant control through the Weed Management Area program.
A Weed Management Areas (WMA) is a local organization that brings together the landowners and managers (private, city, county, State, and Federal) of a geographical area to coordinate efforts and expertise against common invasive and noxious weed species. The WMA functions under the authority of a mutually developed memorandum of understanding (MOU). The
WMA develops a Strategic Plan that helps prioritize eradication, control, and containment projects, as well as other WMA activities. The Strategic plan also identifies what specifically each WMA partners contributes toward the overall cooperative nature of the WMA.
OCCNPS is a member of the Santa Ana River and Orange County WMA (SAROCWMA), which encompasses most of the 3000-square-mile Santa Ana River watershed (western Riverside County and the northerly half of Orange County) and the balance of Orange County that’s not in the watershed. Our Invasive Plants Chair Bill Neill (a licensed herbicide applicator) has received grants through SAROCWMA that have supported his work to remove artichoke thistle, arundo, fountain grass, milk thistle, pampas grass, and other stubborn invasives from OC’s Wilderness Parks and other reserve lands. His consistent and timely work has resulted in a noticeable lessening of invasive-plant populations in the treated areas, but that gain could easily be lost if the work can no longer be funded.
ACTION NOW:  See for a sample letter with instructions that should be faxed to three key decision-makers by March 15. In addition fax your letter to the three OC Assembly members (staunch budget-cutters, all)
on the Assembly Budget Committee:
Allan R. Mansoor, 68th Dist (Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Stanton, Westminster), 916-319-2168
Donald P. Wagner (Aliso Viejo, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Newport Beach, Tustin, 70th Dist, 916-319-2170
Diane Harkey, 73rd Dist (Aliso Viejo, Dana Point , Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Oceanside, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano), 916-319-2173

If you live in one of these districts, it’s especially important to tell your Assembly member to preserve WMA funding.
(Curiously, none of OC’s four State Senators are on the Senate’s Budget Committee–??)
OCCNPS has faxed a letter to the above Assembly members as well as the key decision makers, and State CNPS has faxed to the decision makers. Your letter will help increase the impact of all letters.
Greg Suba, State CNPS Conservation Program Director, is asking all CNPS chapters and members to write letters of support for CNPS’ petition to BLM to protect all of Walker Ridge, an important botanical area in Northern California. See background at:
ACTION NOW: Email for the sample letter, if it’s not up at the above address, and write a letter by March 31.
Measure M restoration projects PICKED
Out of a highly competitive field, OCTA has chosen six restoration projects for funding from Measure M, the halfcent transportation sales tax approved by OC voters in 2006. (Measure M designates up to $240 million overall for habitat mitigation for freeway projects.)
•    Coastal sage scrub and riparian woodland in Big Bend area, Laguna Canyon.
•    Native grassland, coastal sage scrub, oaks, and riparian habitat near the confluence of Trabuco and Oso Creeks, San Juan Capistrano.
•    Wetlands and riparian habitat in Fairview Park, Costa Mesa.
•    Sycamore and willow riparian habitat near the Santa Ana River, Anaheim.
•    Mixed uplands, focusing on coastal sage scrub, in Agua Chinon and Bee Canyons, Irvine Ranch Conservancy.
•    Cactus scrub at the UC Irvine Ecological Reserve.
It is really good to see that the promise of Measure M is being fulfilled!
Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair

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