Conservation Update, 2013 Sep | Saddle Crest, Chino-Puente Hills, Coastal Cleanup Day


On August 5, 2013, Orange County Superior Court Judge Steven L. Perk issued the Writ of Mandate for the lawsuit brought by Saddleback Canyons Conservancy et al (including CNPS) against the OC Board of Supervisors’ approval of the Saddle Crest Homes development. The Writ states Judge Perk’s determination that Respondent (Orange County) violated CEQA when it approved amendments to the Orange County General Plan and the Foothill-­‐Trabuco Specific Plan and certified the EIR for the Saddle Crest Homes Area Plan. Under the Writ, Respondent is commanded to “not reapprove the same or similar Project before preparing a revised EIR section that complies with CEQA and ensuring that the Project complies with applicable State Planning and Zoning Law.”

See OCCNPS’ Nov-­‐Dec 2012 and Jan-­‐Feb 2013 Newsletters, and references therein, for background on OCCNPS/CNPS involvement in this lawsuit and its preceding actions.

1.     If you live in the 3rd Supervisorial District
( for maps and contact info), please write a brief letter to your Supervisor, Todd Spitzer; it needs to say no more than something like: “As a resident of your district, I request that you heed Judge Perk’s decision and the reasoning behind it. Please do NOT appeal this decision. Instead, please take this decision to heart and, in the future, require that proposed development plans and other actions fully comply with CEQA before approving them.” If you live in another District, please write something similar to your Supervisor (District maps and email addresses are at
2.     Donate to help cover the lawsuit’s final costs, and/or to help build a fund to counter the expected appeal, to


Three new developments have been proposed for private lands near Chino Hills State Park. Their completion would further weaken the integrity of the Puente-­‐Chino Hills Wildlife Corridor. These lands should, instead, become part of the Corridor’s protected open space. Hills for Everyone ( continues to work to bring that about, participating at every step of the environmental review process.

1.     Especially if you live in northern OC, contact Hills for Everyone to learn when and where to speak up for preservation.
2.     Donate to help preserve the Corridor at


Cleanup projects are planned for 47 sites along OC’s coast and in its watersheds. Find one to join in your area at  One of the cleanup sites is Narco Channel, a restored stream bank in Laguna Niguel Regional Park, 28241 La Paz Road, Laguna Niguel. The site has been a joint project of the County and the City of Laguna Niguel: non-natives and a large area of turf were removed, the stream bank was terraced, and native vegetation was planted. The project’s 5-year monitoring period was completed last year; now the site needs some general clean-up and weeding-­out of non-natives.

—Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair

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