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For Immediate Release, February 14, 2013

Contact:  Adam Keats, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 436-9682 x 304
Sandy Steers, Friends of Fawnskin, (951) 217-9206
Drew Feldmann, San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society, (909) 881-6081
Ed Wallace, Sierra Club, (909) 584-9407

Historic Agreement Protects Endangered Plants as Part of Proposed Big Bear Housing Subdivision

BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif.— The developer of a proposed housing subdivision in Big Bear Lake has agreed to numerous conditions, proposed by community and environmental organizations, that will protect endangered plants while still allowing houses to be built. The agreement between the developer Talmadge Partners LP, the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of Fawnskin, San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society and the Sierra Club was finalized this week, following nearly 18 months of discussions and several years of community debate over the future of the project site.

“This settlement is a strong declaration that there can be common ground between developers and environmentalists and that if we come together, we can protect what makes Big Bear Lake so special,” said Ed Wallace of the Sierra Club’s Big Bear chapter.

As a result of the agreement, the proposed project, near Talmadge Road in Big Bear Lake, has been reduced in size from its original proposal (from 26 lots to 23) in order to permanently preserve several acres of unique “pebble plains” plant habitat. The agreement also provides for a buffer between the project and adjacent national forest land; limitations on the project’s light pollution; and the protection of important water flows through the project site. Species that will be helped by the agreement include the Southern Mountain buckwheat (Eriogonum kennedyi var. austromontanum), ashy gray paintbrush (Castilleja cinerea), San Bernardino butterweed (Senecio bernardinus) and cottony clay flower (Pyrrocoma uniflora gossypina).

“These pebble plain plant species are found nowhere else on the planet,” said Drew Feldmann of the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society. “They are so rare, even here, that we absolutely cannot afford to lose a single acre of their habitat.”

“We’re trying to educate people about the huge cost to our community and our economy when key elements of our natural environment get destroyed without consideration,” said Sandy Steers of Friends of Fawnskin. “This time, the plants and the habitat have been part of the conversation and we’re all better off for it.”

“We’ve been working for years to protect the Big Bear Lake area from poorly planned growth, and unfortunately more often than not we’ve been forced to take our concerns to the courts,” said Adam Keats of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This settlement suggests that there’s a different way of doing things now in Big Bear Lake, and we’re proud to be part of it.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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