FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Carlsbad Nine conservation and community organizations and the University of California sent a letter today to 7 North County incorporated cities and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requesting that a number of development projects be held in abeyance pending completion of the cities' long-awaited Multiple Habitat Conservation Program.
The Multiple Habitat Conservation Program ("MHCP") has been under preparation for 10 years, yet the cities have permitted many large scale developments in the heart of the most important open space and endangered species habitat the Villages of La Costa, San Elijo Hills, University Commons and Rancho San Pasqual among others. At least 35 additional developments are now being considered for approval by the cities inside the "biologically preferred" ecosystem preserve proposed in recent MHCP documents.
"This is a crisis in conservation planning," said David Hogan, Urban Wildlands Program Coordinator for the Center for Biological Diversity. "It's development business as usual behind the facade of balanced conservation planning."
"In order to create a viable preserve, all of the North County cities have to work together something they aren't used to doing," added Diane Nygaard, President of
The Multiple Habitats Conservation Program will address all open space conservation, and provide permits to participating cities to "take" endangered species in exchange for establishment of an ecosystem preserve. The MHCP study area encompasses roughly 175 square miles including the cities of Carlsbad, Encinitas, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, Solana Beach and Vista. The cities are seeking take permits for 67 endangered and sensitive species. Less than 27% of the MHCP study area is undeveloped natural open space.
Groups sending the letter include the University of California San Diego Natural Reserve System, California Native Plant Society, Center for Biological Diversity, Elfin Forest / Harmony Grove Town Council, Friends of Daley Ranch, Friends of Hedionda Creek, National Wildlife Federation, Preserve Calavera, San Diego Audubon Society, and Sierra Club.