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Press Release
The Press-Enterprise, May 12, 2010

Lawsuit filed to protect k-rat habitat
By David Danelski

Three environmental groups on Wednesday sued Riverside County for approving a warehouse development near Moreno Valley on land the groups say is needed to connect two important habitat areas for the endangered Stephens' kangaroo rat.

Alessandro Commerce Centre is planned on 54 acres between the 1,600-acre Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park and the 1,100-acre March Stephens' Kangaroo Rat Preserve. The groups are the Center for Biological Diversity , San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society and Friends of Riverside's Hills.

Officials representing the county and the cities of Riverside, Moreno Valley and Perris had planned to allow development of the March preserve, contending that replacement habitat had been acquired near Beaumont in 2003. But in a recent court settlement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife agreed to keep the March habitat protected until stringent environmental reviews find it isn't need for the rat's survival and recovery.

The groups also have sued over a warehouse proposal near Sycamore Canyon, in the city of Riverside.

© 2010 Press-Enterprise Company

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton