Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 30, 2019

Contact: J.P. Rose, (408) 497-7675, jrose@biologicaldiversity.org

Ventura County Urged to Adopt Ordinance Protecting Wildlife Connectivity

Measure Would Help Curb Roadkill, Safeguard Local Mountain Lions

VENTURA, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity submitted comments today supporting Ventura County’s draft wildlife connectivity ordinance, which the county planning commission is considering recommending for approval at a hearing on Thursday.

The ordinance heightens protections for areas designated as important wildlife corridors and requires environmental review for developments that might degrade those areas. Wildlife corridors help mountain lions, California red-legged frogs and other animals maintain crucial genetic diversity and avoid being killed by cars.

“The ordinance would establish Ventura County as a leader in protecting wildlife connectivity and preventing roadkill,” said J.P. Rose, a staff attorney at the Center. “The county is home to an amazing array of wild animals threatened by cars and sprawl. This measure will give mountain lions and other wildlife a better chance of surviving as climate change and development pressure intensify.”

Mountain lions are struggling as roads and development restrict their ability to roam over the large home ranges they need to thrive and maintain genetic diversity.

Government officials estimate that more than 100 mountain lions are killed every year on California roads, and a recent UC Davis study found that mountain lion deaths due to vehicle collisions have been increasing since 2015. Mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains also suffer from the lowest genetic diversity of any population in the West.

“Mountain lions are very sensitive to human development and associated light and noise,” said Rose. “The ordinance will give these iconic predators more room to move through their ranges by limiting development and outdoor lighting in corridor areas.”

Mountain lions also help maintain biodiversity and control deer populations, which in turn reduces dangerous collisions between automobiles and deer. Adopting an ordinance that protects and enhances existing, natural corridors would improve their chances of survival and facilitate greater biodiversity and healthy ecosystems

While the draft ordinance is a major step forward in protecting wildlife connectivity, the Center’s comments also contain recommendations to improve the draft ordinance, including eliminating exemptions for lighting by oil and gas exploration and expanding the areas protected by the ordinance, before it is considered by the county board of supervisors.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

www.biologicaldiversity.org

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