The Power of
A transmission-line project in southwestern Riverside County shines a light on how the MSHCP works.
Southern California Edison is building 25 miles of new 115-kilovolt lines and fiber-optic telecommunication
lines between the giant utility's substation in Menifee and Ivyglen Substation in unincorporated Riverside County.
Southern California Edison also is upgrading a substation in Lake Elsinore.
Monitoring All Creatures
Great and Small
By land, by water, and by air, biologists monitor the 146 species of animals, birds, and plants protected by the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation
Plan (MSHCP). In the past year, for example, they've looked for burrowing owl burrows and golden eagle nests, and listened to songbirds in coastal
At one time, tens of thousands of tricolored blackbirds with their signature red and white shoulder patches sang a noisy chorus when they gathered
in colonies for springtime mating from March through June. But over the years that song has increasingly declined, along with native grasslands
and wetlands. Agricultural activities such as crop harvests also have destroyed thousands of bird nests at a time. Once described as the most
abundant bird species in Southern California, the tricolored blackbird is now found in only a few locations, including western Riverside County.
Bautista Property Acquisition Marks Important Steps for Conservation
RCA recently acquired a property of particular importance. The land, located south of Bautista Road
in unincorporated Riverside County, will not only bring RCA closer to its habitat acquisition goal of
500,000 acres, but also bolster its conservation efforts.
The Wildlife Conservation Board, a valued RCA partner, played a major role in securing funding.
The $3.8 million purchase price was divided between federal Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund
(CESCF) grant funds, a contribution from the State of California, and a portion of RCA's acquisition budget.
Both the State of California and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service share RCA's interest in protecting land
designated for conservation under the Multi Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP), and the award of
this grant is proof of the impact of successful interagency coordination.
GRANT FUNDING - SECTION 6
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) awards grant funding to voluntary conservation projects
through Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Cooperative Endangered Species
Conservation Fund (CESCF). States in which grants are awarded are required to contribute a
minimum 25 percent match of those funds. The money facilitates the purchase of land for
conservation and demonstrates cooperation between multiple entities with a mutual dedication
to preserving America’s species and habitats for generations to come.
FWS monies are allocated among four grant programs. Of the $48.7 million in Section 6 funding
awarded by the FWS in FY 2015, almost half—$20.3 million—was dedicated to Land Acquisition Grants
category used by the RCA. The remainder was split among conservation grants ($11.5 million),
habitat conservation planning assistance grants ($4.7 million), and recovery land acquisition grants ($12.2 million).
Healing the Lands
For years, off-highway vehicles zipped through the hills near Jackrabbit Trail at Gilman Springs Road. That activity may have provided temporary fun,
but it left lasting scars on what is now land set aside for some of the 146 animals, birds, and plants protected by the Multiple Species Habitat
Conservation Plan. The legacy of off-roading was compacted, barren, and eroded lands - habitat that needed help to sustain the plants, birds,
and animals that the land was set aside to support. Grant funds from the State Department of Parks and Recreation Off-Highway Division came to
the rescue and provided the means for restoring the wildlands.
Who is RCA?
The Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority (RCA) was created in 2004 to implement one of America's most ambitious environmental efforts,
the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP), protecting 146 native species of plants and animals and preserving
a half million acres of their habitat. This effort to set aside habitat and protect species allows the development and transportation infrastructure
necessary for a healthy economy to move ahead without sacrificing our region's environment and quality of life.