Los Angeles is a unique city in many ways, but one of its most prominent attributes is the Santa Monica Mountain Range, which runs from East LA's hilltops through Griffith Park to the Pacific Ocean.
Though Angelenos live in a hyper-developed region, nature is never far away. The Santa Monica's are home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Its countless chaparral-studded canyons, brush-filled hillsides and 63,000 acres of parks, lakes, trails, nature areas and gardens are home to many wild creatures, including bobcats, mountain lions, hawks, coyotes, deer, raccoons and opossums.
For thousands of years, wildlife have been traveling the Santa Monica Mountains in well-established migratory patterns to hunt and breed. Unfortunately, ever-increasing population and building density in the hillsides are threatening entire species and endangering their viability. As wildlife habitats are blocked, reduced and fragmented, animals such as Griffith Park's mountain lion P22 are being forced down into the urban zones to find food and encountering humans.
Blocking access to migratory and breeding territory through development creates habitat fragmentation, which in turn means that wildlife becomes isolated. We know now that Isolating wildlife populations creates inbreeding and reduced genetic diversity, which in turn leads to the decimation of that species and a decrease in biodiversity throughout a region.
Negative effects to just one species of wildlife can have a system-wide adverse effect. Protecting, maintaining and creating wildlife corridors to connect large blocks of open space is imperative if we want to protect our abundance, indigenous wildlife population. The time for a wildlife habitat linkage ordinance is now.
L.A.'s remaining natural lands are a public resource that must be protected for the good of animals and humans alike. Act now.
What is a Wildlife Corridor?
A wildlife corridor, habitat corridor, or green corridor is an area of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities such as roads, fences or structures.
A wildlife corridor is a stretch of land (and/or water) across which animals travel to feed, seek refuge and migrate between seasons.
A wildlife corridor allows an exchange of individuals between isolated populations, which helps prevent the negative effects of inbreeding and reduced genetic diversity.
A wildlife corridor helps re-establish animal populations that have been reduced or eliminated due to random events such as fire, disease or overbuilding.
A wildlife corridor moderates some of the worst effects of habitat fragmentation.
A wildlife corridor is one of the only ways to maintain natural food chains.
Without a wildlife corridor, animals can’t get to the food, shelter and mates they need to survive.
Let's Protect Our Mountain Range and its Eco-System
Tell the Los Angeles Planning Committee That You Support Wildlife Corridors and Habitat Protection
CLAW, Councilmember Paul Koretz and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy have now partnered to protect wildlife corridors throughout our hillsides.
As a result of this partnership, Councilman Koretz introduced an unprecedented motion that was eagerly seconded by four Councilmembers who have hillside constituents. Council File 14-0518 moves to require the city planning department and department of building and safety to consider wildlife corridors in any new building plans in the hillsides and provide scientific guidance to keep wildlife habitat linkages and corridors open. This motion suggests the following:
- Require a Biological Constraints Checklist and Wildlife Permeability Review as part of every new building project application in the hillsides of LA.
- No issuance of building or grading permits until project applicants ensure that they will permanently accommodate wildlife habitat connectivity as part of their development projects.
- Require easements or deed restrictions in perpetuity to protect wildlife habitat connectivity.
- Formally designate a Regional Wildlife Habitat Linkage Zone in the Municipal Code, in as much as just one single-family residential project can cause adverse impacts and threatened wildlife populations.
CLAW Wildlife Corridor Advocacy
On April 19th, 2016 CLAW delivered a letter to LA City Council. 10 additional organizations representing more than 380,000 wildlife activists and habitat protectors joined in our advocacy. Read the full letter here.