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This Week's Hike Report: SEA Sick in Lyons Canyon

Not all land is created equal.  Some places are more ecologically significant than others.  In Los Angeles County, we identify these places with the acronym SEA, which in the best tradition of government-speak, stands for “significant ecological area”. 

The following may contain opinions that are the author’s own and do not represent the opinions of KHTS.

Here in the Santa Clarita Valley, we are fortunate to have 5 areas designated as SEA’s.  Two of those areas, SEA 20 and 63, will be negatively affected by the proposed development in Lyons Canyon.  A final decision is pending before the LA County Regional Planning Commission and the issue could be voted on within the next 60 days.

 

So what makes one place more ecologically significant than another?   What makes Lyons Canyon ecologically significant?

It contains rare, endangered, or threatened plants or animals. Lyons Canyon has 5 “special status” plants (with 7 others likely) and 2 “special status” animals (with 11 others likely).

It contains habitats that are rare or limited in numbers.  Lyons Canyon has 8 “special status” habitats

It contains habitats that are important in the life cycle of a species, such as breeding, feeding, resting or migrating.  Lyons Canyon is next to Towsley Canyon and near Pico Canyon, which function as part of a Wildlife Corridor between the Santa Susana Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains. 

Here’s what the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy had to say about the proposed Lyons Canyon Ranch Project in a recent letter to the Department of Regional Planning:  it would “essentially gut the central and lower portions of a significant Santa Susana Mountains watershed of all remaining core habitat values.”  You will find a copy of this letter at this URL on page 133.

http://planning.co.la.ca.us/doc/case/TR53653_RPC_package.pdf

 

The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy recommends that the Regional Planning Commission impose the following restrictions:

 

Reduce the project scale from 186 units down to 126 units

Build closer to The Old Road rather than further back in the canyon

Don’t build in SEA 63. 

If you want to learn more, you can go to the following LA County Planning website: 

http://planning.co.la.ca.us/doc/case/TR53653_NOP.pdf

This is a summary document.

http://planning.co.la.ca.us/doc/case/TR53653_RPC_package.pdf

This is a 135 page detailed document.

If you want to express your opinion of the Lyons Canyon Ranch Project, County Project Number TR53653, you can send an e-mail to:

Los Angeles County Supervisor – 5th District

Hon. Michael D. Antonovich

fifthdistrict@bos.co.la.ca.us

 

LA County Regional Planning Commissioner – 5th District

Mr. Pat Modugno

c/o Board Secretary Rosie Ruiz at rruiz@planning.lacounty.gov.

 

Wendy Langhans

Our next Bird hike will be at Towsley Canyon on Saturday, December16 from 8-10 AM.  Join us at the entrance to the park as we learn that "Not all creatures take a long winter’s nap". Bring a jacket, water and wear close-toed shoes. Towsley Canyon is on The Old Road, 1/2 mile south of the Calgrove exit off the 5. We hike when it’s drizzling but heavy rain cancels.

You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

For our complete hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, go to www.LAMountains.com.

To see what's playing on radio station KHTS, go to http://www.hometownstation.com/or tune in to AM 1220