Media Advisory, April 28, 2021

Contact:

Elizabeth Reid-Wainscoat, Center for Biological Diversity, (831) 428-3312, ereidwainscoat@biologicaldiversity.org
Paul Edelman, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, (310) 589-3200, ext. 128, edelman@smmc.ca.gov
Tony Tucci, Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife (CLAW), (310) 968-6314, tony@clawonline.org

Los Angeles Leaders Urged to Prioritize Wildlife Corridor Funding

LOS ANGELES— Local conservation advocates will urge city leaders to make wildlife corridors a budget priority during a Thursday discussion with the Los Angeles planning and building and safety departments.

The development of the city’s first wildlife corridor program and associated ordinance is a 2021 milestone in Los Angeles’ 2019 Green New Deal. Yet the 2021-22 budget proposal unveiled by Mayor Eric Garcetti defunded all associated staff positions in the Planning Department’s Wildlife Pilot Study Program. Failure to adequately fund these positions will effectively kill the wildlife corridor ordinance before it is even implemented.

A coalition of community and environmental organizations, who already wrote to and met with the mayor’s office, will now use the opportunity of the preliminary budget discussion to remind leaders of their obligation to protect imperiled wildlife like the mountain lions of the Santa Monica mountains. In addition, preserving these corridors protects the public from wildfires that are most often started by human ignition and spread quickly through heavily disturbed and developed areas.

An allocation of less than $600,000 to fund four staff positions — an environmental specialist, city planner and two planning associates — will help finalize and implement a much-needed wildlife corridor ordinance.

“It’s time for officials to stop making mere overtures about saving habitat and start putting resources behind an effective wildlife corridor ordinance,” said Elizabeth Reid-Wainscoat, a campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Los Angeles has a unique opportunity to implement its first wildlife corridor program, but that will never happen unless city councilmembers pass a budget that reflects the values and goals stated in their own Green New Deal.”

"This is a critical issue for the future health of the City of Los Angeles and has had unanimous support from the origination of this motion in 2014. We're simply asking for wildlife and the environment to be considered in how we plan our City," said Tony Tucci of Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife. "Yet for the second year in the row, Mayor Garcetti has defunded a low cost program that is critical to the future of LA."

“The city’s remaining wildlife habitat is enduring a slow death by a thousand cuts due to poorly planned development,” said Paul Edelman, deputy director of natural resources and planning at the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. “Without this ordinance, it will be exceedingly difficult to secure a viable habitat linkage to Griffith Park, and our environment and wildlife will suffer.”

What: Wildlife corridor testimony during budget discussion with planning and building and safety departments

When: 9 a.m., Thursday, April 29

Where: Members of the public who would like to offer comment on the items listed on the agenda should call 1 (669) 254-5252 and use Meeting ID No. 160 655 3266 and then press #. Press # again when prompted for participant ID. Once admitted into the meeting, press *9 to request to speak.

Joining the Center in pressing for wildlife corridor funding are Sierra Club California, Natural Resource Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife (CLAW), Friends of Griffith Park, The Federation of Hillside and Canyon Associations and Brentwood Alliance of Canyons and Hillsides.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.