Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 22, 2023

Contact:

Ileene Anderson, (323) 490-0223, ianderson@biologicaldiversity.org

Lytle Creek Agreement Secures San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat Habitat Protection

RIALTO, Calif.— Conservation groups have reached an agreement with the developer of the Lytle Creek Ranch development project in Southern California to permanently protect 177 acres of occupied habitat for the state and federally endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Endangered Habitats League and Save Lytle Creek Wash announced the landmark settlement this week with Lytle Development Co. that, subject to regulatory approvals, will protect 177 acres of San Bernardino kangaroo rat habitat while allowing the long-planned Lytle Creek Ranch project to proceed.

“I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing precious habitat will be permanently protected for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat,” said Ileene Anderson, a senior scientist at the Center. “Without a plan to save what’s left of their home territory, these adorable critters won’t stand a chance against encroaching development.”

The San Bernardino kangaroo rat is found in flood-prone areas only in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The seed-eating animal got its moniker from hopping around on large hind legs much like a kangaroo. Its habitat is constantly under threat. By preserving these 177 acres, the project — which also includes parks and open space — will now conserve more than 900 acres of land for species and habitat protection.

The 177 acres come out of the project’s “Neighborhood 2” development area south of Lytle Creek and north of Trapp Elementary School. Part of Neighborhood 2 is under construction.

Ownership of the protected area will be transferred to a conservation entity to be used for habitat restoration and enhancement, maintenance and management.

This settlement allows for possible future water distribution that would spread water flows from Lytle Creek across the 177 acres, which would help regenerate alluvial fan sage scrub — the San Bernardino kangaroo rat’s preferred habitat.

The project also includes robust long-term monitoring for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat, which will allow people to understand how the species is adapting to the habitat restoration and management requirements that the project must carry out.

The settlement also includes community benefits for residential neighbors, including the creation of a 30-acre open space and recreational area, preservation of existing eucalyptus trees that provide nesting habitat for red-tailed hawks, and enhanced landscaping to buffer the existing neighborhood from new development.

For more than two decades conservation groups have challenged the Lytle Creek Ranch development project. This legal agreement is the result of the groups working with Lytle Development on a suitable solution.

PictureLytleCreek
The blue area of the map shows the area near Lytle Creek that will be permanently protected under an agreement reached between developers and environmental groups.

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.

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