• Enforcement Hearing update!!! The Coastal Commission enforcement action against NBR LLC and West Newport Oil Company for unpermitted mowing and unpermitted well drilling and related oil field activity on Banning Ranch is expected to be held in January. The hearing dates are January 7-9, 2015 and the most likely area is West Los Angeles, in either Santa Monica or Marina Del Ray. We'll report back when we have the exact day and location of the enforcment hearing.
Meanwhile, please pencil in January 7-9 on your calendars. The Conservancy believes the enforcement hearing could be the single most important event in the 15-year history of our effort to save Banning Ranch. We need you to stand with us at the hearing. A huge turnout will tell the Commission that the public wants a permanent end to the excessive unpermitted mowing and oil field activity on Banning Ranch, the habitat restored to its original condition and the owners of Banning Ranch held accountable.
• Help us permanently stop the mowing on Banning Ranch! Sign our petition to the California Coastal Commission. We’re asking the Commission to put a permanent end to the mowing and clearing of ESHA (Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas) on Banning Ranch and to restore the habitat. Banning Ranch’s wildlife, rare birds and marine life won’t survive without the habitat!
• No on Measure Y prevails in Newport Beach! Thanks to the efforts of the No on Measure Y Committee, SPON (Stop Polluting Our Newport) and other community organizations, Measure Y, which would have increased development, traffic and congestion in Newport Beach, has been soundly defeated. The final vote was No on Y—60.50%, Yes on Y—30.50%.
• Fairview Park. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, after an exhaustive 11-month review, has determined that the City of Costa Mesa must restore and protect the vernal pools on Fairview park that were being damaged by pedestrian use, pesticides, landscaping and man-made improvements. The federal agency was called in last summer to investigate after it had been determined that protected vernal pools had been adversely affected by the addition of unpermitted walking trails in Fairview Park. Read the full story here.
• SPON's new look. Be sure to visit SPON's relaunched website and learn about their new campaign, "Still Protecting Our Newport - Inspiring the Next Generation" at www.SPON-NewportBeach.org. Click here to go directly to the website. SPON'S initial goal with this effort was to alert the public to the negative impacts of Ballot Measure Y in Newport Beach, which they did very successfully. Measure Y was defeated in the 2014 mid-term elections by a popular vote of 13,448 (69.50%) to 5,901 (30.50%).
• Banning Ranch Tour Report by Suzanne Forster. The tour was great! Karl Schwing, Jonna Engel and Amber Dobson of the Coastal Commission were our tour guides. At each stop, Karl described the route and the development plan, Jonna handled the biology (ESHA and special species). For most of us it was our first time on Banning Ranch, so a unique opportunity for an up-close and personal look at the land we aim to preserve for posterity. Click here to read the rest of the report. Scroll down right sidebar to bullet point list.
• Matching Challenge. On June 25, 2014 at the Wednesday evening Banning Ranch Conservancy board meeting, special guests Frank Randall and his wife Joanne presented the Conservancy with the $25,000 matching challenge check. Frank and Joanne were given a beautiful framed plaque commemorating their generous donation and unwavering support of the Conservancy's mission to save Banning Ranch as an Open Space Nature Preserve and Park. Thank you Frank and Joanne for your vision and your giving spirit!! Thanks also to our many Banning Ranch supporters for their amazing show of support, without which we could not have made our Matching Challenge Goal!
•The Banning Ranch Conservancy Vision Plan. Our 2nd edition of the Vision Plan can now be accessed online. Please click here.
•The BRC needs volunteers. If you have experience with Wordpress websites, please contact Suzanne Forster at (949) 650-8806. We need volunteers to help with site design and content. If you have experience with Quickbooks for Nonprofits or would like to help out at a BRC Event or with our fundraising efforts, Suzanne would love to hear from you as well.