FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 28, 2015
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Joel Zlotnik (714) 560-5713, Eric Carpenter (714) 560-5697
Laguna Beach land to be preserved through OCTA’s Measure M program
To date, more than 1,300 acres have been acquired to ensure wildlife and habitat thrives for generations as vital transportation projects move forward
ORANGE – Orange County Transportation Authority officials purchased 151 acres of open space in Laguna Beach, marking the seventh property acquisition under the Measure M Freeway Environmental Mitigation Program – a comprehensive plan that preserves and restores natural habitats and allows for expedited delivery of freeway projects.
The Aliso Canyon property, purchased late last week for $2.2 million, was identified as a priority conservation area because of the diversity of habitat types found there, including chaparral, coastal sage scrub, and native grassland. This is the first time the program has been used to purchase land along the coast.
OCTA’s Freeway Environmental Mitigation Program purchases open space from willing sellers and through agreements with state and federal wildlife agencies. It allows for the acceleration of environmental permitting for the 13 freeway improvement projects as part of Measure M.
“The newly purchased land will have a lasting impact on Orange County’s environment,” said OCTA Chairman Jeff Lalloway, also the mayor pro tem of Irvine. “OCTA is proud to lead a program that conserves our natural habitat and wildlife while planning for future transportation needs,”
The property is adjacent to the 4,500-acre Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, a part of the Orange County Parks system, and Moulton Meadows Park, enabling linkage to other key protected wild lands.
In fall 2010, the OCTA board allocated a total of $42 million from Measure M to purchase open space in Orange County.
There are four acquired properties in the Trabuco Canyon area, one in Brea, and one in the Silverado Canyon area. With the Laguna Beach property purchase, a total of more than 1,300 acres will be preserved. Approximately $2.3 million remains for additional purchases.
Since 2010, a total of 11 restoration projects affecting approximately 400 acres have also been funded throughout Orange County. The funds aid in the removal of invasive plant species and the restoration of open space land to its native habitat.
Approximately $300 million will be available over the next 30 years to preserve and restore land throughout the county.
For more information regarding OCTA’s environmental program, visit www.octa.net/environmental.
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