Wildlife corridors connect areas of habitat and provide a vital pathway through human development that could otherwise impede biological life of all kinds. Over time, structures like buildings, roads and fences can be barriers to wildlife movement and survival as they fragment the habitat into smaller and smaller pieces.
In April 2020 the California Fish and Wildlife Commission found that it may be warranted to list mountain lions as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) within a proposed evolutionarily significant unit (ESU) located in Southern California. This ESU includes the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles. Under CESA, a candidate species is afforded the same protection as listed species and is CESA-protected during the ongoing review period. Other species of plants and animals in the same area may be similarly threatened if aggressive protective steps are not taken.
In July 2021, the UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge released its Ecosystem Health Report Card for Los Angeles County, which dedicated a chapter to Land Use and Habitat Quality that covered habitat connectivity and fragmentation and corridor projects throughout the region. The report card found that only 57% of critical habitat corridors in the county are protected, and recommended policy to increase that protection to 100% to ensure no more extinction in one of the nation’s only biodiversity hotspots.
The Los Angeles City Council is leading efforts to protect these irreplaceable natural resources as they contemplate the city’s first-ever pilot Wildlife Ordinance District, which was developed to balance wildlife habitat and connectivity with private property development and residents in western Los Angeles, mainly between the 101 and 405 freeways and within the Santa Monica Mountains.
At 6 p.m. on September 21, please join the UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge for a conversation on Los Angeles wildlife corridors and the pending ordinance, which is currently open for public comment.
Joining us in this online event:
• Author of the legislation that spurred the ordinance, Los Angeles City Council Member Paul Koretz, 5th District, with opening remarks
• The Los Angeles City Planning Department, with an overview of the Wildlife Ordinance
• A panel of UCLA experts in environmental law, biodiversity, arts and architecture and urban planning with perspectives on the ordinance and its beneficial impacts on wildlife and Angelenos alike