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The Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority will use funding from the State Natural Resources Agency to protect critical habitat in the Jurupa Mountains.

Riverside, CA – The Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority (RCA) has taken another significant step toward preserving native landscapes and wildlife with the acceptance of a new $15 million state grant secured by Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes.

The funding from the State Natural Resources Agency will help the RCA acquire additional habitat land in the Jurupa Mountain area of Riverside County to create new recreational opportunities while also helping protect endangered, threatened and native species such as the Delhi Sands Flower-Loving Fly, Bell’s Sage Sparrow, San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat and Coastal California Gnatcatcher.

“The preservation of Jurupa Mountain is a necessary step towards our environmental efforts to protect our region’s natural habitats, species, and providing our community with adequate open spaces for future generations to enjoy. I am proud to work with the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority and look forward to the benefits this grant will provide our region,” said Assemblymember Cervantes.

The RCA oversees the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP), the largest habitat conservation plan in the nation. So far, more than 81% of the land needed for the 500,000-acre MSHCP has already been acquired to protect 146 native plant and animal species, including 33 endangered and threatened species.

“Over 400,000 acres of the MSHCP’s conservation land has already been secured and we are actively engaged in acquiring new properties to complete the Plan,” said RCA Executive Director Charlie Landry. “The continued support of local legislators like Assemblymember Cervantes is critical to achieving our goal of preserving the natural beauty of Western Riverside County for future generations while providing long-term protection to native plants and animals.”

Jurupa Valley City Councilwoman Lorena Barajas, the city’s representative on the RCA Board of Directors, agreed, saying “Our city and our constituents really support conservation and want to maintain the beautiful rural atmosphere and abundant recreational opportunities of our community. This grant is a huge step in that direction.”

This grant marks the latest effort by area legislators to support the RCA’s efforts to complete the MSHCP. Earlier this year, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) introduced H.R. 2956 to establish the Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge. The bill cosponsored by Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41) and Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-31) will allow the region to continue its ongoing commitment towards balancing natural resource conservation and future development.