$19 Million in Funding Awarded to RCA to Acquire Lands
The Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority (RCA) was collectively awarded over $19 million in state and federal funding at the November 15 California Wildlife Conservation Board meeting and through the federal Non-traditional Section 6 grant program. These grants will allow the RCA to acquire approximately 1,310 acres for conservation near Corona and Moreno Valley. RCA will purchase two properties for protection: the B Canyon and Wolfskill properties.
The B Canyon Property, located just outside Corona’s city limits, is south of SR-91, bordering the Chino Hills State Park and the Cleveland National Forest. Approximately 670 acres of land will be added to the MSHCP reserve and will secure the essential connection of important habitats fragmented by SR-91. B Canyon is adjacent to one of only two functional undercrossings of SR-91 in this part of western Riverside County. The mountain lion, a candidate for listing under the California Endangered Species Act, and other wildlife have been observed traveling through the SR-91 undercrossing adjacent to B Canyon.
The property also supports the federally Endangered Brauton’s milk-vetch, federally threatened coastal California gnatcatcher and MSHCP-protected species such as northern harrier, Southern California rufous-crowned sparrow, Cooper’s hawk, turkey vulture, bobcat, and coyote.
On the other side of western Riverside County, the funds awarded will allow the RCA to acquire the Wolfskill Property just outside Moreno Valley near SR-60 and the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. The Wolfskill Property is approximately 640 acres and part of the Badlands Formation. Vegetation habitats such as chaparral, coastal sage, and grassland mark this property’s landscape. Species such as the loggerhead shrike, coastal western whiptail, and the federally threatened Stephens’ kangaroo rat and coastal California Gnatcatcher have been documented in this area and are anticipated to utilize these habitats within the Wolfskill property. Wolfskill, in conjunction with adjacent Bureau of Land Management owned MSHCP conserved land connect to a regionally important wildlife crossing constructed as part of the Riverside County Transportation Commission’s SR-60 Truck Lanes Project.
Once acquired, the RCA will protect these lands in perpetuity and manage them with the help of the Riverside County Park and Open-Space District, and other partners. The funding allocation will be part of the 2022 Section 6 Non-Traditional Grant administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the federal level, allocated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and administered by WCB at the state level, and authorized by the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The grant aims to prevent habitat loss and protect listed species through land acquisition and recovery. This year, the RCA has been awarded close to $27 million in grants to fund land conservation. The RCA continues to work closely with state and federal partners to secure grants in pursuit of habitat protection.