As Riverside County’s population continues to grow, it is increasingly important to conserve land for native animals and plants. The Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority was created in 2004 to implement the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan or MSHCP, one of largest such plans in the nation. The MSHCP streamlines the environmental permitting process for needed infrastructure like transportation and housing projects, resulting in improved efficiency and certainty, cost savings, and support for the local economy. One of the MSHCP requirements is to form a 500,000-acre habitat reserve for 146 native species – of which 34 are endangered or threatened. Through careful and deliberate land acquisition, the RCA is on track to meet its goal to preserve 500,000 acres. As of 2022, more than 82 percent of the reserve is complete.
In addition to the RCA’s core activity of acquiring reserve lands, the RCA also:
- Manages the lands it acquires to ensure animals and plants thrive
- Monitors “habitat loss” and the behavior and welfare of protected plants and animals
- Reviews applications for infrastructure or development projects
- Publishes an annual report.
Local Development Mitigation Fees (LDMF) and other funding sources (tipping fees, public project and participating special entity fees) pay for RCA’s core activities.
In January 2021, the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) became the managing agency for the RCA. RCTC administers and coordinates RCA-related activities.