City Spotlight: Banning is Rich with Biodiversity

May 24, 2023 | City Spotlight, MSHCP

Aerial photo of Banning, California

In the 19th Century, the settlement of Moore City served a significant role as a stagecoach station and railroad stop between Arizona and Los Angeles. However, the town was later renamed Banning before official incorporation on February 6, 1913. The city was named after Phineas Banning, who is known as “The Father of the Port of Los Angeles.” Today, the city is not only home to over 30,000 residents but also serves as a valuable permittee in western Riverside County for the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP).

Banning hosts a rich biodiversity of MSHCP-protected species. From the boisterous Nashville warbler to the gliding prairie falcon, and from the delicately sprawling Parry’s spine flower, to the colorfully banded San Bernardino mountain kingsnake, the city provides habitat for diverse wildlife. Additionally, fascinating species like the San Diego banded gecko, western spadefoot, and the beautiful Plummer’s mariposa lily are just some of the species that call Banning home.

San Bernardino mountain kingsnake
San Diego banded gecko
Plummer's mariposa lily

Situated in the San Gorgonio Pass, Banning is nestled between the majestic San Gorgonio and San Jacinto Peaks – two of the tallest peaks in southern California. This unique geographical position makes Banning an essential corridor for wildlife movement between these mountainous regions through Banning Canyon. Bobcats are one of the species that are likely to use the canyon on their way to San Bernardino Mountains.

As a permittee of the MSHCP, Banning takes on the important task of balancing habitat preservation with infrastructure development for the well-being of its residents, and the many species inhabiting Riverside County.