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Every Day is Earth Day at the RCA

May 31, 2022 | MSHCP, News

Earth Day is an ideal time to think about how to make the world better for future generations. At the RCA, we celebrate Earth Day every day by conserving land to protect 146 plant and animal species in western Riverside County.

Since it began more than 50 years ago, Earth Day has brought awareness to the value and importance of environmental stewardship and to protect natural habitats worldwide. In western Riverside County, the RCA is working to do just that for protected and endangered plant and animal species – some found nowhere else in the world. With the goal of preserving 500,000 acres, the largest such goal in the country, RCA implements the MSHCP, which will permanently ensure open space for communities working to balance population growth and the need for expanding infrastructure.

This year, Earth Day was a hands-on experience for the RCA Board of Directors Kevin Bash (Norco Councilmember), Joe Males (Hemet Councilmember), and Lesa Sobek (Menifee Councilmember). Braving early morning gray skies and a few sprinkles, the group met for a guided field trip and hike at the RCA-owned McElhinney-Stimmel Property in Menifee.

Riverside County Regional Parks Natural Resources Manager Jonathan Reinig provided an overview of the habitat features, restoration activities in the area, and the types of species the visitors might encounter. He then led the group on a hike through rolling hills while pointing out the unique features of the lands that are being conserved under the MSHCP.

The 271-acre McElhinney-Stimmel property is home to MSHCP-covered species such as white-tailed kite, coastal western whiptail, Bell’s sparrow, burrowing owl, coastal California gnatcatcher, and Cooper’s hawk. In addition, the land hosts the rare Parish’s Brittlescale, which was pointed out from a distance on the hike. Historically, populations of these plants have been lost due to agriculture and development.

Board Member Bash noted that lands like these are being saved for his grandchildren – a very fitting Earth Day sentiment.

With the implementation of the MSHCP, the RCA wholeheartedly embraces the Earth Day cause. As each acre is added to meet the habitat preservation goal, the RCA, with the support of the communities it serves, is ensuring the region’s animal and plant habitat thrives, with the understanding that the actions taken today will impact communities tomorrow.