Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore is closed until further notice to ensure the safety of residents, visitors, and sensitive habitat.

Habitat Conservation

Habitat Conservation

The Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority (RCA) was created in 2004 to achieve one of America’s most ambitious environmental efforts, the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP).

From the Burrowing Owl to the Western Pond Turtle, the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan managed by the RCA protects 146 animal and plant species, including 34 that are threatened or endangered, making it the one of the largest habitat conservation plan in the United States.

The MSHCP includes 38 specially designed habitat linkages that allow animals to safely move from one preserve area to another, providing a critical lifeline between habitats that serve as escape routes from danger and pathways to food supplies.

Montain Lion
Quino Checkerspot Butterfly

Conservation Goals

  • 500,000 acres
    • 347,000 acres of public/quasi-public lands already conserved.
      • National Forest
      • State Parks
      • County Parks
      • Nature Reserves
      • BLM Lands
      • Wildlife Areas
    • 153,000 acres of Additional Reserve Lands (ARL) from the criteria areas are needed to complete the MSHCP through:
      • Land Purchases
      • Donations
      • Developer Dedications

500,000 Acre Habitat Conservation Plan

acre habitant conservation plan infographic

Assembling the Additional Reserve Lands in the MSHCP

The MSHCP reserve will consist of two parts: 347,000 acres of existing public/quasi-public lands, and 153,000 acres of Additional Reserve Lands which are currently being assembled. RCA obtains these Additional Reserve Lands (ARL) through purchases, donations, and developer dedications within the criteria area shown by the map below. Together, the Additional Reserve Lands and the already conserved public/quasi-public lands, will create a reserve with core areas and linkages to support the species covered under the MSHCP.

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Criteria Area

Areas within western Riverside County in which land can be acquired for the MSHCP. Additional Reserve Lands will come from these areas. The Criteria Area is comprised of Criteria Cells. 

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Criteria Cells

Series of grids utilized by the RCA to organize and track development and conservation within the criteria area.

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Core Areas

Large habitats within the reserve that have the resources to support the species
covered under the MSHCP. Existing areas consist of conserved land such as national forests, wildlife refuges and wilderness area. Proposed core areas will be assembled from the land acquired within the criteria area. Noncontiguous criteria cells are connected by linkages.

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Land bridges between two core areas are called linkages. These narrower strips of land allow wildlife to travel between conserved habitat.