RCA Chair Johnson and Vice-Chair Bash Go to Washington
Our nation’s Capital was bustling in mid-May as Congress was in full swing. Amid the active halls of Congress and federal agencies, RCA Chair Natasha Johnson and Vice-Chair Kevin Bash were in Washington, D.C. to talk to legislators and federal agencies about the importance of establishing a Wildlife Refuge in western Riverside County and increasing funding for habitat conservation plans.
Along with the State of California, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a signatory to the MSHCP and both entities are committed to helping acquire 28,000 acres of land each for the 500,000-acre reserve. One way to support this effort is by increasing funding for the Section 6 Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) Land Acquisition program from $21.6 million to $85 million.
RCA Chair Johnson and Vice-Chair Bash Meet with Representative Young Kim
Another is by establishing the Western Riverside National Wildlife Refuge. The trip to Washington was meant to remind legislators that establishing a wildlife refuge is a priority for the RCA. Not only would the refuge help the federal government meet its conservation obligations to the MSHCP, but it would also help balance population growth and conservation, allowing for the biodiversity and natural beauty of our region to remain intact and flourish.
146 western Riverside County native species and plants, including 34 endangered or threatened species, depend on the MSHCP and the habitats planned for conservation in order to thrive. A refuge helps the RCA keep its commitment to the public to establish open space for recreational and educational activities while reducing air pollution, safeguarding water resources, and protecting native habitats and landscapes for our community and future generations.
RCA Chair Johnson and Vice-Chair Bash Meet with Representative Ken Calvert
The Washington, D.C. itinerary was jam-packed with meetings with local legislators, who signaled support for the wildlife refuge and are active partners in making it a reality. The offices that we met with included:
- Senator Alex Padilla
- Senator Dianne Feinstein
- Representative Young Kim
- Representative Ken Calvert
- Representative Darrell Issa
- Representative Mark Takano
- White House Office of Management and Budget and the Council on Environmental Quality
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The RCA extends it gratitude to the legislators and agencies that took the time to meet with Chair Johnson and Vice-Chair Bash during a busy legislative session.