With development proceeding at a rapid pace in California—between 2001 and 2017, the Golden State lost more than one million acres of wildlands¹—open space is an increasingly valuable commodity.
Thankfully, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla (both Democrats) recently took a significant step to protect a large part of Riverside County in Southern California, one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation, from further development by introducing legislation to establish the Western Riverside National Wildlife Refuge.
Western Riverside would be one of the largest urban refuges in the nation and provide increased access to nature for nearby Latino communities. Our partners at Hispanic Access Foundation have set up a webpage explaining the new refuge’s benefits here.
For more than a year, Senator Feinstein has been working with the county, groups like Defenders and Hispanic Access Foundation, and other policymakers to identify key areas that provide vital habitat for more than 146 species like the endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly and the California red-legged frog.
Well that sounds good doesn’t it? Any thing we can do to preserve wild spaces is good in my book.
In addition to creating new and much-needed public access nature points for the entire region, the refuge would also generate jobs and safeguard clean water and air.
Defenders of Wildlife thanks Senators Feinstein and Padilla for introducing S. 4669. Establishing the new refuge is a truly bipartisan effort: Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA-42) also played a leadership role by introducing a similar bill in the House of Representatives. Stay tuned to the Hispanic Access Foundation webpage for updates and opportunities to weigh in to support this urban wildlife refuge!
Wonderful! Now if we could just get Diane and Alex to protect those little agents of biodiversity, drought and fire protection all over the state that would be great.