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Local Officials Promote Proposed Wildlife Refuge in Riverside County

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Thursday, August 25, 2022   

Local leaders are pressing Congress to create a new wildlife refuge in Riverside County.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., recently introduced the Western Riverside National Wildlife Refuge Act, and Rep. Ken Calvert, D-Calif., introduced the House version this spring.

Aaron Hake deputy executive director of the Riverside County Transportation Commission, which manages the Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority, explained the next steps.

"The exact location of the refuge is not yet defined," Hake pointed out. "If these bills pass, it will then be up to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to decide where they would like to acquire land to establish the refuge."

The refuge would provide more recreation opportunities for the densely populated Inland Empire, and would be an important link in the wildlife corridors allowing many species room to roam.

Hake noted Riverside County is home to 146 species covered in the multiple-species habitat conservation plan.

"They range from the Golden Eagle, the burrowing owl, rare plants that only occur here and nowhere else on the planet," Hake outlined. "We have the Western Pond Turtle, mountain lions, the Quino checkerspot butterfly, and those are just a few."

Some of the land is already part of the Cleveland and San Bernardino national forests, but some acreage would be purchased from private owners and thus would be newly protected from development.


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