SAN BERNARDINO VALLEY AUDUBON SOCIETY
WHAT WE DO
SBVAS’s conservation efforts at the moment are primarily focused on the San Jacinto Valley, which the National Audubon Society recently designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) of global importance and warranting national concern. There are at least three major projects threatening the San Jacinto Valley. There are also other issues of concern in other parts of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
The most immediate threat is probably the World Logistics Center (WLC), a proposal for 41 million square feet of warehouse space to be built in the city of Moreno Valley immediately north of the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. Such a development would destroy significant foraging habitat for birds and cause the release of huge amounts of air pollutants, especially greenhouse gases, because of the thousands of trucks that would service the warehouses on a daily basis. A Draft Environmental Impact Report was issued early in 2013, and SBVAS joined the Center for Biological Diversity in filing comments objecting to significant portions of the DEIR. Over a dozen other environmental organizations also filed comments besides us, as did quite a few public agencies. The final EIR is expected in spring 2014. The city of Moreno Valley has a very pro-WLC position, and on April 30, 2013 investigators from the County district attorney, the IRS, and the FBI executed search warrants on the developer’s offices, as well as the homes and business offices of the mayor and most members of the city council.
On the south side of the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Riverside County plans to build the Mid-County Parkway (MCP), which would basically turn the Ramona Expressway into a freeway. As with the WLC, a Draft Environmental Impact Report was issued early in 2013, and SBVAS joined the Center for Biological Diversity in filing comments objecting to significant portions of the DEIR. A revised DEIR was issued early in 2014 and again, SBVAS joined Audubon in submitting comments. The county is also pushing a development called the Villages of Lakeview, a project to build some 11,350 homes on both sides of what is at least for now the Ramona Expressway. Like the WLC, the development would destroy significant foraging habitat for birds and cause the release of huge amounts of air pollutants. SBVAS, along with several other organizations, including the City of Riverside, sued to stop this development and won a stunning decision in 2012. The decision was not appealed, so the project is on hold for now, but unfortunately it will surely be back. The County of Riverside has recently put forward a General Plan amendment that will make it easier for the area along Ramona Expressway to become another city.
We should also mention that, along with several other groups, SBVAS is party to a lawsuit against San Bernardino County in connection with the Cadiz Project. This proposed projectwould pump thousands of acre feet of water from deep under Cadiz Dry Lake (northeast of the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base) to provide drinking water for a small area in Orange County. The project would drastically lower the water table throughout the Mojave in ever widening circles, drying up seeps and springs, with a devastating effect on both plant and animal life.
Bearpaw Ranch is San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society's 70 acre nature sanctuary, thanks to a generous benefactor. Bearpaw Ranch is at 38801 Valley of the Falls Drive, nestled on the north slope of scenic Mill Creek Canyon at 4,500 feet elevation, surrounded by the towering peaks of the San Bernardino National Forest. A diverse array of habitats provides excellent birding and educational opportunities. Along the creek, alluvial scrub intergrades with alders, sycamores, ash and willows. On the bluff, scrub-oak and chaparral mingle with huge old Coulter pines, black oak and incense cedar.
To reach Bearpaw Ranch, take Highway 38 to the Forest Falls turnoff. Go only a few car lengths on Valley of the Falls Drive and look for our small wooden sign on the right. Parts of the road have already been graded, smoothed, and paved; the entry from Forest Falls Drive will undergo similar improvements soon. There is an electronically operated entry gate: members who wish to visit the Sanctuary should call ahead for the security code. Click here for a map to Bearpaw Ranch.
Public restrooms, drinking water and picnic tables are available for visitor convenience. A self-guided nature trail system is steadily growing, thanks to hard-working volunteers. SBVAS members and their guests are welcome anytime but are requested to call ahead to alert the resident manager to expect visitors. To leave a message or request information, call (909) 794-0509.
P.O. Box 88
Forest Falls, CA 92339