The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB), the acquisition arm of the Calif. Dept. of Fish and Game, approved purchases in a wildlife corridor connecting Central and Southern Orange County reserves, long an EHL objective.

In a transaction led by The Conservation Fund, a national land trust, most of the Saddle Creek property near Trabuco Canyon – over 300 acres – will be immediately acquired using state and federal funds, with another portion available for later purchase. EHL and other groups had successfully litigated against an earlier proposal for large-scale development on this beautiful oak-studded property. Nevertheless, EHL maintained a cooperative dialogue over the years with the landowner, and helped bring the current package together. A small parcel adjacent to existing homes will be retained for potential future development.

At the same time, WCB approved the purchase of a nearby 50-acre parcel with fine coastal sage scrub resources that is also part of the linkage. The acquired lands form a critical low elevation wildlife corridor for California gnatcatchers and other species. EHL will continue to work on reserve assembly in the Orange County foothills.