An ambitious Orange County habitat acquisition program has shifted into high gear. EHL serves on a key committee overseeing the effort.

In 2006, Orange County voters approved a transportation sales tax, Measure M, which included $200 million to mitigate habitat impacts. EHL was appointed to the Environmental Oversight Committee as one of the conservation representatives. Under the capable leadership of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), agreements have been signed with state and federal wildlife agencies, a Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) initiated, acquisition and restoration criteria set, and a scientific Conservation Assessment of opportunities commissioned.

The OCTA widely solicited acquisition ideas, and many willing sellers, local jurisdictions, and community groups came forward. On April 15, 2009, presentations were given at a public meeting. There are many exciting opportunities for both purchase and restoration, from the coast to the mountains. From 2009 to 2012, a total of $60 million can be spent. EHL will work with other committee members to ensure the greatest ecosystem benefit and wise use of these precious funds.