In 2001, EHL and the Sierra Club reached a legal settlement with the City of Ontario over its plan to urbanize thousands of acres of dairy land. The City has now moved forward to implement the mitigation program anticipated by that agreement.
The settlement agreement had several components. It called for a per acre mitigation fee – eventually totaling over $20 million – to be collected from development in the “New Model Colony.” A land trust was to be chosen to design and implement a regional mitigation strategy. “New urbanist” community design principles were also included.
Following consultation with EHL and the Sierra Club, on March 16, 2010, the City Council chose the respected and energetic Riverside Land Conservancy (RLC) as the land trust. It also formally accepted a report that RLC had prepared in 2008 that identified strategies and opportunities for habitat protection and restoration, and which emphasized partnerships with other entities. The mitigation fees will be used to benefit the burrowing owl, restore wetlands, and provide connections between the Prado Basin and Chino Hills State Park. We anticipate that a parallel effort by the City of Chino will be synergistic with the Ontario program.
We congratulate the City on this milestone and look forward to working with it and the Riverside Land Conservancy.