LANCASTER— The Lancaster City Council Tuesday night approved the purchase of 40 acres of wilderness immediately north of the Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodlands State Park. The purchase will help preserve Joshua trees and other native species, while allowing for continued development elsewhere in the region, according to city officials.
“This project forwards our ever-present objective to mitigate habitat loss caused by development throughout our region,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “This is an ecologically critical area that is a priority in our preservation program. The City of Lancaster is proud to continue working with other local governments and organizations in selecting and managing property for purchase and use in mitigation efforts.”
In concert with conservation entity Transition Habitat, the City identified the 40-acre parcel as a habitat of high biological value. The space contains a high Joshua tree density in comparison to the surrounding area, and is adjacent to the Desert Woodlands State Park, which has the mission of preserving such plant life and accompanying fauna.
“We are pleased to assist the City through the management of this property,” said Jill Bays, Transition Habitat Director. “It is a tribute to the City of Lancaster that they choose to work with other entities in the selection and stewardship of this and other such parcels.”
The funding for the proposed project stems from a 2005 City of Lancaster ordinance establishing a Biological Impact Fee, to be paid by all developers of previously undeveloped land in the City.
The fund is solely for usage toward projects which help offset the loss of biodiversity. Developers outside of Lancaster have the option of paying into this fee in order to help mitigate environmental impacts, as is the case with this project.
(Information via press release from the city of Lancaster.)