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CALL TO ACTION

Asking for your support for San Diego Habitat Conservancy regarding Rancho Lilac

We are asking for your help to send emails in support of San Diego Habitat Conservancy (SDHC). Sample emails to cut and paste are below along with submittal instructions. Emails are due by this Friday, October 23 by 9:00 a.m. to the SANDAG Board of Directors.

BACKGROUND
Many of you have heard our excitement about the unique habitat and historic resources and opportunities in our management of Rancho Lilac. Unfortunately, you have also heard we have faced significant delays in acquiring the property. Below you will find additional background, clarification on misconceptions, and other information to help prepare and send your emails to urge SANDAG to complete the transfer of Rancho Lilac to SDHC.

  • Rancho Lilac was obtained by Caltrans in 2011 as mitigation for biological impacts of the SR-76 widening project. The purchase of Rancho Lilac was funded with TransNet funds, which are administered locally by SANDAG.  In 2013, SANDAG and Caltrans began to seek a new owner and habitat manager for the property. 
  • In 2013, the County of San Diego exercised its right of first refusal to own and manage Rancho Lilac. Instead, in 2016 SANDAG issued an RFP for qualified managers. The County did not submit a proposal to the RFP. SDHC submitted a proposal and was eventually selected as he preferred bidder to manage Rancho Lilac.
  • Fast forward, the County and some community stakeholders have launched an effort to deny SDHC the Rancho Lilac property. This competing effort is largely related to the inclusion of trails on Rancho Lilac; an issue that was not addressed in the RFP.
  • In recent weeks, SANDAG has proposed a solution in which an easement will be accommodated for future trails. While SDHC’s role will be conserving and preserving Rancho Lilac, we do not oppose trails and stand ready to work with SANDAG, Caltrans, and other stakeholders.
  • Some community stakeholders have questioned SDHC’s qualifications. Here are the facts, SDHC:
    • Manages 31 open space preserves throughout San Diego County totaling 1850 acres.
    • Is set to acquire 5 additional preserves totaling over 660 acres.
    • Has included trails within or around 11 preserves.
    • Is approved by California Fish and Wildlife to hold and manage mitigation lands.
    • Is accredited by the Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization.
    • Is the only organization in San Diego County to have this accreditation.

After working on this proposal and negotiations with SANDAG staff, Caltrans staff, and the community for the last four years, we at SDHC are professionally and emotionally invested in Rancho Lilac. Not only are we well qualified to manage its natural resources, we are passionate about land conservation and improvement and we are eager to get to work. We are asking SANDAG’s Board of Directors to approve the contract and solicitation for the long-term management of Rancho Lilac.

We urge you to send your emails no later than 9:00 a.m. on Friday, October 23. Below is a sample email which you can copy and paste. However, we encourage you to use your own voice and personalize the message.

SAMPLE EMAIL
Subject line: SANDAG Board Meeting, Item #13, October 23, 2020

I am writing to urge you to approve the transfer of Rancho Lilac to the San Diego Habitat Conservancy (SDHC), the qualified land manager that SANDAG chose in 2017 through a fair and open procurement process.

Lilac Ranch was purchased as biological mitigation for the impacts of highway construction.  It must be managed to serve its intended purpose. SDHC will properly balance public access, including trails, with protecting underlying species and habitat objectives. It is time to stop further delay and approve the transfer of Lilac Ranch to SDHC.

Send it to: clerk@sandag.org

Please cc the SANDAG Executive Director and Board Members:
Hasan.ikhrta@sandag.org; cori.schumacher@carlsbadca.gov; msalas@chulavistaca.gov;   rbailey@coronado.ca.us; ehaviland@delmar.ca.us;https://www.cityofelcajon.us/i-want-to/contact-the-city/contact-city-mayor-bill-wells; cblakespear@encinitasca.gov; pmcnamara@escondido.org; serge.dedina@imperialbeachca.gov; marapostathis@cityoflamesa.us; rvasquez@lemongrove.ca.gov; asotelosolis@nationalcityca.gov; jfeller@oceansideca.org; svaus@poway.org, kevinfaulconer@sandiego.gov; rjones@san-marcos.net; Jminto@cityofsanteeca.gov; dzito@cosb.org; jritter@cityofvista.com; jim.desmond@sdcounty.ca.gov

We thank you for your support!

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