Enviros and UC Merced Reach a Win-Win Accord
Beginning in 2005, CNPS (along with Butte Environmental Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Protect Our Water, San Joaquin Raptor/Wildlife Rescue Center, San Joaquin Valley Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy) held meetings with the University of California and the regulatory agencies to discuss conservation issues related to the Merced campus. These meetings resulted in a stronger conservation strategy and a smaller campus. On Friday, October 5, 2007, the University issued a press release announcing the reduction of their footprint and the intention to start the environmental review process over.
The agreed upon reduced footprint will protect an additional 670 acres of pristine vernal pool habitat that would have been destroyed by the current plan. Many additional occurrences of threatened and endangered plants and animals will also be conserved by the reduced footprint. CNPS applauds the University of California for coming to the table with a willingness to work out a compromise that works both for the environment and for the campus.
The UC’s announcement marks the beginning of a new public process for the campus expansion. Previous permit applications will be withdrawn. A new application will be submitted that will trigger a joint EIR/EIS for the campus and community. CNPS and others will continue to participate in the public process.