A Final Vote for Paradise Valley on Nov. 5
By Nick Jensen
Keep your fingers crossed.
Conservation victories are rare. Large development projects, with the backing of local governments, investors, construction workers, and, in some cases, local residents typically proceed at a breakneck pace. In recent months, we have suffered major setbacks on projects like Centennial, and sprawl developments in high wildfire risk areas in San Diego County. But one major project is now trending on the side of conservation. We need your help to clinch this win for the environment.
Just a few months ago, nearly 2,000 acres of desert wildflowers, woodlands, and washes were on the chopping block. The Paradise Valley Development, would turn an area called Shavers Valley, about 15 miles east of Indio on the southern border of Joshua Tree National Park, into a new city with 8,490 new homes, strip malls, and golf courses.
In early 2018, CNPS joined a long list of environmental, social, and community organizations to push back against Paradise Valley. We visited the project site to walk among the flowers, inhale the perfumed air, and marvel at thousands of acres of microphyll woodland. We rallied our respective members to attend and give testimony at public hearings. Our partners organized EcoFlights to give reporters and members of the coalition a broad, aerial perspective of the habitats at stake. Members of our coalition visited elected officials, and worked to obtain ample media coverage on the project. It worked!
In August, we were elated to report that the Riverside County Planning Commission voted to recommend that Paradise Valley be rejected by the board of supervisors. Now, we stand one vote away from putting this project to bed.
But we cannot be complacent. On November 5, let’s pack the supervisors’ chambers in Riverside. Let this be a celebration of desert habitats and good decisions.
On Tuesday, November 5, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors will render a final decision on Paradise Valley. While we can’t be certain about what will result will be, we now have a very real opportunity to compel the supervisors to vote in line with the recommendations of the planning commission. This is to say, victory is nigh!
But we cannot be complacent. On November 5, let’s pack the supervisors’ chambers in Riverside. Let this be a celebration of desert habitats and good decisions. By ensuring a good showing at this hearing we will embolden the supervisors to make a prudent choice that supports wildflowers, tortoises, and the residents of the Coachella Valley. Let this be a time to taste a sweet victory and thank elected officials for standing up for what is right. Who is with me?
Please Join Us
1. Join us at Tuesday’s the Riverside County Board Supervisors’ Meeting
What: Riverside County Board of Supervisors Hearing on Paradise Valley
When: Tuesday, November 5 at 9:30 am
Where: Board Chambers, 4080 Lemon Street, Riverside
2. Send emails addressed to Riverside County Board of Supervisors. Emails should go to the Clerk of the Board (firstname.lastname@example.org) and project planner, Russell Brady (RBrady@rivco.org), letting them know that you support the planning commission’s recommendation to “deny the project.”
Let this be a celebration of desert habitats and good decisions!
Nick Jensen is a conservation analyst for the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) in Southern California and a fellow of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation. Jensen recently earned his PhD in botany at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG)/Claremont Graduate University. As a graduate student he produced the first Flora of Tejon Ranch (* in preparation) and studied evolutionary patterns in perennial jewelflowers. For more information please contact him at Nick Jensen at email@example.com.
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