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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | santa cruz county
Terrace Point background information

The Santa Cruz Group of the Sierra Club’s Ventana Chapter has been actively working to preserve open space, wildlife habitat, and water quality of the Terrace Point property for the last 10 years. Currently, our Group is reviewing draft environmental planning documents issued during the last 6 months by the University in preparation for a Draft Long Range Development Plan and accompanying Environmental Impact Report. A brief description of the status of the land follows.

The University is currently preparing a long-range development plan for the Terrace Point property. Such a plan has been required by the California Coastal Commission in order to provide the public with a comprehensive understanding of how the University plans on developing the property as a whole. An environmental impact report is also being prepared to disclose and analyze any potential environmental impacts of the proposed developments. The Sierra Club and the public as a whole will have the opportunity to comment on these documents as they are released in draft stage and again in front of the California Coastal Commission sometime between June 2002 and May 2003.

The Group has identified the following environmental issues facing development at Terrace Point:

- the property has extensive wetlands that serve to provide clean water to the adjoining Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary and the fragile Younger Lagoon Reserve;

- rare raptors such as the Northern harrier, black-shouldered kite, and burrowing owl have been seen feeding on the very numerous meadow voles and gophers inhabiting the site;

- the property serves as an important open space area for west side residents who have enjoyed walking their dogs, hiking, and biking this scenic area for years;

- paving large areas of the site will create an immense drainage problem, impacting the downstream wildlife of Younger Lagoon Reserve, which receives fully one third of its fresh water from the Terrace Point property

- the University appears to be attempting to route State wetlands laws by redefining the methodology for delineating wetlands along the coast. If allowed, such precedent could allow substantial areas of California’s coastline to be destroyed, impacting clean water and wildlife habitat.

- The Coastal Commission has wisely mandated that any future development of Terrace Point be “coastally dependent;” that is, require immediate access to this sensitive coastline through need for fresh seawater, for instance. In the past on this site, the University has even gone so far as to put expensive seawater systems.

Lead activist:
Grey Hayes, (831) 426-3880.

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