Mission, Vision and Action Plan
We fully support the mission of the national Sierra Club, which is:
To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth;
To practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources;
To educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of our natural and human environment; and
To use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.
As part of the national mission some specific local goals of the Santa Clarita Valley Sierra Club are:
To preserve, enhance, and restore the environmental qualities of this valley that called us to reside here;
To partner with city councils, planning commissions, water boards, developers, and conservancy groups to ensure that environmental values are primary in planning and implementing future growth in the Santa Clarita Valley;
To ensure that recreational facilities are available for all types of outdoor enjoyment, from soccer fields and swimming pools to hiking trails and bicycle paths.
Our vision : Fifty years from today Santa Clarita is a dynamic community of people excited about their quality of life, living in harmony with nature - respecting, protecting, and benefiting enormously from our remarkable natural resources, which are no longer threatened. The environmental quality of life of these future citizens is even better than the one we experience today.
Future Santa Claritans have become diligent stewards of air quality, as demonstrated by our use of nonpolluting transportation. As a result, fewer children suffer from asthma and senior citizens live longer, more productive lives.
Future citizens of Santa Clarita value the efforts of today’s citizens for ensuring an ample supply of uncontaminated, drinkable water. Future citizens are vigilant in maintaining our river’s feeder streams and value our watershed and aquifers that play an important role in maintaining a sustainable supply of drinking water.
Santa Claritans of the future are grateful and protective of the Santa Clara River which supports our zestful quality of life in many ways. Fifty years from now it flows beautifully and frequently. Thus, the amount of water that percolates into our aquifer has increased since the days when our river bed looked deceptively dry. This future community enjoys a sense of harmony with nature, preserves the variety of plants and animals the river supports and takes delight in journeying along its many trails.
This enviable quality of life is greatly enhanced by natural open spaces within and surrounding our community. Future citizens continue to preserve the mountains and forests surrounding Santa Clarita, ensure biodiversity, maintain wildlife corridors, and protect threatened species. All development honors these values as well as the desire to have fun parks and beautiful, environmentally rich surroundings.
The children and adults of the future treasure the river, the many parks, and the green belt around Santa Clarita for the gifts they bring to all living things. They also have an annual Gratefulness Ceremony to remember and honor their ancestors who worked to preserve the river, the water, the oaks and who also created parks, pools and trails.
A Plan to Achieve the Sierra Club Vision for the Santa Clarita Valley
Given the preceding SCV Sierra Club vision, our mission demands that we establish a plan to achieve it. The following plan should be considered a work in progress. On the other hand, there is strong consensus as to what needs to be done and, as is evident below, there is much to be done.
First, we designate the geographic borders for which this plan is specific, understanding that development within this area can have direct and cumulative impacts outside its limits and vice-versa. The general area this plan addresses includes the full Santa Clara River drainage between Ventura County Line and Acton – practically speaking: Castaic to the north, Acton to the east, confluence of 5 and 14 to the south and Newhall Ranch in the West. In particular, this region includes the City of Santa Clarita, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and considerable Forest Service land.
Accompanying this plan is a map that locates the areas highlighted below.
Next, the main issues are listed below after which specific plans for each issue are outlined.
- Santa Clara River
- Parks and Recreation
- Open Space
- Transportation and Traffic
- Air Quality
- Flora and Fauna/ Wildlife Corridors
1. Santa Clara River
- Educate the public on importance of the Santa Clara River and its tributaries.
- Bring the 500-year floodplain into public ownership from Fillmore to Acton. This will protect, preserve and make the river available for restricted recreational use. This requires an active program of working together with landowners and a wide variety of agencies to buy and administer this critical habitat. This is the goal of our Santa Clara River Greenway Campaign.
- Don’t allow construction in the Santa Clara River 500-year floodplain.
- Reduce chlorides in river – get rid of regenerative water softeners.
- Allow for buffer areas and wildlife habitat along river – development must occur at least 15 feet above floodplain.
- Work to keep Newhall Ranch Project out of the Santa Clara River and significantly reduce its density.
- Fight the proposed Cemex Mine to block its deleterious effects on the river and our air quality.
- Create support to remove the invasive Arundo Donax from the Santa Clara River and its tributaries.
- Work to ensure that SCREMP and NOT Newhall Land’s NRMP is the true Santa Clara River Management Plan.
2. Parks and Recreation
- Annex Placerita Park into the City of Santa Clarita and make it a city park.
- Ensure that the City of Santa Clarita enforces the 5 acres of required parkland per thousand required of developers as stated in the city’s general plan.
- Encourage the city to acquire more parkland, especially on the Santa Clara River.
- Encourage the City to build more active recreation areas.
3. Open Space
- Work for passage of Boxer Wilderness Heritage Bill.
- Support Feinstein-Schiff Rim of the Valley Bill.
- County Significant Ecological Areas (SEA) – make sure city involved and is not in violation of SEATAC process. Work towards new SEAs.
- Support forest service long range plan alternative 6.
- Create a publicly owned green ring around the Santa Clarita Valley.
- Bring the rest of Elsmere Canyon into public ownership and annex it into the city.
- Bring the rest of the Santa Clarita Woodlands into public ownership and establish it as a State Park.
- Bring the Newhall Ranch high country into public ownership.
- Acquire remaining Placerita Canyon in-holdings (there are existing funds for doing this at LA County).Set aside some areas in Castaic abutting forest service lands.
- Grow and enhance a trail system connecting all these ring canyons.
- Support City of Santa Clarita Open Space Plan and work to improve it.
- Work to build more trails for people, bikes and animals.
- Support California High Speed Rail Project to run through Santa Clarita.
- Promote Metrolink and bus use.
- Work to reduce density of development to ease growth of road congestion.
- Bring the city/county traffic model into the public light so that future development will be based on public information, not privately held developer generated information.
5. Air Quality
- Require development projects to minimize PM10 and PM2.5 pollution.
- Encourage the use and expansion of public transportation.
- Work to create local air quality testing stations.
- Encourage fuel-efficient cars and trucks. Support legislation that mandates improved efficiency vehicles. Discourage SUVs/Hummers, diesels and work to remove government subsidies for them.
- Promote wind, solar and other alternative energy sources.
- Preserve water quality by cleaning up perchlorate and other toxic contaminants.
- Make sure there is sufficient water available before permitting building projects. This requires an honest and technically accurate Water Management Plan being used by all local water agencies and retailers.
- Monitor by rigorous testing the quality of our water at regular river locations in league with other conservation organizations.
7. Flora and Fauna/Wildlife Corridors
- Make sure that the City of Santa Clarita’s Oaks Ordinance is enforced and not weakened.
- Protect our native species and, in particular, threatened or endangered species.
- Protect all vital animal corridors including:
- Santa Susanas/Los Padres (across Hwy 126).
- San Gabriels/Santa Susanas (across I5 and I14) including Las Lomas.
- Sierra Pelonas/San Gabriels (across Sierra Hwy and I14) including Tick Canyon.
- The Santa Clara River.
- Work for more low cost and senior housing.
- Ensure that City of Santa Clarita’s Hillside ordinance is enforced.
- Encourage the use of drought tolerant plants in landscaping.
- Promote GREEN buildings.
Get a Development Monitoring System (DMS) instituted as the main tool for city planning. This DMS could incorporate a Mitigation Bank with riparian credits (what and where).
- Require much more from developers with new development proposals including more environmental design elements.
- Work to require honest and competent companies (not Impact Sciences) to do (Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) .
- Reduce overcrowding by working to reduce overall housing density and demanding more school construction and land from developers.
- Demand more and better land for school location.
- Present environmental programs at schools to heighten the awareness of the next generation.