Ambient Communities Invests in Critical Mountain Lion Corridor
Ambient Communities, developer of the 270-acre Temecula Master Plan Community known as Altair, will set aside over 450 acres and contribute millions of dollars for wildlife corridors. This environmental investment works toward establishing a functional crossing, or corridor, for Mountain Lions between the Santa Ana and Palomar Mountains.
When the State of California built the I-15 freeway through Temecula decades ago, it land-locked several wildlife species west of the freeway. The Altair Specific Plan, will set aside over 450 acres and contribute millions of dollars in perpetuity for the benefit of local wildlife conservation, demonstrating that Ambient has gone above and beyond any requirements in working towards a long-term solution.
In Altair’s 8,000+ page Environmental Impact Report, the 700 square-mile area west of Temecula, is home to approximately 30 to 35 Mountain Lions. This area is surrounded by the I-15 freeway, San Diego, Orange, and Riverside Counties. Although many Mountain Lion populations (including the Palomar Mountain population) are doing well in California, the freeway has isolated this Santa Ana Mountain Lion population resulting in a lack of genetic diversity which if unaddressed could lead to this population’s extinction. For many years, this issue has been a top concern for environmentalists and the most desired solution is a crossing over or under the I-15, in an undeveloped location, south of Temecula.
In late 2017, Ambient purchased 65 acres south of the Altair project and west of I-15 in the area scientists have targeted to be the most viable, long-term wildlife crossing. The Nature Conservancy acquired 73 acres on the opposite side of I-15. “The desire for a wildlife crossing in this location has been discussed by environmental groups for over a decade. Controlling the land on both sides of the freeway was the critical first step to making it a reality,” says Rob Honer, a Principal with Ambient Communities. “We take great pride in the final design of the Altair Specific Plan, the environmental and conservation investments we have made and know it will be a great addition to Temecula and the Mountain Lion Population.”
The Temecula City Council approved the Altair Specific Plan in December 2017.