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Home > Feature Articles > Landscaping

SCAG's Open Space and Habitat Action Plan

SCAG develops plans for open space and habitat across Southern California

Find green business solutions
green agriculture crops food The Southern California Association of Governments has wide ranging planning and program impact on this region.

One area of focus is "open space". In late 2006, the SCAG staff put together its plan of focus for:

1. Natural Open Space
2. Community Open Space
3. Agricultural Lands

The overall purpose of the Open Space and Habitat program is to establish performance outcomes and an action plan – including measurable performance criteria for the protection of open space and habitat resources in Southern California.

Natural open space areas

Program covers regionally unique or threatened biological resources, large contiguous blocks of natural open space and areas that link large blocks of natural open space.

Community open space

Focus includes recreation areas that function as regional facilities, open space that serves the daily needs or defines the character of local neighborhoods, and open space that connects or buffers land used in developed areas.

Agricultural lands

Of concern are prime farmlands, lands covered by the Williamson Act, agricultural lands that function as buffers or linkages to natural open space and agricultural lands that are important components of community open space. Also all lands that currently have a General Plan Agricultural designation or have a designation that allows specific types of agricultural activities

Community Interconnections

Open space planning is related to many subjects and this is SCAG's preliminary list of possible interconnections:
  • Water – multi benefit, prop funding opportunities
  • Land Use/Housing – smart growth, green buildings
  • Energy – green roofs, community gardens, food security
  • Air Quality – urban forestry
  • Environmental Justice – park access in low income areas
  • Solid Waste – green waste, agricultural waste, forestry waste
Regional planning is a long term view -- and SCAG is continually working to balance regional vitality impacts. SCAG’s open space program will seek to find mechanism for incorporating open space generally, and mitigation considerations specifically, into SCAG’s ongoing planning work. In addition, SCAG will identify resources to direct toward local agencies that choose to implement the provisions of this plan. Programmatic incentives include strengthened Intergovernmental Review (IGR), CEQA reform and/or General Plan consistency. Resources will include funds identified in the current state infrastructure bonds for regional planning incentives. In addition, SCAG will propose various new innovative finance mechanisms for this purpose such as benefit assessment districts, conservation tax credits, SAFETEALU (and other federal fund sources), Purchaseofdevelopment rights, public private partnerships. Additional local funding mechanisms will be explored.

SOURCE: SCAG: Southern California Association of Governments

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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