Puente-Chino Hills Wildlife Corridor
The Puente-Chino Hills Wildlife Corridor is a vital slice of undeveloped land that runs from Whittier through the Puente Hills Open Space area to the 12,452-acre Chino Hills State Park in the hills above Yorba Linda and Brea. Wildlife is able to cross under the 91 Freeway at Coal Canyon to gain entry to the nearby Cleveland National Forest and Orange County sprawling regional park system. This corridor connects to a unique network of protected areas that runs literally from Whittier to the Pacific Ocean in Northern San Diego County. Wildlife or biological corridors help maintain healthy populations of plants and animals allowing for genetic exchange, species migration and repopulating after a catastrophe such as a fire.
The Puente-Chino Hills Wildlife Corridor contains more than 100 animal species including deer, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, hawks, owls, opossums, raccoons, gray squirrels quail, doves and butterflies. And the vegetation includes sycamore, oak, walnut woodlands, coastal sage scrub and grasses that contribute to the beauty of the open space area, and provide a refuge and foraging ground for many animal species.
Key Linkage Facing Greatest Threat
The proposed Aera development property adjacent to the HOSEC cities has been already been identified by federal, state and local government as a unique and valuable habitat. These conclusions are drawn from recognition that this 3,000-acres that has been used for oil production represents the most critical “missing” portion of the Puente-Chino Hills Wildlife Corridor. Conservation groups have dubbed this property the “Missing Middle” for its strategic location between the Puente Hills Open Space area and the Chino Hills State Park. This area is also a designated Missing Linkage by the California Wildlands Project (SEE ITEM 24 IN THE BIBLIOGRAPHY).
Also more recently, proposals have begun circulation about the development of high volume streets across the hills, and a controversial plan proposed by the City of Industry to build a mammoth reservoir with a series of dams for a power generating plant on the former Firestone Boy Scouts Reservation, located to the east of the 57 Freeway and next to the Aera property. Critics have pointed out that the well-identified Whittier Earthquake Fault runs immediately adjacent to the proposed reservoir.