ASF Logo

Arroyo Seco Foundation

News of the Arroyo


Group looks to link 'habitat islands' for wildlife


Arroyo & Foothills Conservancy secures grant to go toward corridor study.




April 9, 2015 - The Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy is initiating a study of wildlife corridors from the Arroyo Seco across the front range of the Santa Monica Mountains all the way to Big Tujunga Canyon.


Sara Cardine,


La Cañada News


A local conservancy will soon embark on a regional study of open spaces, from the Big Tujunga Wash through the Verdugo Mountains and San Rafael Hills to Pasadena's Arroyo Seco, in an attempt to map potential wildlife corridors.

Members of the Arroyo & Foothills Conservancy say the study — paid for by a recent $16,667 grant from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMCC) and its own $8,333 in matching funds — is an important first step in getting a broader view of areas that could play a role in habitat protection.

The study is also necessary to secure state funding that will allow the group to purchase key pieces of land to connect virtual "habitat islands," where larger migrating animals like mountain lions and bobcats get stuck, interbreed and produce genetically inferior offspring.

"This can create linkages between the San Rafaels and the Verdugos, and it can improve linkages to make all of this a big corridor," said John Howell, chief executive and general counsel for the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy. "It would really make these areas viable homes for wildlife that are pretty limited and restricted right now."

An open-space study will guide the creation of a Conceptual Area Protection Plan (CAPP), a planning document that functions like a city's general plan, but for the sake of guiding future preservation efforts rather than development.

Once the CAPP is accepted by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, that agency can recommend its projects and potential land acquisitions to the California Wildlife Conservation Board, a major funder of wildlife habitat protection, restoration and public access projects.

Howell said conservationists initially sought to create a protection plan for Cottonwood Canyon, an 11-acre parcel of land near La Cañada that connects the Arroyo Seco, just south of Devil's Gate Dam, to the San Rafael mountains.

But when a fish and wildlife specialist visited the area, which contains a year-round spring and is a haven for hundreds of local species, he recommended the group broaden its scope to see how Cottonwood might fit into a broader network of improvements.

"He said he would like a bigger vision, a broader view and a bigger plan," Howell said.

In a recent AFC press release, Board Chair Matt DeVoll praised the group's partnership with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and thanked fellow board members Anthony Portantino and Tim Wendler for their work on the SMCC advisory committee.

"It is our hope that this CAPP is the key that will open the door to significant resources to preserve forever our open spaces for wildlife and recreation," DeVoll stated in the release.

The Arroyo & Foothills Conservancy seeks donors and local residents interested in lending their passion and expertise to protected wild lands for the purpose of restoration and historical and educational outreach within the community.

For more information, visit




Arroyo Seco Foundation, 570 W. Avenue 26 #450, Los Angeles, CA 90065-1011
PO Box 91622, Pasadena, CA 91109-1622 (323) 405-7326