New California nature reserve to give wildlife more room to roam

Mountain lions, eagles, salamanders and other protected animals will have room to roam without the threat of invasive development thanks to a vast new nature reserve that creates a wildlife corridor connecting northern and southern California.

The Randall Preserve covers more than 112 square miles (290 km²), connecting a patchwork of ranches across the southern Sierra Nevada and the Tehachapi Mountains that will serve as a “biodiversity hotspot,” the Nature Conservancy announced last week. .

The reserve is the largest ever assembled in California by the nonprofit environmental association. Its topography stretches from the desert to rolling meadows through the pine forest.

“This area is also one of the most important in North America, as by connecting northern and southern California, it helps complete an intact network of open space lands from Canada to Mexico,” said Nature Conservancy in a press release.

The project cost $ 65 million, all of which but $ 15 million was donated by philanthropists Frank and Joan Randall.

It will enable the movement of rare, threatened and endangered animals that have been threatened by habitat loss, fragmentation and extreme weather events.

“Protecting this huge area ensures that 28 susceptible species across California, including slender salamanders, condors, legless lizards, golden eagles, primrose sphinxes, pumas, badgers and several endangered plants and blue oaks have the best chance of survival, ”the statement said.

As part of the reserve, the Nature Conservancy said it will work with state transportation officials to create a system of wildlife crossings on and under certain mountain roads to further facilitate safe travel. animals in the area.

In addition to Randalls money, the reserve has been funded by public and private donors including the Wildlife Conservation Board, Department of The Navy, CalTrans, Resources Legacy Fund, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

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