Last Updated Projects in Protected Spaces
Restoring New Zealand's Environment and Original Birdsong
The RMA is silent on property rights. It treats environmental habitat as public property, even though private owners bear the costs of improving and maintaining them. Last weekend I visited a man many of you will know who has created several hectares of wetland on the shore of the Kaipara Harbour. The compliance issues he’s faced from Council have been enormous. As he put it ‘they keep talking about how important wetlands are until you try to give them some.’ Now that he’s done good work, he risks further ‘public interest’ in his property. It’s a common theme. I’ve visited other farmers who’ve done their best to conserve habitat on their farms only to have it declared a Significant Natural Area under the RMA. Ditto planting native trees. Who would plant a Kauri tree after what happened to the couple in West Auckland? The situation is ridiculous. The reward for doing good conservation is to lose your property rights. We must reform the RMA to respect property rights. Extinctions since human settlement include one bat, at least 51 birds, three frogs, three lizards, one freshwater fish, four plant species, and a number of invertebrates. The sad reality is that we are losing the battle.
Re-Opening Irvine Lake: A Win-Win for Taxpayers and Outdoor Enthusiasts
Irvine Lake is the largest fresh water body in Orange County. Since 1941, the lake has provided the residents of Orange County with a unique opportunity for a variety of recreational activities. In 2014, The Irvine Company made public its intention to transfer certain land parcels it owned surrounding Irvine Lake to Orange County in perpetuity for the benefit of its residents. The land transfer triggered a series of negotiations among, primarily, Orange County Parks, Serrano Water District and Irvine Ranch Water District, seeking agreements on certain matters to move the action forward. Those negotiations stalled and in March 2016, Irvine Lake was closed to the public for fishing, boating and other water recreation. This closure has and continues to result in lost revenues for Orange County taxpayers in addition to lost recreation for its residents. The three public agencies involved in the future operations of Irvine Lake have not announced a plan for its reopening for recreation use since its closure in 2016. Without sufficient historical financial information from SWD, OC Parks cannot project future financial opportunities at Irvine Lake. Minimal effort to engage one another, a lack of creative proposals and slow responsiveness between OC Parks and the water districts have allowed negotiations to stall. Although not a party to any recreation rights, IRWD does have a right of approval over decisions affecting water use rights and water quality. Therefore, settling easement rights issues in a successor document to the 2003 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among SWD, IRWD and TIC is required prior to concluding negotiations on recreation rights. Parties expect to complete this in the first half of 2019. A master plan for recreational activities remains to be developed.
Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion
Louisiana has lost 1.2 million acres of land since the 1930s, exposing communities to increased risk of flooding and threatening wildlife habitat and industries. The state is losing a football field of land every 100 minutes, and without action, Louisiana is projected to lose an additional 2,250 square miles – the equivalent of 33 Washington, D.C.s – over the next 50 years. Coastal Louisiana suffers from some of the highest rates of sea level rise and land loss in the nation, further exacerbated by storm and hurricane events. One quarter of the country’s waterborne commerce moves through Louisiana ports. Wetlands loss risks coastal fisheries and a third of the nation’s domestic oil production.
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