The mission of The Chaparral Lands Conservancy is to protect shrubland ecosystems as an integral and beautiful feature of California’s natural landscape through land preservation and stewardship. The Conservancy was founded in 2009 by veteran San Diego environmental advocate David Hogan to advance the conservation of shrublands, related ecosystems, dependent plants and animals and especially endangered species through acquisition of land and/or management rights, habitat restoration and enhancement, stewardship, research, and education.
WHAT WE DO
The Chaparral Lands Conservancy was founded to fill several empty niches in the field of natural land management in California. The Conservancy is specifically focused on the special management needs of wildlife and plants dependent on California’s unique chaparral biome and interdependent ecosystems.
The Conservancy develops habitat restoration and enhancement projects to benefit the rarest of the rare habitats and species – endangered species in critical need of direct intervention to prevent extinction and assist with recovery. The Conservancy works to protect any rare shrubland region vegetation or critically endangered species in need of assistance irrespective of their charismatic appeal – Seemingly obscure and sometimes homely plants and animals are the glue that binds California’s web of life. The Conservancy is also dedicated to research to improve our knowledge of the conservation needs of target habitats and species and is committed to improving the public’s understanding of the incredible nature and diversity of life of shrublands in their own backyards.
Activities of The Chaparral Lands Conservancy fall into 5 basic categories:
- aquisition of land and/or management rights
- habitat restoration and enhancement
The Conservancy is entirely focused on proactive habitat conservation activities and does not intervene in developments or other projects that would harm chaparral lands natural resources – Other groups like the Center for Biological Diversity and The California Chaparral Institute conduct worthy shrubland and endangered species advocacy activities.
The Conservancy intends to acquire the rights to manage shrubland wildlife, plants, endangered species and natural land areas as opportunities arise and funding permits. Rights to manage shrubland resources will be obtained through various means ranging from purchase or donation of fee simple ownership, the acquisition of conservation easements, establishment of management agreements with property owners, and others.
In an effort to restore functional ecosystems, the Conservancy has and will continue to plan and implement various projects to restore and enhance shrubland resources that have been degraded by land clearing or tilling, off-road vehicle activity, trash dumping, invasion of non-native and plants and animals, and other harmful activities and impacts. Planning and implementation of restoration and enhancement of shrubland resources has and will continue to take place as opportunities arise and funding permits.
The Conservancy will conduct long-term stewardship activities to maintain existing and restored shrubland resources on properties under its rights to management. Stewardship is the long-term act of maintaining either existing or restored shrubland resource values and follows shorter-term and more intensive resource restoration and enhancement activities. For example, the Conservancy might conduct an intensive, short-term restoration and enhancement project on a property under its rights to management and involving the removal of fill from wetlands, reintroduction of endangered species, weeding, fencing, and signing. Once the project is complete, the Conservancy would then provide long-term stewardship of the area involving monitoring for successful establishment of the endangered species, supplemental weeding, replacement of damaged fencing or signs, and nature walks and other public education activities.
To further the understanding of necessary measures for conservation of shrubland resources, the Conservancy has and will continue to conduct scientific research on shrubland ecology, animals, and plants as a critical component of its habitat restoration, enhancement, and stewardship activities. For example, in one recent project the Conservancy contracted with the University of San Diego to conduct technical surveys for vernal pool fauna in general and the endangered San Diego fairy shrimp in particular prior to carrying out a restoration and enhancement project so as to identify specific measures to benefit the species as part of the project.
Conservancy project sites are often located in very close proximity to large suburban communities. We recognize that the success of any restoration and enhancement project is dependent in part on facilitating an understanding of the importance of the project and engagement in project activities by neighbors and the surrounding community at large. As such the Conservancy has and will continue to take steps to generate public interest and engagement in its conservation projects. For example, the Conservancy has collaborated with California Trout in a “Backyard Wilderness” program to lead public educational workshops and hands-on activities such as planting, trash pickup related to specific habitat restoration projects.
David Hogan, President / Director
David Hogan has worked as a professional environmental advocate for over twenty years. Prior to founding The Chaparral Lands Conservancy in January 2009 David worked for the Center for Biological Diversity for 15 years to preserve forests, deserts, and chaparral wildlife, plants and wild lands in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. At the Center David specialized in advocacy to protect imperiled shrublands on southern California National Forests, to protect dwindling vernal pool wetlands, and in improving regional habitat conservation plans such as the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Plan. Before joining the Center David filed listing petitions for over two dozen species, including the original petition to list the California gnatcatcher, a species whose subsequent listing set in motion several southern California regional habitat conservation plans. David also helped design a vernal pool restoration project and conducted scientific surveys for the endangered San Diego fairy shrimp. David is a member of the board for The California Chaparral Institute, was a founding member of the boards for the Southern California Steelhead Coalition and the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, and has also served on the boards of the San Diego League of Conservation Voters and the San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club. In 2006 David received the Sierra Club’s local “Community Activist” award.
Allison Rolfe, Secretary
Allison Rolfe is the Director of Planning and Entitlements for Pacifica Companies, a diversified real estate development company. Allison is the Project Manager for the company’s Seacoast Inn Redevelopment Project, the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan development, and the Grover Beach Lodge. Allison spent 10 years in the environmental non-profit sector as a community organizer and advocate for endangered species and habitats in California. Immediately preceding her current position with Pacifica, Allison was the land use advisor to Chula Vista Mayor and California Coastal Commissioner Steve Padilla. She has an undergraduate degree from UCSD in Political Science with a minor in Environmental Studies, as well as a graduate degree in Geography from San Diego State University.
Ileene Anderson, Treasurer
Ileene Anderson is a botanist who has worked extensively throughout southern California for decades. Her work spans from floral inventories, to vegetation mapping, to restoration and revegetation planning and monitoring, to post fire monitoring and rare plant surveys. Because of her love of native California vegetation and natural landscapes, Ileene now devotes her time to conservation of these world-class ecosystems – not only flora, but the fauna that call these native plant communities home. Ileene worked for 7 years as Southern California Regional Botanist for the California Native Plant Society and is currently the Public Lands Desert Director at the Center for Biological Diversity where she has worked since 2005. Because chaparral is a quintessentially California landscape that is threatened with degradation and elimination in southern California, Ileene is honored to serve on the board of The Chaparral Lands Conservancy.