The Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved an amended and reduced proposal to protect wildlife species in the county on Tuesday, March 12.

By a 3-2 vote, the Supervisors approved the Habitat Connectivity and Wildlife Corridor proposal following a hearing during with over 100 speakers who voiced their opinions on the subject. The approved proposal would reduce outdoor lighting, which has been shown to be harmful to certain nocturnal species, limit development near rivers and streams and restrict fencing and development near wildlife crossings.

The project has been several years in the making with support from local and national environmental advocates who say that the encroachment of urban civilization has harmed wildlife species.

Included in the project are 200 foot buffers around waterways, including the Santa Clara River, and several structures built to allow for safe passageway over thoroughfares. Close to 400,000 acres of land in Ventura County fall under the Corridor project regulations.

Several changes were made to the original proposal stemming from a Jan. 31 meeting on the project by the Planning Commission but were rejected in favor of the original staff recommendations. The Planning Commission had recommended shrinking the water buffer from 200 feet to 100 feet and excluding the Tierra Rejada Valley. Most notably, in the original project, restrictions were in place for owners of land who wanted to build on more than half an acre of undeveloped parcel in the corridor must apply for a discretionary permit. This requirement was dropped in favor of allowing an initial structure to be built anywhere on the property with any additional structures subject to the stricter regulation.

The Corridor becomes the first of its kind in the nation.

To read more and to see an interactive map of the area in the Corridor, visit https://vcrma.org/habitat-connectivity-and-wildlife-movement-corridors.