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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Environment Element Group takes step toward preservation

Joshua Tree WildflowersThe Countywide Vision Environment Element Group on Wednesday prioritized what additional research is needed to develop a comprehensive approach to the preservation and conservation of habitat for threatened and endangered species in San Bernardino County.

The Group selected as its next steps:

  • The creation of a countywide inventory of conservation lands in the county and establishment of a system for tracking new conservation land acquisitions
  • The completion of a detailed analysis of where threatened and endangered species live in comparison to known conservation lands to identify any gaps in protection of those focal species

This was the fourth time in the past year that the Group consisting of experts in environmental protection, land use, infrastructure, utilities, business and regulatory agencies has met to develop a plan for how to best balance habitat preservation and conservation with expected population and economic growth.

Dudek, an environmental and engineering consulting firm hired last year by San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), has been assisting the Group with the creation of a framework and plan for developing a regional conservation approach.

The additional research tasks chosen by the Group were among the potential next steps suggested by Dudek. The Group decided it needed the information from the countywide conservation lands inventory and habitat gap analysis to better understand the benefits and limitations of possible conservation approaches.

The Group will request financial assistance from the County of San Bernardino and SANBAG to complete the research.

In December and January, the Group reached agreement on a set of policy and biological principles to guide future preservation and conservation of habitat for threatened and endangered species in a way that is beneficial for the health of the environment, the economy, and the citizens of San Bernardino County.

Last year, Dudek staff collected information about existing conservation efforts throughout the county. They provided the Environment Element Group with their insights from their interviews of officials with cities and towns, the County, regional planning and infrastructure entities, environmental protection groups, resource conservation districts, state and federal regulatory and resource agencies, including:

  • Some municipalities have addressed habitat conservation by designating lands as open space, adopting hillside protection ordinances, and preparation of individual habitat conservation plans.
  • State and federal wildlife agencies would like to see a connected and comprehensive approach to habitat conservation.

Anyone with valuable insights into conservation planning efforts anywhere in the county is encouraged to contact Josh Lee at SANBAG – jlee@sanbag.ca.gov.

Middle School Students To Attend STEM Day At Auto Club Speedway

Eleven middle schools in San Bernardino and Riverside counties will attend the sixth annual Auto Club Speedway STEM Day on March 20 as part of the Auto Club 400 Weekend. The STEM Day event will be held at the speedway beginning at 9 a.m.

More than 500 students are expected to participant in the event, which will feature special guest speakers Daniel Suarez, a NASCAR Xfinity Series Driver; Dakota Sun, National Hot Rod Association Sportsman Motorcycle National Event Champion; and Ivan “Iron Man” Stewart, an off-road racing legend.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are a foundation to the motorsports industry. Students will spend the day participating in a series of hands-on activities demonstrating how concepts are used in the sport of racing.

Students attending will receive a pair of reserved grandstand tickets to the Auto Club 400 race on March 22, courtesy of sponsor King Taco.

Participating schools – and their districts — include:

Almeria Middle School, Fontana Unified School District; Alliance_for_Education

Big Bear Middle, Bear Valley Unified;

Cobalt Institute for Math and Science, Victor Valley Union High School District;

Grace Yokley Middle, Mountain View;

Kolb Middle, Rialto Unified;

Mesa View Middle, Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified;

Ranchero Middle, Hesperia Unified;

Upland Junior High, Upland Unified;

Vanguard Prep, Apple Valley Unified;

Vineyard Junior High, Ontario-Montclair;

Vista Verde Middle, Val Verde Unified.

STEM Day is made possible with the funding from Alcoa Foundation; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Toyota Financial Services; John Elway’s Crown Toyota; Toyota Motor Sales; King Taco; and the Inland Empire United Way.

Educational partners teaming up with Auto Club Speedway include San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools’ Alliance for Education; Chaffey College; Ontario-Montclair School District; San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools; San Bernardino Community College District; San Bernardino Valley College; MESA Program; and University of California, Riverside.

IEEP honors SBCounty red-tape cutters

The Inland Empire Economic Partnership recently recognized the leaders of more than two dozen Inland Empire governments and agencies at its Second Annual “Turning Red Tape to Red Carpet Awards” reception, 14 of them representing San Bernardino County and the Countywide Vision’s Regional Goal of  establishing the county as a model in the state where local government, regulatory agencies and communities are truly business-friendly.

ieeplogoThe IEEP, the region’s largest economic development organization, honored the cities, counties and agencies that came up with innovative ways to enhance job growth and the local economy despite an often-difficult regulatory environment. These are the San Bernardino County agencies, departments and people that have gone the extra yard to grow the economy.

Business Retention and Expansion

FINALISTS: The San Bernardino Community College District for far exceeding its goals of hiring local people to work on capital improvement projects; City of Redlands for an aggressive downtown improvement project that was accomplished without the use of the city’s general fund.

Sustainable and Green Development

WINNER: City of Rancho Cucamonga for an automation project for numerous city departments that puts vital services online for the first time, dramatically reducing the amount of paper and ink that must be used as well as the need to drive to city offices.

RUNNER UP: San Bernardino Associated Governments, for a regional plan to reduce greenhouse gases in compliance with state laws that brings simplicity and consistency for 21 cities in San Bernardino County.

OTHER FINALIST: San Bernardino Community College District, for alternative energy measures in construction, landscaping and energy consumption, along with other environmental strategies.

Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse

FINALISTS: City of Ontario, for a downtown office building project the will provide jobs while maintaining the character of the area; City of Rialto, for its repurposing a blighted area and helping create that land into the site of a 718,000-square-foot logistics center.

Public-Private Partnership

RUNNER-UP: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, which rallied other agencies to work with the promoters of the San Manuel Pavilion and other venues, achieving the twin goals of smooth operations and public safety.

Response to Globalization

WINNER: San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department, for using GIS technology to develop a computerized system that lets would-be developers, even developers in other countries, to self-search vacant land in the county.

Tales of Two Cities: Stories of Interagency Cooperation

WINNER: City of Rancho Cucamonga Library, for developing a program, in partnership with Riverside, Ontario and others, to establish new training parameters for a next generation of librarians in the Inland Empire.

RUNNER-UP: City of Fontana, for bringing other cities and agencies on board to solve issues relating to Interstate 10 interchange development, which helped Fontana redevelop some blighted areas.

OTHER FINALISTS: San Bernardino and Riverside counties, along with UCR and Los Angeles, for implementing the state’s Innovation Hub economic development project; The cities of Yucaipa and Calimesa, which work together on numerous projects despite being in two different counties.

Leadership in Public Service

RUNNER-UP: Kristen Riegel, the Supervising Hazardous Materials Specialist for the San Bernardino County Fire Prevention District. She has worked hard to ensure that businesses can operate with a minimal amount of government-imposed fees and still not compromise the environment or the safety of workers. Under her guidance, fees have come down for 20 percent of the businesses that are covered.

Agencies help introduce students to higher education

On March 6, the San Bernardino School District, in partnership with the City of San Bernardino, led a “Path to Success” field trip designed to excite junior high students Pathway_3about local options in higher education.  Six hundred students from Richardson, Shandin Hills, Rodriguez, and King middle schools participated in the event.

The Art Institute, Valley College, and Cal State San Bernardino provided free campus tours and presentations. Omnitrans sponsored transportation for students between institutions on city buses and its sbX rapid transit service. Representatives from the bus agency were on hand to assist each group in navigating their routes.

The three schools are also participants in the Omnitrans GoSmart program, which offers students unlimited free bus rides with their student IDs. Funding for the discounted fare program comes from student fees and administrative sources.

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