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|State Senator Ben Allen Appointed to Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy|
By Niki Cervantes
March 2, 2017 -- State Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) has been appointed to the governing board of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, his office announced Tuesday.
The Conservancy, established in 1980 by the state Legislature, helps preserve more than 72,000 acres of wilderness and parkland encompassed in the nation’s largest urban park, itself a 150,000-acre swath of mountains and coastline in Ventura and Los Angeles counties.
Allen, a former member of the Santa Monica-Malibu School Board, said he was honored.
“As a boy, I spent many days exploring the many wonderful canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains with my father and friends, and I continue to enjoy the mountains today,” Allen said.
“Needless to say, I’ve come to realize how much my life, and the lives of so many fellow Angelenos has been enriched by the invaluable work of the Santa Monica Conservancy," he said.
Allen was in the headlines late last year for trying to help spare the life of P-45, a tagged mountain lion suspected in a killing spree of farm animals in the Santa Monica MountainsDecember 1, 2016).
Allen, along with state Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), were part of a chorus of officials and others who asked the license granted to the Malibu rancher to kill P-45 be rescinded.
The rancher voluntarily asked that the permit be changed to capture the five-year-old puma “in a safe, non-harmful cage,” and then relocate the animal to Wildlife Waystation, a private animal sanctuary in the Los Angeles foothills.
Odds of long-term survival for mountain lions in the area are not the best, confined as they are by the Pacific Ocean and freeways. They have among the lowest genetic diversity of any mountain lion population ever documented, National Park officials say.
Allen and Bloom both support a proposed connective wildlife corridor over Freeway 101 at Liberty Canyon Road.
The proposed 165-foot-wide, 200-foot-long overpass would connect the southern end of the Santa Monica Mountains with the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains.
Allen will be assuming the Conservancy seat previously held by former State Senator Fran Pavley, who did not run for re-election to the 27th District last year. Allen was appointed by the Senate Rules Committee.
The Conservancy has improved more than 114 public recreational facilities, Allen said, and also distributes grants to educational nonprofit organization.
According to the Conservancy’s website, its mission is to “preserve, protect, restore, and enhance treasured pieces of Southern California to form an interlinking system of urban, rural and river parks, open space, trails, and wildlife habitats that are easily accessible to the general public.”
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