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Earthrise

Fuel Break Would Destroy Rare Plants that Exist Nowhere Else on Earth

December 07, 2016

On behalf of two California conservation organizations, Los Padres ForestWatch and the California Chaparral Institute, Earthrise filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to protect rare and sensitive species that live in the path of a massive, remote fuel break recently approved in the Los Padres National Forest.  

The Gaviota Fuel Break would clear-cut native chaparral vegetation across a six-mile-long, 300-foot-wide swath along the crest of the scenic Santa Ynez Mountains in Santa Barbara County.  Far from any structures, the fuel break will destroy rare Refugio manzanita plants that exist nowhere else on earth.  

The lawsuit asks the court to order the Forest Service to conduct a proper environmental analysis of the Gaviota Fuel Break and to implement the project consistent with the Los Padres Forest Plan, which requires buffers around Refugio manzanita populations and basic protections for at least two other rare plants and animals in the path of the fuel break.