Skip to comments.CA: Endangered shrimp delaying new school (endangered fairy shrimp found in vernal pools)
Posted on 03/04/2007 2:32:33 PM PST by NormsRevenge
SAN DIEGO When the Stevens family bought a house in Mira Mesa in 1980, they were told an elementary school would be built in their neighborhood on land set aside by housing developer Pardee Homes.
More than two decades later, the site sits vacant. And Mira Mesa residents are unlikely to see a school until the end of the decade, even though the San Diego Unified School District had promised to build one as part of its $1.51 billion construction program funded by a 1998 bond measure.
Jonas Salk Elementary School was supposed to open off Parkdale Avenue and Flanders Drive last September, but construction remains stalled by endangered fairy shrimp found in vernal pools on the 13-acre property.
Under the Endangered Species Act, the school district must develop a plan to compensate for the destruction of the shrimp's habitat before construction can begin.
A recent federal court ruling halting developments in San Diego that affect the region's rapidly vanishing vernal pools has complicated matters further. To comply with the Endangered Species Act, the district wants to preserve 6 acres of fairy shrimp habitat at Mira Mesa's Sharon Christa McAuliffe Community Park in exchange for building on the Salk site, which has 98 vernal pools. The district, in turn, would use some of its Salk site for a city park.
More than 20 of McAuliffe Park's 33 acres already are off-limits to development because of fairy shrimp and vernal pools. The district is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine how conducive conditions at certain areas of the park are for the fairy shrimp. The district needs a permit from the city to enter the park to conduct soil tests, and it may need other permits to create or enhance fairy shrimp habitat there.
Dave Umstot, the district's executive director of facilities, said the environmental work can take up to 18 months.
The land swap, agreed to in concept by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is in limbo while the city awaits clarification from the court on whether the legal ruling halting developments applies to the school project.
All this has created immense frustration for Mira Mesa residents who again are caught in an environmental debate. McAuliffe Park was to be developed into a recreation center with a swimming pool and other amenities. That plan was scrapped after fairy shrimp and vernal pools were discovered.
Ted Brengel, chairman of the Mira Mesa Community Planning Group, said he is not opposed to conservation, but he believes holding up development at the Salk school site is unfair.
What's more important? The children or the fairy shrimp? Brengel said.
Salk is supposed to relieve crowding at Hage and Mason elementary schools, which serve more than 1,500 students.
Umstot said Salk probably won't be completed until 2010. It won't be built under the Proposition MM bond measure.
Salk could be funded through state facilities funds, Umstot said. The district anticipates getting $375 million to $500 million in such funds to match what it raised through Proposition MM. The district also plans to float another bond measure in 2008 for school construction.
Jeff Stevens, president of the Mira Mesa Town Council, is worried the land swap would be affected by the reorganization of the city's Park and Recreation Department, which led to the departure of key employees.
It's been a real problem getting three bureaucracies the school district, the city and U.S. Fish and Wildlife to work on this, Stevens said.
Today Stevens' older daughter, who was 2 when they moved to Mira Mesa, is 28, married and about to graduate from law school. The elementary school, he laments, is still not built.
Hey, it's California. Invertebrates have more rights than citizens these days... well, it sure seems like it.
Education held up on account of gay shrimp. Only in California.
Especially if they are
fairy homosexual shrimp.
Well, it looks like she did OK without going to a new school.
Has actual DNA testing been done to confirm these are the true endangered fairy shrimp species? As of last year the DNA testing had not been done, it had only been declared by fiat that these were indeed the endangered fairy shrimp.
The lot did not exist before Pardee created it by filling in a canyon. Where did the fairy shrimp come from?
The lot has been used, basically, as a junk dump over the years. Attempts were made to provide mitigation and, of course, none of those have satisfied the environmentals.
They have a number of local fairy shrimps, some larger than others.
It looks like we're already providing habitat for the little blighters..
FWS designates critical habitat for the
endangered Riverside fairy Shrimp
360 acres of it..
Ya can't eat 'em, they're tiny things,, well not unless ya net 'em to catch enough to fill a pot. ;-)
Don't let the facts get in the way... It isn't California who did this.
Endangered Species Act is a Federal law.
It was the Federal courts that stepped in and blocked construction.
Looks like a Sea Monkey to me.
Can't someone just spray bleach into the pools and kill the shrimp? End of story.
Federal Government: Speaking with forked tongue for 221 years, and counting.