We've saved the east side! Let's save the rest.
Preserving West Coyote Hills as natural open space is Fullerton’s call to action to mitigate the threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. West Coyote Hills is a former oil field still owned by Chevron-Pacific Coast Homes. It is the finest coastal sage scrub in the region, in pristine condition, and supports 56+ pairs of the endangered California gnatcatchers (the largest population in Southern California) and 69 pairs of coastal cactus wrens (California state species of special concern). The property has multiple values, including habitat, restoration, access, trail-bikeway, scenic, and educational resources.
The Friends of Coyote Hills have fought to save this precious habitat from development for more than 20 years with breakthroughs in 2013 and 2016 leading to the anticipated acquisition of the east side of the property by late 2021. In 2013 following our Measure W referendum, Chevron agreed to shift development off the parcel adjacent to the Ward Nature Preserve to create a larger swath of contiguous open space. In 2016, we worked with Senator Josh Newman and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva to raise more than $15M of state funds. Chevron funded a grant-writer to help the City of Fullerton find additional funds which made the purchase of the remaining east side of the property possible.
Our work didn’t stop there. With the City of Fullerton working with Chevron and the State to complete the east purchase, we turned our attention to save the remaining west side of the site. For the last few years, we have been working with acquisition experts to identify funding mechanisms. Senator Josh Newman is again spearheading efforts in Sacramento by introducing legislation for significant funding including long term stewardship. Our two state leaders accomplished another significant milestone in the 2021 budget cycle by securing an additional $28 million towards preservation of the entire 510-acre park land.
In early 2023, at the request of Senator Newman, the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy worked with Chevron-Pacific Coast Homes to complete an appraisal of the remaining lands to be acquired. Importantly, this is input to let us know the remaining funds that need to be raised, and to earn Chevron's commitment on continued acquisition. The appraisal is currently under review by the State's Department of General Services (DGS).
Our mission to save all of West Coyote Hills for now and future generations is within reach, perhaps within the next 3-4 years. Chevron has expressed openness to acquisition, but we must act with urgency since development is not off the table.
Here’s what you can do to help. Please thank Senator Newman and Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva for their bold leadership on this issue. Council members Fred Jung and Ahmad Zahra have also pledged their support. Share the #SaveItAll message with your friends and neighbors. Make a donation to support our continued advocacy and make a pledge for acquisition.