Commission Declares Spineflower Endangered

From Times Staff Reports

The San Fernando Valley spineflower--which was believed to be extinct until discovered on two housing development sites in 1999--has been declared an endangered species by the California Fish and Game Commission.

Spineflowers were discovered at Ahmanson Ranch in Ventura County and at Newhall Ranch in neighboring Los Angeles County. Both developments would create a total of more than 25,000 homes.

At Thursday's commission meeting, the flower was declared endangered, and Ahmanson Ranch developers said they plan to set aside 330 acres to preserve its habitat.

The plan will preserve nearly 1.6 million plants, or about 90% of the known population, said Guy Gniadek, president of the Ahmanson Land Co.

Environmentalists have opposed the Ahmanson development, voicing concerns about the fate of the flower, water quality and other issues. Developers must still secure a number of permits and environmental assurances before beginning construction.

Some critics in the west San Fernando Valley are concerned about traffic and runoff from the proposed development.

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