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Sensitive Environmental Resource Areas (SERA)

SMMLCP-SERAThese are the Sensitive Environmental Resource Areas (SERAs) identified in the Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program (SMMLCP), which was certified by the California Coastal Commission on October 10, 2014 (a link to the resolution is here).  Also known as Biological Resources in the SMMLCP.  Detailed descriptions of each of the habitat types are provided below, and correspond to the six shapefiles provided in the link (also below).  For more information, please reference the Biological Resources section of the Santa Monica Mountains LCP website.

PLEASE NOTE that the previous version of this plan, called the Malibu Local Coastal Plan (1986) was rescinded with the adoption of this plan.  That previous plan also contained SERAs, but these are no longer available as data layers.  The 1986 Malibu Local Coastal Plan is still available online (click here), but should be used for historical reference only.

Download Shapefiles here – 6 total (.zip)

 

The following are basic descriptions of each of the habitat areas that correspond to the shapefiles above.  Please reference the Biological Resources section of the actual plan for more detailed information (see hyperlinks at the end of each habitat description).

The H1 Habitat category is one of two Sensitive Environmental Resource Areas (SERAs) defined for the Santa Monica Mountains Coastal Zone, the other SERA being H2. A third non-SERA habitat category, H3, is also defined for portions of the Coastal Zone. All three of these habitat categories are described in detail within the Conservation and Open Space Element (Biological Resources section) of the Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal program (SMMLCP).

According to the SMMLCP, “H1 habitat consists of areas of highest biological significance, rarity, and sensitivity. H1 habitats include: alluvial scrub; coastal bluff scrub; dune; native grassland and scrub with a strong component of native grasses or forbs; riparian; native oak, sycamore, walnut and bay woodlands; and rock outcrop habitat types. Wetlands, including creeks, streams, marshes, seeps and springs, are also H1 habitat.” Additional discussion of H1 habitat, including relevant development policies and restrictions, can be found in the SMMLCP, beginning on p.22.

 

H1 Habitat 100-Foot Buffer – The Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program (SMMLCP) extends its discussion of the H1 habitat category by stating that “New development shall provide a buffer of no less than 100 feet from H1 habitat. No development shall be allowed within the required H1 habitat buffer except resource-dependent uses and the following uses in very limited circumstances: (1) public works projects required to protect existing public roads when there is no feasible alternative, as long as impacts to H1 habitat are avoided to the maximum extent feasible, and unavoidable impacts are minimized and mitigated; (2) an access road to a lawfully-permitted new development when there is no other feasible alternative to provide access to public recreation areas or development on a legal parcel, as long as impacts to H1 habitat are avoided to the maximum extent feasible, and unavoidable impacts are minimized and mitigated; (3) a development on a lawfully-created parcel that is minimum development necessary to provide a reasonable economic use of the property and where there is no feasible alternative, as long as impacts to H1 habitat are avoided to the maximum extent feasible, and unavoidable impacts are minimized and mitigated; and (4) continued use and maintenance of an existing, lawfully-established road or driveway to an existing, lawfully-established use.” (SMMLCP, p.25)

 

H1 Habitat Quiet Zone – The Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program (SMMLCP) further extends its discussion of the H1 and H1 100-foot buffer habitat categories by stating that “new development shall also provide an additional 100-foot ‘Quiet Zone’ from H1 habitat where feasible (measured from the outer edge of the 100-foot H1 habitat buffer …), except resource-dependent uses and non-irrigated fuel modification required by the Fire Department for lawfully-established structures, as well as those certain other uses that are allowed in the 100-foot H1 habitat buffer. Horse pasture is allowed on slopes no steeper than 4:1 in the Quiet Zone buffer if consistent with the requirements of the LCP and the development is sited and designed to ensure that no required fuel modification extends into H1 habitat or H1 buffer and it will not adversely affect H1 habitat or wildlife use/movement patterns of the local area or region. If an area designated as the Quiet Zone contains areas of other mapped habitat categories (e.g., H2, H3), the development standards, including the permitted uses, that are most restrictive shall regulate development of the area. (SMMLCP, p.23)

 

The H2 Habitat category is one of two Sensitive Environmental Resource Areas (SERAs) defined for the Santa Monica Mountains Coastal Zone, the other SERA being H1. A third non-SERA habitat category, H3, is also defined for portions of the Coastal Zone. All three of these habitat categories are described in detail within the Conservation and Open Space Element (Biological Resources section) of the Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal program (SMMLCP).

According to the SMMLCP, “H2 habitat consists of areas of high biological significance, rarity, and sensitivity that are important for the ecological vitality and diversity of the Santa Monica Mountains Mediterranean Ecosystem. H2 habitat includes large, contiguous areas of coastal sage scrub and chaparral-dominated habitats.” Additional discussion of H2 habitat, including relevant development policies and restrictions, can be found in the SMMLCP, beginning on p.23.

 

H2 Habitat (High Scrutiny) – According to the Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal Program (SMMLCP), a “subcategory of H2 habitat is H2 ‘High Scrutiny’ habitat, which comprises (1) CNDDB-identified rare natural communities; (2) plant and animal species listed by the State or Federal government as rare, threatened, or endangered; listed by NatureServe as State or Global-ranked 1, 2, or 3, and identified as California Species of Special Concern; and/or (3) CNPS-listed 1B and 2 plant species, normally associated with H2 habitats. H2 “High Scrutiny” habitat also includes (1) plant and animals species listed by the State or Federal government as rare, threatened or endangered, listed by NatureServe as State or Global-ranked 1, 2, or 3, and identified as California Species of Special Concern, and/or (2) CNPS-listed 1B and 2 plant species, normally associated with H1 habitats, where they are found as individuals (not a population) in H2 habitat. New development shall avoid H2 habitat (including H2 High Scrutiny habitat), where feasible, in order to protect these sensitive environmental resource areas from disruption of habitat values. New development shall only be allowed in H2 habitat if it is consistent with the specific limitations and mitigation requirements for development permitted in H2 habitat. H2 High Scrutiny habitat is considered a rare H2 habitat subcategory that shall be given protection priority over other H2 habitat and shall be avoided to the maximum extent feasible.” (SMMLCP, pp.23-24)

 

The H3 Habitat is categorized in the Santa Monica Mountains Local Coastal program (SMMLCP) as “disturbed or isolated habitat areas that provide some important biological functions, but do not rise to a level of significance commensurate with H1 or H2 and is therefore not a SERA” (Sensitive Environmental Resource Area). All three of these habitat categories are described in detail within the Conservation and Open Space Element (Biological Resources section) of the SMMLCP.

The SMMLCP further describes H3 habitat as consisting of “areas that would otherwise be designated as H2 habitat, but the native vegetation communities have been significantly disturbed or removed as part of lawfully-established development. This category also includes areas of native vegetation that are not significantly disturbed and would otherwise be categorized as H2 habitat, but have been substantially fragmented or isolated by existing, legal development and are no longer connected to large, contiguous areas of coastal sage scrub and/or chaparral-dominated habitats. This category includes lawfully-developed areas and lawfully-disturbed areas dominated by non-native plants such as disturbed roadside slopes, stands of non-native trees and grasses, and fuel modification areas around existing development (unless established illegally in an H2 or H1area). This category further includes isolated and/or disturbed stands of native tree species (oak, sycamore, walnut, and bay) that do not form a larger woodland or savannah habitat. While H3 habitat does not constitute a SERA, these habitats provide important biological functions that warrant specific development standards for the siting and design of new development.” (SMMLCP, p.25)

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Reference Date: 2015
Accuracy: Parcel
Update Frequency: Other
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Contact Information
Chris Morneau
Senior GIS Analyst
Los Angeles County
Regional Planning Department


90012
cmorneau@planning.lacounty.gov
213-974-6394

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