At the southwest end of Newport Beach lies Banning Ranch, 401 acres of slowly draining oil land dotted with rusted-out and broken down machinery, enough for it to resemble a wasteland, although the property farther from public view is beautiful--a network of streams, small canyons, vernal pools and wetlands bordering the mouth of Santa Ana River.
|California Coastal Commission Staff Report, Exhibit 13|
Despite the oil development, the area remains home to a variety of species once plentiful in Southern California--rare birds and owls that build burrows in the grasslands, endangered shrimp who live in the area's pools--as well as ecological formations found nowhere else in Southern California (a combination of lowlands, highlands, mesas and arroyos). It should be a public park, and for more than a decade, there have been two opposing proposals to turn it into one. On Wednesday, they'll be argued against each other in front of the California Coastal Commission.More »