The protection and enhancement of wildlife and its habitat is a core purpose of SPRAWLDEF.  Wildlife flourishes in ecosystems that can sustain a wide range of species in open spaces in and beyond our urban boundaries.  Wildlands must be kept from disturbance by intense human activity so that native habitat can be protected and preserved.

SPRAWLDEF was born out SPRAWLDEF co-founder David Tam’s negotiations in the settlement of a lawsuit opposing expansion of a landfill east of Livermore.  This negotiation created a Wildland Habitat and Open Space fee that has to date  has already raised over $25 million. The Altamont Landfill Open Space Committee, which SPRAWLDEF actively monitors, administers the funds and has made grants of almost $7 million for 13 wildland acquisitions.

SPRAWLDEF envisions a 25-mile Altamont Hills Wildlife Corridor (AHWC) within wildland ecosystems which are habitats for mountain lions, endangered San Joaquin Kit foxes, and many other species. The goal is for the AHWC to create a connected wildlife corridor connecting Mt. Diablo with Mt. Hamilton and then out to the Central Valley.

SPRAWLDEF has protected part of this corridor in a settlement of its lawsuit against the State of California’s Off-Highway Motorized Vehicle Commission’s proposed Off-Highway Vehicle Park in the Corral Hollow-Tesla area in Eastern Alameda County.  SPRAWLDEF supports legislation facilitating transfer of the property to local public ownership as a protected park and continues to oppose the proposed project.

View of Tesla Park, part of the Altamont Hills Wildlife Corridor (Photo: Teslapark.org)

SPRAWLDEF has also led the effort to manage the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) in the East Bay to reduce fire risk and thereby foster the restoration of native habitat and wildlife, and the return of endangered species to those hills. It funded lawsuits toward a more fire safe, habitat and wildlife friendly environment. 

         [Coming: PHOTO FROM SIERRA CLUB 3 Rs on restored habitat.]

Fundamental to SPRAWLDEF’s vision is Western historian-novelist Wallace Stegner’s Wilderness Letter, a seminal document in the campaign leading to the U.S. Wilderness Act.