California Bill Would Make Wildlife Connectivity Part of General Plans

The ‘Room to Roam Act’ would require cities and counties to consider local habitats and the impact of development on wildlife corridors and connectivity.

1 minute read

June 11, 2024, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Coyote resting (and yawning) on top of wall covered in morning glories, Huntington Beach, Orange County, California.

A coyote rests by a morning glory bush in Huntington Beach, California. | Michele Burgess / Adobe Stock

A proposed California bill dubbed the “Room to Roam Act” would require general plans to consider “fish, wildlife, and habitat connectivity,” signaling a shift toward more conservation-minded development. 

According to a blog post on the Nossaman LLP website, Assembly Bill 1889 would require cities and counties to make the necessary updates to their general plans by January 1, 2026. “Section 1 of the Room to Roam Act would require local jurisdictions to ‘consider and implement measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to fish, wildlife, and habitat connectivity from existing and planned land uses within their jurisdictions.’”

The post adds, “The updated conservation element must: identify and analyze connectivity, permeability, and natural landscape areas within the jurisdiction; identify and analyze wildlife passage features; consider impacts of wildlife barriers caused by development and avoid, minimize and mitigate these impacts; and analyze and consider options to remediate barriers to wildlife connectivity and restore degraded habitat and open landscape.”

The bill could help cities balance conservation, housing, and climate resilience, but may also lengthen the development approval process.

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