When the Antelope Valley Conservancy was founded, no conservancy served the region. Conservation funding and required mitigation for the loss of Antelope Valley habitat lands were transferred to other regions. Antelope Valley Conservancy (AVC) was founded in 2005 by Michael Powell, Wendy Reed, Johnny Munger, and Margaret Rhyne. In the early years of the conservancy, the directors held board meetings at dining tables and contributed each year to pay the organization's overhead.
By 2007, AVC was actively engaged in local conservation projects and regional planning, from Una Lake to Broad Canyon Wash, facilitating community communication about regional conservation goals. AVC hosted the first Endangered Species Day event in America, the Endangered Species Day Conference, bringing together federal, state and local agencies and local organizations to highlight their habitat conservation activities.
In 2008, AVC completed its first Due Diligence Review by the California Department of Fish and Game and earned Authorization to Hold Mitigation Lands. In 2009, AVC adopted the Antelope Valley Trails and Recreation Council (AVTREC), a nonprofit organization descended from the Antelope Valley Heritage Foundation, and began hosting the annual Bicycle Ride and Earth Day Cleanup events. In 2010, AVC rented its first tiny office space in Palmdale, and conducted the 10/10/10 Plastic Bag Exchange at six locations.
In 2011, AVC accepted its first donation of land, a small parcel in Big Rock Wash which was subsequently funded for in-perpetuity preservation. Several other preserves have now been established in the immediate area. AVC hosted the annual Burrowing Owl Symposium.
In 2012, AVC garnered mitigation funding to establish a burrowing owl and desert tortoise preserve south of Edwards Air Force Base, which we have since expanded to 100 acres.
In 2013 AVC;s grants were funded to acquire 40 acres of essential wetlands at the Devil's Punchbowl Natural Area, in the southeastern Antelope Valley, for transfer to the Los Angeles County Department of Parks. AVC also funded biological studies and planning efforts, and agreed to accept Conservation Easements over oak woodlands habitat in the western Antelope Valley, Rift Zone Wetlands by Una Lake, and along the Mojave River.
In 2015 through 2017, AVC provided mitigation planning services to the City of Lancaster for its retention basin at Avenue H, and supported the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts' acquisition planning for Alkali Mariposa lily and other rare plants. AVC also funded a study and worked to preserve lake habitats in the western Antelope Valley for Tricolored blackbird colonies.
By 2018 AVC garnered state approval for the Rift Zone Conceptual Area Preservation Plan (CAPP), which positions a ten-mile wetlands corridor along the San Gabriel Mountains north slope for acquisition and stewardship funding from the Wildlife Conservation Board.
Over the years AVC has has hosted Earth Day Events, Habitat Cleanups, Endangered Species Day Conferences, Art Exhibits, the 10/10 Plastic Bag Exchange, and educational exhibits such as Selections from the Waste Wunderkammer. AVC participates in community hosted events and fairs such as the P-22 Day Festival and SOAR High School's Enviro Fair. And AVC offers presentations at schools and community groups to educate the public about desert habitat, wildlands stewardship, climate change and carbon footprint, and sustainability.
In 2019 and 2020 AVC worked to acquire additional conservation lands, streamlined its operations, and adapted to the new realities of social distancing. AVC engaged in the CESA listing for the western Joshua Tree, Antelope Valley Regional Conservation Investment Strategy process, and in the route planning for California's High Speed Rail in south Palmdale, trying to prevent destruction of Una Lake and the surrounding Rift Zone wetlands. At the close of 2020, AVC is focused on designing and coordinating native plant seed distribution for areas on the San Gabriel Mountains North Slope affected by the massive Bobcat Fire.
AVC has been "small but mighty" because of collaboration from community professionals to support habitat and wildlife conservation. AVC has had a strong voice in regional planning, working for the importance of local habitats to be recognized, and trying to ensure that mitigation funding is implemented locally and with integrity. AVC has developed a reputation for biological and organizational integrity and we are honored to have been chosen to fulfill preservation and stewardship projects with the California State Water Resources Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Energy Commission, Los Angeles County Sanitation District, Los Angeles County Significant Ecological Area Technical Advisory Committee, the City of Lancaster, and other local agencies.
AVC is Authorized by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to Hold Mitigation Lands and Endowments in Regions 4, 5, and 6.