The National Wildlife Federation is honoring the nation’s most wildlife-friendly cities as part of its 81st annual National Wildlife Week, and Chula Vista earned the number five spot on the list.
Chula Vista is new to the list and currently has 541 Certified Wildlife Habitats, 11 of which are Schoolyard Habitats, according to the NWF. Sustainability plans such as the City Operations Sustainability Plan, the Chula Vista Vision 2020 Environmental Element, and the City of Chula Vista MSCP Subarea Plan promote both physical and environmental health, addressing issues that affect open space, biological resources, mineral resources, and air and water quality. Chula Vista’s NatureScape program promotes the creation of wildlife-friendly gardens. The city is also certified as a Community Wildlife Habitat, the NWF continued.
“Southern California is a hotspot for people and wildlife alike,” explained Beth Pratt, National Wildlife Federation’s California Regional Executive Director “Our wildlife here face immense challenges from having to navigate dense urbanization along with the impacts of climate change like increased fires and drought. That is why it is so inspiring to see the residents of Chula Vista make clear commitments to protecting their native wildlife. Actions ranging from planting for pollinators to registering green spaces as Certified Wildlife Habitats all have a positive impact on the future of California’s wildlife.”
The National Wildlife Federation’s Urban Wildlife Program ranked America’s 100 largest cities based on several criteria for wildlife, including the amount of parkland within the city, participation in urban wildlife programs and citizen action measured by citizen participation in the National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat program. Certified Wildlife Habitats are properties that provide all the necessary elements for wildlife to survive – food, water, cover and places for wildlife to raise their young, while integrating sustainable gardening practices, according to the NWF.
“We are thrilled to earn the number five spot on the National Wildlife Federation’s Top 10 Cities for Wildlife,” said Chula Vista Mayor, Mary Casillas Salas. “The 600 Chula Vista residents who have created certified wildlife habitats are providing beneficial habitat and conserving precious resources that demonstrate we can coexist with wildlife in urban southern California. We appreciate the grant funding from Sweetwater Authority that helps make this program possible.”
The Top 10 cities that made the list include:
- Austin, Texas
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Portland, Oregon
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Chula Vista, California
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Seattle, Washington
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- Washington, D.C.
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