Oak shaded valleys run between the hills of Ahmanson Ranch. As there is very little level land , it will take an estimated 8 years and the movement of 46 million cubic yards of rock and dirt to flatten it so houses and golf courses can be built.
Artist Dave Gallup's painting Ahmanson Spring. Dave and other artists will be displaying paintings at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza this September 24, 2000 from 3 to 5 pm in a fund raising event for The Nature Conservancy.
Photographer Tom Gamache
Oaks and extremely rare Purple Needlegrass native grasslands cover the Lasky Mesa in Ahmanson Ranch. The world's only known population of the thought to be extinct San Fernando Valley Spineflower was discovered in the spring of 1999 in Lasky Mesa. Washington Mutual has around 800 units, of 3050 in the project, a clubhouse, and a hotel planned in this area alone.
This is the view looking north towards Simi Valley. The pasture is currently home to a herd of cows. Except for this pasture and some canyon bottom land along Las Virgenes Creek, Ahmanson Ranch is very steep. A massive earthmoving effort will be required to flatten the mountains, estimated to require 7 to 9 years to complete. Some homes will be built on up to 135 feet of fill.
The Los Virgenes creek valley cuts through hills on Ahmanson Ranch.
Las Virgenes Creek, headwaters for Malibu Creek, flows through Ahmanson Ranch and, except for a few houses in Bell Canyon to the east, its watershed is undeveloped. Unlike many Southern California streams which drain urban areas, the creek water in upper Las Virgenes Creek does not contain large growths of hair algae which is supported by fertilizer from urban lawns. This water looks placid, but it is flowing.
Las Virgenes Creek disappears below the sands in the willow forest. Because its watershed is largely undeveloped, it has been spared the ravaging storm surge runoff from roads and roofs that cut gullies into the willow forest, lowering the water table and eventually destroying much of the wetland vegetation. The water disappears and reappears several times. These pools are ideal habitat for amphibians.
Bottomland willow forests are habitat for Bell's Vireo, Vireo bellii, which was placed on the Federal endangered species list in 1986. Destruction of riparian/wetland habitat is responsible for the demise of Bell's Vireo. Over 94 ppercent of Southern California Wetlands have been destroyed by development. Washington Mutual plans to build a golf course in the canyon bottom, replacing the native habitat with turf grass.
The Red Legged Frog, Rana aurora draytonii, was placed on the endangered species list in 1996, four years after the Ahmanson Ranch Environmental Impact Report was submitted. It is threatened by loss of habitat, and predation from Bullfrogs and introduced game fish. Both the developer and an expert on Red Legged Frogs from the Los Angeles Zoo have observed the frog at the development site.