Boeing | Historic Test Rocket Site Now Flourishing as Habitat for Species of Concern


The former Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Simi Valley, California is a 2,850-acre site with a rich history. Virtually every major U.S. space program, from the first manned Mercury flights to the Apollo moon landings and Space Shuttle fleet, owes part of its success to Santa Susana. It was also the site of energy research and development for the U.S. government, including leading-edge nuclear, solar and sodium technology.

Since acquiring its portion of the site in 1996, Boeing has made significant progress with cleanup and restoration. The company entered into a conservation easement agreement with the North American Land Trust in 2017 to protect nearly 2,400 acres as permanent open space habitat to benefit wildlife and the community. Boeing has also instituted a rigorous monitoring program in order to meet stormwater quality regulatory standards.

Voluntary conservation activities on-site have resulted in a variety of native plants and animals reclaiming most of the site’s previously-developed areas. Boeing works closely with its conservation partners to manage the site for several species of concern, including the federally-listed Braunton’s milk vetch and the rare Santa Susana tarplant. A variety of other species, such as mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, deer, pollinators, bats, hawks, and bald and golden eagles, also benefit from Boeing’s efforts to preserve and enhance the property’s rocky areas and chaparral and scrub habitats. These habitats provide important food and cover resources, as well as serving as a vital link in regional wildlife corridors that connect the Los Padres National Forest to the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

Boeing recognizes the importance of educating the public, elected officials and regulators in these conservation projects and engages in a variety of year-round activities to teach and inform. This includes hosting site tours and lectures with stakeholders, and presenting and providing research on habitat management activities to non-profit organizations. Contractors working on the site also receive training to ensure they are aware of the sensitive vegetation and wildlife.

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Quick Facts

Site Name:Santa Susana Field Laboratory
Categories:Awareness and Community Engagement, Land Conservation Agreements, Remediation, Species of Concern, Training
Company Name:Boeing
Site Location:Canoga Park, California
Partners:California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Jacobs, North American Land Trust, Padre Associates, Pollinator Partnership, Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, San Fernando Audubon Society, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Santa Susana Mountain Park Association, Southwestern Herpetologists Society, Stantec, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of California-Santa Barbara
WHC Index Link:Search for project

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