Thursday, September 24, 2020
Livability and the Environment

Livability and the Environment

Livability and the Environment

As Riverside County strives to achieve its vision for the twenty-first century, it must recognize and adopt its communities' values regarding protection of the County's valuable natural resources and improvements to the environment in which we live.

Through the land development planning process, the County will ensure that sufficient neighborhood and community parks are provided to satisfy the public need for recreation and open space.

As outlined under Infrastructure, the County is committed to a balanced transportation system which places increasing emphasis on transportation modes which enhance transportation efficiency, conserve non-renewable resources, and improve air quality.

Riverside County is home to a variety of endangered and protected species. Skillful planning and negotiation have resulted in the creation of several large habitat preserves, and the County has recently taken the lead in the development of a multi-species habitat protection plan (MSHCP) for the western County area. The County is also participating in a MSHCP effort for which the Coachella Valley Association of Governments is the lead agency in the Coachella Valley and surrounding mountains. The County will continue to work closely with its cities, State and Federal governments, and affected property owners to devise appropriate and effective habitat protection programs.

Through the MSHCP, CETAP, and Comprehensive General Plan update projects, the County will work to ensure that land use planning and transportation, flood control, and other forms of infrastructure planning are proactive in protecting wetlands and wildlife habitat, and are coordinated with multi-species habitat conservation plans.

The County Agricultural Commissioner will coordinate activities necessary for preventing the spread of pests and diseases on incoming and locally grown crops and plant materials, and for enforcing State laws and regulations concerning the use, storage, and handling of pesticides.

The County, through the involvement of several of its departments, the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, and in cooperation with other public agencies, will continue to be actively involved in a variety of efforts to minimize stormwater runoff pollution. This coordinated effort is in response to the Federal requirements of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program.

The County's Waste Management Department will support the economic recovery of waste materials and the generation of energy from waste products, and will support subregional/regional hazardous and solid waste planning goals and policies. In its actions to consolidate landfill operations, expand capacity of existing facilities, or site new disposal facilities, the Department will endeavor to exhaustively research and mitigate potential environmental impacts.

County government will continue to purchase and use recycled or recyclable products and support programs that reduce, reuse and recycle wastes generated by its constituents.

The Riverside County Fire Department (RCOFD)/California Division of Forestry (CDF) and Fire Protection willprovide fire protection services through effective and timely planning, prevention and suppression programs; rescue and emergency medical services; and, disaster planning, coordination and emergency operations through its cooperative, integrated and regional fire services system. Protection and enhancement of forest, wildland vegetation and watershed values will be accomplished through RCOFD/CDF's pre-fire management, natural resources/vegetation management, and educational programs.

The Department of Environmental Health will continue to ensure sanitary conditions in the daily living environment through its retail food facility inspection program, housing facilities' plan reviews, industrial hygiene consultation program, and water and waste water facility plan checks. Nuisance and safety problems relating to unwanted pets and unwelcome wildlife will be addressed by the Department's Animal Control Division.

The Hazardous Materials Team, including both County Fire Department and Department of Environmental Health staff, will continue to safeguard ground water sources and the environment from contamination due to accidental spills, illegal uses and dumping of hazardous materials throughout the county.

Health Services

(Public Health; Environmental Health; Mental Health; Riverside County Regional Medical Center)

ln order to protect the health and well-being of the populace, and ensure the economic viability and livability of our community, the County will strive to provide a high level of public and environmental health services and mental health programs where those services are most needed. To this end, the County's efforts will emphasize the prevention of those conditions that degrade individual and community quality of life. Such programs include public education, information, regulation and treatment programs on such issues as:

$ Parenting and prenatal care

$ Child and elder abuse prevention

$ AIDS and communicable disease prevention

$ Drug and alcohol abuse prevention

$ Mental and emotional health

$ Retail food and recreational health

$ Industrial hygiene

$ Hazardous materials use and disposal

$ Water quality protection

$ Vector Control

$ Solid Waste Management/Permitting

$ Pet Overpopulation

Steady population growth within Riverside County will result in increased demand for health services. Given the strong role of Federal and State governments in the local health and human services scheme, the County will continue to advocate stability in the stream of shared revenues as well as further advocate for equity in the distribution of those funds. At the same time, the uncertainty of State and Federal funds to address these increasing needs will continue. Therefore, to the extent that additional General Fund resources become available, the County will increase its investment in health services in a careful and strategic manner.

The County=s public health and mental health focus in the coming years will be to further develop and enhance its mandated safety net for the most vulnerable populations. A continuum of services will be provided from prevention through primary and acute outpatient treatment to inpatient care. Departments responsible for these services will strive to reduce barriers to client access including transportation difficulties, cultural differences and communication challenges.

Major short-term initiatives (by year 2000) for the County's Mental Health Department will include establishing interagency agreements and protocols to accomplish the following:

Erase, through educational programs, the stigma regarding the mentally ill;

Promote education on mental illness in all sectors of the criminal justice system;

Foster greater collaboration between police, the Department of Public Social Services, the Department of Mental Health, and other agencies, both private and public, on mental illness needs and issues; and,

Continue to work towards a full continuum of rehabilitation programs for the mentally ill.

In order to fulfill this ambitious vision, your Board of Supervisors is committed to a model of community health care which encompasses a network of public-private partnerships, working collaboratively and cost-effectively. The Inland Empire Health Plan is one such collaborative effort, joining the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino and local physicians to form a locally-managed health maintenance organization (HMO). Another initiative, the "STRIPES Coordination Program", is designed to be a precursor to a Mental Health managed care plan serving Coachella Valley residents.

The County will continue to refine its role as a direct service provider. Every effort will be made to purchase those services which can be more effectively provided by the private sector or other community organizations through contractual agreements or grants to these providers. Regardless of the service provider, the County will strive for quality, efficiency and efficacy.

Community and Social Services

(Public Social Services; Community Action; Office on Aging; Veteran=s Services)

A variety of social and human services programs will continue to be provided by the County at a level primarily determined by State and Federal mandates and corresponding funding. Important client populations include: the poor; the homeless; the unemployed; the disabled; the frail elderly; minorities; and, Veterans. Through counseling, training, employment, information and advocacy services, and temporary financial assistance focused on prevention and intervention, the responsible County agencies, working in close cooperation, will strive to improve quality of life in our community by:

protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, and exploitation;

assisting in the strengthening of individual and family life;

encouraging self-respect; and,

promoting responsible, self-sufficient citizenship

In order to provide accessible, sensitive, efficient, and cost effective community and social services, County government will work in close partnership with community-based organizations, the business community, and other public agencies. Strategic Vision calls for customer-centered services, with particular attention going to those individuals and families in the greatest social and economic need. Keys to the success of these programs will include accurate assessment of community needs and attention to participant feedback. Your County is committed to finding, developing, implementing, and enhancing social services programs that work.

Recognizing that the protection of endangered children is an important responsibility of the County, the Board of Supervisors has directed DPSS to develop and implement an enhanced county-wide Child Protective Services plan. Strategies will include developing a new service model and strengthening partnerships with the courts, law enforcement, community-based organizations and other public agencies.

The major social services thrust over the next several years will be the Countys role in State efforts to implement Federal welfare reform. The new "CalWorks" welfare program, which is modeled to an extent after the County=s nationally renowned Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) workfare program, establishes strict time limits, restricted eligibility criteria, and significant work requirements in order to receive State aid. The goal is to turn welfare into a temporary safety-net assistance program, rather than a permanent means of support. A key to the successful implementation of this new program will be the creation of jobs within the community for those who will be moving off of welfare. Also important will be the availability of practical transportation and adequate and affordable child care for those who are undergoing job training or entering the workforce. The County pledges to work closely with the local business and educational communities and public transit agencies, and to enhance its economic development efforts, to fulfill its welfare-to-work program objectives.

Recreation, Culture and Education

(Parks; Edward Dean Museum; County Fair; Library; Cooperative Extension)

There is significant and continuing demand for increased recreational, cultural and educational programs and facilities. However, the higher priorities assigned to other County services result in limited resources to meet these demands. These services will need to be operated in the most cost-effective manner and funded in creative ways, avoiding reliance on the County General Fund.

The Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District, governed by the members of the Board of Supervisors, provides for the protection, acquisition, development, management, use and enjoyment of a well-balanced system of scenic, recreational and historical properties which provide enjoyment to our residents and are important to the County's tourism industry. Property taxes, grants, and user fees currently support District operations. Recognizing that competitiveness and increased public patronage depend on high-quality facilities and customer service, the District will keep its operating budget lean, actively seek new revenue-generating events, and devise innovative uses of its property assets to attain a stable and sufficient revenue stream.

The Edward Dean Museum in Cherry Valley is an important educational and cultural asset of the County. This facility, which focuses attention on the decorative arts, has struggled in recent years to sustain operations and make capital improvements which would enhance revenue generation. The County is committed to finding the most appropriate and cost- effective manner in which to manage, market, develop, and operate this facility.

The Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio will continue to be funded by fair and event revenues, as well as State Department of Agriculture grants, to provide year-round special event facilities for trade shows, cultural events, and activities of community interest. Current strategies to increase entrepreneurial efforts to support the fairgrounds will be supported. The annual National Date Festival will carry on its important tradition of showcasing local agricultural products and the achievements of Riverside County youth involved in 4-H and FFA programs. In order to keep the enterprise on a sound financial footing, and maximize

the facility's benefit to the surrounding community, the County will continue to explore and implement creative management, marketing and operating approaches.

Riverside County contracts with a private entity, LSSI, LLC., to operate the County Library System. This arrangement, which is unique in the United States, was brought about when the City of Riverside chose not to renew its 85-year operating agreement for County library services. Through the LSSI agreement, the County is able to provide services in a more economical manner and, thereby, afford a 25 percent increase in library hours at branch locations.

Agriculture has played a prominent role in the history of Riverside County and remains an integral influence in this region's economy and culture. County government, in concert with University of California Cooperative Extension Service, will strive to maximize the application of limited resources in promoting the continued vitality of the Riverside County agricultural community through agricultural research and consultation.

Primary and secondary education in Riverside County are the responsibility of the County Office of Education, which is governed by a directly elected Superintendent and Board of Education, and the various local school districts, each governed by its own elected Board. However, County government does serve an important and unique educational function through the many programs that it offers its customers and the public at large. A few examples include preventive care information disseminated at public health and mental health clinics, groundwater protection flyers and cable commercials, Neighborhood Watch briefings, participation in and sponsorship of such activities as the Children and Youth Summit, and agricultural and horticultural advisories through UCR Cooperative Extension, as well as direct job training through the JTPA program.

This organization firmly believes that acquiring and improving skills is a most fundamental measure of a society. It is also realized that if the Riverside County community is to fulfill its Strategic Vision, the quest begins with an educated population. Accordingly, your Board of Supervisors commits, through advocacy coordination and technical assistance, and expansion of its working relationships with the Office of Education, local school districts, and our local colleges and universities, to furthering the level of educational