CURE was founded in 1997 in response to concerns over a major public safety violation- the people were uninformed and under threat simply if the weather wasn’t right.
A city council decided to approve the removal of a federally constructed levee without a full environmental impact or safety report. The levee was located at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains – an area in Southern California known for periodically massive flooding. The levee, constructed in the 1930s as part of the Civilian Conservation Corp, was intended for both flood control and spreading of groundwater recharge. The area north of the levee was home to numerous endangered species dependent on the levee for protection from urban sprawl.
What unfolded was a costly battle that lead CURE to Congress, the Pentagon and Sacramento. Along the way, CURE also developed alliances with key environmental organizations like Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife federations and taxpayer watchdogs eager to prevent the destruction of infrastructure previously paid for by Americans. With the aid of California’s Senators, CURE was able to ultimately force a flood safety study through the Department of Water Resources concluding that the remaining infrastructure in this area of California was completely inadequate to manage a 100-year flood event. Despite the report published in 2003, no government efforts have been made to improve the flood infrastructure and thousands of homes have been built. SEE AFTER THE STORM for more details concerning Deer Creek.
Aside from continuing to expose unsafe land use decisions, CURE has developed particular expertise in the environmental and economic impacts of transferring water from rural to urban areas including its health impacts on disadvantaged committees. For over 15 years, CURE has litigated to make sure that communities and species from the Coachella Valley to Mexico are protected from the decline of the Salton Sea.
Additionally, CURE supported the Government of Mexico in its effort to prevent the concrete lining of the All American Canal and the binational efforts to restore waters to the Colorado Delta of Mexico.
Finally, CURE focuses on “greening cities” by taking steps to offset air pollution due to increased logistics in Southern California and by promoting more urban and sustainable agriculture.
Through promoting research, community input, and sounder public policy, CURE advocates for practical solutions that allow for economic growth while not endangering communities or the environment. Accomplishing that goal typically depends upon long-term planning and a recognition that a healthy environment and community leads to a healthy economy and that the two are not mutually exclusive. Aside from litigation and outreach through writing and speaking, CURE also offers mediation services to resolve land use and natural resource disputes and it holds easements and land in trust for long-term conservation.
See CURE IN ACTION for timely updates CURE’s activities.