An ambitious plan to curate, catalog and preserve thousands of fossils and historic artifacts discovered during the last 20 years of development in Orange County was approved unanimously Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.
The $420,000 program will be funded through a $300,000 federal grant, $70,000 from the agency that operates the county's toll roads and $50,000 from the county's harbors, beaches and parks department.
Supervisor Todd Spitzer said the program will make amends for two decades of neglect of fossils and other archeological and paleontological materials that were sent to the county for preservation. In some cases, the materials were stored unattended outside in the rain and hot weather.
Moreover, Spitzer warned that the program's financial stability could be in jeopardy without revising fees paid by developers to preserve the items found, fees that haven't been increased since the preservation requirement was approved by the board in 1977.
"What are we going to do when we get caught up" with proper storage, he said. "That's the next phase. We have to work out a new program with the developers."