LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, along with local sponsor Orange County Public Works, hosted a public meeting Oct. 17 to present the Aliso Creek Mainstem Ecosystem Restoration Study, describe the Tentatively Selected Plan and receive public input on the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report.
About 50 people attended the meeting at the Laguna Hills Community Center and Sports Complex held as part of the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act review process for the study. The meeting described the feasibility study, the alternatives under considerations, the Tentatively Selected Plan, and process for public comment. The public comment period runs through the Nov. 28.
The Aliso Creek Study investigates opportunities for federal participation to increase habitat function and value associated with aquatic and riparian ecosystem resources along five miles of lower Aliso Creek. Intensive urbanization during the last 50 years within the watershed in Orange County has resulted in severe degradation of valuable native habitat resources.
The project area lies within a coastal canyon ecosystem with significant biodiverse value, supporting limited and scarce landscape habitat types unique to California. The natural landscape supports many plant and wildlife species, including those listed as federal and state threatened or endangered, such as the least Bell’s vireo and the coastal California gnatcatcher.
The tentatively selected plan would restore 191 acres of aquatic and riparian habitat throughout the five miles of the project area and 3.5 miles of a major high habitat value tributary, as well as reconnect 371 acres of habitat type, for a total of 8.5 miles along Aliso Creek Mainstem. Additional benefits include protection of critical public infrastructure, comprising of wastewater conveyance and water supply facilities. Lastly, the project would provide water quality improvement of surface flows as a result of natural processes associated with wetland function.