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Bonita Creek Restoration Management and Monitoring – San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agencies

restoration urban watershed flood control Restoration Ecology

The ecological restoration of lower Bonita Creek and the adjacent upland slopes in the City of Newport Beach presented several challenges unique to urban settings. In the conceptual design, the reconstructed creek had a low-flow channel and an underground box culvert to divert high flows exceeding those of a 10-year storm event, for flood control.

Land IQ staff collaborated with project engineers on a watershed analysis and a series of hydrologic models and site evaluations to develop ecological solutions for the final restoration plan. The high flow box culvert was deleted and natural flows were retained throughout the restored creek. A series of buried grade control structures were engineered for flood control. The layout of plant species in each specified habitat was determined based on the results of the watershed analysis, surface flow models, groundwater analysis, and the micro-topography of the site after finish grading. Adjacent upland slopes were restored to coastal sage scrub habitat. Land IQ oversaw the restoration implementation and monitored the hydrologic, biogeochemical, and biologic conditions of the site. After six years, the site was a functioning riparian habitat with adjacent upland buffer.

This habitat restoration was part of the mitigation for impacts from construction of the San Joaquin Hills Toll Road (SR 73). The site is now part of the bike and trail system for Orange County. Land IQ gives tours of the site annually to educate the public on local ecological restoration.

Land IQ recently helped develop the Bonita Creek Interactive Classroom website for the TCA with support from the Metropolitan Water District/Orange County Municipal Water District Community Partnering Program (CPP) Sponsorship Award. The website includes a virtual tour of Bonita Creek and provides science curricula to teach in the class or at the site.

View the web site at: