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Upper Chiquita Canyon Habitat Conservation Area Restoration and Management, Orange County, California – Transportation Corridor Agencies

conservation soil mapping soil analysis revegetation drainage wetlands riparian Restoration Ecology

Land IQ is responsible for managing a 1,158-acre conservation easement in southern Orange County that supports important populations of California gnatcatchers and coastal cactus wrens. Land IQ staff conducted evaluations to identify restoration opportunities on approximately 500 acres of land disturbed by historic dry-land farming and grazing, and developed efficient restoration techniques for large-acreage areas of coastal sage scrub, native grassland, oak woodland habitats and rare plant species. Specific evaluations included:

  • Mapped soils, existing native habitats and exotic species infestations;
  • Conducted soil analysis and detailed soil characterization to determine appropriate restoration and future management;
  • Evaluated ephemeral drainages using the hydrogeomorphic method to assess riparian functions of the non-wetland drainages;
  • Conducted research for native grass restoration.

Based on the evaluations, Land IQ developed a habitat restoration plan that includes rationale, methods and performance standards for the comprehensive restoration of the Conservation Area. This plan was incorporated into the Comprehensive Resource Management Plan (RMP) that Land IQ recently updated. The updated RMP provides a flexible, long-term management plan that will serve as a blueprint for how the easement will be managed for habitat restoration. An interactive, web-based restoration management tool using GIS was also developed to enable the client to better manage biological resources and the restoration activities in the Conservation Area.

Management of this easement will be an ongoing project until the land becomes part of Orange County’s Southern Natural Communities Conservation Plan/Habitat Conservation Plan (NCCP/HCP) for the Southern Subregion.