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Restoration Ecology

Native habitat restoration is one of the core services that Land IQ provides. Our achievements in revegetating and reclaiming drastically disturbed landscapes, monitoring for mitigation, and assessing and monitoring exotic species highlight our success in restoration ecology.

The Land IQ Habitat Restoration Group offers a wide range of specialized services in natural resource planning, analysis, restoration, and management including:

  • Native Habitat Restoration
  • Revegetation and Reclamation of Drastically Disturbed Landscapes
  • Watershed-based Restoration Planning
  • Water and Nutrient Resource Management
  • Multi-objective Land Management
  • Agricultural Systems Evaluation and Management
  • Natural Resource GIS Application
  • Land Resource Remote Sensing
  • Mitigation Monitoring
  • Exotic Species Assessment and Management
  • Regulatory Compliance and Support
  • Community-based Public Education Programs

Our expertise in integrated habitat analysis supports watershed planning, water quality management, ecosystem restoration, and land reclamation. We specialize in watershed-based evaluation that considers the interactions of land use, ground water, soils, geology, vegetation, and engineered systems with surface water, stream, lake, or wetland conditions.

Land IQ’s Habitat Restoration Group specializes in design and oversight of native habitat restoration and revegetation. Our expertise is in plant ecology and native habitat restoration, including development of revegetation / restoration plans, formulation of contract specifications for restoration plans, implementation oversight, and project performance monitoring. Our staff is experienced in working with federal, state, and local agencies for upland and wetland restoration projects. 

Land IQ’s restoration and revegetation experience in California includes restoration and management of coastal sage scrub, native grassland, oak woodland and riparian habitats, saltwater and freshwater marsh, and desert wetland habitats. We have designed and managed restoration/revegetation of over 2,800 acres of native habitats that have met project goals for habitat functions and values. Land IQ has assessed over 15,000 acres of land for habitat restoration potential and developed specific protocols for resource management plans.

Puente Hills Assessment, Restoration Opportunities, Whittier, California – LSA Associates and Puente Hills Landfill Native Habitat Preservation Authority

habitat restoration native vegetation Restoration Ecology

Land IQ provided habitat restoration technical expertise for the evaluation of the restoration potential of 3,810 acres of open space, based on existing conditions of exotic species densities, soils, and disturbance factors. Land IQ was responsible for:

  • Developing evaluation criteria for ranking the restoration potential of different management areas and disturbed sites within the open space, based on ecological and practical consideration;
  • Coordinating the field team for mapping and assessing 1,304 acres of weedy, disturbed land for restoration potential based on existing conditions of exotic species densities, soils, and disturbance factors;
  • Coordinating and managing digital data mapped in the field, and data analysis.

Land IQ made specific recommendations to restore unique native habitats, including native grasslands, walnut woodland, oak woodland, chaparral and coastal sage scrub associations.

Land IQ continues to provide monitoring and consulting services to the PHLNHPA for habitat restoration.

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.

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook State Park Visitor Center and Habitat Restoration

native habitat restoration Restoration Ecology

Land IQ staff was responsible for designing a plant species list and native habitat restoration for the park’s visitor center and public trails in the Baldwin Hills. The site was highly disturbed with annual grasses, wild radish, castor bean, and pampas grass that presented a challenge to habitat restoration. The project included coordination with the team responsible for interpretive exhibits on the natural history of the park. The park and visitor center opened in 2009.

Big Canyon Golf Course Wetland Restoration

wetlands restoration habitat monitoring Restoration Ecology

The Big Canyon Golf Course wetland restoration involves the creation and enhancement of riparian and emergent/herbaceous wetland habitat onsite at the golf course as mitigation for facility enhancements and property renovations that affected federal and state jurisdictional waters and wetlands. Land IQ worked with the hydrologists and engineers at WRC Consultant Services, Inc. to develop the final restoration and monitoring plan. The plan included creating and revegetating a new steam channel along a historic blue-line stream, as well as enhancing riparian and emergent vegetation along two existing golf course lakes. Land IQ is responsible for:

  • Verifying plant layout, and monitoring plant installation and seeding;
  • Horticultural maintenance monitoring;
  • Quarterly monitoring of plant establishment during the first year after installation;
  • Preparation of quarterly and annual monitoring reports.

The stream creation area achieved nearly 75 percent cover in its first year, just under the third-year performance criteria. The lake enhancement areas exceeded the fourth and fifth year performance criteria of 85 and 90 percent cover, respectively. Exotic vegetation had less than 10 percent cover at the end of the first year. Maintenance at the site continues. At this time, the project is in compliance of all permit mitigation requirements.

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: www.bonitacreekclassroom.com

Coyote Canyon Landfill Revegetation - Transportation Corridor Agencies

revegetation landfill post-closure plan Restoration Ecology

Coyote Canyon Landfill Revegetation project was part of the mitigation program for the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Project in south Orange County. Land IQ was responsible for managing 122 acres of coastal sage scrub mitigation for 5 years; coordinating management of the mitigation area with County of Orange Integrated Waste Management Department; and the overall requirements of the landfill post-closure plan. Responsibilities included:

  • Assessing development of the vegetation;
  • Managing landscape contractors;
  • Providing recommendations for re-seeding, weed control, and irrigation specifications.

Land IQ prepared annual performance monitoring reports and submitted them to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as part of the mitigation program. USFWS determined that this coastal sage scrub habitat met the performance criteria of providing habitat for successfully breeding California gnatcatchers, as set forth in the Biological Opinion. In 1999, a total of 40 California gnatcatchers successfully fledged from 12 resident pairs.

Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program, Inyo County, California

dust control water policy Water Resources Restoration Ecology

Land IQ has served the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in multiple functions in the concept development, design, implementation, and operations of approximately 40 square miles of playa stabilization for dust control on the Owens Dry Lakebed. Land IQ staff were integral members of the engineering and science team for multiple design phases. Our team supported design of water delivery, irrigation, and subsurface drainage systems and grading and tillage plans, as well as developing soil preparation and planting specifications for dust control on the Owens Dry Lakebed. Systems included a novel fresh-saline water blending system, more than 50 miles of pipeline, and nearly 4 square miles of subsurface drip irrigation. Land IQ staff:

  • Developed design concepts and criteria for irrigation, surface and subsurface drainage and planting
  • Developed and managed 50 acres of saltgrass seed production farms to provide 29 million plants from local native seed from the lower Owens Valley for planting 2,200 acres of saltgrass;
  • Developed concepts for system refinements, habitat enhancement, and water conservation
  • Provide guidance on irrigation and chemigation protocols and water quality
  • Planned and conducted monitoring of plant health status for irrigation scheduling recommendations on a 2,200-acre managed vegetation dust control measure; monitoring included data collection and data analysis using ArcPad and ArcView GIS software to identify and delineate areas requiring special management.

Stabilization Of Exposed Salton Sea Bed For Imperial Irrigation District

erosion air quality irrigation Water Resources Restoration Ecology

Water transfers and conservation in California’s Imperial Valley have reduced drainage flows to the adjacent Salton Sea, resulting in receding shoreline and exposure of vast expanses of fragile, erodible Sea floor. As part of the Salton Sea Ecosystem Restoration Program, Land IQ has contracted with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) to identify strategies for stabilizing these lands, either by developing them for particular uses, protecting them from traffic, planting protective covers, roughening surfaces to disrupt wind, or combinations of these approaches. This has involved working extensively with local, state, and federal air quality agencies and other stakeholder groups. Land IQ’ work has involved air quality monitoring and mitigation, coordinating efforts with regulatory and water transfer partners, developing air quality and habitat enhancement projects and other special projects.

Some specific work efforts include:

  • Projection of air quality impacts resulting from the largest agriculture-urban water transfer in US history.
  • Land IQ evaluated both fallowed farmland and exposed Salton Sea playa land surfaces. A mitigation program was developed for dust emissions and presented before the California State Water Quality Control Board.
  • Assessment of potential Salton Sea dust emissions and development of dust control technologies, including establishment of a pilot program for testing of control technologies and habitat restoration measures.
  • Development of an innovative Habitat and Air Quality Management Project that employs networked, linear habitat channels to preemptively control dust over most of the future Salton Sea Playa.
  • Assessment of background geographic and air quality data to support regional air quality monitoring network design.

Invasive Species Mapping

invasive species monitoring Remote Sensing Restoration Ecology

Land IQ worked in Ventura County on a program to control giant reed (Arundo donax) along the Santa Clara River. This effort was the first part of a 233-acre comprehensive habitat restoration plan. A Hydro-Ax was initially used to shred dense stands of giant reed, followed by herbicide application to treat root ball re-growth. Difficult access and time constraints made field monitoring difficult.

Therefore, we applied remote sensing to develop monitoring techniques for the area. Utilizing freely-available natural color photography and advanced remote sensing techniques, A. Donax cover was successfully quantified over the 223-acre site for the years 2005, 2007 and 2009. Remote sensing methodology makes it possible to efficiently delineate this invasive species in otherwise impenetrable areas of the project site and dramatically increases efficiency of the project’s 7-year monitoring program.