When the Dripping Springs trail was closed for restoration last year, no one could have predicted the profound lack of rainfall for the area in 2013. Despite historic drought levels, many members of the community have rallied to make progress in transforming this former ranch road in Limestone Canyon into a single-track trail.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy and OC Parks staff had expected the trail to be restored and re-opened in mid-2014, but the lack of rain may affect that projection. The Conservancy field operations team will evaluate the progress this month, but staff are still working to keep the project moving forward.
Members of the public helped the restoration project by planting more than 2,000 native grass plugs and shrub seedlings during several volunteer events. They also removed more than 6,000 Italian thistle plants, which are non-native and would have hindered the growth of the native plants.
Planting, watering and weeding occurred between December and March, despite the fact that the lack of rainfall also made the ground rock-hard. With the challenging planting conditions, only half of the plants ordered for the project could be used this season. The remaining seedlings will need to wait until next year’s planting season, and in the meantime need to be transplanted into larger containers to foster growth. Since the seedlings are being watered and cared for by Conservancy staff, they will quickly outgrow their small containers.
OC Parks and Irvine Ranch Conservancy are seeking volunteers for help transplanting the remaining 2,000 seedlings. The work will take place at the Conservancy’s Native Seed Farm in Irvine, in a shaded area. Those who wish to learn about native plant gardening while helping to restore local wildlife habitats would enjoy this easy activity.
Pre-registration is required, and available at www.LetsGoOutside.org. Space is limited, to sign up early to guarantee a spot. All tools and training will be provided and participants need to be at least 12 years old (minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian).
Native Plant Nursery – Transplanting for Dripping Springs Restoration - 9 am to 12 pm Friday, May 2
Native Plant Nursery – Transplanting for Dripping Springs Restoration - 9 am to 12 pm Friday, May 16
Native Plant Nursery – Transplanting for Dripping Springs Restoration - 9 am to 12 pm Friday, May 23