Since 1990, the Frank R. Bowerman Landfill in Irvine has served its useful purpose while respecting its placement near the protected Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve. The 725-acre property includes permanently protected habitat in addition to an award-winning landfill operation that represents the latest advancements in environmentally-friendly engineering and planning.
In 2002, there was a landslide within the landfill property, and a new project will shore up that area of the landfill, making sure it meets its capacity. The project area extends into OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve to help stabilize the slope and restore that area of habitat, but the end result of the project will not increase the landfill footprint.
Many people may not have known that the Limestone Canyon and Round Canyon trails they enjoy were so close to the landfill. OC Waste & Recycling prides itself on being a “good neighbor” to the adjacent land preserves. To offset environmental impacts due to landfill operations, the county has restored and maintained over 118 acres of natural habitat. Working with partners such as Irvine Ranch Conservancy, 32 acres of habitat are currently being maintained, primarily in nearby Limestone Canyon.
Habitat-friendly operation is a goal within the landfill property as well. Landfill slopes are seeded with native plants and grasses, which provide natural beauty and effective erosion control. The landfill staff includes a full-time biological resources monitor to help review projects for habitat-friendly practices, monitor habitat restoration on-site, and provide expertise on native plants and ecology.
While you may not think of a landfill as important habitat, many important plant species are found within the property, and many bird species can be found there. Frank R. Bowerman staff work with Sea & Sage Audubon each year on their Christmas Bird Count, allowing those species to be counted. In fact, when the landfill reaches its capacity, it is designated to become permanent open space, providing long-term habitat for local species.
The current landslide remediation project work will be apparent to those hiking in parts of Limestone Canyon, but when the project is complete, the landfill that serves most of Central Orange County will blend back into the landscape, continuing to be a good neighbor.