Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks are rich in oak-filled valleys, expansive grasslands and plentiful coastal sage. Protecting those lands from invasive non-native plants to keep wildlife thriving takes attentive, consistent and continuous dedication.
This is where community volunteers have the biggest impact – dedicating muscle and manpower to protecting nearly 40,000 acres of open space. Even the smallest amount of effort goes far in habitat restoration; for instance, a modest team of workers last week pulled 20,000 invasive plants from OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve in just two days.
Those interested in a longer-term project to restore Agua Chinon’s local habitat, helping native plants and wildlife thrive, can be part of the solution through the Adopt a Canyon – Agua Chinon Stewardship event on Saturday, November 7. The program, led by the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, will focus extensively on identifying plants and removing the toxic castor bean, with future endeavors expanding into acorn pulling and planting and seeding. This program is also offered Saturday, December 12.
Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve isn’t the only area in need of habitat restoration. Areas such as Buck Gully Reserve in Newport Beach also face unique invasive plant challenges. While Buck Gully might not be battling monstrous amounts of castor bean, simple acts such as general weeding and sowing seed of native plants goes far for the beauty and preservation of this little-known canyon. Every month, members of the public can participate during the First Friday Habitat Restoration in Buck Gully. The next First Friday Habitat Restoration event is November 6, and then again on Friday, December 4.
Taking part in habitat restoration with fellow members of the community is a great way to connect with these stunning wildlands while taking a firsthand part in protecting them. These programs are free with required registration, which closes at 4 p.m. the day prior to the event. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more details on these activities or to register, click the titles above or visit www.letsgooutside.org/activities.