Winter is the perfect time to plant the native coastal sage scrub species found in local nature preserves, and this month the City of Newport Beach seeks volunteers to help with planting in Big Canyon. The volunteer effort is part of a trail improvement project led by Irvine Ranch Conservancy, on behalf of the City.
Over about 2.5 acres, Irvine Ranch Conservancy staff will lead volunteers in planting small native plants and sowing native seeds. Volunteer work in Big Canyon will also include the removal of invasive species such as ice plant and pampas grass. These non-native plants compete for resources with native plants, which are critical to supporting healthy habitat for wildlife in Big Canyon and other preserve areas. The project will focus on trail-side improvements, and will include trail clearing and the installation of a temporary footbridge to allow for easier passage along the trail loop.
The next public volunteer event is Saturday, January 18 from 9 am to noon, and will be hosted by Irvine Ranch Conservancy in partnership with Newport Bay Conservancy and the California Coastal Commission program. The Big Canyon volunteer activities are open to participants 14 years of age and older (minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian), and require no prior experience. All tools and training will be provided, but participants must pre-register at www.LetsGoOutside.org/Activities. Click on the Areas menu at the top of the activity listings and select “Big Canyon.”