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Helping the Endangered Tecate Cypress Population in Fremont Canyon

PictureIRC staff plant Tecate Cypress seedlings in Fremont Canyon

​The Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks are home to a variety of native flora and fauna, some of which are endangered and in need of protection to ensure the health of these valuable resources. Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s Habitat Restoration and Enhancement team has been working with OC Parks on enhancing the endangered Tecate Cypress population in Fremont Canyon.
 
Representing the northernmost extent of the species, the Tecate Cypress population in Fremont Canyon is striving to make a comeback after wildfire events. This native southern California plant species is one of the rarest on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and can be recognized by its rich green foliage. Some may even say it resembles a Christmas tree.

Earlier this year, IRC received a Local Assistance Grant from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in support of the restoration efforts of the Tecate Cypress population in Fremont Canyon. The grant allowed the IRC team to embark on an enhancement project aimed at establishing new populations of this endangered tree to promote resilience in the face of future wildfires. Scientific modeling was used to identify two suitable sites within existing chaparral habitat, where hundreds of seedlings were planted by staff and volunteers.
 
Habitat suitability modeling identified two potential sites in Fremont Canyon, where 400 seedlings were planted this winter in an effort to continue enhancing the rare tree species. IRC and its partners will continue to monitor and work on the two restoration sites in 2022.
 
For more information about the endangered Tecate Cypress, check out this Plant Profile video. To learn more about the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks visit LetsGoOutside.org.