Irvine Ranch Conservancy's 2023 Annual Report is out now! This comprehensive report provides an overview of the organization's accomplishments and progress over the past year.
Over the course of the last year, Irvine Ranch Conservancy has helped thousands of individuals connect with nature while advancing efforts to restore and preserve Orange County’s native wildlands, including the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. The 2022 Annual Report recounts these efforts and highlights accomplishments from IRC’s core programs of work.
The Volunteer Management and Administration team is responsible for finding creative ways to not only recruit volunteers, but design pathways for volunteers to harness individual skills and passions in ways that give back to the land and visitors. In 2022 alone, IRC had 485 volunteers dedicate a total of 26,237 hours, translating to more than $933,000 worth of donated time.
Alongside volunteers and partners, IRC’s Community Engagement and Education team works to bring recreational and educational experiences that spark a sense of connection with and responsibility for the land. This team, responsible for both volunteer-led guided activities, and self-guided activities such as Wilderness Access Days, oversaw more than 910 public activities in 2022, with more than 16,500 participants.
Another major component of IRC’s work is collecting a wide range of data for use in various research projects that aim to study how the land is responding to change over time. This information is used to help inform land management decisions. Throughout 2022, the Monitoring and Research team used 85 remote wildlife and human access monitoring cameras to collect data and captured 12,919 animal sightings.
Working to stay ahead of the increase in frequency and severity of wildfires, the Wildfire Prevention and Management team works closely with regional and state-wide partners to educate the community on preventative measures and administer the Orange County Fire Watch volunteer network. Fire Watch volunteers served 1,486 hours during 8 different deployments, including four red flag warnings and four special deployment days.
Invasive species, including plants, animals and insects, are another threat to the land because they can degrade habitat quality and weaken biodiversity over time. Over the past year, IRC’s Invasive Species Control team, with the help of volunteers, removed more than 594,000 invasive plants throughout the Landmarks.
Habitat restoration and enhancement is the foundation of IRC’s conservation work. This team spent much of 2022 enhancing oak woodland habitats, which provide food and shelter for much of the wildlife that inhabit Orange County’s native wildlands. In 2022, IRC planted 350 oaks throughout the wildlands and maintained 1,150 acres of habitat restoration projects, including 223 acres of active restoration.
IRC’s Plant Material and Development team has been integral in assisting with these habitat restoration and enhancement projects. The team has created a steady supply of native plants, seeds and other materials to support restoration efforts. Over the course of the last year, IRC staff and volunteers were able to harvest over 400 pounds of seed from 40 different native species while delivering over 800 pounds of seed to restoration projects throughout Orange County.
The backbone of IRC’s recreational and conservation activities is of course, the Planning and Infrastructure team, responsible for the crucial maintenance of trails, bridges, roads and much more. The team has spent the last year working to reconstruct areas damaged by wildfires and has constructed 1.7 miles of new single-track trails.
Without the collective passion and effort of these teams, alongside volunteers, Irvine Ranch Conservancy would not be able to educate or connect the community with the beauty of our local wildlands. To learn more about IRC’s activity over the course of 2022, click here to read the complete annual report.
To learn more about Irvine Ranch Conservancy and its programs, visit IRConservancy.org, LetsGoOutside.org or follow the Landmarks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.