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Landmarks Focus: Riparian Habitats


There are a number of different habitats found throughout the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, each with its own purpose and ecosystem. As you explore the popular trails of the Landmarks, you will likely come across riparian habitats. Found alongside rivers, streams, and on the banks of lakes and ponds, riparian habitats play an important role in native Orange County wildlands.
Ranging from dense thickets of shrubs to large mature trees, riparian habitats benefit both native plants and animals. These habitats are a reliable source of food, water, nesting grounds and coverage for local wildlife, especially migratory birds looking for a place to call home during the winter. Riparian habitats can also provide riverbank protection, erosion control, improved water quality, and a peaceful environment for recreational trails on the Landmarks. 

​Agua Chinon, located in Limestone Canyon, is just one example of the rich riparian landscape that exists in Orange County. Riparian zones can also be found in areas such as Buck Gully Reserve, the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, Bommer Canyon and more.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy has been working to restore acres of degraded riparian habitat in Agua Chinon by removing invasive species like pampas grass, castor bean and mustard weed, which invaded after numerous fires and years of cattle grazing. Since implementing the project in 2013, the Conservancy has seen the habitat thrive with oak and willow trees, elderberry, mule fat, and other native riparian plant life and associated wildlife.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy works closely with public landowners including OC Parks, the City of Irvine and the City of Newport Beach to restore and maintain important habitats across the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. To learn more about Irvine Ranch Conservancy, visit