The City of Newport Beach has kicked off a new phase of the Big Canyon Restoration Project that will, among other benefits, remove invasive, non-native trees and shrubs and replace them with a diverse array of native species to create a thriving, natural wildlife habitat.
The current phase addresses 11.2 acres of the 60-acre Big Canyon Nature Park, and focuses on restoring native habitat in an area degraded by invasive, non-native species. It is expected to take about 4 months to complete.
The work in this phase includes:
- Removing and clearing non-native Brazilian pepper trees, including the root systems, from a 6-acre area.
- Selectively removing pepper trees and other non-native species from a 2.4-acre area that also contains native species (which will be preserved).
- Grading and stabilizing parts of Big Canyon Creek to improve water flow and the connection to Upper Newport Bay.
- Restoring a small pond that typically holds stagnant water and creates a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The pond will be connected to Big Canyon Creek to improve water flow and eliminate stagnation.
- Establishing a mosaic of coastal, native plant communities. This includes coastal riparian, alkali meadow and upland transitional scrub habitats.
The project has been carefully designed to avoid impacts to native habitat in the area, including federally protected wetlands. However, there will be a substantial amount of construction activity to clear the pepper trees and other non-native plants and remove the root systems to prevent regrowth.
The Big Canyon restoration effort has taken many years to design and fund, in partnership with such groups as the Newport Bay Conservancy, Ocean Protection Council, California State Coastal Conservancy, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, and US Fish and Wildlife Service.
For more information on Phase 2 (now in progress), click here.
For a complete overview of the Big Canyon Restoration, click here.