Conservation Update, 2010 Sep | OC Watersheds, Botany is Endangered, Aliso Creek


OC Watersheds Program is coordinating the application process for water quality projects’ grant funding under Propositions 84 and 1-E, see A map of OC Water Management Areas is at

OCCNPS-ers have a great opportunity to help improve local native habitats by becoming stakeholders in these projects! This opportunity comes because projects must include strong elements for ecosystem restoration and environmental and habitat protection and improvement, all as part of integrated methods to sustainably achieve a range of goals. To date, about 125 projects have been proposed for the Santa Ana River watershed in OC (see and about 60 for the South OC watersheds. A relative few of these will be selected for funding each year. Most applications are from water districts or cities.

ACTION NOW: 1) See the and/or websites to find a project proposed in your city and/or watershed. Does the project include bank/levee stabilization? Constructed wetland? Residential landscape retrofit? Invasives removal? Stream/aquatic habitat restoration? Any project that includes anything like these will benefit from OCCNPS-ers’ knowledge of native plants and habitats. 2) Contact the pertinent agency or jurisdiction and ask to be put on the project notification list, and where to see the project documents. 3) Monitor the project process and advocate for proper native plant use at all public comment opportunities. Even “shovel-ready” projects are likely to have a public-process period before implementation.

These projects can be the start of removing the concrete from OC’s watersheds and restoring them to be the living habitats they once were!


The Chicago Botanic Garden and Botanic Gardens Conservation International have recently published an assessment of current and future botanical capacity in the US. It reveals that the number of active professional botanists, and the academic programs to train future botanists, are both declining while the number of situations and issues that really need botanical expertise is rising. See the report at:


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the OC Watersheds Program have recently issued The Aliso Creek Feasibility Scoping Documentation, Volumes 1 and 2. It is available at two volumes are the first and second bulleted items under “Watershed Studies.”

The “study area” covers the creekbed, and about 1,000 ft. on either side, between Pacific Park Drive and the ocean. Most of this area is within Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. The two volumes exhaustively gather and analyze the findings, results, and data that have been collected on the watershed over the past decade-plus. From these, it forecasts that the study area’s most likely future is to continue to change toward even less native ecosystem function if adequate  remedial measures are not taken. Methods to accomplish restoration to a self-regulating functioning ecosystem, and to deal with the myriad accompanying issues, will be explored in a subsequent study. Then come the steps of project design, approval, and finding funding.

            —Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair

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