City staff is recommending the Recreation and Parks Commission support a conceptual plan for the Lower Arroyo Seco Habitat Restoration Project.
The project includes the removal of 106 non-native plants and the removal of 11 dead trees.
In total, 82 of the trees are considered non-mature based on the diameter of the trunks as established by the city’s Urban Forestry Advisory Committee (UFAC), and 13 require full or partial removal due to safety concerns. Boulders and rocks will be placed in the five-acre area to serve as natural barriers, along with logs and branches removed from trees.
Soil will be decompacted to prepare the area for native plant establishment, erosion control measures will be implemented, and a new irrigation system will be installed.
Also, 14 California black walnut trees will be planted along with 11 coast live oak trees and 17 western sycamore trees. Some 2,000 plants and shrubs will also be planted.
“The removal of the subject non-native trees and other plants is necessary to meet the project criteria for restoration,” according to a city staff report. “The intention of restoration is to re-establish the physical and biological characteristics of the Arroyo Seco’s native habitats to a natural state void of invasive, nonnative plants.”
In 2017, the scope of the La Loma Bridge Rehabilitation Project did not include the restoration of habitat in the area surrounding the bridge after the work was completed.
Staff will present the concept plan to the UFAC on Sept. 9 to get approval to remove the trees.
The work is expected to go before the City Council for bids by December.
As part of the city’s Capital Improvement Programs for 2020-24, the project was created utilizing Proposition A grant funds and residential impact fees.
The proposed removal of nonnative species is a core component of habitat restoration. The removals create open areas to allow the native plant species of the region to re-establish themselves. As these plants mature and propagate, the habitat is restored to the local native wildlife and improves ecosystem health in the area.