Sunday, September 09, 2007

Santiago Creek Watershed Preservation & Restoration Project

Today I took a trip over to Santiago Park to learn more about the watershed restoration project that is ongoing. Frankly, things look pretty dry and barren at the moment but they've been working hard to clean up the trash and plant natives throughout the area. I think part of my problem stems from the fact that I grew up in the lush, rain-soaked environs of Seattle: when I think of "riparian environment" it brings to mind fish, plants and, most importantly, water. Southern California is a bit different. Santiago Creek is an intermittent stream, meaning that is only flows during the winter months. Fast forward to today, and it was a dry as a bone (and very brown). No plants, fish or water. In fact, they're so confident that there won't be any water during the summer that they built the parking lot in the stream bed back in the 1950s. This makes it difficult to return it to it's natural state.
I met with the on-site naturalist who was a very nice fellow and was very enthusiastic about the project. Evidently they're set to open up a new visitor's center in October and will definitely need volunteers. So, we'll see what happens. I was also interested to learn that they're trying to create a bike trail all the way from Orange down to the Santa Ana River bike trail along Santiago Creek. That would be quite the achievement and I'd definitely be interested in volunteering with that effort.
I'll keep you posted. The website can be found here.