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Native species planted in Big Canyon

January 20, 2014
  • Irvine Ranch Conservancy Trail Boss John Brown and Newport Bay Conservancy Board President Howard Cork begin filling in a 4-foot-deep rut caused by an illegal trail in Big Canyon.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy Trail Boss John Brown and Newport… (Irvine Ranch Conservancy )

The Irvine Ranch Conservancy led a volunteer event to help with the planting of native species in Big Canyon on Saturday.

The work comes as part of an ongoing habitat and trail enhancement project being conducted in the area on behalf of Newport Beach, said Riley Pratt, the project manager for the conservancy.

The contract was awarded by the city in the late summer, Pratt said. During past events, volunteers helped remove invasive species like ice plant. The project will also include trail improvements and increased signage.

The Irvine Ranch Conservancy, a nonprofit that offers free outdoor programs and helps to protect the natural landmarks at Irvine Ranch, has worked with the city on similar improvements at Buck Gully, said conservancy spokeswoman Jenn Starnes.

With about 30,000 acres of land to tend to, the group relies heavily on help from volunteers, she said.

Saturday's event off Back Bay Drive north of San Joaquin Hills Road was done in partnership with Newport Bay Conservancy and the California Coastal Commission.

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The next volunteer opportunity at Big Canyon will occur Feb. 13.

—Emily Foxhall

Twitter: @emfoxhall

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