Native Habitat Restoration at Harriett Wieder Regional Park
Huntington, Beach, CA
The Bolsa Chica Conservancy is restoring a 9.5-acre portion of Harriett Wieder Regional Park (HWRP), using Measure M funds that were approved by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors in 2012. Measure M funds are specifically earmarked for mitigating impacts to native habitat from regional transportation improvements. The goal is to restore wildlife habitat by removing invasive, nonnative plants and planting appropriate native plants to increase species diversity and native coverage. The project commenced in the fall of 2016, and will culminate in the fall of 2021. A map of the restoration site can be found here.
The Conservancy’s HWRP restoration project will provide significant benefits to regionally important biological resources, and will buffer existing wildlife in the Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve. A project goal is to create habitat for sensitive species, including the Least Bell’s Vireo, Coastal Cactus Wren, California Gnatcatcher, and the Burrowing Owl. A planting goal is to grow populations of Southern Tarplant, a rare, listed plant.
The Project will remove the 99% cover of invasive plants currently on HWRP, and replace them with drought tolerant native plants. Temporary symbolic fencing (single strand wire on posts) will be erected around restoration plots, with signage at intervals informing the public of active restoration. Fencing will remain in place until plants are established and function in the same manner, likely 4 – 6 years. Access to trails should remain unrestricted unless there is a safety concern with equipment.
Visible project site impacts include: filling of a long trench and smoothing of fill piles, ripping by OC Parks to loosen soils, installing a water line, watering for two grow-kill cycles for weed seed, mechanical seed imprinting, and container plant installation. After these activities, weeding, monitoring, maintenance, and replacement planting follow.
The General Development Plan (GDP) for HWRP, adopted by the County of Orange in 1992 and later updated in 1997, calls for Wieder Park to be primarily passive in nature comprised of native habitat restoration areas, pedestrian trails, scenic overlooks and an interpretive center. The neighborhood park has been developed, and other GDP components as the interpretive center await funding. This project will not pave trails, stabilize the riparian ravine, remove oil and gas operations, install wetlands, impact cultural resources, or conduct mass grading per the GDP. It will provide soil and dust containment with deeply-rooted native plants, increased habitat values, a pleasing aesthetic, interpretive opportunities, overlook solitude, and enhanced public access.
The Project is within the City of Huntington Beach jurisdiction, and the Coastal Zone. The City of Huntington Beach considers this portion of Phase I of the GDP/ RMP as vested under their LCP. The Conservancy has prepared an Addendum to EIR 521 to evaluate potential impacts of the Restoration Plan. OC Parks will issue an encroachment permit for work performed within Harriett Wieder Park. OC Parks will restore and enhance 1-acre directly next to Seapoint Avenue in conjunction with the Conservancy’s 9.5 acres.
Volunteers and sponsors are welcome in this undertaking. Some if the activities including filling in old trenches, smoothing dirt piles for planting, installing an irrigation line, seeding, weeding and container planting beginning Fall of 2017. For opportunities to help restore this viewshed park, call Bolsa Chica Conservancy at 714 846-1114, or complete the form below.