76 acres will return to nature
Our Plan provides a framework for restoring 76 acres in the northern portion of the Synergy site, ensuring the success of the restoration effort, and establishing a 5-year monitoring and reporting program. Furthermore, an endowment to maintain the wetlands in perpetuity will be established.
LCWA’s Conceptual Restoration Plan
A comprehensive conceptual restoration plan addressing the larger LCW Complex, Los Cerritos Wetlands Final Conceptual Restoration Plan (LCW Final Conceptual Restoration Plan/CRP), was prepared for the LCWA. The CRP developed and analyzed several scenarios for large-scale restoration of the LCW Complex (nearly 565 acres).
The Project’s Plan, focused on the northern portion of the Synergy site, was prepared in keeping with the overarching approaches and strategies developed in the CRP for the larger LCW Complex. The design, goals and objectives in our Plan are consistent with the goals and objectives identified in the CRP.
Our Plan is being Reviewed by Numerous Agencies
An Interagency Review Team (IRT) is reviewing our Plan. The IRT includes representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, and the California Coastal Commission (CCC).
The mechanism for implementing the Plan is a mitigation bank. The mitigation bank approval process includes the approval of a prospectus by the IRT, followed by the review and approval of a bank enabling instrument (BEI) by the IRT, the final approval allows the bank developer to begin selling mitigation credits from the bank. The IRT will identify the amount and nature of mitigation credits that will be available through this mitigation bank.
The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the US Environmental Protection Agency define wetlands as follows:
“Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.”
Expanding tidal connection
Our goal is to expand tidal connection so that areas south of Steamshovel Slough that currently lack tidal connection and the associated hydrology, will receive tidal flows. By doing this, we will be providing the conditions necessary for reestablishment of coastal salt marsh habitat and associated habitat functions. In order to expand tidal flow into areas where it is currently lacking we will:
- Create a new barrier consisting of sheet pile walls and earthen berms along the southern limits of the 76-acre restoration area;
- Establish tidal channels, through minor, strategic grading, to allow tidal water into areas that currently lack tidal flows;
- Remove segments of the existing berm and roads that currently separate Steamshovel Slough from non-tidal portions of the restoration area;
- Lower the areas bordering the Los Cerritos Channel from current elevations by approximately 2 ½ to 4 ½ feet, creating additional habitat that supports a wide variety of high marsh species.
Care will be taken during the restoration process not to disturb nesting birds, particularly between February 15 to July 15, due to potential nesting for birds, particularly the Belding’s savannah sparrow. Project biologists will conduct surveys for nesting birds prior to any vegetation removal to ensure no nesting birds are impacted. If active nests are found, a minimum 50-foot, or 200 feet for raptors, barrier fencing shall be erected around the nest site. No habitat removal or any other work shall occur within the fenced nest zone until the young have fledged, are no longer being fed by the parents, and have left the nest.
Native Plant Salvage and Translocation
Impacts to wetland vegetation associated with installation of the sheetpile wall and grading activities are expected to be minimal. Salvage and translocation of native wetland vegetation will be utilized to further minimize impacts to vegetated wetlands. Salvaged plants will be translocated and placed in adjacent unvegetated areas outside the area of grading, or stockpiled and reestablished within the newly established channels following grading.
Non-Native and Invasive Plant Removal
A number of non-native and invasive plant species are found in the restoration area, most of which will be removed as a part of the Plan. The restoration area will continually be monitored for invasive species and will be treated as appropriate.