One of the goals of the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District (IERCD) is to restore important habitats with plants that are native to our area. Our local sage scrub habitat – a collection of aromatic shrubs that occupy our local hills – is one of these important ecosystems we often are working to restore. Recently the IERCD got involved in project to restore coastal sage scrub habitat just north of the Green River Golf Club and the 91 freeway in Chino Hills State Park. Over the next five years, the 16-acre restoration site will be transformed from a hillside dominated by non-native grasses and mustards to a habitat of native plants including velvety sages, leafy shrubs and showy annual wildflowers. Our local sage scrub habitat supports a wide variety of animals, insects and birds, including the federally endangered California gnatcatcher, a small blue bird with a distinct kitten-like meew call.
Habitat restoration work started in late fall of 2017 and will involve installation of 12,000 native plants and companion seeding, performed to offset environmental impacts caused by the most recent expansion of the 91 freeway. Partners on this restoration side include California State Parks, California Department of Transportation, the Santa Ana Watershed Association, and Riverside County Transportation Commission, all working collaboratively to uplift habitat at the project site. The IERCD will carry out the five-year habitat restoration project, and at its conclusion the long-term management responsibilities for the area will be passed to Chino Hills State Park.