The Oak Glen Creek Corridor, in the flood plain between Pendleton Avenue and the Oak Glen Creek Detention Basins at Bryant Street, is getting an ecological make-over that will be completed in two steps. Step one started this week.

Over the last several years, the city has acquired open space areas for habitat preservation with the benefit of public recreational use. One of the primary reasons in acquiring open space is to mitigate the impacts of construction within natural drainage channels. Construction in drainage channels is necessary to build flood control projects that reduce the risk of flooding in Yucaipa. One of the benefits of acquiring these open space areas is to conserve the existing natural character, visual quality and natural resources of the land. This also creates opportunities for the preservation, enhancement, and protection of native plants and trees. Through discussions with the State’s environmental resource agencies, some trees and plant species located in the Oak Glen Creek Corridor have been identified as invasive or non-native. Step one in the ecological make-over will include the removal of some of these invasive, non-native plants such as Eucalyptus trees, which will be a benefit to native trees and plants, allowing them to flourish.

Did you know that Eucalyptus trees began arriving in California from the other side of the world during the latter part of the 19th Century? Admired for their resilience, fast growth and resourcefulness, Eucalyptus trees are ideal for drought-prone areas, since they make efficient use of whatever water is available. In the case of the Oak Glen Creek Corridor, the non-native Eucalyptus trees may be a little too resourceful and they prevent native trees and plants from thriving. The removal of invasive, non-native plants is also a key component in fire safety for fuel modification to further protect the surrounding homes from fires.

Step two in the ecological make-over will be restoring or planting native trees and plants in the corridor to enhance the streambed. This restoration effort will be completed with the help of the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District (IERCD), the city’s environmental restoration and conservation partner. It is important to mention, the site has been investigated and studied by the city’s environmental consultant, Ruth Villalobos and Associates (RVA). The investigation identified that nesting birds were not present in the trees that will be removed and all native trees have been clearly identified so they can be protected during the tree removal process. The restoration of the corridor will also protect and enhance wildlife habitat in the corridor and the delineated public multi-use trails within the corridor will provide links to other multi-use trails in the city.

According to Steve Frenken, city of Yucaipa’s contract Landscape Architect, “Compared to other Southern California communities, Yucaipa has a unique topography with a diverse natural landscape. This allows for habitat varieties within our own back yard. This is what makes Yucaipa a great place to live. Our natural water courses contain plants that are no longer present in many other communities. The variety of small native species is impressive when you learn what we have here. By removing non-native species, these wildlife corridors will be a healthier asset for the City of Yucaipa.”

The non-native tree removal work has started and will be completed by the end of October. Step two will be completed in the near future. For additional information, contact the city of Yucaipa Public Works Department at 797-2489 Ext. 254.

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