The Santa Clarita Valley was honored by the American Public Works Association (APWA) for its recently completed Bouquet Canyon Creek Restoration Project earlier this month.
The restoration project began in 2001 and is meant to preserve the last natural stretch of creek in the city. The project was named best project of the year by the APWA at an award ceremony Dec. 6.
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“The APWA is a fantastic organization and we are honestly honored to be recognized by an organization that deals with high level public work projects,” said Heather Merenda, Sustainability Planner for the City of Santa Clarita.
The project focused on a portion of the Bouquet Canyon Creek that runs along the outer perimeter of Central Park with a goal of slowing erosion and adding native plants to help preserve the creeks natural flow, according to a city brief about the project.
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From 2001 to 2010 Merenda said the city worked on finding funding, talking to property owners and looking at other plans for Central Park to make sure the project was compatible with other park goals.
Roughly $100,00 was eventually provided through a settlement agreement and grant, most of it coming from the Regional Water Quality Control Board Supplemental Environmental Projects Grant. In 2010 the city was able to buy 3.6 acres from a private landowner and begin the restoration project.
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Native plants, including Sycamore trees, Toyon shrubs and Elderberry plants, were planted in the area and a solar-powered irrigation system was installed to help water the plants until they can survive on rainfall alone.
Merenda said one cause for concern in the area is a row of pepper trees that are reaching their life span.
“No one knows for sure when a tree will die, just like any other living thing,” Merenda said. “So we are not exactly sure, but what this project was designed to do was to provide a series of succession plants.”
The city is hoping these new plants will grow and provide a seed bank for the area before the pepper trees become unsafe, fall over or collapse into creek, possibly becoming a flood hazard. The city will then have to selectively remove the pepper trees, but the native trees recently planted will already be providing a nice habitat for the areas plants, animals and visitors to enjoy.
The project was completed in June and plaques have been installed along the trail to inform the public about the project.
Source: Santa Clarita News