Ecological Conservancies, Habitat and Wetland Preserves
Over the past decades, thousands of acres of Rancho Mission Viejo land historically used for cattle grazing, row crops, citrus production, and other ranching operations, have been set aside as conservancies and preserves. By keeping the land in family hands, precedent-setting partnerships have been forged to ensure the protection and study of native plant and animal habitats, help preserve and enhance wetlands, manage water run-off, and protect water quality within these important places:
Gobernadora Ecological Restoration Area (GERA)
This 105-acre area of Rancho Mission Viejo was created on Earth Day 1994, in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers. GERA is recognized as one of the country’s most successful restorations of former agricultural land into wetlands and woodlands.
Arroyo Trabuco Water Quality Basin and Wetlands
This seven-acre project, established in 2000, is adjacent to the Ladera Ranch master-planned community. It was created in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the County of Orange. Incorporating state-of-the-art practices, the Basin preserves downstream water quality and promotes habitat protection. It is a living classroom where children and local biologists can learn how wetlands serve as natural filters for run-off into seasonal streams.
Sienna Botanica Riverine System
Sienna Botanica Riverine System is another significant contribution to best water quality management practices. Flowing through the heart of Ladera Ranch, the system creates a park along Sienna Parkway and functions as a natural biofiltration system for urban run-off throughout the community.
Horno Creek Water Quality Basin and Wetlands
The 30-acre Horno Creek Water Quality Basin and Wetlands at the southern end of Ladera Ranch was completed in 2003. It collects up to 85% of the urban water run-off and drainage from Ladera Ranch after it has filtered through the Sienna Botanica. The Horno Basin is another example of the innovative partnerships Rancho Mission Viejo has established with the County of Orange, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Santa Margarita Water District to protect local watersheds and create or restore wetlands.
Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club System
Located at the end of Avery Parkway, just off the I-5 Freeway, are the tournament-quality fairways and native vegetation of Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club. A major component to the Golf Club is the preservation of approximately 350 acres, representing over half of the project site, as open space. Environmental components to the plan included an extensive re-vegetation program, a number of measures to assure the protection of water quality in the Arroyo, and elaborate efforts to protect area wetlands. As identified by its current alignment, the golf course impacts less than one-half acre of wetlands. No threatened or any endangered species is directly impacted by the golf course.
Rancho Mission Viejo Landscape Watering and Conservation Systems
The family is committed to finding workable solutions to one of Southern California’s biggest water problems: the need to reduce consumption. Rancho Mission Viejo has implemented a “smart” watering system at Ladera Ranch, which has now been expanded as a component of the remaining Rancho Mission Viejo community.