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Santa Clarita wins environmental award

Posted: December 26, 2013 5:32 p.m.
Updated: December 26, 2013 5:32 p.m.

Santa Clarita Sustainability Planner Heather Merenda points along a line of newly planted sycamore trees and elderberry and toyon shrubs used to stabilize the creek banks in the Bouquet Canyon Creek Restoration Project. Signal photo by Jim Holt

The city of Santa Clarita has won a national environmental award for a project to restore the only unchanneled stretch of Bouquet Creek within city limits, officials announced Thursday.

The creek section under restoration runs along the east side of Bouquet Canyon Road at the very southern end of Central Park by the basketball courts.

“This is the last natural section of Bouquet Creek within the city limits,” said Heather Merenda, Santa Clarita’s sustainability planner. “It’s a little island in a sea of flood control environment and it has a lot of really good habitat.”

However, the locale also has a row of non-native pepper trees planted by the owner before the city acquired the 3.6 acres of land in 2010, Merenda said. The pepper trees’ shallow root systems failed to stabilize the creek banks during storms, when water flow caused severe bank erosion.

The restoration project was designed to stabilize the bank, slow erosion and preserve the creek’s natural flow, in addition to adding native plants to the area in the form of sycamore, elderberry and toyon that will replace the shorter-lived pepper trees when they die out.

To keep the young native plants alive, city workers installed a temporary, solar-powered irrigation system.

The American Public Works Association named the Bouquet Canyon Creek Restoration Project as the “best environmental project of the year.”

“The city is dedicated to preserving and protecting Santa Clarita’s natural environment, and the Bouquet Canyon Creek is one of many local treasures,” City Councilwoman Laurene Weste said in a written statement.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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