Wetlands are among the most important ecosystems in the world. They provide habitat for a variety of plants and animals, as well as serving important water quality functions. Wetlands form the foundation of a complex food web that ranges from algal, microbial, and fungal organisms to invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Numerous wildlife species rely on them for forage, nesting and refuge, particularly while migrating and breeding.
The City of Laguna Niguel has established 13 wetland sites throughout the Aliso Creek watershed, consisting primarily of freshwater marsh and riparian areas. The Aliso Creek watershed, including Sulphur Creek, were highly degraded in the recent past, leading to the need to establish these constructed wetland sites. All of the wetland sites are located in a suburban environment, surrounded by residential and commercial developments, undeveloped open space, schools, pedestrian and bicycle trails, and parks. The interface of open space and human environments influence the functionality of these wetland systems.
The wetlands range in size from 1 to 16 acres and were designed in order to reestablish historic habitat functions and values associated with riparian and freshwater marsh systems and to improve water quality functions within the City. The wetlands and surrounding buffer areas support habitat for several federally listed species, including the southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii), least Bell’s vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus), and coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica).
The City manages these created wetlands with the following goals:
1) Provide public safety through implementation of flood control and vector control;
2) Maintain the integrity of the restored ecosystems; and
3) Manage for long-term stability, health, and sustainability of the Aliso Creek watershed.
To download a map of the City's 13 wetland sites, CLICK HERE.