The Newport Bay Conservancy is playing a key role in a 60-acre restoration project at Big Canyon. The conceptual design we have presented restores but does not relocate the existing freshwater pond. Over 90 % of the area of the pond has been lost because of sedimentation and overgrowth with cattails. The intent is to re-establish the original acreage of open water, but to reconfigure it to provide more effective stormwater conveyance, better maintenance and vector control access, and suitable habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. The project will also include removal of invasive plant species and restoration of native coastal sage scrub, grassland, riparian and marsh habitat. Repairs and improvements will be made at the parking lot and the spillway across Back Bay Drive. Bluff erosion will be remediated and the trail system improved.
The environmental studies and permitting are expected to be completed during the next twelve months such that reconstruction of the freshwater pond can be performed in the fall of 2012 in the window between the end of breeding season and the start of the rainy season.