You’re invited to The Toll Roads’ highly-anticipated 14th Annual Spring Tours Series. The 2014 Spring Tours celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Coyote Canyon Landfill Mitigation Site.
Participants will experience the natural beauty of Orange County on guided walks through land set aside and protected with the construction of the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads.
Led by the restoration specialist and biologist who has spent the last two decades restoring the sites to their native habitat and contributing to The Toll Roads’ award-winning environmental programs, this year’s tours focus on the comprehensive efforts and commitment to environmental conservation and restoration, and provide an exclusive glimpse into special areas of Orange County that few have ever seen.
In addition to its guided nature walks, this year The Toll Roads will host a special 20th Anniversary Community Expo to mark the successful restoration of the closed landfill. The expo is free, family-friendly and open to the public.
Bonita Creek – May 3 – Restoration & Bird Watching Tour: 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
The 21-acre Bonita Creek restoration area is part of the main wildlife link from Upper Newport Bay to the San Joaquin Hills. It was restored with the construction of the 73 Toll Road from a narrow rip-rap lined ditch and underground culverts to a viable riparian habitat rich with wildlife. This easy, three-mile guided walkwill be primarily on a paved path and along the San Diego Creek to a restored saltwater marsh. It will focus on plants and the methods used to restore the creek and riparian habitat. Bird watchers will see wetland and coastal sage scrub bird species and binoculars are highly recommended. The tour will be led by a restoration specialist and an avian biologist and is designed for participants over the age of 12.
Coyote Canyon – May 17 – Guided Walk: 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Come and join as The Toll Roads celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Coyote Canyon Landfill Mitigation Site and its spectacular environmental achievements as the nation’s first native habitat for the protection of a federally-listed species to be implemented on a closed landfill. This moderate, five-mile guided walkthrough restoration areas on the landfill allows the public to see the natural restoration firsthand. Participants will learn about the innovative revegetation techniques that successfully established more than 122 acres of native, drought tolerant habitat.
Space on the guided walks is limited; call (949) 754-3405 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Coyote Canyon – May 17 – 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Toll Roads are joining with the County of Orange, the City of Newport Beach and other partners to host a free, family-friendly public expo to celebrate two decades of environmental excellence. The free open house expo is open to all and includes fun educational booths and discussions on the science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) used to operate this landfill during its post-closure process, including multi-use designs for gas recovery and native habitat restoration.
Directions: From State Route 73: Exit Newport Coast Drive and head south past Sage Hill High School. Turn right at the traffic signal to arrive at the destination. From Pacific Coast Highway: Take PCH to Newport Coast Drive and make a legal U-turn at Turtle Crest Drive. Pass Sage Hill High School and make a right at the traffic signal to arrive at the destination.
The Toll Roads Give Back to the Community with Environmental and Educational Programs Geared Towards Protecting the Environment
With the 20 year anniversary of The Transportation Corridor Agencies’ (TCA) launch of FasTrak® just around the corner, TCA recognizes a history of comprehensive efforts and commitment to environmental conservation and education. The various award-winning environmental and educational programs have contributed to the thousands of acres of permanently conserved lands throughout Orange County, enhanced wildlife connectivity, improved air quality, and introduced the community and Orange County youth to prehistoric Orange County. A sampling of TCA programs include:
Native Habitat Program – 22 Years: TCA is a major contributor to the Central/Coastal Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) and has set aside and protected 37,000 acres of prime habitat in Orange County for 42 individual species including 18,831 acres of coastal sage scrub habitat, 7,290 acres of chaparral, 6,104 acres of grasslands, 1,818 acres of riparian and significant portions of eight other habitat types. About 318 acres of land owned by TCA are included within the reserve. Approximately 381 California gnatcatchers and 674 cactus wren sightings have occurred within the reserve system.
Improved Air Quality – 20 Years: The Toll Roads are designed to maintain “free flow” travel conditions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions are highest along heavily congested highways, such as Interstate 5 or the 91 freeway, and contribute to respiratory problems such as asthma. In addition to the health benefits of The Toll Roads, the National Motorists Association reports that less fuel is consumed in free-flowing conditions by driving at steady speeds and avoiding complete stops. And, less fuel used means fewer emissions released into our environment and cleaner air.
The Spring Tours – 13 Years: Each spring, TCA has hosted free guided hikes through more than 2,100 acres of open space that were protected with construction of the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads. More than 1,400 people have enjoyed the tour series since the program began, which teaches participants how native plant communities were carefully restored to protect threatened species and how these conservation areas are maintained to protect wildlife and the environment for future generations. The tours are led by an ornithologist and the restoration ecologist and biologist who has spent the last two decades restoring these sites to their native habitat and contributing to The Toll Roads’ award-winning environmental programs.
Fossils in Your Backyard – 11 Years: Paleontologists and archaeologists spent thousands of hours monitoring and collecting fossils spanning 90 million years — from the nearly complete skeleton of a baleen whale to jawbone fragments of what is believed to be California’s first dinosaur-era mammal. TCA has taken great care to not only preserve these important links to our prehistoric past, but to ensure that they are shared with the public. TCA provides funding for curation and exhibition and has hired paleontologists to properly prepare, document and store the fossils.
Additionally, TCA partnered with LSA Associates to launch Fossils in Your Backyard, a free educational program for local school children. Taught by a professional paleontologist, the program has given more than 50,000 children a glimpse of what life was like in prehistoric Orange County through a hands-on look at fossils and artifacts that were discovered when The Toll Roads were built.