An OCTA-funded habitat restoration project in San Juan Capistrano was one of seven innovative projects across the region that received a 2022 Sustainability Award from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).
As part of the Green Region Initiative, OCTA partnered with the City of San Juan Capistrano to transform a 53-acrea area plagued by illegal dumping, graffiti and non-native weeds into an ecosystem supporting native plants and wildlife. Threatened wildlife such as the coastal California gnatcatcher and the Bell’s Vireo have been found in the new habitat. The restored area also provides greater protection against wildfires now that weeds and debris have been removed. One of OCTA’s 12 Environmental Mitigation Program restoration projects, the $1.5 million project is funded through OC Go, Orange County’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements.
Local businesses, nurseries, contractors and residents were employed to work on habitat restoration. In addition, 50 young adults assisted as part of the Orange County Conservation Corps.
Other SCAG award winners include municipalities, agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations – all recognized for excellence in coordinating land use, technology and transportation to improve mobility, livability, prosperity and sustainability. The seven winning projects and seven honorable mentions are spread across the six-county region represented by SCAG, the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization.