IRVINE, Calif. - September 21, 2020
The Transportation Corridor Agencies are swinging open the corral gate for a pilot program that will see cattle from a nearby ranch graze the land at their Live Oak Plaza Conservation Area in Trabuco Canyon.
The Board of Directors for the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) has authorized staff to enter into a three-year agreement with 5 Bar Beef to provide the cattle, water, additional feeding and other functions necessary to properly graze the land. The land will be grazed in the late summer, late winter and spring.
In May, the Agency adopted conservation grazing as the preferred science-based approach to manage the 23.2-acre property, which was acquired in 2005. Conservation grazing, or targeted grazing, is the use of grazing livestock to improve and maintain the quality of biodiversity of natural areas that have been previously disturbed.
Grazing is used as a means to restore native vegetation while mitigating the risk of wildfires through the removal of non-native grasses and plants. Not only is grazing a natural alternative to using harsh chemicals to maintain the land, it is also more financially prudent.
“I’m so pleased that we are able to begin this grazing program at Live Oak Plaza. Protecting native habitat without the use of harmful pesticides is something I have long championed in my city, and I’m thrilled to see TCA instituting this approach as well,” said Christina Shea, Irvine Mayor and F/ETCA Chairwoman.
“Ranching is part of Orange County’s heritage and this common-sense approach to land management allows us to use natural resources for the benefit of the community at large and preserve open space for future generations. I am proud that we are implementing this type of program in the Lake Forest area,” said F/ETCA Director Scott Voigts, who serves on the Lake Forest City Council.
Located in Trabuco Canyon, east of the 241 Toll Road, Live Oak Plaza contains valuable oak woodlands, riparian and coastal sage scrub habitat for the threatened coastal California gnatcatcher and the endangered Riverside fairy shrimp. Prior to being conserved as permanent open space by TCA, the site had been zoned for commercial, residential and gas station development. It now provides natural wildlife movement corridors to and from the Cleveland National Forest. To learn more about Live Oak Plaza as well as TCA’s other award-winning environmental sites and initiatives, visit https://thetollroads.com/about/environment.
The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) are two joint powers authorities formed by the California legislature in 1986 to plan, finance, construct and operate Orange County’s public toll road system comprised of the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads.