IRVINE, Calif. - February 18, 2021
The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) this week kicked off a pilot program in which cattle graze the land at the Agencies’ Live Oak Plaza Conservation Area in Trabuco Canyon. The first grazing period will continue for approximately two to three weeks. The program, approved by the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) Board of Directors last year, helps to mitigate wildfire risk and promote native vegetation.
Conservation grazing, or targeted grazing, is the use of grazing livestock to improve and maintain the quality of biodiversity of natural areas. In May, the F/ETCA adopted conservation grazing as the preferred, science-based approach to manage the 23.2-acre property acquired in 2005. In September, the Agency entered into a three-year agreement with 5 Bar Beef to perform the grazing.
“TCA’s commitment to the environment is exemplified in this forward-thinking land management program,” said F/ETCA Chair Peggy Huang, Mayor of Yorba Linda. “Grazing has the important additional benefit of mitigating wildfires such as the devastating blazes that displaced families and impacted our roads last year.”
The land is set to be grazed each year in late winter, spring and late summer. The next grazing will take place in April.
“The use of conservation grazing as part of a holistic approach to habitat management can increase biodiversity and reduce flashy fuels from nonnative annual plants that are associated with fire risk. Conservation grazing is a carefully monitored and managed science-based tool to improve the quality of natural areas,” said Dr. Doug Feremenga, TCA’s Environmental Planning Manager.
“Preserving open space and protecting native species is an important part of TCA’s legacy,” said San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency Chair and Mission Viejo Mayor Trish Kelley. “Not only does grazing provide a natural alternative to the use of harsh chemicals, it is also a more financially prudent approach. I am pleased that the first grazing has begun.”
Under the agreement, 5 Bar Beef will provide cattle, water, additional feeding and other functions necessary to properly graze the land. More photos of the grazing program are available for download at The Toll Roads’ Flickr site.
Live Oak Plaza, located in Trabuco Canyon east of the 241 Toll Road, 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 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.