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Transportation Corridor Agencies Conservation Grazing Program Recognized With Sustainability, Green Development Award

Pilot cattle grazing program at Live Oak Plaza Conservation Area lauded by Orange County Business Council at Turning Red Tape into Red Carpet Awards ceremony.

IRVINE, Calif. - November 05, 2021

The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) earned recognition yesterday for its efforts to improve mobility while preserving open space and wildlife habitat, conserving healthy functioning ecosystems and benefiting the quality of air, water and land.

TCA’s Conservation Grazing Pilot Program was announced as the honorable mention of the Sustainable and Green Development Award at Turning Red Tape into Red Carpet Awards hosted by the Orange County Business Council. The award recognizes programs that simultaneously target and create relationships between economic development, environmental sustainability and climate adaptation.

Conservation grazing, or targeted grazing, is the use of grazing livestock to improve and maintain the quality of biodiversity of natural areas. In May 2020, The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) adopted conservation grazing as the preferred, science-based approach to manage its 23.2-acre Live Oak Plaza Conservation Area.

Live Oak Plaza, located in Trabuco Canyon northeast 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. The site provides natural wildlife movement corridors to and from the Cleveland National Forest approximately one mile north and east of the property, and O’Neill Regional Park and Whiting Ranch Wilderness Parks approximately 0.75 miles to the south and northwest, respectively.

The program is slated to last three years, with grazing occurring three times annually and lasting approximately two to three weeks. While other cities and agencies use different livestock such as goats for grazing, TCA is the only agency in Orange County to use cattle.

In a statement, TCA CEO Samuel Johnson said:

"We are excited to see this program honored, as recognition of TCA’s long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship. Preserving open space and protecting native species is an important part of our mission.

"By using the most innovative science-based approaches to land management, TCA continues to function as a responsible partner to the communities we serve. TCA is at the forefront of environmental initiatives, and the grazing program, along with this recognition, further illustrates our efforts."

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.