Aliso Creek Estuary Restoration Plan: 30% Design & Permitting

Location: Orange County

Project Type: Planning

Status: Current

Cost: $624,920

Funding Gap: $100,000

Acres: 6

Assembly District: 70

Senate District: 33

Congressional District: 48

Project Lead/Grantee:
Laguna Ocean Foundation, Ed Almanza

The Aliso Creek Estuary is a small, intermittently open estuary that drains a 30-square mile, mostly urbanized watershed in south Orange County. Aliso Creek once drained to the ocean through a broad estuary with expansive wetlands but has suffered habitat loss from development of a parking lot for Aliso Beach Park, modified hydrology, and poor water quality. A loss in normal seasonal fluctuations in water levels and native vegetation has led to the extirpation of the native Tidewater Goby and other native species from the estuary.
The Laguna Ocean Foundation will prepare a 30% restoration design plan, complete the CEQA environmental review process, and implement necessary studies for future permitting for the Aliso Creek estuary in Laguna Beach, Orange County, California.  The restoration design and CEQA analysis will build off of the Conceptual Restoration Plan in that was completed by the Laguna Ocean Foundation in 2017.  Specifically, the project will develop all necessary information to perform an environmental impact assessment, including an infrastructure relocation plan and a refined grading plan.  The grantee will also develop technical information necessary to support the CEQA and future permitting process such as a flooding and sea level rise analysis.
The project will also have significant scientific and community input through science advisory and stakeholder meetings.  The stakeholder meetings will focus on resolving the desires of multiple landowners within the project area, particularly on the north side of the estuary, which is owned by County of Orange, South Coast Water District, and The Ranch at Laguna, a private landowner.