Destruction of San Diego Creek by County of Orange
Public Facilities and Resources Dept.

Just north of Campus, east bank. Former willow grove and endangered species habitat reduced to a thin strip.

Heavy equipment removing habitat and baring the soil.

East bank below bike path. You can see a staircase effect, with lower vegetation in front of taller vegetation. The taller vegetation is slated for removal, leaving only the lower vegetation.

The only vegetation that will remain is between the survey stake and the orange fence. Note tracks of heavy equipment used to remove all vegetation in just the past 4 days.

Evidence of heavy equipment removing vegetation.

Sparse little 40 foot strip with loose soil both sides of channel that will silt up Upper Newport Bay with the first storm.

View from west bank. Note loose soil both sides of creek.

Taken from west side of Campus bridge, sparse remains of lush riparian vireo habitat.

Willow grove habitat removed by heavy equipment in front of the orange fence.

Farther up the channel, east side. Just above the fence is all that remains of ACOE mitigation site.
Mitigation site damaged/destroyed.

Farther up, heavy equipment removing willow habitat.
Father up, undisturbed (yet) east bank. west bank denuded and loose dirt destined to be silt in Upper Bay.
Mitigation site between fence and bikers. Hardly anything there.
West bank grading creating siltation scenario.
Intact habitat east side below Michelson.
Midway Campus and Michelson, east side intact, west side graded.
West side equipment. Silt creator.
East side riparian still intact.
Statement by Jan Vandersloot:
As you can see from the photographs ... there has been massive removal of habitat and creation of silt by the "emergency " San Diego Creek Capacity project that was reaffirmed by the County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, January 13.

To the Army Corps: You can see that heavy equipment is being used to remove vegetation, clearing away all vegetation from the slope below the bicycle path on the east bank to the creek from Campus Drive to Michelson, mostly removing a pure growth of mulefat. Heavy equipment is moving along the creek north of Campus Drive, removing all vegetation on the creek side of the fence, mostly willow trees. The only habitat left is a sparse little strip, the 40 foot-wide corridor with a few twigs of willows and sparse mulefat. The ACOE staff told me that only hand-removal of vegetation would be permitted. However, the heavy equipment used belies this requirement, as the many willows with trunks less than 3 inches were removed contrary to the County staff's pronouncements.

To the USFWS and DFG: Note that the sparse little strip of mostly mulefat left on the east bank surely cannot be considered suitable habitat for the least Bell's vireo. You are witnessing firsthand destruction of endangered species habitat without going through the permitting process. Why are you not stepping up to the plate on behalf of the Endangered Species Act?

To the California Coastal Commission: Note what is in store for the section of the creek in the Coastal Zone. Surely, you will require CEQA documentation, as the consequences of this non-emergency and ESHA destruction must see the light of day.

To the County: much shame on you to allow this to happen. Supervisor Campbell, where was that little 3-inch slingshot device to measure the 3 inch diameter? Observers to the chainsawing of the trees saw no-one utilizing the device you showed at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

To all: See the massive quantity of siltation that the County is creating by turning lush riparian habitat that used to be anchoring the soil into bare, loose soil. Be assured that this bare soil will wash right into the creek and into Upper Newport Bay. The $38 million proposed for dredging the bay will be used up removing the siltation coming into the bay from this project at San Diego Creek. Surely, the County will be required to pay for the additional silt created by its stripping and grading operations, and will be required to use devices such as jute mesh to hold down the banks, and plant replacement vegetation to anchor the soil, along with the 10 to 1 mitigation for the removal of endangered species habitat. The RWQCB has suggested using the dredged soil to form a berm around the Michelson Treatment Plant, so IRWD will never be able to pull this dirty little scare tactic again. The Plant needs additional protection anyway, for the possibility of a 190-year storm like the Santa Ana River.

end of statement by Jan Vandersloot

Trabuco Oaks under threat of development

Nature's garden: the area under attack as "saddlecreek" is a natural garden of native plants and habitat, in a natural balance. View some pics at

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