OC launches wetland project to improve water quality and wildlife habitats

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Orange County has launched a $1.1 million wetland project to improve water quality and wildlife habitats near Aliso Creek.

Officials kicked off the construction of the Dairy Fork Wetland and Habitat Restoration Project in Aliso Viejo in a ceremony Monday. The wetland is designed to treat runoff from 1,500 acres of commercial and residential areas within Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills and Laguna Woods.

Monday's ceremony with Aliso Viejo Mayor Mike Munzing, Mayor Pro Tem Dave Harrington, Councilmen Ross Chun and Bill Phillips and officials from Lake Forest, Laguna Hills and Laguna Woods.
Monday's ceremony with Aliso Viejo Mayor Mike Munzing, Mayor Pro Tem Dave Harrington, Councilmen Ross Chun and Bill Phillips and officials from Lake Forest, Laguna Hills and Laguna Woods. Kelly Tokarski/Aliso Viejo

The ponds and native plantings are supposed to naturally treat the runoff before they reach Aliso Creek.

"It is very critical because this area is being developed," said Moy Yahya, Aliso Viejo's environmental programs manager. "The development has an impact on the environment."

The wetlands should also improve habitats for birds, frogs and other wildlife.

A Proposition 84 grant from the State Department of Water Resources and money from a transportation measure and participating cities are funding the project. It's expected to be completed by early summer.

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