Cienega Springs Ecological Reserve

2022 - Ongoing

Cienega Springs Ecological Reserve

Wetland and Riparian Restoration

Sespe Cienega North Oasis

Project Goals

The goals of the project are to actively restore 234 acres of degraded river channel and floodplain within the Cienega Springs Ecological Reserve to a mosaic of wetland and riparian habitat types, improve the site’s hydrology for surface water retention and groundwater recharge, and provide a wildlife-oriented recreational opportunity for the surrounding disadvantaged communities. The project will have multiple benefits, including restoring habitat diversity and complexity, expanding floodplain connectivity, improving water resources, and providing climate change resiliency and recreation and educational opportunities.

Habitat restoration and enhancement activities will improve over 200 acres across the Project Area and follow the project design, plant palettes, best management practices, and protective measures as detailed in the Restoration Plan. Specific habitat types to be actively restored include, approximately:

  • 61 acres of willow-cottonwood woodland,
  • 27 acres of riparian forest with coast live oak,
  • 0.25-acre sycamore-alder woodland,
  • 83 acres mixed riparian scrub
  • 25 acres of riparian scrub with coast live oak
  • 6 acres alkali scrub
  • 10 acres alkali wet meadow
  • 14 acres emergent marsh
  • 3 acres wet meadow
  • 20 acres perennial pond/channel/wetland

Maintenance activities, including controlling invasive plants, controlling herbivores, and supplemental irrigation, will continue as needed to maximize native plant cover and survival. Monitoring results will inform ongoing maintenance and adaptive management practices.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

The project property is owned by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and was designated an Ecological Reserve in April 2020. CDFW will manage and maintain the property for the 25-year Project Life. A reserve manager has been assigned to the property and oversees staff who will complete future management and routine maintenance. CDFW has established an endowment fund for the property that will support long term maintenance. After restoration is complete, long-term management and maintenance will focus on preventing stressors from diminishing the benefits of the project.