By SONYA SMITH IRVINE WORLD NEWS
The city is another step closer to finding a balance between preserving nature in south Irvine while allowing residents access to the open land.
The City Council on Tuesday received a report that outlines ways to preserve sensitive habitats, restore and maintain trails, design and build trails, and increase public access. The plan was given final approval by wildlife agencies in September.
Currently, open space is owned by the city, managed by the Irvine Ranch Land Reserve Trust and patrolled by the Police Department. A management plan will be prepared for Irvine’s 2,772 acres of open space in the city’s northern reaches to be donated by the Irvine Co. between 2008 and 2012.
Mike O’Connell, executive director of the land trust, has said that a management plan allows land to be preserved while increasing public access – what he calls a delicate balance.
The southern open space plan includes protection of endangered species such as the cactus wren and gnatcatcher and sensitive vegetation such as coastal sage scrub. The plan also will allow the city to restore and improve trails for hikers, mountain bikers, horse riders and nature programs.