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Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

The writings of Don Juan Ortega on the Rancho Ortega Blog are the personal views of the author. This blog is not authored by nor does it have any affiliation whatsoever with any other person, place or entity using the name "Rancho Ortega" (or any similar name).

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Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s Wildlife Monitoring Project is a Model of Open Space Land Management

Our friends and neighbors at the Irvine Ranch Conservancy posted this great compilation of wildlife caught on film by the IRC’s Wildlife Monitoring Project.  Since our local open spaces comprise the same habitat, we see many of the same animals in our local parks and reserves.


The Conservancy’s Wildlife Monitoring Project is tasked with studying local wildlife and their habitats to better manage our parks and wilderness in a way that maximizes both public use and conservation.  Once again, the parallels to our own land management challenges in South County are obvious.  For the IRC, “[t]he IRC science team is partnering with researchers at Cal State Long Beach and UCLA to study the effects of public access on different wildlife and habitats. One way is by using remotely-triggered cameras placed throughout the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. These candid photos (and sometimes even video) allow researchers to observe wildlife and how it responds to people. Early results show, for example, that deer respond very differently to disturbance than nesting hawks. And what’s more, wildlife reacts differently to varying types of access. For instance, a speedy group of mountain bikers has a different effect than a solitary hiker or several equestrians.”

As more of Rancho Mission Viejo transitions from a working ranch to protected open space (in proximity to new residential development), the stewards of the Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo will face the same challenges in balancing public access and use with wildlife preservation and conservation.  The Irvine Ranch Conservancy provides one model of how to do that.

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