Laguna Canyon Creek Restoration

Restoring and enhancing riparian habitat, a wildflower meadow, and trails along an undeveloped reach of Laguna Canyon Creek.


Current Status: In Progress | Start Date: September 2017 | Expected Completion: 2021 | Project Lead: Alan Kaufmann

This reach of Laguna Canyon Creek (between Anneliese School’s Willowbrook campus to the north and the Sun Valley neighborhood to the south) passes through the DeWitt Property, the site of one of the original homesteads in Laguna Canyon. After being a walnut plantation and then a horse ranch, it has spent the last several decades slowly reverting to its natural state, and is now the largest remaining area of undeveloped riparian habitat in the canyon. The City of Laguna Beach purchased this 100-acre property to protect as open space in 1991.

The recovery of this habitat has been impeded by the introduction of several invasive, non-native plants (including cape ivy, pampas grass, arundo, poison hemlock and others). The hydrology of the stream was also altered when large amounts of soil and other debris resulting from a flood were bulldozed and left in piles along Laguna Canyon Road. Additionally, a wildflower meadow on the east side of the creek was heavily impacted by debris removal activities resulting from the 2010 floods, which uncovered an old incineration and dump site on the property.

This is a collaborative project between the City of Laguna Beach, Laguna Canyon Foundation, and Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., and is being generously funded by a grant from the California Natural Resources Agency.

This project includes debris removal, five acres of habitat enhancement and restoration, construction and improvement of approximately 0.5 miles of trails on the property, and the design and installation of several interpretive signs to help educate the public about the history of this property, the importance of riparian habitat to wildlife, and the process of ecological restoration.