Getting to Know the Buck Gully ReserveMiles of trails weave through protected open space habitats bringing community members close to nature while they walk, run, hike and bike along the trails. Thanks to the City’s efforts to obtain a State Habitat Conservation Fund grant, and through its partnership with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, Buck Gully has an improved trail system and an active habitat restoration program. Upper Buck Gully Reserve is open daily from dawn to dusk with special naturalist-led activities regularly scheduled throughout the year.
Restoration of Buck Gully Reserve
The City has partnered with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy (Conservancy) to manage the reserve through targeted invasive plant species identification, removal and habitat restoration. An extensive study was completed that mapped out areas where habitat restoration opportunities occur within the reserve. In order to reverse the effects of these invasive plants, and reduce the threat of wild fires, a concerted effort is being taken to remove the non-native and fire-prone plants and trees. Volunteers, under the direction of the Conservancy, work on the City-owned property within the hazard reduction zone.
Buck Gully’s neighbors play a key role in helping to preserve this natural resource for future generations. Buck Gully’s diverse and sensitive network of plants and wildlife depend on each other for survival. Weeds and non-native animals introduced to the gully threaten this delicate ecological balance.
Conservancy staff identifies and removes invasive weeds in the gully and along residential property lines. Removing these plants and replacing them with native species helps to sustain the ecological balance and reduces the risk of fire for local residents. Volunteers are needed to assist the Conservancy science team each month to remove and reduce the invasive and fire-prone weeds.
What Can You Do to Help?
Neighbors of Buck Gully
For the properties that abut the reserve, there are a few key ways you can help support healthy habitats and protect your property. Using drought-tolerant and / or fire-resistant native plants in your landscape palette significantly reduces water use and removes fire fuels from around your home. In February, the City mailed an informational letter to area residents. You can read that letter by clicking The City mailed an information letter to area residents addressing this issue.
The Buck Gully Reserve educational brochure illustrates how you can help protect the reserve and your property by considering three-simple steps when maintaining your yard:
- Plant Natives
- Ornamental plants spread seed into the reserve, making it difficult for native plants to survive. The local wildlife depend on native habitats for food and shelter. The loss of diverse native plants could lead to the loss of wildlife. See the section, 10 Plants to Avoid, below.
- Reduce Water Use
- A natural stream flows along the base of Buck Gully. Over watering your landscape produces water runoff, which has the potential for trail erosion, slope degradation and supports non-local wildlife that endangers native species.
- Reduce Fire Fuels
- The City manages the removal of non-native and fire-prone plants and replacement with native fire-resistant species. You can do the same around your property by planting species that reduce the spread of fire and not spread seeds into the natural habitat.
Any assistance that you can provide on your side of the property line will positively impact the work being done on the public property side of the reserve.
10 Plants to Avoid
The below list of plants and trees should be avoided along the perimeter of the reserve. These are the most fire-prone and invasive plants, which are bad for the reserve's natural habitat:
- Brazilian pepper trees
- Pampas grass
- Italian cypress
- Ice plant
- Peruvian pepper trees
- English ivy
- Pine trees
ResourcesBuck Gully Reserve is open daily from dawn to dusk. There are special naturalist-led activities scheduled throughout the year. For more information about the reserve:
- Visit Buck Gully
- Educational Brochure
- Native and Fire-Resistant Plants
- Habitat Assessment and Review of Fuel Modification Areas within the Buck Gully Reserve (2012 Study)
- Get involved. Conservancy staff and volunteers lead hikes and activities along the Buck Gully trails, perform regular trail maintenance and offer stewardship programs.