Did you know that there's many communities in Orange County that back to a habitat reserve or have them as neighbors? Here in South Orange County, the cities of San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and the future Rancho Mission Viejo enjoy the nature reserve known as 'The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo'. This area is also known as the Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy (RDOC), a growing habitat reserve in the coastal foothills of Orange County, California,which is home to the famous 'Mother Oak', as well as many native plants, grasslands and coastal sage scrub.
Here's some facts about the Conservancy:
- 1,200 acres of preserved open space located on The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo, part of the historic Rancho Mission Viejo in southeast Orange County, California.
- The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo is a growing habitat reserve governed by a comprehensive Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for Southeast Orange County. Over time, 16,536 acres of Rancho Mission Viejo lands will be preserved, in perpetuity, as open space. Including County parkland, HCP protected land will eventually total more than 32,800 acres.
- The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo lands–including The Richard & Donna O’Neill Conservancy–are managed by the Rancho Mission Viejo Land Trust, a non-profit organization whose mission is "to preserve and enhance Reserve lands for ecological, educational, charitable, conservation, open space, scientific, and recreational uses."
Plant communities and habitats found on The Conservancy are representative of Southern California as it appeared before arrival of Spanish settlers more than two centuries ago. Oak woodlands, coastal sage scrub, and grasslands dominate the landscape. Canyons are home to more than 6,000 Coast Live Oak trees, along with groves of huge Sycamores. Lemonadeberry, California Sagebrush, Toyon, White Sage, and Monkey Flower are among the natives found within the scrublands. Of special interest are the high quality Native Valley Grasslands, composed of purple needle grass, and perennial spring wildflowers, such as California Buttercup, Lupine, Shooting Star, Wild Hyacinth, Checker Bloom and Mariposa Lily. Unique botanical resources abound, including a distinct population of California Juniper (normally found closer to the desert) and ancient Coast Live Oaks.
As far as animals go, the Conservancy creates an ideal habitat for mule deer, fox, mountain lion and bobcat. Many threatened, endangered, and rare species are found here, including Many-Stemmed Dudleya, Turkish Rugging, Cactus Wren, San Diego Coast Horned Lizard, Arroyo Toad, and Orange Throated Whiptail lizard.
There's many programs and public education about the Reserve, like: wilflower walks on the RDOC, Falconry demonstrations at the Ladera Ranch Open Space and rattlesnake workshops. Remember, you must be a part of a program to enter The Reserve, and people without permissions are subject to penalties of up to $400.
Visit their website for more information on these programs and on how to help. http://www.theconservancy.org
And for information on the neighborhoods adjacent to this gorgeous reserve, contact us and we will guide you, or look for the information in the links below.