Liquid News

San Joaquin Marsh is a Hidden Oasis in Urban Setting

When was the last time you visited the Irvine Ranch Water District San Joaquin Marsh? Spring is the best time to visit this best kept secret in Irvine.

“The Marsh is a reconstructed wetland designed to clean urban runoff from San Diego Creek before it reaches environmentally sensitive Upper Newport Bay,” explains Ian Swift, IRWD Supervising Wetlands Biologist.

Besides enhancing water quality, the Marsh provides a home to some 230 species of birds and other wildlife in a park-like setting. The Marsh contains more than 12 miles of meandering hiking trails on approximately 320 acres and is open 365 days a year, dawn to dusk. The campus is also home to the Audubon House and the IRWD visitor’s center, both open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Visitors to the marsh are encouraged to bring binoculars and cameras for bird watching. But there are other animals that might be seen, as well. Many visitors have reported seeing bobcats on the trails. Every spring, there is a new litter of kittens born. Bobcats should not be confused with the more dangerous mountain lions.

Because the Marsh is not open to visitor at night, many of the nocturnal animals such as coyotes, skunks and raccoons will not be seen. However, on occasion, coyotes and skunks can be seen wandering the trails in the early morning or the evening.

Other mammals making their homes at the Marsh are opossums, long-tailed weasels, rabbits, ground squirrels, field mice and rats. The small rodent population is kept in check by the predatory animals and birds of prey.

Visitors are reminded not to collect or disturb the wildlife, including the flowers or other plant materials, animals, birds, insects, rocks or any element within the entire San Joaquin Marsh. Harvesting of betties is allowed along Riparian View near Tree Hill, however. Admission is always free.

More information about the Marsh and detailed directions on how to find this hidden oasis, please visit our website.

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