Carrizo Marsh Habitat Restoration
HELIX currently provides habitat restoration services for the approximately 318-acre Carrizo Marsh in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The project is serving as off-site mitigation to meet compensatory mitigation requirements for the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility project’s impacts to Peninsular bighorn sheep essential habitat, waters of the U.S., waters of the State, and sensitive vegetation communities. HELIX worked closely with California State Parks, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, CAL FIRE, and wildlife agencies to develop a habitat restoration plan for the marsh, which is one of the most regionally significant water bodies in the Anza Borrego Desert. HELIX’s implementation of the plan includes removal of invasive tamarisk through mowing, prescribed burning, and herbicide treatment. HELIX has mapped vegetation, conducted a California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM) analysis, and assisted with preparation of the burn plan and smoke management plans. HELIX created firebreaks and control lines, fuel zones, and cultural resource buffers throughout the marsh to sequence the burn. HELIX biologists have monitored progress of the restoration effort, using soil samples and ground water measuring devices to record data as the marsh transforms from over 80 percent tamarisk to a native species habitat. HELIX performed initial removal of 100% of the tamarisk and is conducting 5-year maintenance to eradicate any resprouting tamarisk. Following the 5-year maintenance, California State Parks will perform long-term management of the marsh.