Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., is partnering with UC Irvine and students from the UCLA Environmental Science Practicum program to advance the completion and effectiveness of the Coast to Cleveland Wildlife Corridor. When completed, the 6-mile corridor, an ongoing project located in the city of Irvine, will connect 22,000 acres of wild lands in parks along the Laguna Coast to more than 150,000 acres of similar habitats in the foothills and Santa Ana mountains. This is a vital linkage needed for the health of wildlife in the region, which rely on movement between ecosystems to find resources and genetically distinct mates.
On January 15, 2016, Laguna Greenbelt will host a workshop for a graduate student from UCI and a team of six undergraduate students from The UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Sarah Geldmacher, a student in the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program at UCI, will study the project and make recommendations for the best long-term management strategies for the corridor. Along with Ms. Geldmacher, the six UCLA environmental science students will join the workshop to jumpstart their undergraduate client project. They will potentially examine any barriers to animals moving around the area coastward of the I-5 and will research how the existing corridor segment can be altered to maximize movement of animals away from urban areas and into the coastal and mountain wild lands.
UC Irvine and UCLA have long partnered with local businesses and nonprofit organizations in a variety of fields, from scientific field studies and technology to social work, urban planning, and medicine. Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., is hopeful that collaboration with local students and academic professionals will be a win-win for the participants and the community in Orange County.