"I was interested in this project for years when I was in the state legislature; now I am in a position to do something about it," said U.S. Congressman John Campbell, who has requested a federal appropriation for the project. "Right now, the creek is polluted — it can be pristine. Right now, there is non-native vegetation — it can be completely natural.
"Today is the start."
The first phase of the proposal includes the construction of a series of low structures in the creek and the reconnection of it to the natural flood plan. Creek sides will be shaved to reduce the steepness of the slopes, and invasive species of plants will be removed and replaced with native vegetation. Infrastructure protection will include locking the low flow channel in place with rock at the toe, with soil wraps above the rock.
Diversion of the low flows of Aliso Creek at the South Orange County Water Agency treatment plant to make the water salable for irrigation is also a goal.
Council members Elizabeth Pearson-Schneider and Toni Iseman lobbied intensively for Campbell's support for the cleanup project in a visit this spring to Washington, D.C.
County officials are hopeful that the support of Campbell and Congressman Ken Calvert, who also attended the press conference, will produce about 75% of the funding by the Army Corps of Engineers, leaving the county to come up with about $11.25 million in nonfederal funding.