Laguna 1000 Acre Restoration Project

The Laguna Division Conservation Area (LDCA) is located between the Imperial Dam and the Laguna Dam with Mittry Wildlife Area to the east and the Laguna Settling Basin to the west along the Lower Colorado River. The LDCA is a conservation area that was adopted by the Multi-Species Conservation Program (MSCP) of the Bureau of Reclamation to recover endangered, threatened and of concern species along the Lower Colorado River. LDCA will replace large saltcedar stands with a mosaic of open water, marsh, riparian and upland habitat, restoring as much as 1,200 acres of native vegetation along several historic Colorado River meanders. The habitat of LDCA is expected to attract a variety of sensitive wildlife species including the California black rail, Yuma clapper rail, southwestern willow flycatcher, yellow-billed cuckoo, Yuma hispid cotton rat, and western least bittern. These land cover types will be maintained with a maximum base flow of 100 cfs from the Gila Settling Basin. To minimize earthwork, cuts and fills follow the existing topography where feasible and adjacent terraces will be graded to allow flooding and promote the establishment of native riparian species. Water control structures will be created to manage water levels as the entire project will mimic historic season flooding.

FPC worked closely with the MSCP and project engineers to design the planting palette that will replace the stands of saltcedar. The Laguna planting designs will use a variety of successful restoration and bioengineering techniques, including machine planting of marsh plugs and trees, collecting and harvesting seed and plant materials, riparian species pole plantings, and deep pot plantings for upland species.