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Coyote Canyon celebrates 20 years

Part of the Coyote Canyon Landfill in Newport Beach, which operated from 1963 to 1990, is being celebrated as the home of native plants and animals.

Twenty years after its seeding, the space has become what the Transportation Corridor Agencies describes as a thriving, self-sustaining habitat for the California gnatcatcher, a small, blue-gray bird classified as "threatened" by the U.S. government.

In 1994, the Transportation Corridor Agencies planted coastal sage scrub on 122 acres of the roughly 670-acre site. Enough soil had been added to create a depth of 4 1/2 feet so the plant could take root and grow.

The project is part of an environmental program developed by the agency, which oversees the county's toll roads, to make up for the effects of the roads' construction.

Discussions about the possibility of constructing a golf course on another part of the site are underway. The idea has been in the works since 2012, according to the county's website, but it is receiving renewed attention from Newport Mayor Rush Hill, chairman of the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency.

— Emily Foxhall

Twitter: @emfoxhall

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