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Costa Mesa to install new fencing around 8 vernal pools in Fairview Park, home to fairy shrimp

Vernal pool fencing
The city of Costa Mesa plans to put in new fencing to replace the temporary installations around some of the vernal pools in Fairview Park.
(Luke Money I Daily Pilot)

New fencing is coming to eight of Fairview Park’s vernal pools in a project that Costa Mesa officials say will better mark and protect the park’s biologically sensitive areas.

Cable rail fencing will be installed around all seven vernal pools on the west side of the 208-acre park, as well as one on the east side.

Fairview Park’s vernal pools are essentially seasonal wetlands and are home to the endangered Riverside and San Diego fairy shrimp.

Officials have identified 10 vernal pools in the park.

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Costa Mesa Public Services Director Raja Sethuraman said staff worked with the city’s Fairview Park consultant, Glenn Lukos Associates, in an effort to better outline the boundaries of the pools after steady rainfall earlier this year.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing that work, Sethuraman said. In the meantime, Costa Mesa is moving ahead with the new fencing.

“Our plan is to get going with that project and have a fence up that’s more permanent,” he said. “If there are any changes, we can always adjust it.”

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The new fencing will better protect the vernal pools from possible encroachment, according to Sethuraman. He cited an incident a few months ago in which a vehicle went through a vernal pool.

“It’s for the benefit of everyone,” he said. “We want to protect those areas and make sure they function as they are intended.”

All told, the project entails about 6,500 linear feet of fencing and is expected to cost about $150,000.

The goal, Sethuraman said, is to receive bids for the project next month and take it to the City Council for review in October.

“We hope to start right away,” he said. “If we could do it before the rainy season, that would be great.”

Measure AA — an initiative passed in November that requires public approval for some types of projects at Fairview Park — does not apply in this case because “projects that protect resources are exempt,” according to Sethuraman.

luke.money@latimes.com

Twitter @LukeMMoney

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