Rollinger supports arundo removal

At the Jan. 24 City Council meeting Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger publicly supported funding sources for the removal of arundo in Aliso Creek.

Arundo is a reedlike plant that can grow to more than 20 feet.

The removal was a goal of the proposed SUPER — Stabilization, Utility, Protection and Ecosystem Restoration — project for the creek .

The county had permits to remove the arundo but lacked funding, Rollinger said.

However, Proposition 50 allocated $3.9 million to the SUPER project that must be used within the next two years or it will revert to the state.

Rollinger said a suggestion was made that the money be used for South Orange County Water Authority's proposed repair of a bridge that offers access to the wastewater facility and the greenbelt.

Because SOCWA can only use $3 million, the hope is that the Laguna Canyon Foundation can use the remainder for restoration in Aliso Creek, Rollinger said.

The foundation has also applied for a grant to remove the arundo in the upper portion of the creek, according to Rollinger.

Rollinger has focused on environmental issues and open space in her first term on the council. Her affiliations include serving as council alternate on the Laguna Canyon Foundation and an alternate on the Coastal Greenbelt Authority. She is the city representative for Orange County Watersheds and the Greenbelt's appointed representative to the Nature Reserve of Orange County.

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